New churches add diversity to USMB Southern District

Aug 26, 2019 by and

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OLATHE, Kan. — Delegates voted to welcome three new churches, pending completion of a vetting process, into the Southern District of the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches at the district convention July 26-27.

The choir from Christ Salvation Church, a Kansas City, Mo., congregation composed primarily of immigrants from Congo and Burundi, sang during the USMB Southern District Conference convention. The church will be joining the conference. — Janae Rempel/Christian Leader

The choir from Christ Salvation Church, a Kansas City, Mo., congregation composed primarily of immigrants from Congo and Burundi, sang during the USMB Southern District Conference convention. The church will be joining the conference. — Janae Rempel/Christian Leader

— Christ Salvation Church in Kansas City, Mo., is comprised primarily of immigrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Led by Pastor Muhizi Serukiza and his wife, Immaculee, the congregation of 150 meets in a Lutheran church. Services are in Swa­hili and occasionally in English. The congregation brought its choir to sing at the convention.

— Agape Evangelical Church is an Ethiopian church in Aurora, Colo. In the absence of their lead pastor, who is planting a church in Israel, Yohannes Woldemichael, associate pastor, and Rick Albu, pastor of the English-speaking church, attended the convention.

Iglesia la Senda Antigua, a Hispanic congregation in Milan, Mo., pastored by Patrocinio Vicente, was unable to send representatives to the convention.

Bruce Jost, vice president of MB Foundation, shared advice for duplicating the kind of community written about in Acts 2. The ideal community involves tithing — an idea Jost said is more accurately represented by the term “community first fruits,” or the generous nature of a community to give money beyond its walls. Obstacles to this type of giving include fear, pride and feeling overwhelmed.

Jost said healthy churches prioritize first fruits, devoting 15 to 50 percent of their budgets to giving outside of the church, 10 to 25 percent to facilities and programs and 40 to 60 percent to staff.

Wendell Loewen, professor of biblical studies at Tabor College, presented an overview of the MB story. He touched on the stories of 16th-century martyrs, the teaching of Menno Simons, the move to Ukraine to escape persecution in 1763, the “breth­ren” who broke away from the larger Mennonite church in response to spiritual decline and the move of more than 10,000 Mennonites to North America in the 1870s and 1880s. He noted the influences of Anabaptism and evangelicalism, including parallels between the two.


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