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These stories appeared in the latest issue of MWR. Stories can be found sorted by issue here. To see more subscribe online or to the print edition here.

Two pairs of conferences eye closer relationships

By and on Jul 24, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

As current and former Mennonite Church USA conferences deal with shifting congregational alignment, two pairs of conferences are looking at closer relationships. Franklin Mennonite Conference is considering a possible merger with Lancaster Mennonite Conference, and Allegheny Mennonite Conference is exploring a relationship with Central District Conference. Franklin conference minister Allen Lehman said a committee discussing affiliation presented a recommendation to the conference board to become a district of Lancaster Conference. “We are...

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2,000 books distributed at Islamic convention

By and on Jul 24, 2017 in Featured, Latest Issue, News | 1 comment

Angelica Prins, left, and Christian/Muslim Relations Team member Grace Shenk, right, speak with an attendee at the Islamic Society of North America’s annual convention. — Andres Prins/EMM

CHICAGO — Last year, an Eastern Mennonite Missions team that works in Christian-Muslim relations was invited to have the only booth representing a Jesus-following witness at America’s largest yearly gathering of Muslims. This year, EMM’s Christian/ Muslim Relations Team was invited back to the Islamic Society of North America’s annual convention, with a special request. Sayyid Syeed, who recently retired as national director of the society’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances, suggested the team return with 3,000 to 4,000...

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Judge rules in favor of MC USA in Hopi land dispute

By and on Jul 18, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Hopi Mission School students go on a celebratory run for a drug- free life during Red Ribbon Week activities on the school grounds Oct. 30, 2016. — Hopi Mission School

Mennonite Education Agency is planning to start a new chapter at Hopi Mission School in Ky­kotsmovi, Ariz., after Navajo County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Higgins ruled in favor of Mennonite Church USA. Responding to concerns about finances and transparency at the school, MC USA filed a complaint on Sept. 14, 2015, asking that the HMS board be evicted from the property so that MEA could review documents. The July 3 ruling says MC USA “may immediately take sole possession of the land.” It orders the HMS board to vacate the...

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Evana convention attendance nearly doubles

By and on Jul 17, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 1 comment

Theresa Wolf, youth leader at Kaufman Mennonite Church in Davids­ville, Pa., gives thanks to God after the baptism of Hailey Beisel, 12, and Brooke Yoder, 13. At left, Anya Schlabach, 14, awaits baptism with her father, Randall Schlabach, pastor of Thomas Mennonite Church in Holsopple, Pa. Four young people were baptized during the Evana Network convention. — Rachel Stella/MWR

UPLAND, Ind. — Hailey Beisel and Brooke Yoder weren’t signed up to attend Evana Network’s ReGen 2017 convention. But when two others from the Kaufman Mennonite Church youth group in Davidsville, Pa., dropped out at the last moment, the two girls took those places. Along with two other young people, they requested and received baptism during the event. Such spontaneity characterized Evana’s second annual convention July 1-4 at Taylor University. The mood flowed from the theme, “Start With Amen,” emphasizing surrender to the leading...

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History: Bethlehem ’83: coming together and apart

By on Jul 17, 2017 in Columns, History, Latest Issue, Preheim | 5 comments

Having moved their two pulpits into closer proximity to symbolize a growing togetherness, General Conference president Jake Tilitzky, left, and Mennonite Church moderator Ross Bender place two stones, representing their churches, atop a foundation stone. — Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College

When the General Conference Mennonite Church and Mennonite Church met in Bethlehem, Pa., in 1983 for their first joint convention, MC moderator Ross Bender and his GC counterpart, Jacob Tilitzky, placed their podiums next to each other to symbolize their denominations’ growing closeness. They, of course, continued to come together, eventually merging to form Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. But they’ve also been coming apart over the past several decades. In both cases, Bethlehem ’83 was not only an important catalyst,...

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Washington Witness: More arms for Nigeria?

By on Jul 17, 2017 in Columns, Latest Issue, Various authors: Washington Witness | 0 comments

Charles Kwuelum

Globally, violent conflicts are increasing, according to the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway. There are more armed conflicts now than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Unfortunately, many attempts to intervene are themselves militarized, further fueling the violence. Meanwhile, holistic peacebuilding and development approaches are underfunded. President Trump’s budget proposal to Congress this fiscal year would make dramatic cuts to poverty-focused foreign assistance while eliminating the U.S. Institute of Peace completely....

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LGBTQ advocates make the most of greater acceptance

By and on Jul 17, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 5 comments

Participants in an inclusive worship service at the Mennonite Church USA convention write the names of people killed in a gay nightclub shooting about a year earlier in Orlando. The service was one of the ways LGBTQ people and topics are having a greater presence within MC USA. — Vada Snider for MWR

ORLANDO, Fla. — From official seminars and an inclusive worship service to direct involvement in the Future Church Summit, LGBTQ participation and presence at the Mennonite Church USA convention reflected movement in from the sidelines. Two years ago, the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests was present within the convention for the first time and operated a booth in the exhibit hall. Pink Menno, a group committed to being a visible and vocal presence at Mennonite gatherings, was also given a room...

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Come in, the show is free

By on Jul 17, 2017 in Editorial, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Mennonite Church USA congregational membership and convention attendance are lower. It is apparent to anyone who has attended a denomination-wide gathering in the last two decades. Some attendees surely lamented how Mennonites didn’t seem to invade and overwhelm convention facilities like in times past. The Orange County Convention Center is already expansive and sprawling, and seemed still bigger because the Mennonites shared the space with other groups. There was a youth basketball tournament and a coin show. Hotels hosting MC USA folks...

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Goshen College appoints Stoltzfus 18th president

By and on Jul 17, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Rebecca Stoltzfus speaks to the Goshen College campus on June 14. — Goshen College

GOSHEN, Ind. — Rebecca Stoltzfus has been appointed as Goshen College’s 18th president by a unanimous vote of the college’s board of directors and the board of the Mennonite Education Agency. She will take office Nov. 1. Stoltzfus, a 1983 Goshen graduate, is vice provost for undergraduate education and professor of human nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. “Rebecca has an outstanding record as an executive leader, administrator, teacher and scholar,” said Conrad Clemens, chair of the Goshen board of directors and...

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Watson: Don’t sell the parsonage

By on Jul 17, 2017 in Columns, Latest Issue, Watson: Gathering the Stones | 0 comments

Hillary Watson

When I accepted my current position, I considered the parsonage a drawback and only a temporary housing option. After four years watching my work and the market, I am convinced the parsonage, though its popularity has declined, will be a critical part of the church’s future in post-Christendom. Selling the parsonage can be a boon to a struggling church — adding cash flow, reducing maintenance demands and allowing the congregation to focus on visioning. There’s also a perception that pastors want “housing choice” or see it beneath...

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