Celebrations kick off 2015 Mennonite World Conference assembly

by Phyllis Pellman Good, Mennonite World Conference

Mennonites and Brethren in Christ in eastern Pennsylvania enthusiastically welcomed Mennonite World Conference leaders on Sunday, July 20 at two kick-off celebrations, exactly one year in advance of the opening of the July 2015 Mennonite World Conference assembly. The 2015 assembly will be held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

One of the kick-off events was held on the morning of July 20 at Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church. The afternoon event, held on the same day, took place at Mount Joy Mennonite Church.

MWC leaders join in the kick-off celebration. Left to right: Vikal P. Rao of India, assembly program committee; Liesa Unger of Germany, MWC chief international events officer; and César García of Colombia, MWC general secretary. Photo by Merle Good
MWC leaders join in the kick-off celebration. Left to right: Vikal P. Rao of India, assembly program committee; Liesa Unger of Germany, MWC chief international events officer; and César García of Colombia, MWC general secretary. Photo by Merle Good.

At both events, MWC General Secretary César García introduced the assembly theme, “Walking with God.” He noted it is drawn from the story of the disciples walking the road to Emmaus, in Luke 24. The disciples seem to be in a contentious discussion, but they still walk side by side.

“Only when they were seated at the table, communing together, did they discover who Jesus was,” said García. “When we are together in communion, we see with different eyes. And we discover Jesus in a new way.”

Songwriters Frances Crowhill Miller and Daryl Snider and song leader Marcy Hostetler led the afternoon audience of some 300 in rousing international singing.

Vikal P. Rao of India, a member of the assembly program committee, gave the audience a glimpse of the Global Church Village. The village will be a performance area within the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, where assembly will be held.

“Every afternoon during the assembly, our stage will be filled with storytelling, drama, and music. We will celebrate our diversity within the unity of MWC,” he told the crowd.

Joanne Dietzel introduced the prayer network.

“We face two pressing concerns as hosts of Pennsylvania 2015,” she said. “Will all of our sisters and brothers from the Global South who want to join the assembly be able to get visas to enter the U.S.? And will those of us who live in North America be willing to offer hospitality of the heart to our guests? Will we step out of our overly-busy lives and fully join the week of worship, fellowship, and service, from July 21-26 next year?”

For more information about the 2015 MWC Assembly, go to mwc-cmm.org/pa2015.  Franconia Conference provides communication support for Pennsylvania 2015.

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