by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)
“We Are Witnesses!” is the awe-inspiring theme for our WDC Annual Assembly July 26-27. The Apostle Peter was given a message from the Holy Spirit that “God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10.34-35). This is a truly radical statement of welcome! In Peter’s case, he and the Early Church were called to embrace Gentiles, people Peter and fellow Jews thought were outside of the circle of God’s care. Who is God calling us to welcome with the love of Christ from the margins through hospitality and fellowship today?
At Annual Assembly, we will hear personal testimonies of how the Holy Spirit has been at work transforming hearts and lives. We’ll hear stories of justice and injustice for migrants seeking asylum. We’ll hear Glen Guyton’s testimony of how God changed his vocational path for life and how he sees God at work in the lives of Anabaptist leaders today. As our Mennonite Church USA Executiive Director, he has a bird’s eye view of the bigger Mennonite Church picture these days. We’ll also have a chance to remember that our witness is fallible, for we are human beings, seeking to follow Jesus the best we can. We’ll hear about God blessing a church plant with growth in numbers and in faith. We’ll also have the opportunity to engage with creation care narratives, as well as hear the stories of some of the first faithful women in ministry in our conference. These are only a few of the stories of faith you can expect to hear at Annual Assembly this year.
Throughout Assembly, there will also be times to tell pieces of your own congregation’s or your personal story of following Jesus. In addition to telling our own faith stories, we’ll have the opportunity to act on our faith by tying MCC comforters to be sent to help bring comfort to those who have experienced natural or human-created disasters around the world. Remember that children and youth are invited to attend for free. Please come as a family. There will be age-appropriate ways to learn about Jesus and have fun doing it.
Come prepared to listen for how the Holy Spirit is at work among us, welcoming people from the “outside” into the center of God’s love. We are witnesses!