by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister
“We are witnesses” (Acts 10:34-43) was the theme of our gathering as members, delegates, friends and neighbors of WDC for our 2019 annual assembly on the Bethel College campus last weekend. I rejoice in the many ways I witnessed God’s good news over the weekend!
– I witnessed God’s truth in the messages offered by Glen Guyton, Mennonite Church USA Executive Director. He shared his testimony of how God used Anabaptist witnesses to transform his life, and challenged us to move beyond the limitations of our rules and regulations, clans and labels to be witnesses for God’s peace in today’s world. I appreciated his call for us to be less anxious, angry and reactive, and instead to be more responsive, resilient, risk-taking, and resourceful – to trust God and move with the Spirit.
– I witnessed God’s call for to us to follow Jesus in today’s world. We were equipped through workshops on adaptive leadership, responses to immigration challenges and the Israel-Palestine conflict, climate change and creation care, land reparations for indigenous peoples, faith formation, financial stewardship, missional and “imperfect peace” witness, the history of women in ministry, and practical service through disaster response and making comforters.
– I witnessed God’s faithfulness as we celebrated over 40 years of women’s ordination in WDC, recognizing courageous and creative women leaders through whom God has enriched the church over the decades.
– I witnessed God’s generosity, as assembly participants contributed to special offerings for church planting in WDC, and also offered creative fundraising ideas to support the full range of WDC ministries.
– I witnessed God’s love as long-time friends, new acquaintances, and people of all ages connected with each other and experienced the presence of Christ in our midst. Retired folks chatted with teen-agers; children and adults mingled as they enjoyed music, fun and refreshments; Spanish-speakers and English-speakers put forth their best efforts to listen and share with one another; participants from all corners of WDC – from Pasadena, TX to Beatrice, NE and from Turpin, OK to Kansas City, KS and many places in-between – welcomed one another, and worshiped, sang and shared the Lord’s Supper together. We were blessed and inspired by the reception of a church plant – Iglesia Camino de Santidad, Liberal, KS – as a new member congregation of WDC.
Back home in our diverse congregations and communities, may we all continue to be witnesses to the good news and presence of Christ among us. Where do we see God’s transforming peace at work? How are we called to participate in and pass on the good news? We are witnesses! Thanks be to God.