Harrisburg and Mount Joy, Pennsylvania – Mennonites and Brethren in Christ in eastern Pennsylvania enthusiastically welcomed Mennonite World Conference leaders on Sunday 20 July at two kick-off celebrations, exactly one year in advance of the opening of the 21-26 July 2015 MWC Assembly, Pennsylvania 2015 (PA 2015).
One event was held in the morning at Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church. The afternoon event took place at Mt. Joy Mennonite Church.
César García, MWC’s General Secretary, introduced the Assembly theme, “Walking with God.” He pointed out that the theme is drawn from the Road-to-Emmaus story, in which 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. When we are together in communion, we see with different eyes. And we discover Jesus in a new way.”
Song writers Frances Crowhill Miller and Daryl Snider, along with 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, PA, where PA 2015 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!”
Joanne Dietzel, a member of Mennonite Church USA, one of the hosting groups, introduced the Prayer Network. “We face two pressing concerns as hosts of PA 2015. 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 21-26 July next year?”
For more information about the 2015 MWC Assembly, go to mwc-cmm.org/pa2015.
MWC release by Phyllis Pellman Good of Lancaster, PA, a writer and editor for Mennonite World Conference.