Madison Mennonite Church in Wisconsin held a virtual gathering Oct. 18 to celebrate the Madison Mennonite Voluntary Service unit, which has closed. The unit housed more than 20 service participants and many MVS associates from 2009 to 2017.
The unit’s story began in 2003, when Madison Mennonite Church Pastor Tonya Ramer Wenger reached out to Mennonite Mission Network with interest in opening an MVS unit. At the time, MMN was not equipped to add units. Undeterred, Ramer Wenger and the congregation began fundraising anyway.
MMC hosted a garage sale in 2004 to secure funds and household items. In 2009, the church secured a unit in a three-apartment complex that served as the first MVS “house.” The next year the unit moved into a separate house.
“Despite the bees and the creepy basement and the funky wood-burning stove that they wouldn’t let the MVSers use, the Madison Mennonite MVS unit called 315 N. Ingersoll home for the next seven years,” recounted former unit leader Matt Eberly.
MVS volunteers helped dozens of nonprofit organizations in the Madison community.
“Madison’s MVS unit had an outsized impact on our church, considering the relatively short period of time MMC hosted a unit,” said Joe Friesen, the unit’s local leader.
He expressed that the ripple effects of the MVS unit are still being felt today: a surge of spiritual growth in the community.
“MVS played a critical role in shaping who I am,” Friesen said, “and I can’t overstate my gratitude to MVS for providing the space to catch my breath after college and dedicate myself to meaningful volunteer work.”