Mennonite Church USA will host the annual Hope for the Future conference Feb. 3-5 in Atlanta. The event offers Black, Indigenous and people of color leaders affiliated with MC USA a place to gather for worship, networking and mutual support.
The theme is “The Book of Esther, ‘Such a Time as This: Collective Trauma and Hope.’ ”
Keynote speakers are Daniela Lázaro-Manalo, Mennonite Central Committee racial equity education and advocacy coordinator, and Frank Scoffield Sánchez, a member of Pasadena Mennonite Church in California, who is U.S. partnerships coordinator with the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala NISGUA.
Wilma A. Bailey, professor emerita of Hebrew and Aramaic Scripture at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, will lead the Bible study. Hendy Matahelemual, pastor of Indonesian Light Church in Philadelphia, will lead music.
“This gathering is an intentional space, created for and by BIPOC leaders in MC USA, leaders who often work and study in predominantly white institutional spaces and who need time to refresh and reconnect with other BIPOC leaders across the denomination,” said Sue Park-Hur, MC USA director of racial/ethnic engagement. “It centers BIPOC leaders, to give participants the opportunity to worship interculturally, study the Bible with scholars of color, strategize ways to dismantle racism and build deeper relationships with one another.”
Hope for the Future is an annual conference but was postponed the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are coming through a time of trauma — experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and political trauma, as well as witnessing mass shootings in places that ought to be safe, the deaths of innocent Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement, and missing and murdered Indigenous women,” Bailey said. “The Book of Esther provides a prompt for discussion of how to find hope in troubled times.”
Register by Jan. 18 at mcusa.formstack.com/ forms/hope_for_the_future_2022.
The event will be held at Holiday Inn & Suites Atlanta Airport North and is sponsored by MC USA, Everence, Mennonite Education Agency and Mennonite Mission Network.
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