Members of churches in many Mennonite World Conference national bodies are experiencing unemployment and hunger due to shortages of food and income. This has led to contributions that are below budget, reported chief operating officer Len Rempel in November to the MWC Executive Committee during a virtual meeting.
“We’ve been encouraged that, despite their difficulties, churches have responded, saying, ‘We are struggling but still want to do what we can to participate in the global church,’ ” he said.
Postponement of the next global assembly from 2021 to 2022 results in an additional year of expenses between assemblies. Without making adjustments, Rempel projects a $150,000 deficit for the assembly.
A COVID-19 response fund outside the budget raised more than $400,000 in collaboration with a dozen Anabaptist mission and service agencies in 2020. Member church projects brought emergency relief to communities in need of food and hygiene supplies due to the pandemic.
Much of the Executive Committee meetings focused on a proposal to accept three emerging networks into MWC’s structure. Networks focusing on peace, health and education expand MWC by creating an official relationship with member organizations. The General Council will consider the proposal in 2022.
Two networks are already part of MWC’s structure. The Global Mission Fellowship includes 71 members from agencies involved in evangelistic, disciple-making and humanitarian/social activities. The Global Anabaptist Service Network has 57 members.
“This proposal is in line with how MWC works, from the bottom up,” said MWC Latin America representative Carlos Martínez-García. “This is a way for the experts in these agencies to share their gifts with the global family.”
In other action, the Executive Committee recommended revising a document the Peace Commission created on conscientious objection. It will go to the General Council in 2022.