MWC leaders consider a new name

Mennonite World Conference’s General Council is considering a proposal to change the global body’s name during July 1-4 meetings preceding the MWC assembly in Indonesia. The Executive Committee suggests shifting to “Anabaptist Mennonite World Communion.”

MWC’s Faith and Life Commission was asked to explore how MWC’s name could reflect its vision, mission and members. Many members do not call themselves “Mennonite.”

The Anabaptist global community includes the Meserete Kristos Church in Ethiopia, Amor Viviente in Honduras, Jemaat Kristen Indonesia in Asia, Algemene Doopsgezinde Societeit in the Netherlands and the Brethren in Christ in the Americas and Africa.

The Faith and Life Commission presented its proposal after consultation, study and discernment. The Executive Committee is offering two options to the General Council: adopt the new name or make no change.

“The added or changed words ‘Anabaptist’ and ‘communion’ convey significant theological meaning,” said MWC President J. Nelson Kraybill. “ ‘Anabaptist’ speaks to our spiritual heritage, and ‘communion’ accents the depth of fellowship we experience as the body of Christ. Our name should communicate that we are a church, not just a business meeting or educational enterprise.”

General Council members will discuss the proposal and bring it back to their congregations and leadership for discernment. The General Council will reconvene in 2025 to decide on the name in MWC’s centenary year.

“This name does justice to the transformation of our global family,” said Executive Committee member Carlos Martínez-García of Mexico. He noted that within Mexico, some groups choose “Mennonite” and others don’t. “ ‘Anabaptist’ is wider, more inclusive.”

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