The recently organized group Anabaptist Renewal Circles will look to fuel spiritual renewal across many Mennonite Church USA conferences with a national convention this summer.
ARC spokesperson Sunoko Lin said by email the group began during the 2011 Mennonite Church USA convention in Pittsburgh and named itself last June.
“Several of us, pastors and church leaders from diverse ethnic groups, were very concerned about the spiritual health of the Mennonite Church,” said Lin, pastor of Maranatha Christian Fellowship in Northridge, Calif. “This concern prompted us to seek new ways to encourage each other in common faith, ministry and mission. Since then, we have met several times to pray and plan for renewal activities that produce life and vitality rather than for divisive debate about sexuality.”
He said the group’s goal is “a biblical covenanted community where our unity is inspired and shaped by the authoritative Word of God.”
Plenary speakers are Ervin Stutzman, MC USA executive director; Wes Furlong, lead pastor at Cape Christian Fellowship in Cape Coral, Fla.; Christopher Yuan, a Moody Bible Institute instructor and former gay man who speaks and writes about living with HIV; Madeline Maldonado, associate pastor at Iglesia Evangelica Menonita Arca de Salvacion (Ark of Salvation Evangelical Mennonite Church) in Fort Myers, Fla.; Nelson Okanya, president of Eastern Mennonite Missions; and Esdras Ferreras, senior pastor at Sonido De Alabanza (Sound of Praise) in Cicero, Ill. The convention also will include about 30 workshops, a concert of prayer and a Friday evening youth worship event.
“We are hoping it will draw many like-minded pastors and church leaders from diverse ethnic groups and different MC USA conferences,” Lin said.
The event is not limited to MC USA but is open to all Anabaptist groups.
Organizers are hoping for 250 attenders, though Weaverland Mennonite can host as many as 600 to 700, so more are welcome.
Information about the convention and registration is online at anabaptistrenewal.org.