Photo: Ecuadorian delegates Daniela Sanchez, Dawin Villacis, Luis Tapia and Manuel Ronquillo with Danielle Klotz, second from the right, connect at Mennonite World Conference. Photo by Laurie Oswald Robinson
The editorial team for Anabaptist Witness (a journal and interactive website) is helping to dispel the stereotype that young Anabaptists aren’t interested in mission.
“The younger generations do have a critique about some of the conquest overtones of mission in the past,” said Jamie Pitts, co-editor of Anabaptist Witness. “But that doesn’t mean they aren’t attracted by today’s more holistic mission practices.”
Shaping a positive missiology for the 21st century is valued by young Anabaptists, as was evident during their sharing at the Mennonite World Conference gathering in July in Harrisburg, Pa.
Marc Pasques, who claims both Spain and Australia as home, and Rodrigo Pedroza, from Mexico, shared their reflections on Matthew 10:7-8.
Pasques and Pedroza said, “We need to change from a theology of seats to a theology of The Way. … This is a way of life in ethics and practice, here and now. We need to look to Jesus who moved on the periphery where pain is present and hope grows. This is where revival comes. This is the love that is modeled by the One who gave us the commandment to love.”
“This kind of thoughtful and faithful commitment to mission is not a surprise to the staff of Mennonite Mission Network,” said Jamie Ross, co-editor of Anabaptist Witness. “Our international staff are building relationships with young Anabaptists around the world, and are partners in many of the exciting ministries they are leading.”
Mission Network, Mennonite Church Canada, and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) came together to give birth to Anabaptist Witness in October 2014. It is the successor to Mission Focus, an academic journal focused on Mennonites and others in mission that ended its 42-year run in 2013.Jamie Pitts, assistant professor of Anabaptist studies at AMBS, serves with co-editor Jamie Ross, international mission staff at Mission Network. They are joined by web editor Gregory Rabus, serving with Mennonite Church Canada alongside a multicultural and multinational editorial committee.
“Anabaptist Witness provides young adults with a safe and accessible platform—a platform that feels natural to them because of their comfort with the Internet,” said Rabus, of Backnag, Germany. “It helps them explore issues of Anabaptism with people of all ages. It is a very heterogeneous conversation.”
The conversation includes everything from academic articles to artwork, reflections to recipes, poetry to best practices, all accessed from AnabaptistWitness.org. It allows people across generations and from different Anabaptist perspectives to engage and challenge one another in the spirit of understanding God’s mission.
Add multinational reach to the multidimensional substance, and the forum grows. “Since we hit our stride in April of this year, we’ve averaged 1,500 to 2,000 website sessions per month,” Ross said. “And since our 2014 launch, individuals from 136 countries have engaged the website and content.”
Returning to the words of Rodrigo Pedroza, “As we wait for our Lord to fulfill his kingdom, it is our task to continue healing, reconciling and transforming. The good news needs to be proclaimed and understood in each context of human need,” he said.