(Mennonite Church USA) — Hope for the Future (HFF) 2018 participants have released an open letter to Mennonite Church USA. The gathering, which took place on February 1-4 in San Antonio, Texas, brought together leaders of color from across MC USA around a theme inspired by Vincent Harding’s 1967 speech at Mennonite World Conference in Amsterdam “The Beggars are Marching … Where are the Saints?”
“Through sermons and stories, as we explored together the various issues facing us, Harding’s strong ethic of love seemed to be lifted up,” said Iris de León-Hartshorn, director of Transformative Peacemaking for MC USA and member of the HFF planning committee.
In small groups around tables, HFF 2018 participants addressed the question, “What prophetic word would you have for MC USA?” A group of writers composed a letter based on the themes that arose, presented it to the group and made revisions based on the group’s feedback. The letter, included below, was affirmed by 75 percent of HFF 2018 participants.
“We are at a turning point in our history where the seeds that were sown generations ago with Vincent Harding and others, such as the Minorities Ministries Council, are bearing fruit,” the letter reads. “We realize the challenges that lie ahead. And so in the spirit of love, we offer these words of challenge and hope for the future.”
“This letter is our call to the church and ourselves. We have a rich history that includes a peace and justice witness. Can we live into God’s call to us to love each other as God has loved us?” said de León-Hartshorn. “We do not speak as representatives from our institutions; rather we speak as leaders, whom God has called.”