Kansas City 2015 theme emphasizes journey, discipleship

Youth from Mennonite congregations across the country join together in song and motions during youth worship at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2013. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)
Youth from Mennonite congregations across the country join together in song and motions during youth worship at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2013. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)

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ELKHART, Ind. (Mennonite Church USA) – “On the Way/En el Camino” has been chosen as the theme for Mennonite Church USA’s next biennial convention, to be held June 30–July 5, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo.

Developing a firm faith foundation doesn’t happen overnight. That’s the message that convention planners want to drive home for participants who attend.

“Christ is our focus, and our lifelong journey is to follow him,” said Glen Guyton, director of Convention Planning. “We want to acknowledge that and spend some focusing on what it means to be on a journey with Jesus and how that changes our daily encounters with people.”

As announced earlier, the theme scripture for the convention week is Luke 24, a passage that includes stories of the women finding Jesus’ tomb empty, the disciples’ encounter with Jesus on the Road to Emmaus, and Jesus’ ascension and commissioning of the disciples.

Youth group members embrace each other as Jeremy Kempf, Emily Grimes, Peter Garry and the entire youth worship band lead out in song. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)
Youth group members embrace each other as Jeremy Kempf, Emily Grimes, Peter Garry and the entire youth worship band lead out in song. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)

Luke 24:35 reads, “Then the two [travelers on the Road to Emmaus] told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.”

“Luke 24 is a really rich passage,” said Hannah Heinzekehr, director of communication and convention planning coordinator. “There is so much food for thought here about what it means to encounter and be changed by Jesus over and over again, in our daily lives. It’s not a one-time thing, but rather a relationship that evolves over time.”

The theme was chosen by the Cabinet of Mennonite Church USA’s Executive Board staff, led by Ervin Stutzman, executive director. The group spent several days of retreat together in the fall, spending time in Scripture and prayer to discern the theme and text for the Kansas City convention. They were inspired by the words of Luke 24, as well as the 1995 Confession of Faith in A Mennonite Perspective, both of which emphasize Jesus’ call to “follow his teachings and his path through suffering to new life.” The theme has been tested and affirmed by members of the denomination’s Executive Board.

(l. to r.) Beth Jarrett, Nicole Francisco and Chuck Neufeld—members of the adult worship band—lead singing during adult worship at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2013. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)
(l. to r.) Beth Jarrett, Nicole Francisco and Chuck Neufeld—members of the adult worship band—lead singing during adult worship at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2013. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)

“Convention is a five-day event, but the impact of the worship and fellowship can last a lifetime,” said Guyton. “We are all on a journey together, and God is calling us to a yet unreached destination. But hopefully our hearts are burning, and there is a fire within us as we are seeking to follow Jesus every day.”

For more information on convention, visit www.MennoniteUSA.org/convention.

Cabinet members are Stutzman, Guyton, Heinzekehr, Marty Lehman, Iris de León-Hartshorn, Terry Shue, André Gingerich Stoner and Shelley Buller.

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—Mennonite Church USA staff

Images available:

ftp://ftp.e.mennonites.org/public/NewsPhotos/MCUSA2013_0767.jpg
(l. to r.) Beth Jarrett, Nicole Francisco and Chuck Neufeld—members of the adult worship band—lead singing during adult worship at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2013. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)

ftp://ftp.e.mennonites.org/public/NewsPhotos/MCUSA2013_1470.jpg
Youth from Mennonite congregations across the country join together in song and motions during youth worship at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2013. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)

ftp://ftp.e.mennonites.org/public/NewsPhotos/MCUSA2013_1476.jpg
Emily Grimes and Peter Garry sing and lead worship during the Mennonite Church USA convention in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2013. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)

ftp://ftp.e.mennonites.org/public/NewsPhotos/MCUSA2013_0019.jpg
Youth group members embrace each other as Jeremy Kempf, Emily Grimes, Peter Garry and the entire youth worship band lead out in song. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)

ftp://ftp.e.mennonites.org/public/NewsPhotos/MCUSA2013_0165.jpg
Carol Roth of Native Mennonite Ministries chats with convention attendees in the exhibit hall during the Mennonite Church USA convention in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2013. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)

ftp://ftp.e.mennonites.org/public/NewsPhotos/MCUSA2013_0529.jpg
Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, was the worship speaker during the intergenerational worship services at the Mennonite Church USA Convention in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2013. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)

ftp://ftp.e.mennonites.org/public/NewsPhotos/MCUSA2013_0567.jpg
Convention attendees reach their hands towards the front as an act of blessing for Mennonite Church USA pastors, who were called forward to receive a gift, prayer and a blessing during worship at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2013. (Photo by Ken Krehbiel of ImageWorks Photography)