Mennonite Church USA to host interchurch and global church guests at Phoenix 2013

ELKHART, Ind. (Mennonite Church USA)—Leaders from various Anabaptist fellowships, the global Mennonite church family and the broader body of Christ will be visiting Mennonite Church USA’s July 1–6 denominational convention in Phoenix. The guests will be introduced during the Delegate Assembly meeting on Tuesday afternoon, July 2.

“The presence of our guests with us reminds us that we are one part of the body of Christ,” says André Gingerich Stoner, director of Interchurch Relations and Holistic Witness for Mennonite Church USA. “We are grateful for the bonds of faith and witness that link us, and we pray that God will use these relationships to deepen our faith in Jesus and to strengthen our witness before a watching world.”

The guests include:

·        Rev. Carlos L. Malavé is executive director of Christian Churches Together in the USA. CCT is the broadest organization working for the unity of the Church in the USA. Earlier Rev. Malavé served for 10 years at the Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

·        Rev. Mark L. Williams is presiding bishop and general overseer for the Church of God, the senior leadership role in the denomination. Elected to the post in 2012, Rev. Williams previously served as second assistant general overseer from 2008 to 2012. He has pastored congregations in Tennessee and Florida and has degrees from Lee University and the Pentecostal Theological Seminary. This international denomination, headquartered in Cleveland, Tenn., has approximately 7 million members in 172 countries (with more than one million in the United States and Canada).

·        Dr. Kathryn Johnson is a seminary professor representing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The ELCA has 4.5 million members in more than 10,000 congregations in the U.S. Previously Dr. Johnson served as Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Affairs at the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). She counts as the highlight of her time there the Lutheran action of repentance and the reconciliation with Mennonites/Anabaptists at the 2010 LWF Assembly in Stuttgart, Germany. Dr. Johnson continues to work on task forces established by both Lutherans and Mennonites to implement the promises toward closer relationship and collaboration that were made on that occasion.

·        Dr. Ed Boschman is executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (USMB). He also serves as treasurer of the International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB). Dr. Boschman pastored congregations in California and British Columbia before becoming executive director of Mission USA, a church planting and renewal arm of the U.S. Conference. The USMB is a community of about 35,000 believers in 200 congregations across the U.S.

·        Dr. Alan Robinson is the new national director for the Brethren in Christ Church in the U.S. Alan was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and has pastored and planted churches in Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland. He has been the senior pastor of the Carlisle (Pa.) Brethren in Christ Church since 1999. The Brethren in Christ Church in the U.S. is a community of about 30,000 persons in 300 congregations.

·        Pastor Chris King is pastor of Paradise Valley Mennonite Church, a Conservative Mennonite Conference (CMC) congregation in Phoenix. CMC is a Christian fellowship of evangelical Anabaptist churches with 110 congregations and approximately 11,500 members in 23 states, Canada and Mexico. International affiliates represent about 450 congregations. Rosedale Bible College, the education arm of CMC, is located in central Ohio.

·        Dr. Willard Metzger, executive director of Mennonite Church Canada, is passionate about engaging leaders, congregations, youth, young adults and business entrepreneurs in the task of preparing the church for a post-Christendom future. He has traveled to more than 50 countries, served as a pastor for two decades, and had extensive experience reaching out to people of diverse Christian expression. Mennonite Church Canada has about 32,000 members in 227 congregations.

·        Bishop Victor Umoabasi is president of Mennonite Church Nigeria, which has about 18,700 members in 42 congregations. Bishop Umoabasi is a member of the General Council of Mennonite World Conference. He is traveling in the United States at the invitation of Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) West Coast, and the African, Belizean, Caribbean Mennonite Mission Association. 

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—Mennonite Church USA staff

For more information about Mennonite Church USA Interchurch Relations work, see http://www.mennoniteusa.org/executive-board/interchurch-relations/. Interchurch Relations staff members are André Gingerich Stoner, director of Interchurch Relations and Holistic Witness, AndreGS@MennoniteUSA.org, and Joanna Shenk, associate for Interchurch Relations, JoannaS@MennoniteUSA.org.

Mennonite Church USA holds a churchwide convention and delegate assembly every two years. The Phoenix convention is July 1–6, 2013.

Download an information page with photos of the interchurch guests here: Phoenix 2013 Interchurch Guests_2013June20

Download photos here: Phoenix2013_interchurch_guests