Bogotá Colombia – Music from other cultures, Scripture readings on a common theme, shared food and special offerings characterize World Fellowship Sunday, a celebration of Anabaptist family in Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches around the world 22 January 2017.
The theme of 2017 was “My cry is heard,” reflecting on God’s faithfulness amid hardships in the global displacement crisis and personal challenges in life (Psalm 40:1-10, Genesis 11:1–9, Acts 2:1–18). The worship resources package downloadable at www.mwc-cmm.org/wfs can be used any Sunday of the year to help churches to celebrate the global Anabaptist communion.
“We remember that 500 years ago, brave men and women, motivated by the real teachings of Jesus, decided to follow him even though that action cost them their lives, says Oscar Suarez, member of Iglesia Menonita de Ibagué (Ibagué Mennonite Church), Colombia.
“It means the breaking of bread in serving and in meeting the needs of others. It doesn’t mean any absence of challenges, but recognizing we are assured of victory with and through God,” says Manjula Roul of Bethel BIC Church, Cuttack, Odisha, India.
World Fellowship Sunday is about “Encouraging and exhorting the brothers to make decisions that transcend the walls that others want to impose,” for pastor Ofelia García de Pedroza of Chihuahua, Mexico.
For small local church, like one in Frankfurt, Germany, the celebration marks the joy of being part of the worldwide Anabaptist fellowship. “In prayer, we lifted up the concerns of our worldwide family of faith, those being persecuted and those discouraged by political events,” says Andrea Lange of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Mennonitischer Gemeinden congregation.
“It was good to speak of the reality of refugees,” says pastor Siaka Traoré of the Mennonite church in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, which welcomes those fleeing Mali. The congregation’s celebration of World Fellowship Sunday 29 January 2017 inaugurated a new building. “Our joy was the greater because our new church welcomed seven new people to worship God with us and become members of our community.”
World Fellowship Sunday is “an important event because it says that the teaching of Jesus is the final authority for how Christians live their lives,” says Marvin Dyck, pastor of Crossroads Mennonite Brethren Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It’s not about what the government or culture tells people to do: “It’s about following Jesus’ teaching and example in the Bible.”
—Mennonite World Conference release
Click here to see a photo gallery of the World Fellowship Sunday 2017: Songs, sermons and saucers