Speakers on walking in conflict and reconciliation focus on our hope in Jesus
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA – “We are thankful that indeed God walks with us as we experience both conflict and reconciliation,” said Patricia Shelly, moderator of Mennonite Church USA, introducing the theme of the 23 July 2015 morning plenary of PA 2015.
Elizabeth Miller, president of the Provincial Elders’ Conference (PEC) of the Moravian Church Northern Province, brought ecumenical greetings. They celebrated 600 years in July. “We look longingly at faithful peace witness of Mennonites,” she said.
Though Mennonites are known for work in peacebuilding and conflict management, the number of denominations listed in the MWC world directory evidence difficulty reconciling our own disagreements.
Plenary speaker Nancy Heisey, president of MWC from 2003–2009, spoke on 1 Thessalonians 5.
“Paul recognized that the dark powers are forces [not people],’” she said. “‘Children of light’ is a community label in the midst of these forces of darkness.”
And his strategy for followers of Christ to enter this warfare is not “a cloak of zeal . . . [but what] sounds virtually like what we hear in 1 Corinthians 13.” Hope. Love. Faith.
So our task is to encourage each other. “Throughout our history, stories of building each other up are there. They are not smooth or easy but places to walk up steep and rocky ways in the middy of our conflicts.” Together.
Heisey left these parting words: “It is it is time for God’s people to be people who build each other up in our world.”
Young Anabaptist respondent Remilyn Mondez of the Phillippines spoke from Ephesians and told her own story of experiencing conflict in the Mennonite churches of her childhood.
Whether acting as resting sheep or warriors on a mission, Mondez urged the church to lay its foundation in Christ.
“Unless the church goes back to preaching of gospel of Jesus Christ and his saving power, it will continue to live powerless in conflict and pain,” she said.
Karla Braun has been associate editor the MB Herald (magazine of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches) and will become editor of Courrier-Correo-Courier after Assembly.