by Phyllis Pellman Good, Mennonite World Conference
Harrisburg, PA – “What a sad irony it would be if we welcomed the world to PA 2015 but we failed to find a way for our U.S. and Canadian sisters and brothers who belong to immigrant congregations, and to congregations who need financial support, to attend MWC’s Assembly next summer,” reflects Lynn Roth, Mennonite World Conference’s lead North American staff person.
“We have a rich diversity of nationalities within our 1400-plus congregations in the U.S. We worship in at least 20 languages – Indonesian, Amharic, and Karen, to name just a few. Many of the members of these congregations are fairly recent immigrants. Many of them have limited incomes. They want very much to attend PA 2015. But many cannot afford the registration fee, nor can they afford to take time off from work to attend.
“Yet we believe it is essential for people from these congregations to experience the global church and to be strongly represented at the Assembly to be held July 21-26, 2015 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
“Their presence at PA 2015 will help all of us more fully grasp the wonderful variety within the North American church,” says Roth. “And having had this experience, we won’t be content to live so separately in the future.”
A partnership solution
“We’ve put together a plan that shares responsibility for solving this dilemma,” explains Roth. “Regional and area conferences, together with local congregations and church organizations with resources to share, are invited to partner with Mennonite World Conference, and with these congregations with limited financial resources.” (See below for details.)
“We urge all congregations and area conferences across North America to join us in this effort – both those who need financial support and those who have funds to share. Please keep this opportunity to ‘care for those in our household of faith’ in mind as you plan your 2015 budget,” suggests Roth.
“Email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions about how a conference or congregation can become a partner by sending funds to MWC for their portion of the registration, and how the persons receiving the subsidy should register.”
A gift that keeps on giving
“Think of this as an investment in our ongoing life together as a North American church,” says Roth. “PA 2015 gives us a rare chance to learn to know our neighbouring churches – our sisters and brothers from other cultures and language groups, and with different economic status – as partners.
“We want to continue our shared life together when the last guest has gone home from PA 2015,” reflects Roth. “As a North American church, we want to more fully experience being part of a global faith family as a result of preparing for and hosting the Assembly.”
Here’s how the partnership solution will work:
The registration fee for a North American adult for PA 2015 (including the full meal plan) is $575.
- Mennonite World Conference will subsidize $150 of that cost.
- MWC invites the congregation’s regional conference or a partnering congregation to donate $150.
- The participating individual (or his/her congregation) pays the balance of $275.
- In addition, these persons will be given priority to stay in private homes for $25 per night (totaling $125 to $150).
- An additional cost for which creative funding must be found is transportation to and from PA 2015.