by Laurie Oswald Robinson
Pandemic realities are shifting how Mennonite Mission Network (MMN) is partnering with others. This shift includes sharing $15,000 with Mosaic Conference to support its youth and young adult leadership development.
Mosaic Conference is using the support — the majority of a $20,000 grant MMN received to help form young leaders — to fund the new ministry of Mosaic youth coordinator Michelle Ramirez. She is overseeing Mosaic’s new Forming Youth Leaders program for Florida congregations, eight of which joined Mosaic during its November assembly.
Ramirez — who grew up in the Florida faith community, where she held other leadership positions prior to this new appointment — is now helping young people develop their gifts in their local context. She is a member of the Luz y Vida (Light and Life) congregation in Orlando.
“I love to hear each person’s unique story and work together to expand the kingdom of God,” Ramirez said. “I hope to help them see that if we work for God with all our hearts, God is with us every step of the way, no matter how hard things may seem.”
MMN’s Christian Service department periodically applies for grants through Forum for Theological Exploration. In 2020, they received $20,000. MMN has kept $5,000 for further engagement with the conference through shared training opportunities and future travel costs.
Conference leaders, including Executive Minister Stephen Kriss, felt the Spirit moving in this fine-tuning and reshaping. “I’m so grateful for the initiative of Mennonite Mission Network to partner to explore new and more focused ways of service and leadership development with our Florida congregations,” Kriss wrote in an email.
“While this has been a challenge to launch amid a global pandemic, I appreciate Mission Network’s flexibility and responsiveness to the context and possibilities,” expressed Kriss. “Michelle brings care, passion and strong relational connections to help shape next-generation leaders for the sake of the church and the world, in the way of Christ’s peace.”
Editor’s Note: This is an abbreviated version of an article that originally appeared in Anabaptist World on January 15, 2021. To read the full version, click here.