My forenoon at Evergreen began with a 7:30 A.M. Men’s Breakfast called by Chaplain Dan Petry. He invited us to to prepare by thinking on three things: 1. What about our country and world causes the most concern or fear? 2. What needs to change to put your fears or concerns to rest? What have you heard, read or seen lately that gives you hope?
Just before going to breakfast I had listened to President Obama defend the Iran nuclear deal. I reported two things that I heard: 1. It is possible to change, and 2. we have shown what we can do when we do not split. Yes, he used the word “split.”
I told the ten men at breakfast that what concerns me most in the world is the spirit of division in the church. (The concern is deepened by some reports I am reading from the Mennonite Assembly in Kansas City.) I continued by telling them that 1st John 2:8 has been a sustaining motto for my life: “Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him (Jesus) and in you (the church), because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. I tend to turn my back to the dimming darkness and face the rising light on the eastern horizon. So I see hope in the words of outgoing Mennonite Church USA moderator Elizabeth Soto Albrecht:
There is much work ahead of us,” she said in closing her two-year term. “We should not let our disagreements drive us apart. We have done peace work in Colombia, Israel, all over the world, but we have not learned to do peace work among ourselves quite yet.”
I continue to ponder the book “Reconcile – Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians” by John Paul Lederach. If I understand him, if a disagreement divides traditionalists and progressives both parties are at fault and both lose effectiveness. I want to think and write more about this in future posts.
From the men’s breakfast I went to the Samhedrin, another meeting of retired men from the Goshen College and Greencroft communities. Our guest speaker was Anna Ruth Hershberger who represented the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. Seminaries are facing many difficulties, some of which Hershberger described as “holy terrors.” On the other hand she eloquently listed the new scholars being added to the faculty at AMBS and their commitment to the Bible, Anabaptist faith and mission.
Since our speaker was an officer of the development team for AMBS she naturally concluded her presentation with the need of the seminary for financial support and a vigorous “shoulder tapping” ministry throughout the church that will add students to the seminary. Click here to connect directly with Anna Ruth Hershberger.
Let’s do what we can to support Anabaptist Seminaries so that they continue to be centers of training for church workers and neo-Anabaptists in the Christian community