MCC leaders respond to MC USA moderatorby Ann Graber Hershberger and Herman Bontrager
In a letter dated Dec. 28, 2009, Mennonite Church USA moderator Ed Diller listed concerns about the restructuring process now underway at Mennonite Central Committee. Diller expressed his concern that MCC will become a non-government identity as has happened to Heifer International, and insisted that it "remain close to the church and not go the way of other non-profit organizations."
On March 19, MCC leaders Ann Graber Hershberger and Herman Bontrager responded with this statement:
"As your readers try to understand the concerns raised by Mennonite Church USA Moderator Ed Diller, perhaps a bit of background will be helpful. Mennonite Central Committee is working on revisioning and restructuring--the New Wine/New Wineskins process of the past 18 months. The process included more than 2,000 people from Canada, the United States and around the world. As a result, the boards of the 12 MCCs (provincial, regional, national and binational), which include representatives from 21 Brethren in Christ and Mennonite denominations, adopted this new identity statement in 2009: 'Mennonite Central Committee is a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches.'
Now, in the restructuring phase, we are working on organizational details that will achieve this new identity and keep MCC at the heart of the church.
All 14 denominations that have representatives on the MCC Canada, MCC U.S. and MCC (binational) boards, plus the 12 MCC boards, are being asked to give multiple rounds of feedback and will approve the final proposals. Mennonite Church USA is fully engaged in this, and Moderator Diller's letter was part of the first round. Decisions on bylaw changes are part of the process and will be finalized no earlier than 2011. One challenge is to create board tables large enough to accommodate representatives of all the groups that need to be there: Canadian and U.S. Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches; local MCC offices; and Anabaptist partners around the world who work with MCC in relief, development and peace-building in the name of Christ, the mission entrusted to MCC by the churches.
Throughout its history MCC has provided a means for Brethren in Christ, Mennonite and Amish people to work shoulder to shoulder in common mission.
It's a lot to balance, but we're not complaining. It only means we're connected to many within the church. That's how we mean to keep it!"
Ann Graber Hershberger, MCC U.S. Chair
Herman Bontrager, MCC (binational) Chair
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