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ICOMB’s global history takes shape

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The International Committee of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB) has launched a global history project in anticipation of the 150th anniversary of the MB movement, as well as a new publishing series. It is creating a Leadership Training Scholarship, planning to enhance its global mission efforts, and exploring its relationship with Mennonite World Conference.

These items were on the agenda of ICOMB’s annual meeting convened July 11-14 in Bogota, Colombia.

Sixteen of the 19 member con- ferences were represented. Sigueira Luzembo of Angola made it as far as Brazil, but did not have a visa to enter Colombia.

The global history project is being guided by the Historical Com- mission of North America, under the leadership of former director Abe Dueck. Writers from every confer- ence have already been found.

The project’s objective is not to create a coffee table book but to put the MB story into people’s hands as a learning tool. Global confessional values will be the centrepiece and the movement’s missional nature prominently featured. Readers will be challenged with a vision of the future.

“The past, the present, and the future should be in dialogue with each other,” said Victor Wall, ICOMB executive secretary.

ICOMB has committed $15,000 to the project. Further fundraising will be required.

A new publishing series will inform pastors and members about MB values and polity. The first item will be a commentary/guide to the international Confession of Faith released two years ago. Elmer Mar- tens of MB Biblical Seminary, and Peter Klassen, chair of the Historical Commission, will be co-editors, and a reference council with one representative from each continent will guide development.

Growth steps

As a step of continued growth as a global body, delegates decided to create a Leadership Training Scholarship to help pastors-in-training acquire seminary education. The parameters are to be worked out in the coming year and implementation will follow next year’s meeting. ICOMB also hopes to host a forum for educators from MB colleges and universities from the various countries.

Randy Friesen, director of MBMS International, will convene a second meeting of the Global Mission Alliance this fall in Almaty, Kazakhstan, alongside the Global Mission Fellowship of the Mennonite World Conference. Each Mennonite Brethren conference with a mis- sion-sending agency will be invited to participate.

ICOMB is exploring its relationship with the Mennonite World Conference as an international organization, not just as individual conferences.

Prior to the ICOMB meetings, members attended 60th anniversary celebrations of the Colombia MB Conference. The meetings concluded with a footwashing service and a tour of Bogota.

The next annual meeting is set for Kinshasa, Congo.

—David Wiebe for ICOMB

ICOMB delegation: (back, l-r) Yoshifumi Tanaka (Japan), Heinrich Klassen (Germany), Jose Arrais (Portugal), David Wiebe (Canada), Randy Friesen (MBMS International), Victor Wall (executive secretary); (middle) Theodore Unruh (Paraguay), Rolando Neyra (Peru), Oscar Peralta (Paraguay), Lowell Stutzman (USA), Damien Pelende (DR Congo); (front) Alexander Neufeld (Germany), Cesar Garcia (Colombia), Ernesto Wiens (Brazil); Agustin Membora (Panama).

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