But last summer I did find a home. I attended the Anabaptist Renewal Conference, a gathering of Anabaptists from all walks of life. As one pastor described it, "I felt I was somewhere that they spoke my language." Interestingly enough, this was a gathering of a variety of ethnicities, in planning, attendance and leadership. English was not the first language of many who were there. But it was refreshing. The "at homeness" started earlier in the year when I first encountered the vision and commitments of the organization.
To mobilize the Mennonite and Anabaptist community to bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We commit ourselves:
- To be radical in our love for the Lord and compassion for our neighbors
- To be full of His grace and truth as we passionately follow Jesus
- To earnestly seek more of the Holy Spirit and His transforming power
- To rejoice in the holistic witness of Scripture
- To affirm the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective and call the church to faithfulness
- To joyfully embrace Biblical sexuality as taught by Jesus and His apostles
- To understand our brokenness and in humility seek spiritual renewal
- To encourage fellowship in the Mennonite church and welcome a new move of His Spirit
We gathered together for three days to hear stories, worship, pray, and hear challenges that spurred us toward faithfulness. This is not a separatist group, but simply a gathering of sisters and brothers that have clarified their focus and gathered in like-minded fellowship. Since that time, I have been privileged to sit with more brothers and sisters across the church and experience some of the most gracious, humble, Holy-Spirit-empowered people I have known. There truly is a bright future for the Church in North America, even in the midst of the struggles and conflicts we experience as Mennonites. If you know of other gatherings and places where Evangelical Anabaptists can feel at home, please let me know and I would love to help publicize it here. Welcome home.
-John M. Troyer