Churches meet despite safety concerns

By on October 1, 2003

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Undeterred by reports of political violence, more than 6,500 members of Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches from around the world assembled in mid-August for the 14th Mennonite World Assembly Gathered. The assembly takes place every six or seven years. The theme was This Sharing in Suffering and Joy. “ This year’s theme was perfectly chosen,” Larry Miller, the church’s general secretary, said in an interview. “It is a prophetic choice and Zimbabweans and other nations, through this difficult time, are finding joy in the midst of their suffering.” The Bulawayo meeting had previously been put in doubt because some delegates feared for their safety in Zimbabwe due to the politically-motivated violence which has plagued the country in recent years, mainly directed against individuals and organizations perceived to be opponents of the government. The Mennonite World Conference represents 87 Mennonite and Brethren in Christ national churches from 48 countries on five continents. There are more than 1.2 million Mennonites and Brethren in the world, more than half in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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