Asian Mennonites move towards merger with world peace church body

By agency reporter
December 13, 2007

Representatives from the Asia Mennonite Conference (AMC) have decided to move ahead on an “outline of merger” with Mennonite World Conference (MWC), strengthening relations in the 1.2 million world-wide peace denomination.

According to the proposal, the AMC will be known as the Asia Caucus within the structure of MWC and comply with the MWC constitution. Within the Asia region it will continue to carry the name Asia Mennonite Conference in its communication and programmatic involvement.

The fundamental question was whether AMC and MWC should remain separate while developing a closer relationship or merge structurally in some way. The outline was prepared by Larry Miller, MWC general secretary, then revised by the AMC representatives. Further development of the proposal will occur prior to and at a joint meeting of the AMC and MWC executive committees in July 2008. Implementation may include setting up a MWC/AMC office with a paid facilitator.

Discussions on the relationship between Asia Mennonite Conference and Mennonite World Conference began in 1999. In 2005 the AMC Executive Committee accepted in principle AMC merging with MWC. The following year the MWC Executive Committee stated its readiness to proceed with this option.

In the AMC revised proposal, the AMC conference delegates will be the Asia Caucus delegates chosen in accordance with MWC guidelines. Five members chosen during the Asia Caucus meeting of the MWC will serve as the executive committee of AMC. Two of these members are the Asia representatives on the MWC Executive Committee, one of them serving as chair of AMC. One member is the Asia representative to the Global Mission Fellowship (GMF) Planning Committee chosen by the GMF Asia Caucus. The other two executive committee members are the secretary and treasurer.

As part of the AMC merger proposal, AMC will assume responsibility for the formation of an Asian regional mission fellowship related to GMF. The Asia Mission Fellowship may include members not part of AMC or MWC.

The AMC will proceed with planning for the Asia Mennonite youth discipleship training and work camp program for Southeast Asia scheduled for July 2008 in Thailand.

Attending the Tokyo meeting were representatives from Mennonite conferences in India, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. The Asia representative in the Global Mission Fellowship Planning Committee also participated. The Mennonite Mission Network and Eastern Mennonite Missions directors for East Asia served as consultants. Larry Miller, MWC general secretary, joined portions of the meetings via telephone. Yoshihira Inamine of Japan chaired the sessions.

The delegates met together with pastors in the Tokyo area for a worship service and fellowship meal. On Sunday morning, delegates spoke in several Tokyo area churches.

From a report by Sheldon Sawatzky - courtesy of MWC

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