Anabaptist healthcare workers will gather in Paraguay

By staff writers
March 4, 2009

Health care workers from around the world who share a common Anabaptist faith will consult together about their work as Christian medical practitioners at an international gathering in Paraguay.

The gathering will be held on 15-16 July 2009 in conjunction with Mennonite World Conference's fifteenth global assembly in the capital of the latin American country.

Picking up on the assembly theme, 'Come together in the way of Jesus Christ,' they will seek answers to the question, “How do we follow the way of Christ in the health field?”

There are 1.6 million Mennonite and Mennonite-related Christian believers throughout the world.

Health care was among the earliest services developed by Mennonite immigrants who settled in Paraguay and they continue to be significant both in the colonies and elsewhere.

The well-known leprosy hospital east of Asunción, Km 81, has gained respect throughout the country for its innovative treatment of victims of leprosy, reinstating them into their communities.

Health care professionals have also played major roles in Anabaptist missions around the world as well as in their homelands.

The Paraguay meetings, from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm on both days, are open to anyone in health care professions: doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists, dentists, medical laboratory technologists and chaplains.

The gatherings will be held at the Hospital of Foundation Vision at Fernando de la Mora, Paraguay. Spanish will be the primary language with English translation available.

“We in the Mennonite Medical Association believe this will be a very important opportunity to interact with our peers from many cultures as we, along with the Mennonite Nurses Association, are studying the possible formation of a larger organized fellowship of Anabaptist health care team members,” says Sam Showalter, executive secretary of Mennonite Medical Association (MMA).

Participants will need to register in advance so local organizers can arrange transportation from the Assembly Gathered site.

Key planners and resource people for the event, along with Ray Brubacher and Albert Lobe from MWC, are Dr Wilhelm Schröder and Dr Wesley Schmidt, both doctors in Paraguay; Dr Carlos Wiens a high level health administrator in the former Duarte government in Paraguay; and Dr Art Friesen from Abbotsford, BC (Canada), who represents Mennonite Medical Asociation in the planning.

With thanks to Ferne Burkhardt of MWC

They hope for 50 or more registrants coming from the five continental regions with Mennonite World Conference member churches.

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