MWC elects U.S. pastor as next president
Council gives Indonesia conditional approval to host world assembly in 2021By Tim Huber Mennonite World Review
BASEL, Switzerland — It took three impromptu songs to count the ballots and confirm the results, but Anabaptist leaders from around the world elected J. Nelson Kraybill president-elect of Mennonite World Conference at MWC General Council meetings May 20-27.
Kraybill is a pastor at Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart, Ind., and was president of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart from 1996 to 2008. He will replace President Danisa Ndlovu of Zimbabwe in three years at Assembly 16 in Harrisburg, Pa.
“We almost had a tie, but we do have a simple majority,” Ndlovu said of the choice between Kraybill and Markus Rediger of Switzerland.
It is the first time a president-elect has come from outside General Council membership. The MWC constitution had been modified at a previous meeting to allow a wider field of candidates. Though not a delegate, Kraybill was involved in crafting MWC’s Shared Convictions document.
“I can sense in just the short time I’ve been with you, this has been a worshipful time together,” said Kraybill, who arrived in Europe only a couple of hours before the election. “I think the most important thing we do as Mennonite people is worship and call people together into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“What an honor and challenge to be called to this role. I look forward to learning from you, Danisa. Please be patient with me.”
Members of the executive committee and the North American delegation offered prayers of support for Kraybill and thanks for two strong candidates. After the prayers concluded, Rediger made his way up to the stage, where the two shared an embrace to thunderous applause.
“In the church there are no losers. There are no losers; there are only winners,” said Ndlovu. “We are all winners in Christ Jesus.”
A fair share
Much of the continental caucus and delegate sessions were dedicated to discussion of proposed “fair-share amounts” MWC members and associate members are asked to financially contribute from 2013 to 2015.
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