Global Anabaptism: an X-ray of the body
MWC, Goshen College institute to collect data, stories around the worldBy Sheldon C. Good Mennonite World Review
In collaboration with Mennonite World Conference, the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism at Goshen (Ind.) College is launching a two-part research initiative.
Combining data and personal stories, organizers hope to develop a more accurate understanding of the MWC constituency specifically and global Anabaptism generally.
“We’re trying to provide a sort of X-ray of our body in a way that could help local church leaders have a better perspective of their own groups as they set priorities,” said John D. Roth, the research leader and professor of history at Goshen College.
Both parts — the Global Anabaptist Profile and the Bearing Witness Stories Project — will require years of research. Both are independently funded. Conrad Kanagy is serving as associate director.
At the MWC General Council gathering May 20-26 in Basel, Switzerland, the MWC Faith and Life Commission agreed to serve as a reference group for the Global Anabaptist Profile.
Roth plans to invite 25 MWC-related groups to participate in the survey of topics such as demographics, beliefs and practices.
The profile could also help MWC discern how best to serve its members.
North Americans often conduct their own surveys, he said, “but we haven’t really pursued them in the global context.”
The Global Anabaptist Profile will be based partly on a survey led by Conrad Kanagy and Richard Showalter among churches that relate to Eastern Mennonite Missions.
At an MWC Executive Committee meeting in May 2011, a proposal for the profile was approved — provided that it not be dominated by theological and cultural questions that come only from the Global North. Roth is sensitive to this concern.
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