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The Future of Anabaptism as a Global Movement

May 21 - 22

A conference hosted by:




For almost 500 years, the centre of Anabaptism has been in Europe and North America. Since the end of the twentieth century that reality has changed dramatically as Anabaptist churches in Latin America, Africa, and Asia have outgrown their European and North American counterparts.

How did this happen? What does this shift in the centre of gravity mean for churches in Canada? What will the Anabaptist church look like in the future?

These and other questions will be explored in the context of a two-day conference consisting of:

  • Two public lectures
  • A pastors seminar for church leaders and persons involved in related organizations
  • An educators seminar for educators in secondary schools, colleges, and university settings


Registration to attend is not required.

Note: This conference can be taken for Seminary credit.


Keynote Presenter:

Dr. John D. Roth, Goshen College


Dr. John D. Roth is Professor of History at Goshen College where he also serves as Director of the Mennonite Historical Library and Editor of The Mennonite Quarterly Review. John has written widely on topics related to Anabaptist-Mennonite history and church life and has enjoyed various ecumenical involvements. More recently, he is the founding director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism at Goshen College, secretary of the MWC Faith and Life Commission, and is currently focusing on several research projects relating to the global Anabaptist fellowship.

John and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of four adult children and four grandchildren, and are active members at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen, Indiana.


Conference Schedule:

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


2 PM | CMU - Conference Room (600 Shaftesbury Blvd)

Pastors Seminar (for leaders in churches and other related organizations)

"How are our Congregations Linked to the Global Anabaptist Church … and Why do these Connections Matter?"


In different ways, Mennonite congregations can be connected to sister churches in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We often celebrate these relationships and long to share in the vitality and growth of these churches. Yet we are not always sure just how these relationships are supposed to matter to our congregations. This session will propose several answers to that question and invite dialogue from leaders about experiences with the global church.


7 PM | CMU - Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave)

Public Lecture

“From Zurich to Addis Ababa: How Anabaptism went Global"


During the second half of the twentieth century, the center of gravity in the Anabaptist movement shifted from Europe/North America to the "global south". Today, the most typical Anabaptist is a woman, under the age of 30, living in the Congo. This presentation will trace the story of this profound shift in demography, and raise a series of questions about the significance of that shift.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019


2 PM | Providence - Reimer Student Life Centre

Educators Seminar (for secondary and post-secondary educators)

"Approaches to Teaching Anabaptism as Global Phenomenon"


If they recognize the global church at all, most textbooks tell the history of Anabaptism in Asia, Africa and Latin America as an extension of the Western missions movement. This seminar will invite teachers to take a fresh look at this narrative. How would the 16th-century story of Anabaptist beginnings change, for example, if we told it from the perspective of the global church?


7 PM | Providence - Hanna Centre, Lecture Theatre

Public Lecture

"Envisioning the Global Anabaptist Church of the Future"


Five hundred years after its beginnings, the Anabaptist movement is at a crossroads. As various Mennonite groups in Europe and North America struggle with questions of identity and their future, churches in the global south are growing rapidly. Where is the movement heading? What will the next century of Anabaptism look like?



Organizing Committee

  • Layton Friesen, Providence University College & Theological Seminary
  • Daryl Climenhaga, Providence University College & Theological Seminary
  • Karl Koop, Canadian Mennonite University
  • Paul Doerksen, Canadian Mennonite University
  • Gerald Hildebrandt, Mennonite World Conference