On May 21-22, Providence and CMU co-hosted the conference The Future of Anabaptism as a Global Movement. Keynote presenter Dr. John Roth, founding director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism in Goshen, Indiana, grappled with an issue many denominations face today. Centred in North America, western Anabaptists have become used to thinking of themselves as pivotal in the life of the global church. This is now leading to despair as many western churches are ageing and facing their inability to pass the faith to their children.
During the two evening sessions, Dr. Roth looked at both the history of Anabaptism becoming a global communion and the challenges and opportunities southern Manitoba churches face as Anabaptist growth continues to move to the south.
A key point Dr. Roth addressed was the nature of Anabaptist unity. Despite the Anabaptist church not having a pope like the Roman church, a single book of common prayer like the Anglicans, or a doctrinal confession like the Augsburg Confession, the Anabaptist global church is a network of congregations and conferences held together by shared biblical convictions, stories of salvation, friendships, deaconal concern for one another in poverty and persecution, and the pentecostal willingness to confront injustice in gospel-centred ways of peace.
The two-day conference also included a seminar for pastors on why the global church matters to our congregations and a seminar for teachers on how to teach Anabaptism as a global phenomenon.
If you were unable to attend the conference, click here to listen to Dr. Roth’s evening sessions: