Mennonite and related churches are known as “Historic Peace Churches”. They derive originally from the non-violent Anabaptist movement that emerged in Europe as a radical expression of the 16th century Reformation. Mennonites take their name from the Netherlands reformer and early influential leader Menno Simons (c.1496-1561). Migration, due initially to persecution, and mission spread the movement around the world. Today more than 70 percent of Mennonite Christians live in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
At the centre of Anabaptist-Mennonite faith stands Jesus Christ as Lord, Saviour, and model of life. The church as the body of Christ continues Christ’s life and ministry in the world. At least three features shape the church in Anabaptist-Men-nonite perspective. The church is a community of believers who seek to follow in daily life the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. Believers who voluntarily confess the lordship of Christ receive baptism as the sign of the new covenant and of their commitment to a life of discipleship. Believers’ baptism means also membership in the church and responsibility for its welfare. Autonomous from the state, the church lives under the authority of the word of God as set forth in the Bible. The text is best understood in the context of the community of disciples inspired by the Spirit. Social and personal ethics in a life of discipleship is a core part of the gospel. Followers of Jesus Christ live in the world to serve humankind through action and proclamation. Love of enemies and refusal of violence in the struggle for justice are understood as New Testament imperatives. Rejection of seeking wealth, and acting in favour of economic sharing, is frequently emphasized. Mennonite and related churches claim unity with all believers who confess Jesus Christ and seek to live the way of discipleship. Many cooperate with other Christian churches, especially in peacemaking, service, and mission.
The Mennonite World Conference (MWC) began in 1925. It adopted new vision and mission statements in 2003, defining itself for the first time as a “communion” and “community” of churches.
Mennonite World Conference is called to be a communion (Koinonia) of Anabaptist-related churches linked to one another in a worldwide community of faith for fellowship, worship, service, and witness.
MWC exists to (1) be a global community of faith in the Anabaptist-tradition,
(2) facilitate community between Anabaptist-related churches worldwide, and (3) relate to other Christian world communions and organizations.
Bilateral theological dialogues, Faith and Life Council, Peace Council, Global Mission Fellowship, Global Youth Summit, Young Anabaptist-Mennonite Exchange Network, Global Gift Sharing, Global Church Sharing Fund, Global Mennonite and Brethren in Christ History Project, World Fellowship Sunday, Anabaptist-Mennon-ite Shelf of Literature. Through its programmes, MWC stands in solidarity with churches in situations of suffering, crises, or conflict.
Member and associate churches appoint delegates to the general council that meets triennially and elects the executive committee. A global assembly convenes regularly. Assembly 14 met in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (August 2003). Assembly 15 will meet in Asuncion, Paraguay (July 2009). MWC maintains a general secretariat, currently based in Strasburg, France.
The Mennonite World Conference has 95 member churches, representing 1,051,806 Christians (baptized adults) in the world. Three Mennonite churches are members of the WCC, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany and The Netherlands.
Periodical: Courier/Correo/Courrier (quarterly); news releases.
Member churches of the Mennonite World Conference
Church of the Mennonite Community in Angola Evangelical Church of Mennonite Brethren in Angola Evangelical Mennonite Church in Angola Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso (Associate) Community of the Churches of Mennonite Brethren in Congo (RDC) Evangelical Mennonite Community (DRC)
Mennonite Community in Congo (DRC)
Meserete Kristos Church Eritrea (Associate) Meserete Kristos Church (Ethiopia) Ghana Mennonite Church Kenya Mennonite Church Brethren in Christ Church (Malawi) Nigeria Mennonite Church Grace Community Church of South Africa Mennonite Church of Tanzania Brethren in Christ Church (Zambia) Brethren in Christ Church (Zimbabwe)
Australian Conference of Evangelical Mennonites
Conference of Mennonite Churches in Hong Kong (Associate)
Bharatiya General Conference Mennonite Church Kalisiya (India)
Bharatiya Jukta Christa Prachar Mandali (United Missionary Church) (India)
Bihar Mennonite Mandli (India)
Brethren in Christ Church Orissa (India)
Brethren in Christ Church Society (India)
Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches in India
Mennonite Church in India
Evangelical Church of Tanah Jawa (GITJ) (Indonesia)
United Muria Christian Churches of Indonesia (GKMI)
Jemaat Christian Synod Indonesia (JKI)
Nihon Kirisuto Keiteidan (Japan)
Nihon Menonaito Kirisuto Kyokai Kaigi (Japan)
Tokyo Chiku Menonaito Kyokai Rengo (Japan)
Jesus Village Church (Korea, Associate)
Integrated Mennonite Churches (Philippines)
Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan
Belize Evangelical Mennonite Church
Brethren in Christ Missionary Society (Cuba)
National Mennonite Council Divine Light (Dominican Rep)
Mennonite Evangelical Conference (Dominican Rep)
Jamaica Mennonite Church
Mennonite Church of Trinidad and Tobago (Associate)
Association of Evangelical Mennonite Churches of France Council of Mennonite Churches in Germany Federation of European Mennonite Brethren Churches (Germany, Associate) Evangelical Mennonite Church of Italy Swiss Mennonite Conference (Anabaptist)
Mennonite Church in the Netherlands
Association of Mennonites and Brethren in Christ of Spain (Associate) British Conference of Mennonites (Associate)
Note: The Association of Mennonite Churches in Germany (Vereinigung der Deutschen Mennonitengemeinden), which is part of the Council of Mennonite Churches in Germany, is a member church of the World Council of Churches.
Evangelical Mennonite Church Argentina Evangelical Anabaptist Church in Bolivia Bolivian Evangelical Mennonite Church (Associate) Association of Mennonite Churches of Brazil Mennonite Evangelical Association (Brazil) Mennonite Christian Church of Colombia Mennonite Brethren Churches of Colombia Brethren in Christ Church (Colombia, Associate) Convention of Evangelical Mennonite Churches of Costa Rica Evangelical Mennonite Church of Ecuador Evangelical Mennonite Church of El Salvador (Associate) Evangelical Mennonite Church of Guatemala National Evangelical Mennonite Church of Guatemala Honduran Evangelical Mennonite Church Christian Organization Living Love (Honduras) Conference of Evangelical Anabaptist Mennonite Churches of Mexico Mennonite Conference of Mexico Evangelical Mennonite Church of North-East Mexico Convention of Evangelical Mennonite Churches of Nicaragua Fellowship of Evangelical Mennonite Churches of Nicaragua Brethren in Christ Evangelical Mission of Nicaragua United Evangelical Church of Mennonite Brethren in Panama Evangelical Convention of Paraguayan Churches of Mennonite Brethren Lengua Evangelical Mennonite Convention (Paraguay) Paraguayan Evangelical Mennonite Convention Nivaclé Convention of Evangelical Churches (Paraguay) Convention of United Evangelical Churches (Paraguay) Evangelical Mennonite Fellowship (German-speaking, Paraguay) Association of Mennonite Brethren Churches of Paraguay (German-speaking) Association of Mennonite Churches of Paraguay (German-speaking) Evangelical Church of the Mennonite Brethren of Peru (Associate) Evangelical Mennonite Church of Peru (Associate) Council of Mennonite Brethren Congregations (Uruguay) Convention of Mennonite Churches in Uruguay Conference of Mennonite Churches in Uruguay (German-speaking) Council of Evangelical Mennonite Churches in Venezuela (Associate) Evangelical Mennonite Church ‘Shalom’ (Venezuela, Associate)
Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches
Evangelical Mennonite Conference (Canada)
Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference (Canada)
Mennonite Church Canada
Brethren in Christ General Conference (USA)
Conservative Mennonite Conference (USA)
Mennonite Church USA
U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Conferences
Methodism as a form of Christian belief and practice derives from a movement that began with the life and ministry of John and Charles Wesley who desired to bring a greater spiritual enthusiasm to the life of the Church of England in the 18th century. Their efforts transgressed the canonical boundaries of the established church, resulting ultimately in the emergence of a separate church. Theologically, the Wesley brothers held to the optimistic Arminian view that salvation, by God’s grace, was possible for all human beings, in contrast to the Calvinistic ideas of election and predestination that were accepted by the Non-Conformists of 18th century England. They also stressed the important effect of faith on character, teaching that perfection in love was possible in this life.
Methodist churches claim to be part of the church universal, believing in the priesthood of all believers and following a pattern of organization established by John Wesley when he organized pastoral oversight for the societies of Methodists which developed as a result of his preaching. The weekly class-meeting for “fellowship in Christian experience” played an important part in the beginnings of Methodism. Throughout its history Methodism has had an active concern for both personal and social holiness, and through its centralized organization, has been able to make coordinated efforts in these areas. Methodism spread to North America and with the political independence of the United States, American Methodists in 1784 constituted themselves as the Methodist Episcopal Church. Largely as a result of missionary labours from Britain and the United States, Methodism spread around the world and today is found in over 130 countries.
The first World Methodist Conference was held in London, England in 1881. It met every ten years until interrupted by World War II. Following the war the Conference agreed to meet every five years. The World Methodist Council is composed of 500 members representing the member churches. Council members serve a term of five years. At least one person from each member church serves on the Council’s executive committee. The Council’s activities include the following:
• Standing committees on education; evangelism; ecumenics and dialogues; family life; social and international affairs; theological education, worship and liturgy; and youth;
• An active programme of world evangelism;
• Active bi-lateral dialogues with the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, and previously with the Lutheran World Federation, the Anglican Communion, and plans to be in dialogue with the Orthodox Church;
• Worldwide ministerial exchange programme;
• Affiliation with the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women, the World Fellowship of Methodist and Uniting Church Men, and the World Methodist Historical Society;
• Co-sponsoring the Oxford Institute for Methodist Theological Studies every five years, bringing together the best theological minds from around the world to share and discuss relevant topics;
• Annual World Methodist Peace Award given to an individual or group whose work for peace and reconciliation is notable.
Methodist individuals and churches have made strong contributions to the modern ecumenical movement from its earliest days.
Member churches of the World Methodist Council in Latin America and the Caribbean have formed a regional body, the Council of Evangelical Methodist Churches in Latin America and the Caribbean (CIEMAL in Spanish). An Asian Methodist Bishop’s Council was set up a few years ago. There is also a European Methodist Council, and there are British and North American Sections within the WMC.
The headquarters of World Methodism is located at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina (USA). The Council also has a presence at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva. The WMC has 76 member churches representing 40 million believers. Of these, 59 churches are members of the WCC.
Periodical: World Parish
Website: www. worldmethodistcouncil.org
Member churches of the World Methodist Council
African Methodist Episcopal Church, Central Africa (Zambia) African Methodist Episcopal Church, Southern Africa African Methodist Episcopal Church, West Africa
African Methodist Church in Zimbabwe
Methodist Church Ghana Methodist Church in Kenya Methodist Church in Zimbabwe Methodist Church Nigeria Methodist Church of Southern Africa Methodist Church of Togo Methodist Church Sierra Leone Protestant Church of Algeria (Central and Southern Europe Central Conference, UMC) Protestant Methodist Church of Bénin United Methodist Church, Congo Central Conference (DRC) United Methodist Church, Africa Central Conference (Angola, Burundi, Mozambique, Uganda, Zimbabwe) United Methodist Church, West Africa Central Conference (Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone) United Methodist Church of Côte d’Ivoire
West Africa Methodist Church, Sierra Leone
United Church of Zambia
Bangladesh Methodist Church Chinese Methodist Church in Australia
Church of North India Church of Pakistan Church of South India Evangelical Methodist Church in the Philippines Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China Korean Methodist Church
Methodist Church, Hong Kong
Methodist Church in India Methodist Church in Indonesia Methodist Church in Malaysia Methodist Church in Singapore Methodist church of New Zealand
Methodist Church, Lower Myanmar
Methodist Church, Upper Myanmar
Methodist Church, Republic of China
Methodist Church, Sri Lanka United Church of Christ in the Philippines United Methodist Church, Philippines Central Conference Uniting Church in Australia
Dominican Evangelical Church (Dominican Rep.)
Methodist Church in Cuba Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas Methodist Church of Puerto Rico
Evangelical Methodist Church in Italy
Evangelical Methodist Church of Portugal
Methodist Church in Ireland
Methodist Church UK
Spanish Evangelical Church
United Methodist Church, Central and Southern Europe
Central Conference (Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia,
Czech and Slovak Republics, France, Hungary, Poland,
Switzerland, Serbia & Montenegro, Macedonia)
United Methodist Church, Germany Central Conference
United Methodist Church, Northern Europe Central Conference (Denmark,
Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Russia)
United Protestant Church of Belgium
Evangelical Methodist Church in Bolivia Evangelical Methodist Church of Argentina
Evangelical Methodist Church of Costa Rica Evangelical Methodist Church of Panama Evangelical Methodist Community of Paraguay
Methodist Church in Brazil Methodist Church of Chile
Methodist Church of Colombia
Methodist Church of Mexico Methodist Church of Peru Methodist Church in Uruguay
United Evangelical Church of Ecuador
African Methodist Episcopal Church (USA) African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (USA) Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (USA)
Church of the Nazarene (USA) Free Methodist Church (USA)
United Church of Canada United Methodist Church (USA)
Wesleyan Church (USA)
Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma Methodist Church of Samoa
The Unitas Fratrum, or Moravian Church, is that branch of the Christian church which began its distinct life in Bohemia (central Europe) in the year 1457. It was born of the great revival of faith at the close of the Middle Ages, arising from the national revival of religion in Bohemia, in which the writings of Wycliffe had great influence, and of which John Hus was the greatest leader. Within the movement Peter of Chelcic represented the traditions of Eastern puritanism and freedom from official control in matters of religion. Amidst these influences, the Unitas Fratrum (Latin for “community – or fellowship – of brothers”) was founded, under the leadership of Gregory the Patriarch, with a three-fold ideal of faith, fellowship and freedom, and a strong emphasis on practical Christian life rather than on doctrinal thought or church tradition. Its numbers grew rapidly. The Unitas Fratrum sought to maintain a living contact with the early church. It obtained from the Waldenses (see the description of the Waldensian Church) the traditional orders of the ministry, including the episcopacy, and thus became an independent ecclesiastical body.
In the troubled period of the reaction against the Reformation, times of persecution alternated with times of comparative calm, until at last in 1620 the Unitas Fratrum with other Protestant bodies was utterly suppressed. A “Hidden Seed” survived in Bohemia and neighbouring Moravia, to emerge a hundred years later in the Renewed Church. Between 1722 and 1727, some families from Moravia, who had kept the traditions of the old Unitas Fratrum, found a place of refuge in Saxony (Germany), on the estate of Nicolaus Ludwig, Count Zinzendorf. Other people of widely differing views also found there a place of religious freedom, but their differences threatened to make it a place of strife until a profound and decisive experience of unity was given them in an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on August 13, 1727. From this experience of conscious unity came a zeal for remarkable missionary outreach, beginning among slaves on the island of St Thomas in the West Indies in 1732. Within a single decade the missionary effort was extended to Greenland, Suriname, South Africa, Western Africa, Algeria, Arctic Russia, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and among Africans and the indigenous population in North America.
The Moravian Church has asserted throughout its history that Christian fellowship recognizes no barrier of nation or race. The Unitas Fratrum cherishes its unity as a valuable treasure entrusted to it by the Lord. It stands for the oneness of all humankind given by the reconciliation through Jesus Christ. Therefore the ecumenical movement is of its very lifeblood. A simple statement titled “The Ground of the Unity” is the church’s basic doctrinal statement and “The Covenant for Christian Living,” which dates back to the renewal of 1732, sets forth guiding principles for common life and witness.
The Moravian Unity Board is the overarching organ of the Unitas Fratrum, an international unity comprised of 19 provinces in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, South America, Central America, and North America, representing about 797,000 Christians. It maintains a permanent office in London. WCC members are the Moravian Church in America, South Africa, Tanzania, Jamaica, Suriname, Eastern West Indies, Nicaragua, and the British and European Continental Provinces; several provinces hold joint WCC membership, i.e. in America, Tanzania, Britain and Continental Europe.
Member provinces of the Moravian Unity Board
Moravian Church in South Africa Moravian Church in Tanzania, Rukwa Province Moravian Church in Tanzania, Southern Province Moravian Church in Tanzania, South Western Province Moravian Church in Tanzania, Western Province
Moravian Church Eastern West Indies Province
Guyana Province of the Moravian Church
Moravian Church in Jamaica Moravian Church in Suriname
British Province of the Moravian Church
Czech Republic Province of the Moravian Church
European Continental Province of the Moravian Church
Moravian Church in Costa Rica Evangelical Moravian Church in Honduras
Moravian Church in Nicaragua
Alaska Province of the Moravian Church Labrador Province of the Moravian church
Moravian Church in America, Northern Province Moravian Church in America, Southern Province
Old-Catholics are a group of national churches which at various times separated from Rome. The term “Old-Catholic” was adopted to mean original Catholicism. Old-Catholic Christians are composed of three sections: (1) the Church of Utrecht which originated in 1724 when its chapter maintained its ancient right to elect the Archbishop of Utrecht, against opposition from Rome; (2) the German, Austrian and Swiss Old-Catholic churches which refused to accept the dogmas of the infallibility and the universal ordinary jurisdiction of the pope, as defined by the Vatican Council of 1870; (3) smaller groups of Slav origin. National church movements among the Poles in the USA (1987) and the Croats (1924) have resulted in the establishment of the National Polish Church in America and in Poland, and of the Old-Catholic Church of Croatia. Unfortunately the Polish National Church of America and Canada left the Union of Utrecht in 2003. Their bishops could not agree with the majority in the International Bishops’ Conference which was in favour of the opening of the apostolic ministry to women. The Philippine Independent Church established sacramental communion with Old-Catholics in 1965.
The doctrinal basis of the Old-Catholic churches is the Declaration of Utrecht (1889). The Old-Catholics recognize the same seven ecumenical councils as the Eastern Orthodox churches, and those doctrines accepted by the church before the Great Schism of 1054. They admit seven sacraments and recognize apostolic succession. They also believe in the real presence in the eucharist, but deny transubstantiation, forbid private masses, and permit the reception of the eucharist under one or both elements. The Old-Catholic churches have an episcopal-synodal structure. Bishops, as well as the rest of the clergy, are permitted to marry. All services are in the vernacular. Since 1996 the threefold apostolic ministry is open to women. From the start, Anglicans have been close to Old-Catholics. They participated in an international conference of theologians, convened at Bonn by Old-Catholics in 1874, to discuss the reunion of churches outside Rome. Old-Catholics recognized Anglican ordinations in 1925. Since 1931 they have been in full communion with the Church of England first and later on with all the churches of the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury has a permanent representative with the International Old-Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
Old-Catholic-Orthodox dialogues have taken place since 1931. An agreement on all-important theological and ecclesiological issues was reached in 1987. A joint commission with the Ecumenical Patriarchate looks after the implementation of that agreement within the churches. Since the second Vatican Council the Old-Catholic churches have been in conversation with the Roman Catholic Church. Both on the national and the international level various initiatives were taken in order to discuss the main ecclesiological issues on which the two catholic ecclesiastical families have different views.
An international Old-Catholic congress has met regularly since 1890. The International Old-Catholic Bishops’ Conference is the main instrument for the maintaining of the ties of the communion. It not only decides on internal church matters but serves to promote relationships with various other churches. The president of the conference is the Archbishop of Utrecht. Old-Catholics number about 115,000. With the exception of the Old-Catholic Church in the Czech Republic, all the member churches of the Old-Catholic Bishops’ Conference are members of the World Council of Churches.
Member Churches of the International Old-Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Catholic Diocese of the Old Catholics in Germany Old-Catholic Church of Austria Old-Catholic Church of Switzerland
Old-Catholic Church of the Czech Republic
Old-Catholic Church of the Netherlands Polish-Catholic Church of Poland
Under jurisdiction of the Bishops’ Conference:
Old-Catholic Church of Croatia
Old-Catholic Mission in France
Old-Catholic Church in Italy
Old-Catholic Church in Sweden and Denmark