The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Mennonitischer Gemeinden (AMG) is the umbrella organization of 56 Mennonite congregations with approximately 5,000 baptized members. The roots of these congregations go back to the Anabaptist movement of the Reformation period in the 16th century. Some of the congregations have been in Germany for 300 to 400 years. The rejection of too close an association between state and church has persisted to the present day. Church should always be able to raise its voice independently – even against the government and powerful people. In the congregations there is no binding teaching authority and no church hierarchy. From the very beginning, the Sermon on the Mount has been of outstanding importance: making peace and living free from violence are therefore regarded as identifying characteristics of Mennonite congregations and individual Christians in general.
Worldwide, the Mennonite World Conference currently has 1.3 million members, 55 percent of whom currently live in the southern countries. Partner and project relations with foreign partners are realized mainly through the independent committees and associations, which are interlocked and networked on the platform “AMG” (www.mennoniten.de).
Essential here are especially the Mission Committee (DMMK), the Peace Committee (DMFK), as well as the two associations “Mennonitisches Hilfswerk” (MH) and “Mennonite Voluntary Service” (CD). On behalf of the AMG, the respective priorities are set and the relationships are filled with life:
- The DMMK (www.mission-mennoniten.de) takes up mission initiatives of congregations, bundles them and implements them primarily in the worldwide Mennonite community. A priority is seen in supporting indigenous congregations in Africa, Asia and South America, in the area of evangelism and church planting. Opportunities for international mission experiences are created everywhere.
- The opportunity to have learning experiences of this kind is offered by “Christian Ministries” (www.christlichedienste.de). Christian Ministries is supported by the cooperation of Mennonite agencies in social work, peace service and mission and operates as a branch of “Mennonite Voluntary Service e.V.”. Christian Ministries arranges volunteer services abroad in different places of assignment, each of which is under the management of local project partners. The volunteers are involved, for example, in helping street children, people with disabilities, the elderly or those suffering from addiction, single mothers, refugees, in building houses for the homeless, conflict mediation and fair marketing of products from the poorest countries.
- The DMFK’s projects (www.dmfk.de) focus on peace and non-violent conflict mediation. A summary of this includes the following: People and congregations are to be strengthened and empowered to work for peace and justice. Living together as a peace church, naming the complexity of global problems that lead to discord, and pointing out possibilities for action. One example in the summer of 2015 was the accompaniment of newly arrived refugees on the island of Lesbos.
- A major area of work of the MH (www.menno-hilfswerk.de) is the support of refugees and asylum seekers in Germany. A team of employees at the Human Rights Center (Karlsruhe) is there for the people who have fled. They offer visits, German, computer and cooking courses and are available for everyday questions and problems. In addition, the MH provides global disaster relief and development work with partners. In recent years, the focus has shifted to relationships with partners in Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Benin, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Kenya, among others). Priorities in these relationships are: School construction, training/education, small loans, savings and loan groups.
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Mennonitischer Gemeinden K.d.ö.R.
Edwin Boschmann (Ansprechpartner für Missionsangelegenheiten)
Tel.: +49 721 42831