Celebration! 2020 is the Centennial Year of the Mennonite Central Committee. It is a time to remember. It is a time to examine our history and to remember the stories. There are so many stories of compassion and caring, and in this year there will be many ways in which that celebration can be achieved.
Celebrations should be held and stories should be told in congregations. There will be special gatherings to tell the story and there will be celebration in song by the Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus. It is all the more a special event when we understand that the Mennonite Central Committee was created as a temporary committee to make it easier to work with the Ukraine government to feed the Mennonite peoples devastated by war and drought. That temporary committee is now 100 years old, still with the mandate to provide relief and to help people, help themselves.
Celebrations should include remembering. Remembering those that came before us, creating programs and structures that have allowed MCC to provide relief, development and to work for peace. Almost every congregation has individuals that are MCC Alumni. They gave of themselves as they helped individuals and communities, helping people to help themselves. These “MCCer’s” should be recognized and asked about their service. For they helped many, but they were probably changed by their time with MCC.
The Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale will be held April 17 and 18, 2020 at the State Fair Grounds in Hutchinson. We will have plenty of quilts to auction, we will have lots of good food to eat, and we will be able to enjoy one another’s company while remembering 100 years of MCC and 52 years of the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale.
We come together every spring to raise money for an extraordinary organization, Mennonite Central Committee. I read through some things my Mother-in-Law, Helen Goering, wrote upon returning from working in France after WW2. She had accompanied a protestant nurse visiting many homes that were impacted by the extent of the war. The writing indicated that in all the homes they visited the needs were the same: food and water, clothing, security, health care and hope. What MCC does is give people hope.
So, as we prepare for the 52nd Annual Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale, may we prayerfully remember the reasons we gather together. These things include community, compassion, a desire to help, a chance to eat ethnic food, and to purchase unique things that we buy so MCC can have the funds to do what we come together for…to provide hope to many in a weary and troubled world.
This Centennial Year, let us celebrate HOPE as we provide relief, development and peace.
Blessings to you all as we prepare for April 17 and 18 of 2020,
Chair, Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale Board of Directors