An Ecumenical visit to The Mennonite Church
Location: Bui Dinh Tuy Street, Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City
On Sunday, January 22, the eve before first day of Lunar New Year Tet, Father Francis Xavier Bao Loc, Sister Anna of St. Paul, an Dominican seminary student, and this writer participated in an ecumenical Christian based visit between members of the Catholic Diocesan Commission for Interfaith Dialogs, and this writer, Grace Mishler, Church of the Brethren Global Mission Partnerships.
We were invited to come at 4:30 pm. We arrived just in time to experience the closing prayer familiar to all, “The Lord’s Prayer”; and this writer heard a familiar song from childhood, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”. It meant much for this writer to be together as Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
Inside of Mennonite Church - Binh Thanh
After the worship service was over, Pastor Trung invited us to stay for a fellowship meal together. Our inter-faith dialogue talked together for 1.5 hours. We learned to know Mennonite leaders, members, and Pastor Trung’s wife, Bich. We found out how she is involved in charity work to minister to those who are poor, travel afar for medical care; and how she is engaged in “soup kitchen” in providing food and personal care to those waiting in lines to get into the hospital (like cancer patients). Also, there was interesting interactions in regard to women in leadership and deacon body.
Upon departure, our group commented how this visit far exceeded one’s expectations. For this writer, this travel to the Mennonites by Catholics and this writer’s roots with the Church of the Brethren, has deep meaning for ancestors in past, because such an ecumenical endeavor in 1500 AD would never have been done because one dominated over the other with tremendous misunderstandings that caused many people to be martyred in Germany and nearby states.
The christians's Mennonite Church and the visitors
So for this writer, the Holy Spirit guided us to be together. Happiness was felt because we knew we are all children of the same Father who is in Heaven and loves us all and wants us to be reconciled as People of God.
Written By: Grace Mishler
24 February 2012