n 2011, the Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA) announced that it
would continue with plans to have the biennial church-wide convention 1-6 July
2013 in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, despite recent legislation passed in Arizona
that put Latino Mennonites at risk of search and deportation if they â€ślooked
illegal.â€ť The MCUSA constituent
group Iglesia Menonita Hispana (Hispanic Mennonite Church) stated that it was
hurt by the symbolic message this sent to Latino Mennonites. It further said that it would abstain
from participation in the convention.
Ephesians 2:14-16 illustrates the way Jesusâ€™ life, teaching,
death and resurrection brought people from different ethnic and religious
groups together. Indeed Jesusâ€™
call was broad, beautiful, and boundary-crossing. It was not, however, without challenge as to how people from
these different groups were to come together as part of the larger, new
Jesusâ€™ work of breaking the dividing wall that stood between
people was not so much a naĂŻve â€śforget your differences and privilegesâ€ť as it
was a careful invitation to form new relationships. These new relationships became possible through analyzing
old tensions and building strong new bonds of care and community.
Those who want to break down walls must accurately name and
patiently examine the impact of entrenched inequality of power created by
division. Otherwise, we may be
able to come together physically but as the dividing wall falls it may crush people
entering the relationships.