Since about 2003, Maple Grove Mennonite Church has been exploring a mission-related partnership internationally. In 2006, Mennonite Mission Network suggested a number of potential connections, including one in Ghana, Africa.
Shortly thereafter, we learned a neighboring Mennonite Church in State College, PA (University Mennonite) was also considering a connection with Ghana.
Soon a quartet conversation began between MG, UMC, MMN and those in West Africa. These included exploratory meetings, a Ghanaian meal at UMC, planning and fund raising.
In May of 2008, a delegation of eight from both UMC and MG traveled to Ghana for 10 days to explore the possibilities of partnership. While there, we interacted primarily with Good News Theological College and Seminary (an ecumenical institution that has a long history of Mennonite interaction); and we also made connections with Ghana Mennonite Church (a sister to Mennonite Church USA).
Since the trip, there has been one meeting between UMC and MG. On November 2, 2008, a joint worship service is planned between the two congregations with Thomas Oduro, principal of GNTCS preaching.
We are excited about all that God may do as we anticipate covenanting our lives together. Following are some of our dreams for the next five years:
1. Transformed worship/be a more joyful people
2. Global focus/awareness of global church family
3. Our children have a more global awareness
4. Our students especially be able to compare educational experiences with their Ghanaian contemporaries
5. Deepened spirituality/challenged materialism
6. MGMC & UMC deeper fellowship
7. Learning from GNTCS
8. Get over our hang-ups about giving our money as a gift vs. fostering dependency
9. Reaching out across great cultural barriers help us to cross little barriers here at home (more inclusive)