Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission names John Fumana and Bruce Yoder to executive coordination team upon the retirement of Rod Hollinger-Janzen.
GOSHEN, Indiana (Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission/Mennonite Mission Network) — John Fumana of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bruce Yoder of Canada have been appointed to work as a team of Executive Coordinators for Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM).
Fumana is a member of the Mennonite Brethren Church of the Congo (CEFMC) and serves as deacon in his Kinshasa congregation. He received a bachelor's degree in education and has a certificate of training trainers in Asset-Based Community Driven Development. Fumana brings extensive experience working with international organizations, such as Oxfam, World Vision, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, and Interchurch Medical Assistance. He lives in Kinshasa with his wife, Lucie Wumba Kembo. They have five children and one grandson.
"I praise God for this opportunity to serve in his harvest through AIMM," Fumana said. "At this time of great change in the world, I see in AIMM an opportunity to work with member churches in Africa to help them discover their potential."
Fumana hopes to facilitate and stimulate the growing church in Africa to move toward sustainability by valuing and making good use of local potential.
"I also see the opportunity to promote balanced partnership which will lay the groundwork of a new direction to be developed among AIMM member churches," Fumana said.
Yoder is a member of the Listowel (Ontario) Mennonite Church. He has 26 years of experience working in intercultural settings in Latin America and West Africa. Most recently, Yoder served with Mennonite Mission Network in a teaching and missional development in Benin and Burkina Faso. Yoder earned a PhD in Church History and World Christianity from the Boston University School of Theology and has done research in the areas of mission history and transnational Christian networks. Bruce and his wife, Nancy, live in Listowel and have two young-adult children.
Yoder appreciates the opportunity to join more than a century of AIMM work that has been instrumental in the development of multiple African Anabaptist churches, intercultural relationships between African, European, and North American partners, and transnational Anabaptist networks.
"I am inspired by the vitality and resilience of the African Church and am pleased for the opportunity to engage partners on the continent and around the world to advance their collaborative mission initiatives," Yoder said. "I'm humbled and honored to be able to contribute to this tradition of mission engagement in Africa and beyond."
Consultant Carlos Romero led the search process for AIMM's board of directors, the International Central Council (ICC). Their first meeting in Burkina Faso in Nov. 2019 followed the retirement announcement of current executive director, Rod Hollinger-Janzen. The ICC provided overall vision and direction for a search process and assembled a committee of stakeholders representing various contexts and geographies where AIMM partners. The search committee included: Liévin Kalubi and Kafaire Kufutama, representing two Congolese Mennonite denominations; Siaka Traoré, representing the Mennonite Church in Burkina Faso; Tany Warkentin, representing Mennonite Church Canada; and Steve Wiebe-Johnson, representing Mission Network.
COVID-19 travel restrictions hampered the search process. However, after 10 months of online communications, the search committee brought a unanimous recommendation of Fumana and Yoder to the ICC to serve as a team of executive coordinators, recognizing the importance of having executives that represent both the African and the North American constituencies of AIMM.
"The process of naming a new AIMM coordinator came to a conclusion…when members of AIMM's ICC validated the proposal of a team of two persons to work at the coordination of this large mission agency focused on African Mennonite Churches," said Jean-Felix Cimbalanga, ICC president and president of Communauté Evangélique Mennonite (Evangelical Mennonite Church) in Congo. "We wish the named team a fruitful mandate."
Following 15 years with AIMM, Rod Hollinger-Janzen expressed his gratitude for the past year of work accomplished by the ICC and the search committee.
"This entire process has been led by the Spirit of God," Hollinger-Janzen said. "The complementary skill sets of John Fumana and Bruce Yoder, together with their shared passion for Christian mission and their vision for growth for the AIMM family, position AIMM well for an exciting future. Their shared leadership models the kind of mutuality in mission that AIMM is striving for."
Yoder and Fumana will begin to transition into their roles in January 2021.