​Jonathan and Sarah Nahar. Photo by David Fast.

By Zachary Headings
Wednesday, December 15, 2021

When Jonathan and Sarah Nahar were first approached by Mennonite Mission Network staff to help produce the "Stir Up Peace" video series, they were not yet married. When Jason Boone, who, at the time, served as Mission Network's minister of peace and justice, asked them where he should send the payment for their work on the series, they told him that he could send both payments to a shared account — making Boone one of the first people they informed about their upcoming marriage.

The Nahars share much, peacemaking work included. They shared participation in Mission Network's Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) program. Sarah Nahar participated in the Elkhart, Indiana, unit from 2007-2009, and Jonathan Nahar participated in that same unit from 2016-2018.

After completing a Fullbright scholarship, Sarah Nahar joined MVS during her first year at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart. The heart of her time in the program, she said, was calling local youth back home to Elkhart to serve in their community. With them, Sarah Nahar learned to leverage her social capital and resources, not just for service, but for positive social change.

Through the relationships that she deepened during her time with MVS, Sarah Nahar has now come to advise the board of the Tolson Center for Community Excellence. She said that this organization attempts to increase the city of Elkhart's investment in its southcentral community, where the recently closed Elkhart MVS unit used to be located.

"It makes the most sense to [Jonathan and me], as we work internationally on issues of systemic violence and harm, to also pay attention to how oppression shows up in our home community," Sarah Nahar said.

Jonathan Nahar's MVS experience dealt directly with Mennonite Church USA's (MC USA) 2017 resolution: "Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine." Jonathan Nahar, along with his supervisor, Andre Gingerich Stoner, who, at that time, was the director of holistic witness and interchurch relations for MC USA, brought together a group of three authors, ten consultants and an even broader group of advisors to rewrite the resolution that had been tabled two years earlier.

The new resolution encompassed taking action to support the rights of the Palestinian people and challenging the illegal Israeli occupation. Additionally, the resolution recognized and challenged the ways that Mennonites have been and are complicit in the occupation, as well as anti-Semitism, Jonathan Nahar said.

"It was a big process," Jonathan Nahar said. "A lot of people [were involved]. [We participated in] a lot of Zoom calls, before Zoom was a ubiquitous thing."


Former Mission Network Executive Director Stanley W. Green and Jonathan Nahar (then Brenneman) spend a day on Capitol Hill advocating for the sentiments expressed in MCUSA's Israel-Palestine resolution passed in Orlando in 2017.

After the resolution had been rewritten, Jonathan Nahar's spent his time advocating for it. He connected with numerous churches, asking them to organize educational events, and helped created the Palestinian and Jewish Voices for Peace speaking tour.

In the end, the resolution was passed at the 2017 MC USA conference in Orlando with 98% approval. During his second year at MVS, Jonathan Nahar helped implement the various commitments that were made in the resolution.

"[My time with MVS] was very formative," Sarah Nahar said. "It was a chance to live in intentional community, sharing joys and struggles [with my housemates]. It gave me a chance to connect and work with a lot of creative people who care about their community."

Jonathan Nahar said that his time with MVS, working on the Israel-Palestine resolution, fueled his peacemaking work in so many ways. "I made so many great connections in [the peacemaking] field of work in those two years, both within the Mennonite church and outside it." As he made connections with people and congregations while advocating for the resolution, he also connected with people like the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition, as well as through MC USA's abolitionist curriculum and connections through advocacy for Palestine.  

Even though their time with MVS has ended, the Nahars continue to support the program. During the pandemic, they led parts of the MVS online orientation. "We're always recruiting for MVS," Sarah Nahar said. "We're always looking for ways to make MVS more accessible for those who come from underprivileged backgrounds, because it's an incredible experience. It's one of the key programs that has led to the transformation of the Mennonite church."

The Nahars recently worked with Mission Network to produce "Stir up Peace," a video series that details how non-violent direct action can create change. Mission Network continues to commit to peace work and expanding our peacemaking and justice resources. In this vein, the Nahars are currently working on an educational curriculum to accompany the video series. Look for it in early 2022.

 

 

 Related

 

 

More Mustard Seeds: Director of Mennonite Bible School in South Africa releases book on forgivenessMore Mustard Seedshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4733/More-Mustard-Seeds-Director-of-Mennonite-Bible-School-in-South-Africa-releases-book-on-forgivenessMore Mustard Seeds: Director of Mennonite Bible School in South Africa releases book on forgivenessGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
For MVS placement, everyday is ‘World Nature Conservation Day’MVShttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4732/For-MVS-placement-everyday-is-World-Nature-Conservation-DayFor MVS placement, everyday is ‘World Nature Conservation Day’GP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Colorado
The 2022 Mennonite World Conference Assembly in photosGALLERYhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4731/The-2022-Mennonite-World-Conference-Assembly-in-photosThe 2022 Mennonite World Conference Assembly in photosGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Delbert Erb served God in Argentina for more than seven decadesObituaryhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4723/Delbert-Erb-served-God-in-Argentina-for-more-than-seven-decadesDelbert Erb served God in Argentina for more than seven decadesGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Mennonite Mission Network partners seek mediation between protestors, governmentMennonite Mediatorshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4722/Mennonite-Mission-Network-partners-seek-mediation-between-protestors-governmentMennonite Mission Network partners seek mediation between protestors, governmentGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
More Mustard Seeds: Small beginnings nurtured in relationships lead to transformationMore Mustard Seedshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4721/More-Mustard-Seeds-Small-beginnings-nurtured-in-relationships-lead-to-transformationMore Mustard Seeds: Small beginnings nurtured in relationships lead to transformationGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Ambassadors of reconciliation trained in BelgiumHoly Trinity Brusselshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4718/Ambassadors-of-reconciliation-trained-in-BelgiumAmbassadors of reconciliation trained in BelgiumGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Brussels
Mennonite conferences in Ecuador bridge coast and mountains to celebrate fellowship togetherEcuadorhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4717/Mennonite-conferences-in-Ecuador-bridge-coast-and-mountains-to-celebrate-fellowship-togetherMennonite conferences in Ecuador bridge coast and mountains to celebrate fellowship togetherGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Quito
Mennonite Voluntary Service, a program of Mennonite Mission Network, closes unit in Washington, DCMVShttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4715/Mennonite-Voluntary-Service-closes-unit-in-Washington-DCMennonite Voluntary Service, a program of Mennonite Mission Network, closes unit in Washington, DCGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Journal of African Christian Biography offers Anabaptist history to global readershipJournal of African Christian Biographyhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4713/Journal-of-African-Christian-Biography-offers-Anabaptist-history-to-global-readershipJournal of African Christian Biography offers Anabaptist history to global readershipGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Bokgoni Sporting Club builds community with May 22 eventBokgoni Sporting Clubhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4711/Bokgoni-Sporting-Club-builds-community-with-May-22-eventBokgoni Sporting Club builds community with May 22 eventGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Francistown
Mission Network family to join ministry of hospitality for refugees in FranceRefugee ministryhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4707/Mission-Network-family-to-join-ministry-of-hospitality-for-refugees-in-FranceMission Network family to join ministry of hospitality for refugees in FranceGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Calais
Russian and Ukrainian students in Lithuania support refugeesUkrainehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4708/Russian-and-Ukrainian-students-in-Lithuania-support-refugeesRussian and Ukrainian students in Lithuania support refugeesGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Klaipėda
Youth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future serviceYouth Venture/SOOP hybridhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4706/Youth-Venture-trip-provides-mentorship-plants-seeds-for-future-serviceYouth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future serviceGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Kykotsmovi, Arizona
Bokgoni Sporting Club offers a better future through recreational sportsBokgoni Sporting Clubhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4705/Bokgoni-Sporting-Club-offers-a-better-future-through-recreational-sportsBokgoni Sporting Club offers a better future through recreational sportsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Francistown

 

 

https://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4642/MVS-experience-fuels-peacemaking-work

​Zachary Headings is a marketing associate for Mennonite Mission Network.

 

 

More Mustard Seeds: Director of Mennonite Bible School in South Africa releases book on forgivenesshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4733/More-Mustard-Seeds-Director-of-Mennonite-Bible-School-in-South-Africa-releases-book-on-forgivenessMore Mustard Seeds: Director of Mennonite Bible School in South Africa releases book on forgiveness
For MVS placement, everyday is ‘World Nature Conservation Day’https://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4732/For-MVS-placement-everyday-is-World-Nature-Conservation-DayFor MVS placement, everyday is ‘World Nature Conservation Day’
The 2022 Mennonite World Conference Assembly in photoshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4731/The-2022-Mennonite-World-Conference-Assembly-in-photosThe 2022 Mennonite World Conference Assembly in photos
Delbert Erb served God in Argentina for more than seven decadeshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4723/Delbert-Erb-served-God-in-Argentina-for-more-than-seven-decadesDelbert Erb served God in Argentina for more than seven decades
Mennonite Mission Network partners seek mediation between protestors, governmenthttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4722/Mennonite-Mission-Network-partners-seek-mediation-between-protestors-governmentMennonite Mission Network partners seek mediation between protestors, government
More Mustard Seeds: Small beginnings nurtured in relationships lead to transformationhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4721/More-Mustard-Seeds-Small-beginnings-nurtured-in-relationships-lead-to-transformationMore Mustard Seeds: Small beginnings nurtured in relationships lead to transformation
Ambassadors of reconciliation trained in Belgiumhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4718/Ambassadors-of-reconciliation-trained-in-BelgiumAmbassadors of reconciliation trained in Belgium
Mennonite conferences in Ecuador bridge coast and mountains to celebrate fellowship togetherhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4717/Mennonite-conferences-in-Ecuador-bridge-coast-and-mountains-to-celebrate-fellowship-togetherMennonite conferences in Ecuador bridge coast and mountains to celebrate fellowship together
Mennonite Voluntary Service, a program of Mennonite Mission Network, closes unit in Washington, DChttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4715/Mennonite-Voluntary-Service-closes-unit-in-Washington-DCMennonite Voluntary Service, a program of Mennonite Mission Network, closes unit in Washington, DC
Journal of African Christian Biography offers Anabaptist history to global readershiphttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4713/Journal-of-African-Christian-Biography-offers-Anabaptist-history-to-global-readershipJournal of African Christian Biography offers Anabaptist history to global readership
Bokgoni Sporting Club builds community with May 22 eventhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4711/Bokgoni-Sporting-Club-builds-community-with-May-22-eventBokgoni Sporting Club builds community with May 22 event
Mission Network family to join ministry of hospitality for refugees in Francehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4707/Mission-Network-family-to-join-ministry-of-hospitality-for-refugees-in-FranceMission Network family to join ministry of hospitality for refugees in France
Russian and Ukrainian students in Lithuania support refugeeshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4708/Russian-and-Ukrainian-students-in-Lithuania-support-refugeesRussian and Ukrainian students in Lithuania support refugees
Youth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future servicehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4706/Youth-Venture-trip-provides-mentorship-plants-seeds-for-future-serviceYouth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future service
Bokgoni Sporting Club offers a better future through recreational sportshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4705/Bokgoni-Sporting-Club-offers-a-better-future-through-recreational-sportsBokgoni Sporting Club offers a better future through recreational sports



 

 

Women of faith conferencehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/resources/church-vitality/leadership/4734/Women-of-faith-conferenceWomen of faith conferenceSept. 29–Sunday, Oct. 2
Lessons I’ve learned from my catshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4738/Lessons-Ive-learned-from-my-catsLessons I’ve learned from my catsInternational Cat Day
Merienda Menonita: el arte de conversar y la práctica de escucharhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/video/webinars/4740/Merienda-Menonita-el-arte-de-conversar-y-la-práctica-de-escucharMerienda Menonita: el arte de conversar y la práctica de escuchar
Merienda Menonita: The art of conversing and the practice of listeninghttps://www.mennonitemission.net/video/webinars/4739/Merienda-Menonita-the-art-of-conversing-and-the-practice-of-listeningMerienda Menonita: The art of conversing and the practice of listeningMWC Assembly Seminar
Presentación del libro de devocionaleshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/video/webinars/4742/Presentación-del-libro-de-devocionalesPresentación del libro de devocionalesUn taller en la asamblea del CMM
Presentation of the MTAL devotional bookhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/video/webinars/4741/Presentation-of-the-MTAL-devotional-bookPresentation of the MTAL devotional bookMWC Assembly Seminar