​Marvin Lorenzana with particpants at the 2018 Sent Conference. Photo by David Fast. 

Hope Series expands community building in isolating times

By Laurie Oswald Robinson
Friday, April 3, 2020

ELKHART, Indiana (Mennonite Mission Network) To further reduce the spread of isolation caused by physical distancing, Mennonite Mission Network is expanding its Hope Series to launch two new programs in mid-April.

One of those programs, called Hope Communities, begins Apr. 13. It consists of three virtual gathering spaces that will help participants focus together on a topic for individual growth and communal support. The groups will provide resources and sharing on these themes:

  • Coping with parenting as a single mother.
  • Developing a better sense of vocation.
  • Meeting the challenges of Latino leaders during this time of crisis.  

The other program, to begin Apr. 14, will provide a Spanish-language Bible study and prayer time led by Mauricio Chenlo, Mission Network's minister of church planting. It is titled "Cuando no se puede parar de Sufrir: Reflexiones bíblicas sobre el tiempo de la Cautividad Babilonica de Israel basados en Salmos; libros históricos y Jeremías." ("When you can't stop suffering: Biblical reflections on the time of the Babylonian captivity of Israel based on the historical books of the Psalms and Jeremiah.")

Mission Network's Church Relations department launched the Hope Series in mid-March, which has included a daily prayer time, a weekly Bible study on Jesus as healer, and a weekly global report. The hope is that the additional programming will help open the shuttered windows of canceled church services, family gatherings, and work events to let in the light of social connection, said Jason Boone, Church Relations team member and coordinating minister of Mission Network's Peace and Justice Support Network (PJSN).

"We want to give isolated people the chance to build community by supporting each other and offering each other hope that they will get through this," Boone said.

Church Relations team leader Sandy Miller, senior executive for Mission Network's Resourcing and Mobilization, said she is grateful for how the team is continuing to tap into Spirit-led inspiration. "They are creating fresh conduits to show our congregations and constituents that we deeply care about them in this crisis," she said.

The fresh conduits include these cohort communities and additional Spanish-language resources

*Community of Hope: Single Moms. Presenter Haiam Gendi, ministry support team coach at Mission Network, will provide faith-based resources for helping participants cope with new challenges brought by a stay-at-home COVID-19 world. "This community is geared for single moms who feel the burden of caring for their children, but who feel they have no one to care for them," Gendi said. "I, too, am a single mother, who is feeling a deeper need for conversation and community during this isolating time." She invites participants to bring their coffee/tea and join in the conversation, laughter, prayers and more. 

*Community of Hope: Comunidad de Esperanza: caminando juntos en medio de la adversidad. Presenter Marvin Lorenzana, Mission Network's Discipleship Initiative director, will lead this community for Latino pastors and leaders. He will address those on the frontlines of ministry who want to study the Scriptures together to discern how to move forward in these critical times. "I believe it is important to provide words of encouragement from our Christian Scriptures for those providing pastoral care to Hispanic churches throughout the country," Lorenzana said.  

*Spanish-language resources: Presenter Mauricio Chenlo, Mission Network's minister of church planting, will provide a Spanish-language Bible study and a prayer time, beginning Tuesday, Apr. 14, at 3 p.m. EDT live on Mission Network's Facebook page.

To participate, click the community group you would like to join to register today:

Community of Hope: Single Moms

Community of Hope: Comunidad de Esperanza: caminando juntos en medio de la adversidad 

To learn more about the Hope Series initiatives, visit the Mennonite Mission Network Hope Series page.






Laurie Oswald Robinson is editor for Mennonite Mission Network.







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