​Christy Harrison, Peter Sensenig and Nehemiah Chigoji at the MennoCon21 seminar, 'Peacemaking in Africa with Muslims and Christians' on July 9, 2021. Photo by Travis Duerksen.

United States

Building peace in Africa by bridging relationships

By Faith Bell
Friday, July 9, 2021

CINCINNATI, Ohio (Mennonite Mission Network) – Peace between Muslims and Christians is about relationship. Instead of framing the seminar "Peacemaking in Africa with Muslims and Christians" as about an issue and conflict with a quick fix, the discussion focused on the slow work of building interpersonal connection.

Sharon Norton, Mennonite Mission Network co-director for Africa and Europe, led the seminar. She interviewed Christy Harrison and Peter Sensenig, mission workers with Mission Network, and Nehemiah Chigoji, executive director of Nigerian Anabaptist Resource Center and pastor at Upland Peace Church.

The panelists each brought their specific context to the conversation. Harrison and Sensenig spoke on their experience in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Chigoji described his work in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria. While their contexts are unique, Chigoji, Harrison and Sensenig described how the Holy Spirit was working in them to have more grace and forgiveness, which allowed them be a better witness of Jesus and the Anabaptist way of peace when working with Christians, Muslims and the non-religious. Focusing on how they themselves were being changed, they empathized with the immediate needs in the area and partnered in creative ways with local resource providers to address the needs. The stories served as examples for Mennonites in North America on how they could be witnesses of peace with their Muslim neighbors.






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​Faith Bell is director of Marketing and Communications for Mennonite Mission Network.