Kommission für kirchliche Angelegenheiten (Paraguay)
The Kommission für kirchliche Angelegenheiten (KfK) (Commission for Church Affairs), located in Colony Fernheim of the Paraguayan Chaco, was organized in late 1930 by the leading ministers of the three newly formed Mennonite churches there – Mennonite Brethren (MB), Mennonite (GCM), and Evangelical Mennonite Brethren (EMB), as a result of earnest counsel on the part of the German and North American Mennonite leaders, especially in order to be better able to cope with the rigors of pioneering and its effect upon the spiritual life of the settlers, to guide the establishment of schools, and in general to counsel the colony on all cultural and spiritual matters. The purpose of the KfK was the same as that in Russia (see Kommission für Kirchenangelegenheiten). Considerable difficulty was experienced in the early days of organization. Whereas the first commission consisted of six members, two from each of the three churches (denominations), the new commission, reorganized on 30 August 1932, consisted of eleven members, four from the Mennonite Brethren Church, four from the Mennonite Church, and three from the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Church, which in turn organized its own executive committee of three ministers: Nicolai Wiebe (EMB) as chairman, Johann Teichgraef (GCM) as secretary, and Gerhard Isaak (MB) as vice-chairman. Statutes drawn up and accepted at that time, but modified and rewritten in 1945, provided a basis upon which the KfK could work, both on internal colony problems and in representing the churches’ concerns to the government and foreign organizations. The KfK proved itself a great blessing to the colony churches at all times, especially in times of common difficulties and in the churches’ struggle for a higher cultural and spiritual level within the colonies. It was indispensable, especially since members of different Mennonite groups were pioneering together and were dependent upon one another daily. The statutes of the KfK follow:
- Membership: The Commission for Church Affairs is composed of representatives of all existing churches (denominations) in Fernheim. Each church (denomination) has the right to have one representative on the KfK for every hundred members or any part thereof, the denominational leaders automatically becoming these representatives.
- Method of Procedure: The routine work of the KfK is done by the Executive Committee, consisting of the leaders of the respective churches. In special or emergency cases and at the close of every church year, the larger KfK is present at the meeting.
- Assignment of the KfK: (a) First, the KfK is to represent the churches to the outside world, i.e., to the Paraguayan government and to the Mennonite and like-minded churches of foreign lands. (b) It is the guardian of the spiritual and cultural values of our Mennonite brotherhood. By this is meant that it is the responsibility of the KfK to guide and supervise the education of our youth and the training of our children on the basis of our Christian Mennonite faith, by virtue of which we receive the Privilegium (privileges) from the Paraguayan government, (c) To coordinate and mediate between the churches: (1) In questions of common concern that need clearance. (2) In questions concerning the furthering of cultural and spiritual life and the building of the kingdom of God. (3) In questions concerning the customs and habits of our brotherhood. These questions can be submitted by the churches or raised directly by the KfK.
Internal questions of the individual congregations are not dealt with by the KfK, in so far as they do not adversely affect the total brotherhood. The KfK always works in cooperation with the churches and in contact with the colony administration.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 218-219. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Isaak, Jakob. "Kommission für kirchliche Angelegenheiten (Paraguay)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/kommission_fur_kirchliche_angelegenheiten_paraguay.
APA style: Isaak, Jakob. (1957). Kommission für kirchliche Angelegenheiten (Paraguay). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/kommission_fur_kirchliche_angelegenheiten_paraguay.