The Intersection of Spirituality and Christian Community - Sergio Milandri

(Sergio Milandri is the founder and director of Relating.com)

Our first encounter with Anabaptists was with Meribeth Kraybill who attended my Spirituality Course in Cape Town. We got to know her family and I was taken by their descriptions of Anabaptist faith and community life.Our family later sailed across the Atlantic and on our travels through the United States visited the Kraybills in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Our interest in Mennonite thought and life was further heightened when we visited Community Mennonite Church and Eastern Mennonite University. I had worked in the Institute for Christian Spirituality under Desmond Tutu for seven years and on finding that I could do a Masters degree in Personal Formation in the context of spirituality and conflict, decided to study here. It was good to formalize the work we had done in the Institute and to further my understanding of Anabaptist life and belief. My wife Elizabeth also studied, doing a Master's in teaching English to at-risk groups. Upon completion of our studies we resumed our travels and then returned to South Africa.

The major contribution I believe Anabaptism could make in the South African context would be in the area of tolerance, non-violence and community development around respect for others. In the church here, community life is also seen more as a hierarchy than as the body of Christ, of many members needing each others gifts. The ethos of the love of Christ as the driver and of discipleship as the means to grow needs much development.

 

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