Mennonitischen Freikirche Österreich (MFÖ)
The Mennonitischen Freikirche Österreich (MFÖ) (Mennonite Free Church of Austria) began in 2013. Mennonites came to Austria to help the Mennonite refugees from Eastern Europe after World War II. Missionaries from the Mennonite Brethren were active in Upper Austria. A community was founded in Vienna, in cooperation between Mennonite Central Committee and Sonnenberggemeinde in Switzerland.
Mennonite congregations, like other Free Church congregations, were not recognized as churches in Austria. This resulted in various disadvantages. In order to remedy this unequal treatment, the Roman Catholic church, the Lutheran and Reformed churches, the Institute for Legal Philosophy of the University of Vienna, and the ecumenical movement "Paths of Reconciliation-the round table" endeavored, in cooperation with the Free Churches, to obtain state recognition of the Free Churches (FKÖ). This was achieved in 2013 through the merger of the Free Church conferences of Baptists, Evangelicals, Pentecostal and charismatic movements, the Elaia Christian community, and the Mennonitischen Freikirche Österreich. This also lessened friction that had existed between the Free Churches prior to the formation of the FKÖ.
In 2021 the MFÖ consisted of six parishes in Gmunden, Linz, Retz, Steyr, Wels, and Vienna, with 385 baptized members. Members have a wide variety of backgrounds--Austrian, other European, and refugees from the Middle East. The congregations have sent missionaries to Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan and supported them financially and with prayer.
The largest congregation in 2021 was in Wels with around 100 members. Three churches have paid part-time pastors. Two churches were led by people who provided spiritual and practical leadership for their communities in addition to their full-time employment.
The five bodies within the Free Church of Austria (FKÖ) have the chance to show that it is possible to be unified without having to give up one's own identity. With the belief of the Evangelical Alliance, the FKÖ has given itself a theological framework and works with one voice on legal and social issues. Yet the denominations and their churches remain autonomous.
While previously the Austrian churches were represented at Mennonite World Conference by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Mennonitischer Brudergemeinden in Deutschland (AMBD) and the Vereinigung der Menoniten Brudergemein von Bavaria (VMBB). The MFÖ now has its own representative.
Kummer, Reinhard. "To overcome obstacles in unanimity: Mennonitischen Freikirche Österreich (MFÖ)/Mennonite Free Church of Austria." Courier Correo Courrier 36, no. 2 (October 2021): 13-15.
Address: Bundessekretariat, Cumberlandstraße 64, 4810 Gmunden, Austria
|Date Published||November 2021|
Cite This Article
Kummer, Reinhard. "Mennonitischen Freikirche Österreich (MFÖ)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2021. Web. 25 May 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonitischen_Freikirche_%C3%96sterreich_(MF%C3%96)&oldid=172544.
Kummer, Reinhard. (November 2021). Mennonitischen Freikirche Österreich (MFÖ). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonitischen_Freikirche_%C3%96sterreich_(MF%C3%96)&oldid=172544.
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