Coalition Structure and Committees

How we work:

Committees of the Coalition

The Steering Committee (members pictured at right and below) coordinates the work of the Coalition, which includes discerning and implementing the collective vision of the group, setting and managing the yearly budget, organizing the Coalition’s presence at Mennonite gatherings, and selecting an annual Indigenous Repair Partner to whom we direct 60% of general donations to our Coalition.

Our Coalition work is largely done in three main working committees that have formed since 2014: the Structural Change Committee, Cultural Change Committee, and the Constituency Engagement Committee (all described below). Ad Hoc Committees sometimes form at our Coalition meetings and follow the direction they mutually set in concert with the Spirit. It is our intention to remain flexible enough to respond to the call we mutually discern.

In 2021, we launched the Repair Network of Congregations and Communities, which is open to Mennonite Church USA communities to join as members of our Coalition. See here for more information on joining our Repair Network!

Sarah Augustine, Coalition co-founder
Sheri Hostetler, Coalition co-founder
Jonathan Nahar, Convener

What we do:

The Structural Change Committee works to dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery in institutional, legal and policy structures. They address structural decision makers in faith, civic and political bodies at community, national and international levels.

The Cultural Change Committee creates artistic and educational resources to creatively engage Anabaptist congregations in our movement to dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery. See the Educational Resources tab for some of our projects.

The Story Sharing Committee is the outreach and communications arm of the Coalition, connecting and sharing stories related to our work with people and institutions, especially in Anabaptist constituencies, for the work of dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery.

If you would like to be involved with the work of any of these committees, please contact us here! We host a regular drop-in Zoom call for potential volunteers to learn more about our Coalition and join our work.

Lars Åkerson, Structural Change Chair
Sabrina Porter Lindquist, Cultural Change Chair
Ken Gingerich, C.E. Chair

Annual Meeting:

Committees and Coalition Partners meet annually in person or on Zoom (usually over a weekend in July or August) to pray, strategize, work and learn together, network and fellowship, and vision a world of flourishing for all life, with Indigenous self-determination at the forefront! A different Mennonite church community hosts us each year, offering a chance for our wider church family to connect with our work. If you would like to join us as a committee member or Coalition Partner, please contact us here.

Past and Current Coalition Partners include:

Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries, Central States Mennonite Conference, Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Indigenous-Settler Relations Office of Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Creation Care Network, Mennonite Mission Network, Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference, Suriname Indigenous Health Fund, Ted & Company TheaterWorks, and various Watershed Discipleship groups.

Accountability and Responsibility:

The Coalition works within a largely, but not exclusively, white settler-dominated denomination, Mennonite Church USA, and reflects this denominational demographic. We believe it is the primary responsibility of those of us who are white settler-descended folks to dismantle the legal, policy, and church structures created and reinforced by the dominant culture, as well as the attitudes and norms of oppression that dehumanize Indigenous Peoples. We do not ask Indigenous Peoples to carry the weight of teaching, but rather commit to educating ourselves as settlers. We also commit to accountability with Indigenous Peoples and descendants who directly suffer oppression caused by the Doctrine of Discovery and who are still targeted by current laws, policies and social norms.

In practice, this looks like attending Indigenous-led events, workshops, webinars, and learning opportunities to continually be re-formed by Indigenous teachings, seeking the counsel and input of Indigenous leaders on our educational resources (who have the power of choosing not to publish them if not deemed helpful), seeking feedback from Indigenous partners we accompany in structural change work, and doing our own inner work of undoing internalized supremacy as settlers. We do this work so that when we show up as allies and co-conspirators with Indigenous Peoples, our presence is an asset instead of a disorganizing presence.

For more information on the history of the Coalition:

Mennonite World Review, 2014 Churches Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery

The Mennonite, 2017 Group Seeks to Expand Work to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery

%d bloggers like this: