Coalition Structure and Committees

The above diagram represents our current organizational structure as of January, 2023. The larger circles of the Venn Diagram are our three main committees, with smaller working groups represented by the smaller circles.

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 committees that have formed since 2014: the Structural Change Committee, Cultural Change Committee, and the Constituency Engagement Committee (now Story Sharing Committee), all described below. Ad Hoc Working Groups 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 any Christian church communities to join as members of our Coalition. See here for more information on joining our Repair Network!

Sarah Augustine – Co-founder and Executive Director

Jonathan Neufeld – Steering Committee Co-Chair

Hallie Liu Rogers – Steering Committee Co-Chair

What we do:

Lars Åkerson, Structural Change Chair

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.

  • Protect ICWA Working Group
  • Maya-Mennonite Solidarity Working Group
  • Protect Oak Flat Working Group
  • Investment Justice Working Group

Mary Schertz, Cultural Change Chair

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.

Working Groups that fall under the Cultural Change Committee:

  • Decolonizing Board Game Working Group
  • Dismantling the DofD Songs Playlist

Marisa Smucker, Story Sharing Chair

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.

Prayer First Responders Team: We believe in the power of prayer! Our Prayer Team meets once a month to pray for our Coalition and for Indigenous partners and land and water protectors.

If you would like to be involved with the work of any of these committees or working groups, 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.

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 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, and Ted & Company TheaterWorks.

Accountability and Responsibility:

The Coalition originated 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

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