Assembly 2021 News #3, Mennonite World Conference
Published in January 2020
Assembly 2021 News #3
"O prince of Peace, O Holy God and King" Those words, first penned in Indonesian by Saptojoadi, have rung out in Mennonite worship services around the world since 1978.
"I imagined a big conference with many people from around the world, from the west, from the east", says Saptojoadi.
His American teacher Lawrence Yoder invited the young Indonesian musician to write the song in Javanese to be included in the 1978 Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Assembly song book.
"it's very important to know that we are not alone," Saptojoadi says. "We have many brothers and sisters around the world. We are united in Christ."
Besides welcoming those who visit his home in Banyutowo, Java, Indonesia, he has met those brothers and sisters in the Mennonite family on several journeys abroad: through an International Visitors Exchange Program (IVEP) term in 1973–1974 that took him to a seniors’ resident in Oklahoma, a farm in Florida and a camp in Pennsylvania; at the 2009 Assembly in Paraguay; and at the 2015 Assembly in the USA. In 2009, he served on the international music team alongside participants from Latin America, North America, Europe, and Africa. After a long journey – Jakarta to Frankfurt to Buenos Aires to Asuncion – he was welcomed by a host family who didn’t speak any English. Nevertheless, they created memories together as they fellowshipped as members of the same body of Christ.
At the 2015 Assembly in Pennsylvania, he was asked to share his song at a chapel session at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Akron campus. “It was amazing,” he says. “I was so grateful.”
Saptojoadi is a pastor in one of the three Indonesian Mennonite member churches of MWC: Gereja Injili Tanah Jawa. He has included 10 of his 30 original songs in a printed songbook Kidung Rohani with hand-drawn Western and Indonesian musical notation.
Like his song that is sung in many languages around the world, he says people need to follow Jesus together across barriers. “In Indonesia, we have many cultures, many languages, but a lot of tolerance.”
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