The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is a relief, service, and peace agency representing 15 Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and Amish bodies in North America. The U.S. headquarters are in Akron, Pennsylvania, the Canadian in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The initial work of MCC focused on:
The new organization planned to provide aid to Ukraine via existing Mennonite relief work in Istanbul. The Istanbul group, mainly Goshen College graduates, produced three volunteers, who at great risk entered Ukraine during the ongoing Russian Civil War. They arrived in the Mennonite village of Halbstadt just as General Wrangel of the White Army was retreating. Two of the volunteers withdrew with the Wrangel army, while Clayton Kratz, who remained in Halbstadt (Molotschna) as it was overrun by the Red Army, was never heard from again.
A year passed before official permission was received from the Soviet government to do relief work among the villages of Ukraine. Kitchens provided 25,000 people a day with rations over a period of three years beginning in 1922, with a peak of 40,000 servings during August of that year. Fifty Fordson tractor and plow combinations were sent to Mennonite villages to replace horses that had been stolen and confiscated during the war. The cost of this relief effort was $1.2 million.
The first Voluntary Service unit started during the summer of 1946 in association with the CPS unit at Gulfport, Mississippi .
Funds for MCC's worldwide relief and service projects are raised through independent Mennonite relief sales. Around 45 sales are held throughout the United States and Canada, raising US$5 million annually. Many of these sales feature quilts handmade by Mennonite and Amish volunteers, auctions, artwork, crafted woodwork, homemade foods, antiques, crafts, plants, children's activities, and musical programs. Most of the goods and labor are donated, and 88% of the funds raised go directly into the field.
MCC focuses its development efforts in areas such as health, education, peace and justice, and fair trade. It responds to disaster situations, as well as focusing its efforts on the longer-term issues of economic and social policy.
MCC maintains offices in both Washington, D.C., and Ottawa to advocate to the American and Canadian federal governments, respectively.
Responding in part to the establishment of active Mennonite-led peace centers that had emerged in the 80s and 90s, such as the Conflict Transformation Program at Eastern Mennonite University, the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center in Lombard, Illinois, a group of peace builders at Fresno Pacific University, the Peace and Justice Network of the Mennonite Church and other activities, MCS was discontinued in 2004. But the Peace Office of MCC continues to advocate peace interests broadly in the US and in MCC programming abroad. Internationally, MCC partners with local organizations to reduce violence in the aftermath of conflict or war.
Perhaps one of MCC's more controversial activities is in advocating military exemption or alternative service for conscientious objectors in times of war. MCC runs a "conscientious objector registry" in Canada, taking statements from Canadians in the hope that they will be recognized by the Canadian government should the government restart drafting citizens into the military.
Women's efforts play pivotal role in MCC history [The Transforming power of a century: Mennonite Central Committee and its evolution in Ontario]
Nov 01, 2004; Lucille Marr, The Transforming Power of a Century: Mennonite Central Committee and its Evolution in Ontario. Pandora Press and...