A record number of students will participate in the Mennonite Church USAâ€™s summer inquiry program this summer through Franconia Mennonite Conference. The ministry inquiry program is an 11-week internship traditionally available to any student attending a Mennonite college. Students interested in a specific area of ministry are able to gain hands-on experience by working alongside a supervisor in their respective discipline. Two students will also complete academic internships within Franconia Conference ministries as well.
â€œThe conference is blessed with the presence and ministry of these interns,â€ said Franconia Conference executive minister, Noel Santiago. â€œThis represents the value our delegates place on ensuring that young adults have the opportunity to not only connect with the church, but to help shape it as well. Along with the gifts, vision, passion, questions, and â€˜new eyesâ€™ they bring to our various context, inquiry program participants contribute to the ongoing unfolding of Godâ€™s reign as we seek to equip leaders to empower others to embrace Godâ€™s mission.â€
This year, through a grant from Eastern Mennonite Seminary, three Franconia Conference students attending non-Mennonite institutions have been given the opportunity to participate in the ministry inquiry program: Tim Moyer, a sophomore at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia from the Blooming Glen congregation; Felicia Moore, a member at New Beginnings Community Church, who is in her second year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; and Andrew Liemon, a Philadelphia Praise Center attendee and first year Penn State University student. Moyer will work with Franconia Conference, while Moore and Liemon will assist with ministries at their home congregations.
Two students will intern with congregations in the Midwest: John Tyson, a sophomore at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) and a member at Souderton Mennonite Church, who will intern at Christ Community Church in Des Moines, Iowa; and EMU sophomore Jordan Good, a member of Bally Mennonite Church, will spend his 11 weeks with Walnut Hill congregation in Goshen, IN.
Two students will work with congregations on the East coast: Emily Derstine of Plains Mennonite congregation, a sophomore studying at EMU, will spend her summer in Alexandria, VA, with Nueva Esperanza/New Hope Fellowship; and Peter Koontz, a Goshen College junior from Elkhart, IN, will intern with Oxford Circle congregation in Philadelphia. Both churches are Franconia Conference Partners in Mission.
Along with the students in the ministry inquiry program, there will be one Goshen College student who will participate in each of the collegeâ€™s unique inquiry programs â€” camping inquiry and service inquiry: Mercy Oyama, a Goshen College sophomore from West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship, will work alongside various managers at Spruce Lake Retreat in Candensis, PA; Krista Ehst, a junior at Goshen College and member at Perkasie Mennonite Church, will also work at Franconia Conference.
Jessica Cassel, a sophomore at Bluffton University, is fulfilling academic internship requirements through ministry at her home congregation, Souderton Mennonite. Sheldon Good, a Goshen College sophomore, is completing an academic internship for communication in working with Franconia Conference.