Stephen Kriss firstname.lastname@example.org
After decades of partnership, both formal and informal, Andover (Vt.) Community Church and Franconia Mennonite Conference have disengaged. Most recently, the Andover congregation had been considered a Partner in Mission through the credentialing of the congregation’s pastors, Dan and Christine Chapman. After the termination of the Chapman’s leadership of the congregation and upon further consultation, the relationship effectively ended in November of 2007.
Andover’s historic ties to Franconia Conference go back to its beginning as families with connections to conference congregations in Pennsylvania settled in Vermont in the 1960s. In recent years, the relationship had become more tenuous. Now, suggesting that the direction of the Mennonite Church USA was not in alignment with the congregation’s future, congregational members have sought to distance themselves further from the larger bodies that include the conference and the denomination. According to Donella M. Clemens, who serves as Franconia Conference’s liaison to congregations and ministries in Vermont, “In the seven years that I have related to the group at Andover we have enjoyed times of wonderful fellowship together. We wish them the grace and blessing of God as they tell of the good news of Jesus Christ through their congregational life and worship and in their witness to the Andover community.”
“While it’s always sad and difficult to see a congregation move in a different direction,” says Franconia Conference Executive Minister Noel Santiago, “We recognize that they are pursuing what is God’s call to them at this point in time. Into the future, we are committed to deepening partnerships and ministries in Vermont. We celebrate the many persons have been faithful throughout the years in the work of Andover Community Church and we are grateful to God and each one.”