Harleysville, Pa., February 4 2011—John Goshow, Moderator of Franconia Mennonite Conference, today announced that Ertell M. Whigham Jr. has accepted the position of Executive Minister of the Conference for an initial two year period effective February 3, 2011. Ertell succeeds Noel Santiago who has served in various ministries with the Franconia Mennonite Conference the past fourteen years and more recently as Executive Minister.
The Conference Board and its Executive Committee have met frequently over the past several months to discern the leadership needed to help Franconia Conference achieve its mission, which is to equip leaders to empower others to embrace God’s mission. The review process included consultation with current leadership, Mennonite Church USA and resources outside the church.
“Ertell brings a strong background in church leadership, vision cultivation and collaborative management to Franconia Conference,” said Goshow. “Ertell did not ask for this role, but through prayerful discernment, much discussion and listening by the Conference Board, we came to the decision that his gifts and skills meet the needs of Franconia Conference at this time. We are thankful that God’s marvelous Spirit worked in advance to prepare Ertell for this invitation.”
Ertell noted, “I appreciate the confidence the Conference Board has shown by appointing me to this position. My work in Franconia Conference for more than 10 years has been very satisfying and I look forward to the increased responsibility this position will offer. I am very grateful for the service provided by Noel Santiago for the past fourteen years and will be in communication with him about a continuing role on the Franconia Conference staff”.
Ertell has been a valued member of Conference staff since 2000 and has recently provided significant staff leadership and management. He was born and raised in north Philadelphia, and attended the Center for Urban Theological Studies where he majored in Human Resource Management. Ertell served on the pastoral teams of Diamond Street Church of Philadelphia and Bethel Mennonite Church of Norristown, Pa. In 1990 he helped to establish Nueva Vida Norristown New Life, where he is currently an associate pastor. In addition to his ministry experience, Ertell also brings substantial business experience to his new role, having worked for Ehrlich Pest Control for 27 years as a District Manager. He and his wife, Patricia, have three children and five grandchildren.
Franconia Mennonite Conference, one of 21 conferences that comprise Mennonite Church USA, is a network of congregations, ministries, partnerships and initiatives continuing to emerge out of over 300 years of Anabaptist witness and faith in the Western Hemisphere that began in Philadelphia. The Conference is made up of 43 member congregations along with 22 conference-related ministries situated from Atlanta to Vermont. The Franconia Mennonite Conference Board is comprised of the following members: John Goshow, Chair; Miriam Book, Vice Chair; Marta Castillo; Joe Hackman; Jim King; Beny Krisbianto; Jim Laverty; James Longacre Jr.; Randy Nyce; Rina Rampogu; and Nelson Shenk.