No matter what you think of the Beatles, drummer Ringo Starr had it right when he sang that peace, trust, and love—“you know, it don’t come easy.” The same thing goes for change.
For several years, Franconia Conference has been on the forefront of change. It’s been a “love-hate” relationship, to say the least. At Fall Assembly we sang, “People from every nation and tongue, from generation to generation” (Israel Houghton, You are good, 2001). People from different cultural backgrounds and generations continue to embrace Jesus, the church, and the Anabaptist vision in both Franconia Conference and Eastern District Conference. God’s Dream is alive among us. So is change.
Since 1997, Franconia Conference has taken some steps toward becoming a multicultural conference. But the root of white Mennonite identity runs deep, and the work of dismantling racism in our conference “system” signaled that necessary change was coming. Predictable resistance and conflict ensued revealing that we have a long way to go.
The Spirit invites us to a new identity that encompasses all our people and congregations. We need to redefine how we engage in mission. We need a different way of dealing with power and leadership issues—a different way of being the people of God together.
I believe that God’s transformation is available for us. The Damascus Road Anti-racism analysis training offers an in-depth analysis of how power and identity shape us as a people and as a church. It opens a whole new way of understanding the God’s reign in the Anabaptist perspective.
Transformation is hard and change can be scary. However, change that honors God and moves the church closer to God’s Kingdom is the most exciting, fulfilling, life-giving transformation we can ever experience. Can we trust God in this process of new learnings, new understandings, new ways of being the Church? For such a time as this?
The 11th annual Damascus Road Anti-racism Analysis Training is Friday–Sunday, February 25-27, at Philadelphia Mennonite High School. Will you come, with leaders of your congregation and our conference, to lay a new foundation and understanding for the transformation that God has for us?
Training details and registration are available here.