There is much work that is done within the Conference and each person, committee, taskforce, congregations and Conference Related Ministry plays a role in that work. On April 13, Franconia Conference announced that Mary Nitzsche’s role in the work of the Conference would be changing as she joins Conference Staff, stepping down from the Chair of the Ministerial Committee and her role as a pastor at Blooming Glen Mennonite Church. While Blooming Glen enters a process of discernment to fill the role left by Mary, so too the Conference has been discerning who God might be calling to fill the role of Chair of the Ministerial Committee.
The Chair of the Ministerial Committee also would serve on the Franconia Conference Board and oversee the Credentialing Committee which conducts interviews of credentialing candidates. This is a large role, as the Ministerial Committee is responsible for overall policies related to the calling, credentialing, training, and disciplining of those persons being credentialed by the Conference, along with the granting of ministerial credentials in keeping with A Mennonite Polity for Ministerial Leadership.
Through much discernment the Board invited current Ministerial Committee member Ken Burkholder to serve as interim Chair of the Ministerial Committee. According to the Conference bylaws, this is a role that is to be appointed by the delegate assembly which does not meet until November 4. In order to ensure that the work of the Conference can continue, the Board agreed that Ken would be able to easily step into the role of chair and would be a good fit for the position long term.
Conference Moderator John Goshow stated, “Ken’s six years of experience serving on the Conference’s Ministerial Committee makes him uniquely qualified to fill the role of chair for this important committee.”
Ken’s name will be presented to the delegates at the Fall 2017 Assembly for the role of Ministerial Committee Chair and subsequently a member of the Conference Board.
Ken was originally appointed by the Conference Delegate Assembly to the Ministerial Committee in 2011. He attended Eastern Mennonite Seminary (EMS) and received his Masters in Divinity in 2005 after working in the business world for 11½ years. Since his graduation from EMS he has been serving as lead pastor at Deep Run East Mennonite Church. He and his wife Karen (Frankenfield) Burkholder have two children – Alyssa (20) and Justin (17), a recent graduate of Dock Academy.
Executive Minister, Steve Kriss, says, “Ken brings pastoral and professional experience that offers significant wisdom and insight to lead the important work of the ministerial committee. He will be a valuable board member as well helping to represent the current needs and possibilities of our Conference’s credentialed leaders. I’m grateful for his willingness to accept this position and responsibility in this time of transition to help offer stability and strength to our ongoing work together.”
When asked about his new role as interim chair Ken stated, “It’s an honor and privilege to respond to this call – serving God, and the church, as interim chair. I look forward to continuing to work with a terrific team of people on the Ministerial Committee, as we, together, give leadership to the credentialing of persons across Franconia Mennonite Conference.”
In his spare time, Ken enjoys being with family, cheering for the Phillies, reading, and running.