by Nelson Shenk, Boyertown congregation
Boyertown (PA) Mennonite Church began in 1780 as an extension of nearby Bally Mennonite Church to accommodate folks who lived in the Boyertown (Colebrookdale) area. For many years they shared ministerial leadership and even alternated meeting houses. As of 1847, we have been operating as our own entity completely separate from Bally but still a sister congregation in Franconia Mennonite Conference.
The Boyertown community is a mainly blue-collar town although it is also a bedroom community for the King of Prussia area as more people move westward along the Route 422 corridor. Our membership is drawn mostly from the Boyertown, Gilbertsville, and Pottstown area, although we do extend well beyond that with some of our members.
Our mission statement is “to be a Christian community of healing and growth.” We work at that by ministering to folks who have come to us with some significant issues in their lives such as divorce, blended families, drug and alcohol abuse, and incarceration. We attempt to be “family” to each other through consistent nurture and support.
We plan regular “Family Days” events that appeal to a wide range of ages so that we interact on many different levels. Other strong means of connections are found in senior fellowship, men’s and women’s Bible studies, small groups, monthly prayer meetings, men’s and women’s retreats and an active group of quilters. As a small congregation we believe that healing and growth happens best in these contexts where we get to know each other in-depth.
We tend to be very informal in our structure and our interactions. We have drawn in folks of all stripes and backgrounds, including those on disability, ex-offenders, farmers, educated professionals, truck drivers, factory workers, child care workers, mechanics, teachers, and many retired folks. In our diversity what everyone has in common is a love of Jesus and a desire to share that love with a wide variety of folks. We also strive to encourage a world-view through missions support and monthly giving projects.
Our local congregational ministry is filled with joys and sorrows. We have seen both great successes in healing and growth while experiencing devastating losses. We realize that God has called us to be present with one another in ministry as we leave the results up to him.
One amazing story from the past two years centers on a woman and her daughter who were undocumented citizens from Mexico. She had married a man from our church and they had two children together when she and her daughter decided to take the necessary steps to get their green cards. When the mother returned to Mexico for the final step in the process she did not receive her green card and had to stay in Mexico for over a year. With much prayer and petitioning, however, she eventually got her green card and is now back home with her family and they are moving on in praise of what God and our congregation did for them.
One struggle we face on a regular basis is finding enough folks to carry on the tasks of ministry. So often the same people are called on to lead us, and that can result in burn out, so please keep us in prayer. We call on God to send us workers because the need is great.
Boyertown Mennonite Church asks for your prayers, that God would continue to raise up younger folks to take the places of older leaders in the church who have passed away.