by Jennifer Svetlik, Salford (Harleysville, PA) congregation
“How lifegiving it is to recognize that our congregations are not just alive on Sunday morning,” shares Margaret Zook, Director of Collaborative Ministries for Mosaic Conference. This new part-time role serves as the team leader for accompaniment relationships with Conference Related Ministries (CRMs).
“There is such a richness in our CRMs,” reflects Zook. “They each have a unique origin and focus on meeting a particular community need.” Zook anticipates assisting congregations and CRMs to bring their skills and knowledge together more intentionally in order to create a more helpful, just, and Spirit-filled community.
Zook brings a wealth of experience to this new role, having worked for and leading several CRMs in southeastern Pennsylvania. For over 20 years she served as Executive Director of Souderton Mennonite Homes, a CRM that was created in 1917. Then five years ago, after Souderton Mennonite Homes merged to become part of Living Branches, Zook was called back to serve as Director of Church and Community Relations. She has also served on numerous boards of community organizations, including 10 years on the board of Penn Foundation, another CRM.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with CRMs through my professional life and board work,” shares Zook. “These experiences have made me see the value of being connected to and supported by the conference.”
In her role Zook will visit the CRMs and relate to their boards and leadership. She will listen to and share the stories of their missions, successes, and needs across the conference. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to walk along the existing and new and emerging CRMs,” Zook explains. “Hearing, seeing, and sharing the transforming work that is being done is such an honor.”
Zook knows the value of a conference network for these organizations. “A foundation of faith and a connection to church sets CRMs apart from other nonprofit organizations,” she shares. “It gives a sense of accountability that is a stabilizing force for an organization.”
Most of Zook’s life has been in southeastern Pennsylvania, both intentionally as well as by birth. “I have loved my congregation [Salford] and my community,” Zook reflects. She has a fairly large extended family, which includes ten grandchildren. She enjoys visiting her family in Florida and Colorado and staying in touch with them however she can.
Zook and her husband value walking together, and currently have a goal to walk the entire Perkiomen Trail, in sections. She is an avid reader and is a member of two book clubs. She enjoys gardening and friendships.
Professionally and personally, Zook identifies her faith as a motivating factor for life. “My faith drives me in a way I can’t put fully into words,” she explains. “It is who I am and what I do, and it leads me to service. I believe God has placed us here to make this earth a better place, to serve the beautiful earth and its people.”