It was “Mutual Transformation,” not COVID-19, at the forefront when Mosaic Conference met for its Assembly on November 6, 2021. While in-person gatherings were originally planned, COVID-related upsurges led to a completely virtual event. Up to 175 logins were recorded during the annual delegate session.
From the beginning, the theme of transformation and the opportunities brought about by the Conference’s growing diversity were center stage. In the first hour, Moderator Ken Burkholder and Assistant Moderator Angela Moyer Walter, led the delegates in reflections on the theme’s text, Romans 12:2-10. Burkholder reminded the delegates that transformation only occurs when Jesus is at the center of who we are as a church.
Following, two congregations, Peña de Horeb (Philadelphia, PA), a predominantly Latino congregation, and Faith Chapel (Los Angeles, CA), a predominantly West African immigrant congregation, were welcomed into Conference membership. Peña de Horeb is a relatively new congregation, while Faith Chapel is an established congregation that realigned its membership within MC USA.
Joining Mosaic’s Church Related Ministries (CRM) is the Midian Leadership Project, of Charleston, WV. The Midian Project is an outreach ministry that develops leaders from the local youth community. Each ministry was showcased in a video log story that included interviews and site visits. Delegates then gave a 99% vote of affirmation for these new members of Mosaic Conference.
Credentialed leadership was also celebrated. Thirteen newly credentialed leaders were introduced and welcomed with words of affirmation from Leadership Ministers. The Conference also noted those who were retiring from their years of meaningful service and paid tribute to those ministers who have passed away during past year.
In the second hour, delegates were invited to reflect on the Conference priorities of being missional, formational, and intercultural. A brief missional video told the story of Mosaic Pastor Virgo Handojo, of Jemaat Kristen Indonesian Anugerah (JKIA), of Sierra Madre, CA. In the past year, Pastor Virgo mobilized several Mosaic congregations and invited Mosaic Conference to assist Indonesians on the Island of Java and Sulawesi to access COVID-19 vaccines and other pandemic-related assistance. Raising almost $40,000 through the fundraising efforts in communities and matching grants from the conference’s missional operation fund, over 8,000 individuals received vaccinations and other material assistance.
A story of formational work in the Conference was told by a group of Mosaic Conference Latino youth who participated in a Civil Rights tour of the southern USA through Mennonite Mission Network. In learning the stories of a previous generation’s struggle, these Mosaic youth were encouraged and strengthened to engage in their own efforts to work for equality and justice in the world they are inheriting.
Blooming Glen (PA) Mennonite Church, a predominantly white congregation, shared an intercultural story. In response to recent civic and racial unrest, the congregation engaged in a process of study and reflection, utilizing MC USA curriculum and conversations with members from Oxford Circle Mennonite Church, an intercultural congregation in Philadelphia, PA.
Following these stories, delegates were assigned to small groups and invited to reflect on what they heard and experienced in their congregations. Of significant note from delegate feedback was the observation that Mosaic Conference is being mutually transformed by Jesus in our missional, formational, and intercultural competency.
“Mosaic Conference is being mutually transformed by Jesus in our missional, formational, and intercultural competency”
As Indonesian pastors lead missional efforts of global healing and hope, Latino youth explore what it means to be formed by a gospel that undoes the perniciousness of racism, and a white congregation listens and learns from faith communities of color, Mosaic is becoming a transformed body of Christ.
The next Mosaic Assembly will be Saturday, November 5, 2022. We plan, God willing, to meet face-to-face.