by Emily Ralph, associate director of communication The Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA met last week to review the recommendations of a task force appointed to respond to Mountain […]
by Emily Ralph, associate director of communication All meaningful conversations should happen around a table filled with good food. This particular Sunday afternoon, as we laughed together and swapped stories, […]
Earlier this month, nearly 250 persons from Franconia and Eastern District conference congregations came to ask questions and to listen to Dr. Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA. Franconia Conference leadership invited Stutzman to two town hall meetings…
Ervin Stutzman, Mennonite Church USA Executive Director, will be the featured guest for two town-hall meetings in April. These meetings will be a time for members of Franconia Conference congregations to engage with Stutzman around recent developments in Mennonite Church USA and to ask questions about the denomination’s future.
Franconia Conference delegates gathered February 8 at Franconia Mennonite Church, Telford, Pa., to brainstorm ways of building relationships and collaboration in ministry and mission as part of a two-year direction toward growth and discernment as a community.
After a time of worship and reflection, delegates prayed for their congregations, the conference and denomination, and institutions of the church that are in difficult processes of discernment recognizing the tensions across the denomination related to human sexuality. Conversation then turned to identifying areas for mutual support and engagement; sharing ways that the conference community can strengthen relationships to open possibilities for healthy conversation and collaboration.
It was the summer of 1968. I preached one of my first sermons at Doylestown congregation. In it I called publicans “Republicans,” not once, but twice. Vernon Bishop nearly rolled off his bench. It wasn’t my last blunder or mistake over the next 45 years of ministry….
“Why don’t you take off your coat and stay awhile?”
I couldn’t get my friend’s words out of my mind. I had been in my new home for four months and still my walls were bare. It was time.
It’s the time of year when we gather to share what God is doing in our lives, our ministries and our communities at Franconia Conference Assembly 2013. It’s a time for us to celebrate what God has done, what God is doing, and what God is going to do.
The Constituency Leadership Council (CLC) of Mennonite Church USA met in Michigan this week. The CLC, which includes all 23 conferences of Mennonite Church USA, serves as a group of elders for the denomination. In my capacity as moderator of Franconia Conference I joined this meeting, along with Ertell Whigham, Executive Minister, and Jenifer Eriksen Morales, LEADership Minister.
“It used to be that we all showed up at Conference Assembly to see what we were going to argue about that year,” my friend told me. We laughed together, but I knew there was truth in her statement: our conference gatherings have not always been places for burying the hatchet or beating swords into plowshares.
My most vivid memory from the fall of 1987 was sitting in a circle with my preschool classmates taking turns shaking a jar of cream an impossibly long time until it became—wonder of wonders!—butter. There isn’t much drama when you’re four: arguments over who plays with who on the playground, the boredom of lying wide awake on the mat during naptime, joy at seeing Mom again at the end of the day.
I’ve been a follower of Jesus in the Mennonite tradition for many years. Therefore, for me “to Mennonite” is to instinctively follow the many rhythms and routines that express my core beliefs about Christian discipleship. I engage in particular rhythms of corporate worship and private devotion, action and reflection, exercise and rest, (lots of) work and (sometime too little) play, (too much) speaking and (too little) listening, communal discernment and personal choice. I could expand on each of these routines but I have chosen to address only the last of these several pairs.
by Emily Ralph
We’re a simple people, right?
Yes, I’m a seminary student, but I am often frustrated with those who want to find answers for every single question in the Bible or to debate all the ins and outs of theology. I’m comfortable with a simple faith that learns and accepts, that ponders and lets go, that embraces the ambiguity. I only need to understand theology as far as it affects the way I live.