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….
For Noah Kolb, the journey has moved in unexpected places, bringing challenges and blessings alike. Reflecting on a 45 year ministerial career—the most recent 14 of which he spent in Franconia Conference leadership—Noah says, “I could not have dreamed this path and in many ways it has felt like God has nudged and moved me along step by step.” As Noah anticipates his retirement years, he continues to experience those divine nudgings, offering words of wisdom from his ministerial work.
Updates from the November 3rd ministerial committee meeting: licensings, ordinations, transfers, and more.
Franconia Conference delegates and leaders gathered November 2 at Penn View Christian School in Souderton, Pa. to celebrate God still at work. With a packed auditorium for a third united assembly with Eastern District Conference, representatives gathered to listen and pray, to celebrate newly credentialed and ordained pastoral leaders, and to work alongside one another after an over 150-year rift created two separate Mennonite entities. The theme “God still @ work” was an extension of the 2012 theme, “God @ work.”
At a gathering of church leaders at camp Men-O-Lan in the early 70’s, I heard Gerald Studer (then pastor of Plains Mennonite) say something like: “If I were the only person living on earth, God so loved the world that he would have sent Jesus to die for me.”
As a teenager I was never sure I was good enough to take communion. I knew I did not live up to the expectations of the church community, nor of the Scriptures so I always took communion with much anxiety and guilt. I lacked an understanding of the grace of God and of my own self-worth. All my being and doing good didn’t achieve the peace and confidence I was taught or hoped for.
Due to continued reductions in congregational giving, Franconia Conference has made a number of staffing adjustments, most effective February 1, according to Executive Minister Ertell Whigham. These adjustments are in response to a call by the conference board in May of 2012 to reduce staff FTE (full-time equivalency), stewarding both financial and human resources while better aligning personnel with conference priorities.
The Ministerial Committee met on September 5 and November 7. At our September meeting, we welcomed Ubaldo Rodriguez as a new member of the committee. We took action to approve Kristopher Wint, associate pastor of Finland congregation, for a two-year ministerial license toward ordination and accepted the ordination credentials of John Stoltzfus, conference youth minister and campus pastor at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, from Illinois Conference.
I was born into a Mennonite family with lineages that go back many generations as Mennonites in Europe. I was raised in a Mennonite family and went to a Mennonite church all my life. I was taught in Mennonite schools by Mennonite teachers. I have been an ordained leader in the Mennonite Church for more than forty years. I am glad to be a Mennonite most of the time.
An update from Noah Kolb, Pastor of Ministerial Leadership, on behalf of the Ministerial Committee:
- Derek Cooper, assistant professor of Biblical studies and historical theology at Hatfield (Pa.) Biblical Seminary’ was approved for a two-year license toward ordination. He and his family are members at Deep Run East (Perkasie, Pa.). The seminary, through his congregation, requested a ministerial license for his work in preparing pastors.
April update from the Ministerial Committee on ordinations, licensings, installations, and closings.
by Stephen Kriss, email@example.com As Franconia Conference continues to face a season of declining contributions, the conference moved last month toward a reduction in staff time. Beginning February 1, Noah […]
by Emily Ralph Franconia Conference board and staff decided last month to phase out the conference’s Vision and Finance Plan. The two groups gathered at Wellspring Church of Skippack (Pa.) […]
by Noah Kolb, Plains Three ordinations in 30 days—this is probably the most ordinations Franconia Conference has ever had in one month! These ordinations bear witness to God’s Spirit at […]