Allegheny Miscellany

By David Mishler, Conference Minister                                   Volume 11 – November 2018

#1 – Faith and Life Gathering – November 3 – University Mennonite Church (State College, PA).
Thank you to everyone who attended the gathering at University Mennonite and to everyone at UMC who welcomed us, provided for us, led in worship – it was a great day!  We laughed, cried, contemplated, listened, made decisions – all as part of a process in becoming a sustainable conference within MC USA.  Thanks also to Doug Luginbill and Central District Conference for your encouragement and support as our “strategic partner.”  Our new treasurer, Karin Miller (Springs), is learning the ropes and getting ready to send us an inspirational look at our ministries and priorities as we begin planning for next year’s work.  Be looking for something in your mailboxes from Allegheny in the next few weeks!  Give generously! We need your prayers, love and financial support!

#2 – Time For Thanksgiving!
“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.  We remember … your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that God has chosen you!” (I Thessalonians 1:2-4a).  I can’t say strongly enough how much I appreciate the work of our congregations!  You inspire me to move into the fray of challenging one another to be the best representatives of Jesus Christ in this present age.  BNCP, Crossroads, Grace, Hyattsville, Masontown, Morgantown, Philippi, Pittsburgh, Scottdale, Springs, Stahl, and University – May God fill you and everyone in your congregation with passion and joy and thanksgiving as you live out your call in the place you find yourself today!

#3 – Leadership Council Retreat
Please be in prayer for our Leadership Council who will meet for a three-day retreat January 25-27 where we develop vision and budget for 2019.  We will continue to provide resources to our pastors and congregations, adjust our children and youth programming to fit with current realities, represent our vision of Jesus-centered-collaborative-placed-based ministry into national conversations, invite congregations seeking a home within MC USA to consider Allegheny, and address the challenges of staying well-informed about current statutory requirements to keep our organization on solid footing.  If you have specific dreams or concerns you want to communicate to the Leadership Council, send your information to office@alleghenmennoniteconference.org and we will forward to our Moderators.

Please respond with your questions, comments, hopes and dreams to this post.  If you are viewing this post in your email account, use your email “reply” as one way to respond.  Or if you are reading this post on our website, post a comment here.  All online comments are screened before they go live.

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University Mennonite Church Celebrates Installation of Kate Heinzel as Lead Pastor

University Mennonite Church in State College, PA, held a service of installation for its new lead pastor, Kate Heinzel, on October 21, 2018.

Dave Mishler, Allegheny Mennonite Conference minister leads in Kate’s installation

Dave Mishler, Allegheny Mennonite Conference Minister, led the installation service. Joanne Dietzel, Atlantic Coast Conference Minister, presented the sermon, entitled “Come and Rest.”

Heinzel, who officially began the position as lead pastor at University Mennonite on September 1, came to State College from Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster. Most recently she served as staff chaplain with Lancaster General Health.

An ordained minister in Mennonite Church, USA, she describes herself as “not a cradle Mennonite. I was raised Catholic and chose Anabaptism in my early 20’s. I felt I had found a good fit – to have a space for my gifts and to focus on peace, justice, and the community of believers.”

Kate answer’s personal questions during ‘Children’s Time’

Heinzel sees her role as pastor of University Mennonite in three components: First, she looks forward to preaching on Sunday mornings. The second is pastoral care – getting to know the individuals that make up the University Mennonite community. And the third is gift discernment. “As I take on this new pastoral role, I’m looking forward to hearing where this body of diverse believers sees us going as we do the work of the church together,” she says.

A lover of all things outdoors, Heinzel enjoys hiking, backpacking, and biking. She has four adult children.

– submitted by Krista Weidner

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Allegheny Miscellany

By David Mishler, Conference Minister                                          Volume 10 – October 2018

#1 – Faith and Life Gathering – November 3 – University Mennonite Church (State College, PA).
Calling all delegates (and all persons interested in the future of Allegheny)!  We will gather for a pivotal meeting in State College.  Working toward a sustainable budget and staffing patterns, reviewing the work and proposals from our Affiliation Task Group, and hearing stories and praying for Springs, University and 3rd Way Collective, among other important agenda, are all on the docket for our fall meeting.

Coming out of our strong time together at Laurelville in August, we are poised to make some important decisions about our near and long-term future as a conference.  We should have a sense of congregational support for the coming year as our new treasurer, Karin Miller, is researching with our congregations what to expect for congregational contributions in 2019-20.  The Leadership Council is setting clear priorities which we will review together.

#2 – FINANCIAL UPDATE
Cash flow continues to be strong into early fall, due to the administrative fee, and the gifts from Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference and Central District Conference (CDC).  Together these conferences have gifted Allegheny $8,300 to be used in the current fiscal year.  And CDC has committed another $4,000 for next fiscal year.  Great thanks to these conferences for their interest and support of this sister conference!  We are using significantly less of our reserves than anticipated, giving us a much clearer path to sustainability by 2020-21.  Thank you also to all congregations and donors for your responses and support.  A year-end fundraising letter will go out in early December to all delegates and past contributors which is designed to raise the $15,000 of receipts called for in our annual spending plan.  Give generously as you are able!

#3 – MERGER of The Mennonite and Mennonite World Review     
Posted on October 5, 2018
Through the proposed merger of The Mennonite, Inc. (TMI) and Mennonite World Review (MWR), Mennonite Church USA will lose its official media platform (both print and digital) dedicated to MC USA voices and news. The merged organization will function as an independent editorial voice serving a variety of Anabaptist communities including MC USA, but without organizational ties to any particular Anabaptist denomination.

Read more background information and Frequently Asked Questions here:
http://mennoniteusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Merger-FAQ-_-Final.pdf

The MC USA Executive Board and staff are seeking input from the broader church as we navigate the merger process and discern our communication needs moving forward.

Mennonite Church USA constituency are asked to please complete a survey at the following link no later than October 29:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TMIdissolution

Please respond with your questions, comments, hopes and dreams to this post.  If you are viewing this post in your email account, use your email “reply” as one way to respond.  Or if you are reading this post on our website, post a comment here.  All online comments are screened before they go live.

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Allegheny Miscellany

By David Mishler, Conference Minister      Volume 9 – Aug/Sept 2018

#1 – Laurelville Celebration of Congregations and Conference offers foundation for new life.
Abundance on the Journey was a formational weekend which pastors, delegates and visitors from across the church found both sobering and inspirational.  The weekend, planned by pastors Dave Swanson & Cindy Lapp, along with a worship team from Pittsburgh Mennonite and speakers Michelle Burkholder, Dave Swanson and Jayne Byler, was a departure from business as usual and focused on acknowledgement of pain and hope from each of our congregations.  ALAS and ANEW, we looked at what has brought us to this point in our history and what could launch us into a new future.  Centered in Jesus, working collaboratively, developing placed-based ministries in our various neighborhoods – is our vision which we believe can build unity in the midst of our diversity to be disciples who walk in the way of Christ.  Powerfully good stuff, supplying abundance for our continued journey.

We also heard from Doug Luginbill, conference minister for Central District Conference (CDC) and Michael Danner, denominational minister for church vitality who shared vision and direction for our connections with sister conferences and MC USA.  Feedback from delegates at both Central District Conference and Allegheny strongly support AMC continuing as our own conference.  Financial support from Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference and CDC is making it possible for AMC to build a bridge to a solid financial future as staffing and budget priorities are sorted out over the next two years.

#2 – FINANCIAL UPDATE
With the introduction of the new “administrative fee” of $500 per congregation, due between July 1 and August 31, Allegheny has experienced the best summertime cash flow in decades.  Some congregations used this as an opportunity to increase giving.  Some made quarterly contributions early.  An early first read of trends shows that we are on track for expending less of our reserves than anticipated, which will help us build toward a fully balanced budget for 2019-20.  Thank you to all congregations and donors for your responses.  A fund letter is planned to go out in early December which is designed to raise the $15,000 of receipts called for in our annual spending plan.  Give generously as you are able!

#3 – FUTURE EVENTS
Our next Faith and Life Gathering will be held on November 3 at University Mennonite Church in State College, PA.  A final report from the CDC/AMC Affiliation Task Force, along with a proposal for the character and shape of how we might affiliate with CDC, will be the major delegate focus.  We will also be reviewing potential revisions to our staffing arrangements and other ways of refining our financial priorities going into our next round of budget preparation.

University Mennonite Church has welcomed new leader pastor Kathryn (Kate) Heinzel, who began her term of service on September 1.  There will be an installation service for Kate on October 21.  Everyone is invited to attend.

With the receipt of contributions from IN-MI and CDC, Allegheny will be sending a full complement of representatives to the next Constituency Leaders Council (CLC) meeting in Chicago, October 11-13.  Phoebe Sharp, Enos Tice and David Mishler will be attending.

Please respond with your questions, comments, hopes and dreams to this post.  If you are viewing this post in your email account, use your email “reply” as one way to respond.  Or if you are reading this post on our website, post a comment here.  All online comments are screened before they go live.

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