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.
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