Volunteer Position in Washington, D.C.

Volunteer staff needed at The International Guest House in Washington, D.C. with flexibility of two months to a full year (currently scheduling 2018-19) for the ministry of Christian hospitality. The Guest House (a ministry of Allegheny Conference) serves both international and US travelers. Volunteers are provided full room and board in the Guest House and a monthly stipend of $140. Health insurance is paid for full year volunteers if needed. Rotating hospitality duties include cleaning, laundry, maintenance, baking, gardening, and hosting breakfast & the evening tea. The service emphasis is on hospitality to guests and being a community to one another. The house is located in an established neighborhood with access to buses for exploring this historic city.
For inquiries and an application contact: Sara Fretz-Goering (sarafretzgoering@gmail.com) or current staff at the International Guest House (igh.dc.us@gmail.com) (202-726-5808).

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David Swanson Ordained

Close to 175 people witnessed the ordination of David Swanson, pastor of Pittsburgh Mennonite Church, on March 19, 2017. 
Isaac Villegas from Chapel Hill Mennonite Church delivered the morning message and conference minister, David Mishler, carried out the ordination. Special music by Tony Brown and Phillip and Hugo de Luna contributed to the meaningful service. Dave was supported by his wife Karen, two daughters Clara and Benny, his parents, siblings and in-laws. Conference minister, staff and leaders who were in attendance shared a plentiful potluck lunch with the PMC family afterwards featuring the famous Swanson smoked pulled pork.

submitted by Karen Howard

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Michelle Burkholder Licensed

Allegheny Mennonite Conference licensed Michelle Burkholder for ministry at Hyattsville Mennonite Church in Hyattsville, MD on Sunday, March 26.

It was a worship service full of celebration after much waiting.

Burkholder was first installed as associate pastor in October 2013. During the March 26 service, David Mishler, interim conference minister for Allegheny Conference, recognized Hyattsville’s patience in waiting for the licensing. The official announcement on Burkholder’s licensing was made in February.

Burkholder is now the third openly LGBTQ person to be licensed in Mennonite Church USA after Theda Good in 2014 (who was then ordained in 2016), and Mark Rupp in 2015. The licensing also comes more than 30 years after Hyattsville first welcomed an openly LGBTQ person in to membership.

During the service, Burkholder lit the peace lamp, highlighting her licensing as an affirmation of LGBTQ voices in the church. She also thanked “our sister churches in Allegheny Conference, or brother churches, or sibling churches, whatever gender your church is” for their support. After lighting the peace lamp, Burkholder invited anyone in the congregation who identified as LGBTQ to come up front and sing “You’ve got a place (at the welcome table)” from the Sing The Journey hymnal.

Pastor Cynthia Lapp preached on John 9:1-34, when the blind man is healed by Jesus. In her sermon she said, “Today we celebrate. We celebrate because we see. We have not always seen. We do not always see; sometimes we are still blind. Yet we rejoice because today we see. We see the abundant gifts in Michelle Burkholder.”

During the licensing, Mishler invited anyone to lay hands on Burkholder; a majority of the congregation came forward to do so in response.

Many members of Burkholder’s extended family and multiple friends were present for the licensing. Allegheny Conference was represented by Mishler and Joy Cotchen, minister for youth and children. Attendance was estimated at 190; average attendance at Hyattsville is 115.

After the worship service, a fellowship meal was held, featuring a variety of “smooshy” casseroles and jello salads, which are among Burkholder’s favorite foods. Many in the congregation also chose to wear orange, Burkholder’s favorite color.

“This is a meaningful moment for me personally and for Hyattsville as a congregation. It was wonderful to celebrate with the congregation, family members—especially my partner Becky and our son Simon, and with representatives from various churches across the conference,” Burkholder said in reflection on the day.

submitted by Jake Short
member, Admin. Ass’t. of Hyattsville Mennonite Church

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Delegates meet at Morgantown

The spring Faith and Life Gathering of Allegheny Mennonite Conference was held Saturday, March 4th at Morgantown Church of the Brethren in Morgantown, WV. A colorful roll call was done making a mosaic poster with 69 delegates and visitors present for worship, business and sharing. The delegates passed a budget, voted on incoming Leadership Council and Nominating members, had vulnerable discussions, and spent time in thoughtful visioning. A delicious lunch was served with monetary donations being split between the accessibility fund for MCoB and WV flood relief.  While Pastor Wes Bergen accompanied on the guitar the body sang song 118 (formerly 606) Praise God from whom while an offering was being lifted. To quote someone present: May God continue to grant us wisdom, grace, mercy, and joy as we build His kingdom!

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