Wes Bergen preaches Sunday morning

Allegheny Mennonite Conference met in their annual “Celebration of Congregations and Conference” at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center (Mt. Pleasant, PA), August 2-4, 2019. Worship, seminars, delegate collaboration, puzzles, Dutch blitz, MDS’s Storm Encounter, and the wonderful outdoor setting at Laurelville filled the weekend with appreciation, joy and thoughtful reflection. Dave Mishler (Scottdale), Kate Heinzel (University), and Wes Bergen (Morgantown CoB) brought messages focused on “Much Fruit” (theme for the weekend) based on the John 15:1-8 text.

Activities for all ages were available throughout the weekend. Laurelville’s new pool was a big splash! Tent camping, hiking, fellowship around the meal tables and a few thunderstorms rounded out the weekend. Delegates and visitors heard reports from staff and special reports from Shana Peachey Boshart (MC USA Denominational Minister for Christian Formation) about the recent national convention and from Les Horning (Mennonite Central Committee) about upcoming centennial celebration for this relief, development and peace agency of the family of numerous Mennonite/Anabaptist denominations.

Late night puzzles spilled into
new days

Some 100 persons (children, youth and adults) took in the weekend. Nine of Allegheny’s twelve congregations were represented. An announcement was made that West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship is in the early stages of transitioning conference affiliation to Allegheny. About 125 persons attended the concluding worship event, which featured a celebration of communion and prayer of blessing for new and continuing staff and conference workers. Plans are underway for next year’s event – July 31 to August 2, 2020.

Lester Lind (Philippi) and John Tennefoss (Grace) shed new light on electronic contributions, but are concerned about cards being “swiped.”
Kate Heinzel brings a message to “abide”, from the Shenandoah
Pittsburgh Mennonite Church in their camping environment, sharing a meal.
Hyattsville planned and led worship for the weekend: Keith Swartzendruber (Hyattsville) led the closing worship.

(Photos by Phoebe Sharp)

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Allegheny Miscellany

By David Mishler, Conference Minister                  Volume 19 – July 2019

#1 – Mennonite Convention 2019 in Kansas City: MennoCon19 is history.  By most measures, it was something of a watershed event. Significant Bible study with Tom Yoder Neufeld, inter-generational worship services with a wide variety of music, inspirational speakers, timely workshops.  If my observations are correct, Allegheny had eight of our twelve congregations represented in Kansas City.  We had Step-Up youth delegates participate. A new Spirit of visioning our future, led by Executive Director Glen Guyton and his staff seems to be serving MC USA well as we navigate the current journey forward.  Keep the future of Mennonite Church USA in your prayers.

#2 – Summer Celebration at Laurelville – August 2-4! Much Fruit!  Yes, it is always a busy summer every other year when national convention is followed shortly by our Summer Celebration of Congregations and Conference.  Our new access to the PayPal payment system is up and running, so you will be able to pay your conference fees with a credit card on site at Laurelville (or by check as normal).

Dave Mishler (Scottdale), Kate Heinzel (University) and Wes Bergen (Morgantown CoB) will be preaching.  What is your vision for the “much fruit” Allegheny should be planting, tending, harvesting and enjoying?  I look forward to worshipping, fellowshipping, laughing and contemplating with you!  Check your email for the conference “booklet” materials for your review and preparation.  Shana Peachey Boshart will be joining us from MC USA along with numerous representatives from the larger church.  Let’s come to tune in to one another for inspiration, collaboration and discernment in our place-based ministries.   See you soon!

#3 – Summer Camp – “I AM” – who Jesus is and who I am: Well done – to all the staff at Laurelville and our Allegheny summer camp staff!  Many memories and discipleship connections were made over the six weeks of Laurelville/AMC jointly- sponsored camps for some 190 children and youth 6 to 17 years old.  Many thanks and congratulations to Jeanette Lahm (Laurelville executive director), Kimmie Stradling (Laurelville program director), Joy Cotchen (conference minister of children and youth) and Leah Rittenhouse (summer camp director) for their work. 

#4 – New minister report: We recognize newly licensed minister – Naomi Tice – whose credentialing was requested by Springs Mennonite Church and Mennonite Mission Network. Naomi has been on assignment with MMN in the United Kingdom.  Her License for Specific Ministry (LSM) will assist in retaining proper visas and enable her to expand her work with the several organizations she works with.  Congratulations Naomi!

Springs Mennonite Church has also recently called John Verburg – pastor, mission worker and college professor – to become their pastor beginning September 1.  Currently seeking housing and transitioning from his work in Alabama, John and his wife, Faith, are anticipating cooler temperatures, if not longer and colder winters!  Keep Springs and the Verburgs in your prayers as they begin their new assignment.

#5 – Fiscal year-end better than budget! Thank you to all congregations, conferences and individuals who helped propel AMC to stay on track to reach a balanced budget by 2021.  You can review the financial reports on our website and delegates can counsel together at Celebration as we plan to achieve our financial goals in the coming years.

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 18 – June 2019

#1 – Preparing for Mennonite Convention 2019 in Kansas City It’s here!  Our biennial convention is upon us.  I hope to see many of you in Kansas City next week.  All congregations in Mennonite Church USA are eligible to send delegates to the biennial convention – 1 for every 100 persons or fraction thereof.  I expect this convention to  build on the “Journey Forward” and the “Renewed Commitments” coming out of Orlando 2017 – http://mennoniteusa.org/journey-forward/.  Please be in prayer for this important gathering and for the future of Mennonite Church USA.

#2 – Only 35 days to Summer Celebration at Laurelville – August 2-4!  Much Fruit!  If you haven’t registered yet, find the form online or call Kathy at the conference office to confirm your place.  Our PayPal account is up and running, so you will be able to pay with credit card on site at Laurelville (or by check as normal).

John 15:1-8 – Dave Mishler (Scottdale), Kate Heinzel (University) and Wes Bergen (Morgantown CoB) will be preaching.  From which frame of reference do you see God’s kingdom – a frame of scarcity or a frame of abundance?  Deep roots, tending the vines, much fruit.

The conference “booklet” will soon be available online for your review and preparation.  Come to be inspired by MC USA denominational staff, to participate in worshipful work, to seek the Spirit, find refreshment and be challenged to keep Jesus at the center, collaborate in our work together as congregations, and to encourage one another by our place-based ministries.

Bring table games, puzzles, Rook and Dutch Blitz (not for the feint of heart) and other favorites for Friday and Saturday post meeting shenanigans.

#3 – Summer Camp – “I AM” – who Jesus is and who I am  Allegheny Conference and Laurelville jointly-sponsored summer camps for 6- to 17-year-olds are going full throttle right now!  The new pool is open.  Many younger folks (about 189 young lives) are being formed and transformed under the able leadership of our conference minister of children and youth, Joy Cotchen, and camp director, Leah Rittenhouse, along with a full roster of great counselors.  Keep our summer camping program in your prayers this summer!

#4 – International Guest House needs you!  IGH is fully staffed with volunteers most of the year.  The summer months are notorious for not having enough volunteers to fill the gap. Can you make yourself available for a short (or longer) stint this summer?  Check out their website to learn more about this ministry – https://igh-dc.com/

#5 – Fiscal year-end approaching – anticipating good news  Not all the final numbers are in, but as reported earlier, we will use less of our reserves than our spending plan predicted at the beginning of our current fiscal year.  We expected to use $13,765 of our $31,900 of reserves.  With your commitments to sustain Allegheny Conference, we now project that we will use only $4,800 of our reserves.  Our delegates gave us a mandate to produce a balanced budget by 2021.  We are clearly making good progress toward that mandate.  Allegheny continues to offer a place where pastors can support one another, congregations can live out their calling in their local neighborhoods and we sharpen each other through creative collaboration – consider your fiscal year-end contribution to support AMC.  There will also be opportunity to start off the new year on a bright note with offerings to be collected at our Celebration gathering at Laurelville.  Come prepared as the Lord leads you!

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 17 – May 2019

#1 Preparing for Mennonite Convention 2019 in Kansas City All congregations in Mennonite Church USA are eligible to send delegates to the biennial convention – 1 for every 100 persons or fraction thereof.  About half of our congregations send delegates every two years.  In order to encourage more congregations to send delegates, if your congregation has not sent persons for at least the last two conventions (2015 & 2017), MC USA is offering a substantial discount on the cost of registration to encourage all congregations to consider sending representatives.  I expect this convention to  build on the “Journey Forward” and the “Renewed Commitments” coming out of Orlando 2017 – http://mennoniteusa.org/journey-forward/.  Call the conference office for details about the discounts for MennoCon19!
 
#2 – 71 days to Summer Celebration at Laurelville – August 2-4
Yes, it’s time!  Time to get your registrations in for our Summer Celebration.  Worship, collaboration, inspiration, new beginnings!  All will be part of this year’s gathering – Much Fruit!  The registration form can be found online.  You may pay by check or, with a little good fortune, you may be able to use your credit card or PayPal account by August meeting time!

John 15:1-8 is our scripture focus.  Dave Mishler (Scottdale), Kate Heinzel (University) and Wes Bergen (Morgantown CoB) will be preaching.  From which frame of reference do you see God’s kingdom – a frame of scarcity or a frame of abundance?  Deep roots, tending the vines, much fruit.

We will be introducing a congregation, West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship, who has decided to join Allegheny Mennonite Conference.  There is both joy and sorrow as decisions are made about the best conference affiliation for congregations who are seeking to give witness to their discerned vision and call of Christ in their local contexts.
Bring table games, puzzles, Rook and Dutch Blitz (not for the feint of heart) and other favorites for Friday and Saturday post meeting shenanigans.
 
#3 – Summer Camp – “I AM” – who Jesus is and who I am – identity building par excellence!
Just a reminder it is not too late to register for summer camp at Laurelville for ages 6-17. Go to Laurelville.org to register, you will receive a discount for being an AMC congregation.
 
#4 – International Guest House needs you!
IGH is fully staffed with volunteers most of the year.  The summer month are notorious for not having enough volunteers to fill the gap. Can you make yourself available for a short (or longer) stint this summer?  Check out their website to learn more about this ministry – https://igh-dc.com/
 
#5 – Fiscal year-end approaching – anticipating good news
As of this writing, we anticipate that we will use less of our reserves than our spending plan predicted at the beginning of our current fiscal year, which began July 1, 2018.  We expected to use $13,765 of our $31,000 of reserves.  Because of increased giving, mostly from individuals and sister conferences, we project using only about $4,000, a net positive of some $9,000.  Our delegates gave us a mandate to produce a balanced budget by 2021.  We are clearly making good progress toward that mandate.  Allegheny continues to offer a place where pastors can support one another, congregations can live out their calling in their local neighborhoods and we sharpen each other through creative collaboration – consider your year-end contribution to support AMC.
 
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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