MMN Christian Service programs

Please check out the below Christian Service programs and upcoming events sponsored by Mennonite Mission Network

Service Adventure

 Also check out the Facebook page and news article at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mennonitemission.serviceadventure/

Mission Network news article: https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Get-a-Taste-of-Service-Adventure

Youth Venture

 Also check out the Facebook page and news article at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mennonitemission.youthventure/

Mission Network website info: https://www.mennonitemission.net/Serve/Youth%20Venture

 

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Fall Faith and Life Gathering, 2016

The Fall Delegate session of Allegheny Mennonite Conference was held at Crossroads Community Church in the Johnstown area on Saturday, November 1, 2016.

The day began with singing, after which Tom Croyle shared thoughts from Romans 14.  “We all like to be right, but is it not more important that we ‘do what is right’ than that we ‘be right’?”  Tom told the story of a little girl who was lost and although many persons were searching for her it was not until the search party joined hands to move across the area, that her body was found.  “Let us not be a conference who says, ‘If only we had joined hands sooner, instead let us move beyond the struggle to ‘be right’ and find those threads that join us and make our conference ministry effective.”

The roll call of delegates was done in an aura of relaxed spontaneity as each congregation led the group in a children’s song while adding their rock to the symbolic foundation on the worship table.

Joy Cotchen, Minister of Children and Youth, reported that Followers Retreat will be led by Leah Rittenhouse using the book of Romans. Joy is energized by the mentoring relationship she is enjoying with Leah.  2017 summer camps are also being planned with the theme “Go and do likewise”.  Finally Joy reported that she would be leaving the meeting briefly to meet her new granddaughter born just hours before the delegate session began.

Marv Friesen, AMC Moderator, encouraged personal and corporate Bible study that does not have an agenda of proof, but instead an objective of open-ended listening; reading to see God and in so doing, returning to our First Love.

Phoebe Sharp reported on the CLC meeting in October which she and Dave attended.  Resolutions will be processed differently at the assembly in Florida the role of CLC as elders were discussed and evaluation was solicited concerning the conference to conference peer review.

Summarizing his four months in the role of Conference Minister as enjoyable and challenging, Dave Mishler reiterated his objectives as discerning direction for AMC and   sorting through several options in preparation for delegate directional decisions by the end of 2017.   Dave stated that he would like to be the conference minister of the most widely diverse conference one could imagine where Jesus is the center of our faith, community is the center of our lives, and reconciliation is the center of our work.  The heart of a new creation is a ministry deeply committed to reconciliation.

Walter Wink states in his book, The Powers That Be, that in Revelation 2 and 3 , “the congregation was not addressed directly, but through its’ angel.  The angel seemed to be the corporate personality of the church, its ethos or spirit or essence.  Looking back over my own experience of churches, I realized that each church did indeed have a unique personality.  Furthermore that personality was real” (Wink, p.3).

Using Wink’s work as a starting point, delegates met as congregational delegates to discuss:

  • How would you describe the angel of your congregation?
  • How would you describe the angel of Allegheny Mennonite
    Conference?
  • What do you want the angel of your congregation to be
    known for?
  • What do you want the angel of Allegheny Mennonite
    Conference to be known for?

A second table group discussion time focused more specifically on congregational autonomy, forbearance in a model of centrality, and how these two theological and structural models affect the future of AMC.

Participants convened in the sanctuary to share table group’s suggestions and questions.

Sixty-five delegates and additional visitors were present.  An offering of $2,023.00 was collected for the general work of AMC.  Lunch was supplied and served by the Stahl Mennonite youth group and Johnstown Service Adventure.

submitted by Cathy Spory

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AMC Delegates Gather at Laurelville for a Celebration of Congregations and Conference: Centered in Christ, Ephesians 2:11-22

Centered in Christ was the theme for the 140th gathering of Allegheny Mennonite Conference that was held at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center during the weekend of August 5-7, 2016.

Three structured worship sessions featuring Ephesians 2:11-22 were planned and led by University Mennonite Church. Cindy Lapp, Hyattsville’s pastor shared about the pain Hyattsville experienced during their 10 years under “discipline” by AMC, with the hope that this would begin to break down the walls that divide us, leading to true reconciliation. She said other churches may need to tell their own stories of pain. Joe Furry, Pastor at Martinsburg Mennonite, shared his personal journey from Methodism to Anabaptism. He said that being centered in Christ means that we recognize what Christ did for us. Because of what Christ has done, we are changed and we can imagine a peace-filled unity with the other. It’s not because we agree on the details; but, rather because of what Christ has done. That service was closed by Joe standing on one side of the cross and Cindy Lapp standing on the other sideJoy with arm of the cross and the congregation completing the circle while Joe led in prayer. Joy Cotchen, Conference Minister of Children and Youth, told of the abundance of exciting spiritual growth experiences she’s witnessed. We frequently experience fear which creates a dividing wall between us and others because we think it is all about me. The church is enriched by diversity. We can be centered in Christ when we commit ourselves to follow Jesus.

Each service featured a storyteller who shared their faith experience. Eli Studebaker shared what he has experienced as a Ministry Inquiry Program student at Hyattsville Mennonite Church. John Bender, former pastor at Pittsburgh Mennonite, was unable to be with us due to health concerns; so, congregant and family friend, Karen Howard told of her spiritual journey with the family. Wes Horst shared a message from John. Scottdale Mennonite congregants joined us for Sunday’s worship. Maple Grove Pastor Alan Kauffman related his experiences with the Ministry Inquiry Program.

Sunday’s worship included a communion service, passing the Pitcher and Basin to incoming Moderator, Marv Friesen, and installation of David Mishler as AMC Interim Conference Minister. Karen Brandes, University Mennonite was the pianist and Naomi Tice, Springs Mennonite was chorister for each of the worship services.

Worshipful work sessions featured reports from leaders within AMC as well as the broader church, Mennonite Church USA. Saturday morning’s message was brought by Cathy Spory, Kaufman Mennonite Church, AMC Moderator.Cathy and MarvIn Ephesians, people are diverse and relationships are fractured. In Acts 11 Peter is being asked to imagine a new “crayon box”. “We can only imagine what we will look like in the future,” she said. Cathy led participants in an exercise to reimagine atypical uses of a pancake turner and encouraged the embracing and celebration of the harmony created by diversity within Allegheny Conference.

Joy Cotchen, AMC Conf. Minister of Children and Youth, reported youth activities for this year included service projects, Bible studies, Fallowers Retreat, SnowKamp, Jr. High Winter Retreat, and summer camp with seven different Bible teachers. Several of the Youth Cabinet members shared of the great experiences they had this year.

Dale Miller, TriState Relief Sale treasurer reported that at the present time, the gross income is $95,000, the largest gross income on record. A unique quilt whose patches depict each congregation in Conference was auctioned off Saturday evening, garnering a price of $1,325 to also be donated to MCC with a caveat that it would be displayed at future AMC gatherings.

Cathy introducing DaveMany changes in leadership were noted. David Mishler was installed as Interim Conference Minister. David’s hope is to give witness to the way of Jesus: through our diversity, we’re all on our way, and we’ll all be tested. Marv Friesen, University MC, assumes the role of AMC Moderator on August 7 and Enos Tice, Springs MC, becomes Moderator-elect. New members of Leadership Council were introduced: Enos Tice, Erin Letherman, Jane Rittenhouse, and Hannah Bodes. Wes Berger, new pastor of Morgantown Church of the Brethren, was welcomed. A letter from Shalom, a church plant in Pittsburgh, announced the congregation’s dissolution. Ron Spory, pastor of New Life Mennonite Church, announced his church will be closing shortly due to a decline in membership caused by persons relocating due to severe economic issues in the community. Bob Brown,laying of hands Dave Stahl Mennonite’s pastor, and Merle Christner, Pinto’s pastor are both moving on to new church assignments outside of Allegheny Conference. Matt Pritchard, Pastor of Shalom, is moving away. Ser Darj, Bhutanese-Nepali Church’s pastor will no longer be financially supported by Conference. Attendees were invited forward to lay hands on and pray especially for these folks and their transitions.

Although the World’s Attic is now a separate entity from Conference in terms of tax exemption, volunteers from AMC are still welcome and encouraged to continue their involvement in the ministry supporting Mennonite Central Committee. The International Guest House in Washington D.C. is managed by Hyattsville and is also welcoming volunteers from across the Conference to serve in volunteer capacities.

Ervin Stuzman, Executive Director of  Marv & ErvinMennonite Church USA, introduced Terry Shue, our new Conference Minister Rep. for MC USA. Terry stated these are challenging times that represent great opportunities.

Delegates attended various seminars. The Mission Network is working together with AMC church representatives in Costa Rica, Burkina Faso and Ghana. Hyattsville MC is working with local missions partnering with a DC mission unit. The young adults hosted an interactive, intergenerational discussion time.

Everence provided a Saturday evening ice cream sundae social. This was followed by the talent show which featured a dozen different acts and was emceed by the young adults.

by Carolyn Tice

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New Life closing Celebration

pic of church08182016The New Life Mennonite Church, Listie, Pennsylvania, held a closing Celebration Service on Sunday, August 28, 2016 after 22 years of serving the Somerset and Listie communities. There were over 40 people present, including the original 4 couples who had a vision to start this congregation. The day was blessed by family and friends from within conference from Scottdale, State College, Johnstown, and Somerset areas as well as 2 cars traveling from Harrisonburg, VA to celebrate the life of this church. Pastor Ron Spory shared scriptures and stories. He talked about how much his faith has grown and what the members have taught him over the past 16 years. His message was to count your blessings, love the Lord God with all your heart and love others, and be blessed by transformations. There was a time of open sharing and the afternoon was concluded with a refreshment and fellowship time. Thank you Pastor Ron and New Life and may the Lord lead each of you in your spiritual walk.

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