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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Rebecca Barrett-Fox in State College, PA – April 13 & 14

We were thrilled to have Rebecca Barrett-Fox in town to help us break down walls of hatred and exclusion as part of our annual Palm Sunday Peace Walk. Her voice was an incredible gift to a campus and community that is still working to be a place where all people can not only co-exist but also thrive. Dr. Barrett-Fox also spoke at an evening event on Saturday of that weekend, and was the guest-preacher for a collaborative Palm Sunday service with University Mennonite Church and University Baptist & Brethren Church on Palm Sunday morning.

Rebecca Barrett Fox is Rebecca Barrett-Fox is assistant professor of sociology at Arkansas State.  She lives in the Wasatch Mountains in northeastern Utah with her husband Jason (Bethel ’01), a professor of rhetoric and writing, and their three school-aged children.

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Article and photos by Ben Wideman.

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April’s Allegheny Miscellany

By David Mishler, Conference Minister                                                  Volume 16 – April 2019

#1 – Rebecca Barrett-Fox Comes to Allegheny Some 20 leaders from Allegheny, Central District, Indiana-Michigan and Virginia Mennonite conferences converged at Laurelville April 8-11 to engage Rebecca Barrett-Fox in a compelling and timely study – “Unsustainable: Why Churches Must Counter Hate and How They Can Do It Now.”  Rebecca, author of God Hates:  Westboro Baptist Church, American Nationalism and the Religious Right, led seven conversational sessions reviewing the history of hate groups in the U.S. and how effective protests, in various forms, helped to turn the momentum at various places.  With the rapid growth of hate groups currently, Rebecca told the participants countering hate wherever it raises its head is the only way to overcome it.  Various scriptures (Old and New Testament) focused the conversation with biblical stories showing how hate was confronted throughout salvation history.  Rebecca spoke at Pittsburgh Mennonite and Penn State University on either end of the Spring Study.  See Ben Wideman’s account of her time in State College on our website.

#2 – Suraj Bhandari completes CNA training The pastor of the Bhutanese Nepali Church of Pittsburgh (BNCP) has completed his training to becomes a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and has retained a part-time job to supplement his income as he also ministers to a congregation of Bhutanese-Nepali immigrants.  Suraj plans to enter training to become a Registered Nurse in the Fall.  He says, “If everything goes as planned, I will be more active in ministry after I complete my RN.  Please pray for me and BNP.”  Congratulations Suraj!

#3 – 99 days to Summer Celebration at Laurelville! Hope you are planning to attend our annual family-friendly gathering at Laurelville (August 2-4).  Plans are underway to follow last year’s event – powerfully addressing lament and healing for our recent history – with a view to our future as a vibrant conference of vibrant congregations within the life of MC USA.  You and your congregation are needed for fellowship, mutual counsel, challenge and collaboration.  John 15:1-8 is our scripture focus.  Dave Mishler (Scottdale), Kate Heinzel (University) and Wes Bergen (Morgantown CoB) will be preaching.  Much fruit – do you see God’s kingdom from a scarcity or an abundance frame of reference?

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

Registrations are open, here is a link for the registration form:
http://www.alleghenymennoniteconference.org/wp-admin/upload.php?item=6021

#4 – Closing in on a sustainable giving planAs of this writing, we are closing in on achieving a better than anticipated season of giving for our 2018-19 fiscal year.  Congregations are on track to meet the 56% portion of total anticipated revenue.  Individuals/Other income is expected to top the $15,000 projection.  With a $4,000 contribution from Central District Conference and $4,250 from Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference to cover national delegate expenses, Allegheny will likely retain much of the current balance in reserves (instead of using the almost $14,000 budgeted).  To ensure a positive year-end report, we ask congregations to send in their quarterly/monthly contributions as soon as possible before June 30.  Individuals and businesses who want to enhance reserves for the future, now is the time!  Thank you to everyone who is making significant effort to sustain Allegheny Mennonite Conference!

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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