University Mennonite Church Celebrates Installation of Kate Heinzel as Lead Pastor

University Mennonite Church in State College, PA, held a service of installation for its new lead pastor, Kate Heinzel, on October 21, 2018.

Dave Mishler, Allegheny Mennonite Conference minister leads in Kate’s installation

Dave Mishler, Allegheny Mennonite Conference Minister, led the installation service. Joanne Dietzel, Atlantic Coast Conference Minister, presented the sermon, entitled “Come and Rest.”

Heinzel, who officially began the position as lead pastor at University Mennonite on September 1, came to State College from Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster. Most recently she served as staff chaplain with Lancaster General Health.

An ordained minister in Mennonite Church, USA, she describes herself as “not a cradle Mennonite. I was raised Catholic and chose Anabaptism in my early 20’s. I felt I had found a good fit – to have a space for my gifts and to focus on peace, justice, and the community of believers.”

Kate answer’s personal questions during ‘Children’s Time’

Heinzel sees her role as pastor of University Mennonite in three components: First, she looks forward to preaching on Sunday mornings. The second is pastoral care – getting to know the individuals that make up the University Mennonite community. And the third is gift discernment. “As I take on this new pastoral role, I’m looking forward to hearing where this body of diverse believers sees us going as we do the work of the church together,” she says.

A lover of all things outdoors, Heinzel enjoys hiking, backpacking, and biking. She has four adult children.

– submitted by Krista Weidner

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Allegheny Miscellany

By David Mishler, Conference Minister                                          Volume 10 – October 2018

#1 – Faith and Life Gathering – November 3 – University Mennonite Church (State College, PA).
Calling all delegates (and all persons interested in the future of Allegheny)!  We will gather for a pivotal meeting in State College.  Working toward a sustainable budget and staffing patterns, reviewing the work and proposals from our Affiliation Task Group, and hearing stories and praying for Springs, University and 3rd Way Collective, among other important agenda, are all on the docket for our fall meeting.

Coming out of our strong time together at Laurelville in August, we are poised to make some important decisions about our near and long-term future as a conference.  We should have a sense of congregational support for the coming year as our new treasurer, Karin Miller, is researching with our congregations what to expect for congregational contributions in 2019-20.  The Leadership Council is setting clear priorities which we will review together.

Cash flow continues to be strong into early fall, due to the administrative fee, and the gifts from Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference and Central District Conference (CDC).  Together these conferences have gifted Allegheny $8,300 to be used in the current fiscal year.  And CDC has committed another $4,000 for next fiscal year.  Great thanks to these conferences for their interest and support of this sister conference!  We are using significantly less of our reserves than anticipated, giving us a much clearer path to sustainability by 2020-21.  Thank you also to all congregations and donors for your responses and support.  A year-end fundraising letter will go out in early December to all delegates and past contributors which is designed to raise the $15,000 of receipts called for in our annual spending plan.  Give generously as you are able!

#3 – MERGER of The Mennonite and Mennonite World Review     
Posted on October 5, 2018
Through the proposed merger of The Mennonite, Inc. (TMI) and Mennonite World Review (MWR), Mennonite Church USA will lose its official media platform (both print and digital) dedicated to MC USA voices and news. The merged organization will function as an independent editorial voice serving a variety of Anabaptist communities including MC USA, but without organizational ties to any particular Anabaptist denomination.

Read more background information and Frequently Asked Questions here:

The MC USA Executive Board and staff are seeking input from the broader church as we navigate the merger process and discern our communication needs moving forward.

Mennonite Church USA constituency are asked to please complete a survey at the following link no later than October 29:

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 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.

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!

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.

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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Lament Leads to Hope at AMC Summer Celebration

A sk the Spirit to gather us together

L ament our past wounds

A sk and offer forgiveness

S eek healing together

A sk the Spirit to come

N ame growing edges

E nvision new faithfulness

W elcome new hope and new life

ALAS ANEW.  This was the theme of this year’s annual Allegheny Mennonite Conference Summer Celebration at Laurelville.  We heard and read stories of pain and stories of optimism from member congregations and shared our reactions on post-it notes next to the stories.  We sang songs of lament and songs of hope, and we heard sermons that reminded us that lament can lead to hope, even if hope sometimes looks more like chaos.  Pittsburgh Mennonite Church led us in worship over the course of the weekend, including an activity in which we worked together to create a beautiful tree mosaic made up of individual broken pieces of pottery.

During the business portion of the weekend, delegates were encouraged about the future of the conference, hearing a report from the AMC Affiliation Task Force that they have hope for AMC as an independent and successful, if still small, conference.  The gathered adopted a working draft for publication of a new Polity and Purpose Document, describing AMC as a family of siblings.

From the polity statement: “Conference for the congregations in Allegheny is something like a family of siblings. We love each other and are concerned about each other. We want to help each other, but we do not feel a need to control each other. We share a common faith heritage and commitment, as well as a desire for common mission. Being together helps us strengthen those commitments, continue discovering God in significant ways, and define what it means for our walk as Jesus’ disciples and Anabaptist Mennonites today.”

Attendees also heard good news about AMC’s budget, most notedly the receipt of significant new individual offerings and less need to dip into reserves.  Perhaps the best news of the weekend was an announcement from Bob Yoder, co-moderator of Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference, that they were gifting AMC enough resources to send three representatives to the next national Constituency Leadership Council.  AMC had previously been forced to cut that line item from the budget, effectively silencing our voice within the larger Mennonite denomination.

We recognized pastoral transitions throughout AMC, enthusiastically welcoming new pastors at Stahl Mennonite Church, Springs Mennonite Church (interims), and University Mennonite Church (beginning September 1).  We also shared in the joy of Stahl congregation as they ordained AMC Youth Minister Joy Cotchen earlier this year, and shared in heartfelt prayers of sending to the Christian Peacemaker Team leaving for Israel-Palestine and to Springs’ outgoing pastoral team.

Much fun was also had this weekend.  Joy Cotchen and her youth leaders led activities for children of a wide age range and beautiful songs and crafts emerged.  The Young Adults led an exciting and enjoyable painting activity for young and old alike during one of the Saturday afternoon seminars.  We experienced good natured competition for participation numbers during roll call, and shared yummy snacks at the snack table and cool and delicious ice cream sundaes sponsored by Everence.  New friends were made and new connections were developed as we browsed the displays of organizations such as Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) and ate traditional purple M&M cookies from Bluffton College, and met representatives from organizations such as the Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADNet).  We also welcomed Michael Danner from Mennonite Church USA (MC USA), who talked about the next steps from the Future Church Summit, a study guide titled the Journey Forward.  Congregations should note that responses to the Journey Forward are due back to MC USA by December 31, 2018.

A good time was had by all and much business was accomplished at the 2018 Summer Celebration.  Delegates and guests look forward to the next AMC gathering, which will be held November 3 at University Mennonite Church in State College, PA.

Contributed by Meryt McGindley


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