Twenty-four credentialed members of Allegheny Mennonite Conference gathered at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center from May 14-17 to participate in classes led by Marion Bontrager. The topic was Heilsgeschichte or Salvation History. This is the central organizing theme of Hesston College’s course called Biblical Literature that has been developed over the past 30 years under Marion’s leadership. This course is highly appreciated at Hesston. Several of the pastors who were in attendance had already taken this course, but returning to the topic was welcomed by them.
“I am grateful to Marion Bontrager for spending four days with pastors from across Allegheny Mennonite Conference,” stated Donna Mast, Conference Minister. “He has touched the lives of hundreds of Hesston students as they’ve studied the history of God’s salvation story. We were given a glimpse of the richness of this study that Marion has developed over the years. Our morning meditation times were made very meaningful as several pastors shared their personal stories of salvation, connecting to the broader story.”
“Marion made a number of points which are important for all of us who aim to live from the Bible,” observed Daniel Hertzler. “The Bible is a story. It is our story. To keep it in focus we need a few “pegs”, a point he illustrated at the beginning by attempting to hang his cap where there were no pegs. For me it was a good reminder that without some historical understanding the Bible can be confusing, especially since in preaching and teaching we generally take it in small sections.”
This year, Laurelville Mennonite Church Center graciously allowed the group to move from the cottages, where this event has typically been held, to the Lodge, giving space to move around the tables and more easily relax during free times. Attendees overwhelmingly stated that this was a great move and hope that the Lodge will be the venue for the Spring Seminar in the years ahead.
Keith Yoder, pastor at Kaufman Mennonite Church reflected, “I thoroughly enjoyed the Pastor’s week at Laurelville. It was great to have Marion Bontrager lead our study. He brings such insight and wisdom to the table. I enjoyed studying the Bible (Heilsgeschichte) in a missional way which focused on God’s life-changing plan for his people.”
Spring Seminar is an annual event. Next year it will be held April 29-May 2, 2013. Duane Yoder, pastor at Lindale Mennonite Church, Linville, Va., will be teaching from the Gospel of John.
“It is a great time for pastors to be resourced, refreshed, and to be reconnected to other pastors across Allegheny Mennonite Conference. I hope that even more pastors will be able to attend next year’s Spring Seminar,” Donna Mast encouraged.