Nestled in the painted woods of Halifax, PA, Constituency Leadership Council met at Camp Hebron October 24-26, 2011. Over eighty people representing Mennonite agencies, conferences and executive board met to review policies, guidelines and procedures pertinent to sustaining and moving Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) through 2013. Moderator John Bender, Conference Minister Donna Mast and delegate Karen Howard were in attendance for Allegheny Conference.
The first CLC meeting of the 2011-2013 biennium was opened by Elizabeth Soto Albrecht, moderator-elect, Tom Kaufmann, vice chair and worship team Edward James, Nicole Francisco and Chuck Neufeld. The scripture focus was Ephesians 2:14-22.
The participants were divided among eleven tables with seven people at each table. It was at these tables we discussed the following issues:
- Using social media to increase participation in delegates meetings and possibly future assemblies. Harry Jarret and Scot Hackman made a convincing presentation of how MC USA can use social networking. This portion of the meeting was streamed live to those who tuned in.
- Iris de Leon–Hartshorn of the executive board shared about a new training opportunity called Bienvenido (Welcome) which would ask each conference to appoint three persons to train in the train-the-trainer model on how to be a welcoming community/congregation for immigrants. This proposal received strong support from CLC.
- The Spanish community of the Mennonite Church has given their blessing to MC USA to meet in Phoenix 2013. It is not certain that all of our Spanish churches will attend but they have graciously blessed the process with the hope the Church can be a positive witness.
- Last, but certainly not least, MC USA received a lot of positive feedback on the Pittsburgh Experiment (no resolutions: only discussion in table talks). There will be further discussions to determine whether resolutions are the best way to make decisions.
Other highlights included Missional Moments. John Bender shared about the Bhutanese/Nepali church plant in Pittsburgh. We also had a very lively talent show which brought us all closer together as a community.
The next meeting will be April 13-14, 2012 in the Goshen/Elkhart area in conjunction with the board meetings. Karen Howard