Allegheny Miscellany

By David Mishler, Conference Minister                                             Volume 6 – May 2018

#1 – CDC/AMC Affiliation Task Force at work
Your task force is working! The task force assigned to bring a recommendation to both Central District Conference (CDC) and Allegheny Mennonite Conference (AMC) has met three times, most recently on May 2, 2018.  Members include – J. Lorne Peachey (Scottdale), Dave Swanson (Pittsburgh), LeAnne Zook (Hyattsville) from AMC and Ron Guengerich, Donna Mast, and James Rissler from CDC.  Conference Ministers Doug Luginbill and Dave Mishler are giving staff support.

The task force is sorting through a series of options.  Having received feedback from delegates, AMC’s Leadership Council and the group of pastors that attended AMC’s recent Spring Bible Seminar, the option to dissolve Allegheny is not currently being pursued.  What has come to the top is some kind of strategic cooperation, which will help Allegheny remain as one of MC USA’s 18 conferences.  The message from the denomination into our conversation is – healthy conferences and healthy congregations best serve the church.  So what strategy best assists our congregations to be in ministry in their local places?  What will help Allegheny thrive as a healthy conference?  The Task Force has commissioned Doug Luginbill and Dave Mishler, conference ministers, to create several staffing scenarios which could lead to a period of strategic cooperation between Allegheny and CDC, for mutual benefit and sharing of expenses.  The Task Force will then put together broader scenarios for a proposed period of strategic cooperation, based in part on the staffing scenarios produced by Dave and Doug.  Other considerations extending beyond their work, like lending or transferring congregations from CDC to Allegheny, extending AMC youth ministry to CDC, will also be on  the table.

These are significant developments in walking the “two tracks” — remaining a separate conference or merging with CDC.  Not unexpectedly, a kind of “hybrid” proposal is what is in the works.  Allegheny’s vision of Jesus-centered, collaborative, place-based ministry may be realized in strategic cooperation with Central District Conference.  The shape of such strategic cooperation is percolating!

Please keep this task force, the future of our conferences and of our congregations, all of whom are part of Mennonite Church USA, in prayer these next number of months.  Share your visions and dreams for our conference, and your congregation’s role, in the comment section below.  We will be seeking your more specific discernment as a proposal comes together.

We again encourage all Allegheny delegates and participants in our congregations to learn more about Central District Conference.  Click these web pages and browse further to learn more about CDC congregations and how they express their priorities:
https://www.mcusacdc.org/who-we-are/congregations/
https://www.mcusacdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/identity-document-2004-1.pdf
https://www.mcusacdc.org/who-we-are/staff/
https://www.mcusacdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/CDC_Conference_Polity.pdf

#2 – The Shape of our Finances
The delegates took action to get to a zero-balance budget at our March 3 meeting.  In order to do so, we made significant items in the budget contingent upon increased congregational and individual support.  No more relying on reserves.  Erin Leatherman, outgoing treasurer, and Dave Mishler, conference minister, prepared a letter providing ideas and clarifications around the budget decisions we made.  Your congregational delegates and pastors received the letter in March.

So far, we have received unofficial reports from pastors, individuals and congregations that indicate about 1/3 of the 2018-19 contingencies could be funded through increased giving.  Many congregations are evaluating their capacity to increase current contributions in the current year and what further pledges can be made to re-instate all line items that were cut.  Please send your decisions about increased pledging or giving before June 30, 2018 so we can plan for stewarding the remaining reserves we have.   And thank you for your prayerful support!

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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