Allegheny Miscellany

By David Mishler, Conference Minister                 Volume 14 – February 2019

#1 – Spring Faith & Life Gathering only a few weeks away! March 16, 2019 Allegheny delegates and friends will meet at Scottdale Mennonite Church (801 Market Street, Scottdale PA 15683) for a significant meeting in the life of this emerging conference.  Following a decision to go forward as a member conference of Mennonite Church USA, Allegheny is doing the hard work of establishing staffing and spending priorities within a sustainable financial framework for the long haul.  The Leadership Council, in its annual January retreat, has begun to set new priorities and is looking to further develop vision and mission statements that reflect our understanding of how our conference will operate and affirm our values of being – Jesus-centered, Collaborative, and Committed to place-based ministry. You will be hearing more about new strategies and direction for our conference at the delegate meeting.  We need your continued prayers, love and financial support!  Hope to see you in Scottdale!

#2 – Spring Study registration is open! Rebecca Barrett-Fox will be leading pastors and leaders from across the church in a compelling and timely study – “Unsustainable: Why Churches Must Counter Hate and How They Can Do It Now.”  Laurelville’s Lodge is the location.  April 8-11 are the dates.  Registration fees, including lodging and meals is only $185 (early registration has been extended one week to March 8).  For a full description of the seven sessions, scripture focus, and Rebecca’s bio, check out our website – alleghenymennoniteconference.org/coming-events

#3 – A reframing of Allegheny’s vision ongoing. Peter Senge says – “a vision is a picture of the future you would like to create, described in the present tense as if it were happening now” (Ken Bechtel, Leader magazine Winter 2018-19).  I think that also describes much of the New Testament, writings from the early church which capture the already/not yet character of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Allegheny is committed to living into that gospel vision with imagination and the power of the Spirit of Christ.  More on this thought 2019!

#4 – Conference Minister undergoes knee replacement surgery. On January 23, Conference Minister David Mishler received a total knee replacement, necessary some thirty years after a soccer injury which tore his ACL and meniscus.  Dave is rehabbing well, has achieved 121 degrees of bend after 5 weeks of therapy, and is back to a regular schedule, albeit using a cane for stability.  Thank you for your prayers, cards, well-wishes.  The knee replacement is step one of a two-step process to address the right hip, which could be up for another surgery as soon as this summer. Dave almost smiles at the thought….

#5 – Not too early to think about Summer Celebration at Laurelville! Yes, this could be a busy summer if you are going to national convention in Kansas City (July 2-6) and also 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 mutual counsel, challenge and collaboration.

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Allegheny Miscellany

By David Mishler, Conference Minister                      Volume 13 – January 2019

#1 – Allegheny delegates respond with strong financial commitment – more work ahead.

The prayer card and narrative budget emphasis from our new treasurer, Karin Miller (Springs), has been met with strong support from those delegates and donors who answered the year end call.  Over $3,100.00 has been received to date.  Along with strong contributions leading up to the year-end appeal, Allegheny is on pace to meet the $15,000.00 “other giving” target.  “Other giving” means above normal congregational contributions.  This revenue source will be an ongoing part of our regular support needs going forward.  Special gifts from Indiana-Michigan and Central District Conferences have also assisted the effort to not draw any monies from reserves during the current fiscal year.  At the recent Leadership Council Retreat, a new Stewardship Resource Ministry task force is being developed to give direct input and leadership to meeting our annual financial goals.  You will be hearing more about these new strategies and targets at our upcoming Faith & Life Gathering in March (see below).  We need your continued prayers, love and financial support!

#2 – Everence “My Neighbor” program also boosts Allegheny.

If you are looking for a great way to help Allegheny Conference’s annual revenue goals, with virtually no effort, consider using Everence’s personal or business Mastercard.  1.5% of all purchases go to Allegheny Mennonite Conference simply by choosing AMC as “My Neighbor.”  The $1,437.61 check just received from Everence represents several persons/businesses selecting AMC.  For more information, check out the My Neighbor program and Everence.com or call Kathy at the conference office.  Thank you!  Allegheny appreciates our “Neighbors”!

#3 – A reframing of Allegheny’s vision ongoing.

Peter Senge says – “a vision is a picture of the future you would like to create, described in the present tense as if it were happening now” (Ken Bechtel, Leader magazine Winter 2018-19).  I think that also describes much of the New Testament, writings from the early church that captures the already/not yet character of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Allegheny is committed to living into that gospel vision with imagination and the power of the Spirit of Christ.  More on this thought 2019!

#4 – Conference Minister undergoes knee replacement surgery.

On January 23, Conference Minister David Mishler received a total knee replacement, necessary some thirty years after a soccer injury which tore his ACL and meniscus.  Dave plans to work from home a bit more as he undergoes therapy, but is scheduling congregational visits and keeping up a “regular” schedule as much as he can tolerate.  Thank you for your prayers, letters and emails of support and caring, and your challenges to take care of myself.  I will do my best to balance recovery with the ongoing work of Allegheny.

#5 – Change the Date! – the Spring Faith and Life Gathering at Scottdale Mennonite Church has officially been moved to March 16, 2019 (third Saturday) due to MC USA schedule conflicts.  Make sure to get this important meeting as we determine next steps in AMC’s journey.

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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Springs installs Interim Pastor

Early in November we were blessed to have Paul Versluis III join us as part time interim pastor at Springs Mennonite Church.

Paul and his wife Joy are currently residing in Broadway, VA and they spend part of each week in our church and community.

On November 18, our Conference Minister, David Mishler joined us to lead in an installation/commissioning service for Paul.

We are truly blessed by the gifts both Paul and Joy bring to our congregation.

Submitted by Lois Hepler

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Allegheny Miscellany

By David Mishler, Conference Minister                 Volume 12 – December 2018

#1 – New Fundraiser Appeal from our new treasurer and conference minister.

All delegates should have received our prayer cards and fund appeal for end of year giving.  Our new treasurer took our old format and expanded, enhanced and generally “spiffied” it up.  Thank you, Karin!  Early contributions are coming in as I write this.  A second wave of prayer cards will be going to each congregation for placement in mailboxes after the first of the year.  Look for them and a bulletin blurb to go with them.  Our goal for this year’s fundraising from individuals and other sources is $15,000, and we are well on our way to meeting that goal with over $10,000 received as of December 20.  We are blessed with a high level of commitment from our energized supporters!       Give generously as you are able!  We need your continued prayers, love and financial support!    

#2 – Time For Christmas Joy!

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47).  The joy and justice mixture or Mary’s song gives us pause when we realize how far from “fulfillment” we actually lie.  But the call is to rejoice, almost in spite of where we are, because of God’s trajectory.  I am reminded that the darkness we sometimes feel may not be the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb – God giving birth to what is next in the unfolding of salvation history.  And salvation history differs immensely from the histories we learn in school – how wars were won and how peoples were dominated.  I repeat from last month – you all inspire me to move into the fray of challenging one another to be the best representatives of Jesus Christ in this present age.  BNCP, Crossroads, Grace, Hyattsville, Masontown, Morgantown, Philippi, Pittsburgh, Scottdale, Springs, Stahl, and University – May God fill you and everyone in your congregation with the joy of Mary as we seek the justice and compassion of Advent and the birth of Emmanuel!

#3 – Leadership Council Retreat

Please be in prayer for our upcoming Leadership Council who meet for a three-day retreat from January 25-27.  There we will develop vision and put together the final version of the budget for 2019-20, to be adopted at our March meeting in Scottdale.  We are preparing to continue to provide resources to our pastors and congregations, adjust our children and youth programming to fit with current realities, represent our vision of Jesus-centered-collaborative-placed-based ministry into national conversations, invite congregations seeking a home within MC USA to consider Allegheny, and address the challenges of staying well-informed about current statutory requirements to keep our organization on solid footing.  If you have specific dreams or concerns you want to communicate to the Leadership Council, send your information to office@alleghenmennoniteconference.org and we will forward to our Moderators.

#4 – Change the Date! – the Spring Faith and Life Gathering to be held at Scottdale Mennonite Church has officially been moved to March 16, 2019 (third Saturday) due to MC USA schedule conflicts.

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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