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Congregational Updates

November 11, 2015

Faith Mennonite chooses single affiliation

In a September 30 congregational meeting, Faith Mennonite Church decided to end its dual-affiliation status at the end of 2015. With encouragement from Mennonite Church USA, Central District Conference and Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference for congregations to end dual-affiliations, the congregation decided to withdraw from IN-MI Conference and remain in membership with Central District. Deron Brill Bergstresser and Kay Bontrager Singer serve as the pastoral team at Faith.

After the meeting, Deron wrote: For many years we felt unable to make a decision, because of Faith’s meaningful relationships and involvement in both conferences. We started the conversation again last spring and since then we have had helpful meetings with the leaders from both conferences. At our congregational meeting, we reviewed the ways that being dual affiliated makes it impossible for us to give ourselves fully to either one. The biggest concern for those present was that our withdrawal might be perceived as rejection or as a theological statement. We would like it to be clear that our leaving is in response to years of gentle prodding by denominational and conference leaders for dual congregations to choose one conference.

Many remaining dual-affiliation congregations, like Faith Mennonite, have long and meaningful histories with both conferences which make it difficult to sever ties with one of the conferences. At one time new congregations in the Great Lakes area were mandated to be dually-affiliated to enable conferences to share limited resources cooperatively, and also in anticipation of a possible merger. After a vote to merge the mid-states conferences failed to garner the requisite support, the encouragement to singly affiliate began. Four other IN-MI Conference congregations are also affiliated with Central District Conference. First

Mennonite, Fort Wayne closing service on November 22

In an October letter to those who have participated over the years at First Mennonite Church, Fort Wayne, the leadership announced: After much reflection, deliberation, and with mixed emotions, we announce the closure of First Mennonite Church here in Fort Wayne. Our congregation has been in existence and has faithfully served in this location from 1903 to 2015 for a total of 112 years.

Their final worship service will be November 22 at 10:30am. Those who have been connected over the years are invited to join this service. And we invite your congregations to be in prayer for First Mennonite, Fort Wayne, and for Peter Janzen who has been pastoring there since 2005. Can you mention them in your congregational prayers especially on that morning?