August 12, 2015
True to form, summer has seen staff scattering to different parts of the country for personal and work reasons. Summer is an excellent time for connections and family, as many constituents are also taking advantage of summer breaks. John and Shirley Powell, though, had to cancel some plans because John wasn’t feeling well and needed some tests. We are glad he’s feeling better.
Seeing Indiana-Michigan Conference people at convention and Mennonite World Conference was an extra perk of being at those events. Both were significant in the Mennonite world. Regardless of how things unfold in the coming days, we are different because of time spent around tables in Kansas City. Mennonite World Conference was a reminder that Mennonite Church USA is one part of an Anabaptist family stretching around the world. (For information click on these links: Mennonite Church USA convention, or Mennonite World Conference.)
As you know, congregations continue as ambassadors of Christ in your communities even through the summer, and staff are always glad to celebrate and confer with you along the way. We anticipate that as we move into the fall, we will experience more implications of staff cuts. As we live into them, we will prioritize activity around the three C’s identified by MLT as staff priorities: credentialing, connecting, and celebrating. See the May/June issue of Gospel Evangel for a general description. The primary change may be felt across northern Indiana. Dan Miller will begin connecting with Area Councils and pastors. We seek to be converted as we pursue God’s mission in the world.
Pastors are invited to a Sabbath day on September 21. This invitation comes from staff, Missional Leadership Team (MLT) and the Unity and Variance Task Group (UVTG). Plans continue to be clarified. Watch for more information and an RSVP. We do not have many gatherings just for pastors, but believe this is a significant moment to gather in God’s presence. We want to listen, speak and discern together. Please pray for this gathering, and the planning for it.
Dan, Doug and John will all be in northern Michigan for several events later this month. Hilltop Fellowship in Petoskey, Mich. holds a closing celebration on August 23. Wildwood Mennonite Church celebrates 75 years on the same weekend. We join both congregations in giving thanks for the good news of Jesus being shared, and lives being touched.
Congregations are evaluating their relationship with this community of congregations. It is always helpful when congregations share with us that a process is happening. This is a challenging time, and everyone must discern to the best of their ability how God is leading them.
Seeking congregational stories for Gospel Evangel
Staff are always watching for stories of congregations being changed by mission. This direction we’ve set for ourselves is sometimes bumpy and challenging, sometimes rewarding and nourishing. Stories of what is being learned and how it impacts congregational reality help everyone know we are not alone in the journey.
Congregational Coaches available
If your congregation has been considering getting a congregational coach, contact Leadership Enhancement Team (Jeff Mumaw, Brenda Yoder, Rhonda Yoder, Marshall Anderson, Alan Kreider) to begin the process.
After we announced Cindy Steiner’s offer to volunteer in the conference office, several other people expressed interest. Staff want to think creatively about how to maximize contributions by volunteers. If you have a desire or an idea, please contact the office.