May 30, 2014
by Clyde G. Kratz
Executive Conference Minister

Leaders explore theme of baptism and memberships at second Pastoral Leaders Consultation event in Powhatan

Powhatan Mennonite Church was the location of the second Pastoral Leaders Consultation held on Friday, May 2.

Tim Kennel, pastor of the congregation, hosted the event along with the assistance of the hospitality committee that provided refreshments, abundance of food for the noon meal, and generous friendships. A worship team from the congregation provided a time of inspirational worship to begin the event.

Duane YoderThis is the second in a series of five pastoral leaders consultations planned for the purpose of building trust through conversation on key issues that impact their ministry and leadership practices. This consultation focused on the way in which persons in the faith community belong to each other through the body of Christ.

“The children of Israel crossing the Red Sea in the exodus experience signified a new beginning, new identity, and a disposition towards trusting in God for their future,” cited Duane Yoder, pastor of Lindale Mennonite Church, who provided the biblical context for baptism.

Nate YoderNate Yoder, professor of Church History at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, provided a historical and theological overview of baptism and membership. He cited Balthasar Hubmaier’s “A Christian Instruction,” (1526-1527) that indicated “baptism is an outward and public testimony to the inward baptism of the spirit.”

Nancy HeiseyNancy Heisey, professor in the Bible and Religion Department at Eastern Mennonite University, focused her presentation on “Re-membering: being part of a congregation, being part of a worldwide family of faith.”

A key theme of her presentation was focused on how a person belongs to another or a group and “what makes someone a member?” In the Early Church, the sign of a fish was a symbol of identification and communicated a desire to know and meet other people.

The Pastor’s Leadership Consultation concluded with a panel of pastors (Phil Kniss, Isaac Villegas, Kathy Hochstedler) offering reflections on pastoral practices and imagining the future of ways people belong to the community of faith.

The next Pastor’s Leadership Consultation will be held on November 7, 2014, on the theme “The Role of the Bible in the 21st Century.”

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