Virginia Mennonite Conference

January 2016

Building frameworks of Christian formation at Huntington

January 25, 2016
by David Mishler
Pastor of Huntington Mennonite Church, Newport News, Va.

Building frameworks of Christian formation at Huntington

For over six months, the new Christian Formation Team (CFT) at Huntington Mennonite Church has been wrestling with what an Anabaptist Christian formation “framework” might look like. The task assigned to our group comes from newly-formulated congregational guidelines with the following purpose statement: “Building on the foundation of the life and teachings of Jesus, [CFT] shall encourage a growing personal relationship with God and others and the development of mature character and faith. The CFT shall coordinate spiritual formation themes through teaching, mentoring, and modeling.” Like many congregations, we have …

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Serious Sunday School

January 22, 2016
by Ryan Ahlgrim
Pastor of First Mennonite Church, Richmond, Va.

Serious Sunday School

A proposal to bring seminary level content to adult classes I have a proposal for strengthening spiritual formation for adults: let’s make adult Sunday school more like seminary, and let’s get seminary into adult Sunday school! What are the essential classes every Christian should take in order to become a mature and effective disciple of Jesus? For many years I have been developing (and partially implementing) a “core curriculum” for adult Sunday school. This would include: Old Testament survey New Testament survey How to interpret the Bible The teachings of …

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Faith formation in the congregational life

January 21, 2016
by Elroy Miller
Conference Moderator

Faith formation in the congregational life

At 19, I left the farm and my family near Goshen, Indiana, and traveled to Costa Rica, Central America, to engage in voluntary service during the Vietnam War. I was five months into my 26-month stay, crazy homesick, and in a real spiritual crisis. My childhood and youth of attending three church services a week, participating in regular family devotions and in dozens of youth group projects and singing with a multiple-church Mennonite youth choir had not prepared me for the pain of thinking and feeling like God had abandoned …

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Middle School event: Trust in a God who trusts in you

January 20, 2016
by Deb Horst
Associate Pastor of Christian Formation and Youth at Lindale Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Va.

Middle School event: Trust in a God who trusts in you

On a cool rainy Saturday in September, ninety middle school youth and seventeen youth leaders, representing thirteen churches, gathered at Eastern Mennonite High School for a Middle School one-day youth event. Welcomed by Clyde Kratz, Executive Conference Minister, and led in lively worship by Seth Crissman and Greg Troyer, the event featured speaker Rebekka Stutzman. Rebekka and her husband Dave are missionaries in partnership with Virginia Mennonite Mission and Mennonite Mission Network. They are on furlough from their work in the South German Mennonite Conference. Using Matthew 14:22-23, drama, and …

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Our Stories, God’s Story: Mennonite Women of Virginia retreat

January 19, 2016
by Jean Oswald
Co-chair of the Mennonite Women of Virginia retreat committee and a member of First Mennonite Church, Richmond, Va.

  “My story is as sacred to God as God’s story is sacred to me. Nothing is lost on the breath  of God,” became a familiar refrain by the end of Mennonite Women of Virginia retreat, October 30-November 1. A crisp fall weekend at Massanetta Springs Resort, near Harrisonburg, Va., provided a perfect setting for relaxation and renewal. Women from as far away as North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania joined women from Virginia to celebrate God’s stories. Through the story of Hagar (Genesis 16), Sharon Clymer Landis, spiritual director, co-author …

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