Virginia Mennonite Conference

January 2018

Editorial: Connecting the dots

January 31, 2018
by Gordon Zook
Former Interim VMC Conference Minister

Editorial: Connecting the dots

In the Fall 2017 issue of Pathways, Executive Conference Minister Clyde G. Kratz made the case for sabbaticals for pastors, including his particular three-month sabbatical at the end of the year. During these months, I have accepted the assignment to fill in for him on a part-time basis, to connect some of the dots which he cares for on a long term basis. And I am discovering more dots than I had occasion to think about before. I am seeing in a new way the many pieces of VMC: Most …

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Walking with USA Ministries: Letting ourselves be built, by being instead of doing

January 31, 2018
by Skip Tobin
USA Ministries Director for Virginia Mennonite Missions

Walking with USA Ministries: Letting ourselves be built, by being instead of doing

If we can become something by doing something, can we become more by doing more? When I first returned to Harrisonburg after years of missionary service in Southeast Asia, I experienced a time of disorientation, like many people returning from a longer time of service. Faults in my foundation became exposed when I left my ministry roles in Thailand, and now there were tensions inside which I could not quite get fully in touch with. I wondered, “Who am I? What should I do?” I kept experiencing a lack of …

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Editorial: Reconfiguring the Conference structure

January 29, 2018
by Elroy Miller
Conference Moderator

Editorial: Reconfiguring the Conference structure

Early on in my social work career, I was introduced to the notion of self-care and rest. Growing up as I did on a dairy farm, I was mostly indifferent to its meaning. Getting up early to do farm chores—whether I was tired or not—was not optional. We (my dad, my brothers and I) just did it; the cows had to be milked and the hay baled. It wasn’t until mid-life when I experienced considerable burnout and “helping fatigue” that the notion of rest and self-care forced itself into my …

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Finding the Sabbath in sabbatical

January 29, 2018
by Phil Kniss
Senior Pastor of Park View Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Va.

Finding the Sabbath in sabbatical

For many years I’ve been blessed to serve in congregations that give priority to offering sabbaticals to its pastors. Yes, Mennonite Church USA congregations get a not-so-subtle nudge from the denomination. A recommended sabbatical policy is written into pastoral support guidelines. Congregations may choose whether to follow the guidelines, and not all do. Even in congregations like Park View Mennonite Church, with a long history of providing sabbaticals, not everyone fully understands the nature of a sabbatical when it rolls around again. Occasionally, we pastors need to gently correct someone …

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