Virginia Mennonite Conference

All posts

Finding the image of God in each incarcerated neighbor

October 11, 2017
by Jason Wagner
Licensed minister for jail chaplain ministry and mission worker of Virginia Mennonite Missions

Finding the image of God in each incarcerated neighbor

I will not forget my first time in the Harrisonburg/Rockingham Regional Jail. I was leading music for a Sunday service with Minister Mark Lehman. We were let into the building through a system of locked doors, each controlled by some unseen force behind the surveillance cameras. Arriving in the room where the service would take place, we arranged the chairs and put song sheets out on the tables. What happened next, I was not prepared for. The door opened to the classroom and prisoners—in bright orange jumpsuits cuffed together in …

Continue reading »

Where does the Virginia Mennonite story begin?

October 10, 2017
by Steven Nolt
Young Center Senior Scholar, Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, and recognized author of Mennonite history

Where does the Virginia Mennonite story begin?

Perhaps the Virginia Mennonite Conference story begins in early summer 1671, in a village in the German Palatinate, where deacon Valentine Heatwole offers bedding and clothing to Christina Weis, a thirty-six-year-old refugee who had fled her home in Switzerland, traveling more than two hundred miles with her three children, the youngest only twelve months of age. The sad fact was, Heatwole reported, Weis actually had five children, but was forced to leave two of her offspring behind. She also had no hope of seeing her husband again. He was among …

Continue reading »

FaithTrust Institute trains Investigation Team, others in VMC

September 28, 2017
by A member of the Investigation Team

FaithTrust Institute trains Investigation Team, others in VMC

Every Virginia Mennonite Conference pastoral leader agrees to honor certain boundaries as part of receiving ministerial credentials. Knowledge of what are appropriate behaviors and what are not is crucial to a pastor’s effective ministry. To increase awareness of the need for healthy and appropriate boundaries, and to provide ongoing education, VMC invited a consulting group called FaithTrust to provide training for Faith and Life Commission and the Investigation Team that will investigate complaints against credentialed leaders. The training was in two parts—first, a day-long training led by Lonnie and Teresa …

Continue reading »

Conference Council approves Gordon Zook as interim Conference Minister during Kratz’s sabbatical

September 27, 2017
by Jon Trotter
Communications Manager

Conference Council approves Gordon Zook as interim Conference Minister during Kratz’s sabbatical

News release September 27, 2017 The September meeting of Conference Council, Virginia Mennonite Conference’s governing body, launched a temporary time of transition. Effective October 1, Executive Conference Minister Clyde G. Kratz begins a three-month sabbatical. Conference Council hired Gordon Zook, former Oversight Leader for VMC’s Leadership/Administration Cluster, to serve as a part-time interim Conference Minister. Zook was present for the meeting and was welcomed by the Council. The Polity Task Force, formed by Conference Council, continues discerning the future authority and structure of VMC, the role and function of the …

Continue reading »

Across boundaries and divisions, being “Neighbors: Strangers No More”

July 25, 2017
by Jon Trotter
Communications Manager

Across boundaries and divisions, being “Neighbors: Strangers No More”

I bind my soul this day to the neighbor far away, to the stranger near at hand in this town and in this land. (Verse 2 of I Bind My Heart This Tide) In a landscape of walls and fences, of separation and alienation because others may look, sound, and act different from us, delegates and those who attended the evening worship sessions at Virginia Mennonite Conference Assembly were challenged to become intentionally vulnerable, and to embrace the stranger and foreigner as our neighbor across lines of difference. In the …

Continue reading »

News release: VMC actions since DSA report

July 18, 2017
by VMC staff

Virginia Mennonite Conference (VMC) is actively pursuing the recommendations that were presented to us by Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) based on the D. Stafford & Associates report (DSA). The DSA report, received January 2017, contains the findings from the investigation associated with VMC leadership responses to the knowledge of Luke Hartman’s inappropriate activities. The DSA report indicated that VMC had no prior knowledge of his behaviors, but made specific recommendations for prevention education, policy reviews, and working with Lindale Mennonite Church to clarify their governance structures. Our response to …

Continue reading »

Healthy Boundaries events

June 29, 2017
by VMC Staff

District Training events on Healthy Boundaries: Fundamentals Trainers: Lonnie Yoder and Teresa Boshart Yoder Invitees: Credentialed and lay delegates, church leaders Objectives: The Healthy Boundaries: Fundamentals training has three objectives: To increase the awareness of the need for healthy and appropriate boundaries in the clergy/congregant or spiritual teacher/student relationship To illustrate the impact of appropriate vs. inappropriate boundaries in promoting effective ministry and teaching To provide clergy and spiritual teachers with guidelines and suggestions for developing appropriate boundaries and necessary self-care strategies Come prepared to learn about such diverse topics …

Continue reading »

“Being Human in Ministry” with Mandy Smith

June 29, 2017
by VMC staff

"Being Human in Ministry" with Mandy Smith

  Engage with pastor Mandy Smith as she comes to Harrisonburg for a series of chapels, forums and lectures on “Being Human in Ministry,” September 19-20, 2017. Originally from Australia, Mandy Smith is lead pastor of University Christian Church, a campus and neighborhood congregation with its own fair-trade café in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a contributing editor for Leadership Journal and the author of Making a Mess and Meeting God. Her latest book is The Vulnerable Pastor: How Human Limitations Empower Our Ministry (IVP). Mandy and her husband Jamie, a …

Continue reading »

“Neighbors: Strangers No More” at Conference Assembly

June 27, 2017
by VMC staff

"Neighbors: Strangers No More" at Conference Assembly

Register for Conference Assembly by July 3.

Helping pastors develop intercultural competence

June 2, 2017
by Aldine Musser
Co-pastor of Stephens City Mennonite Church, Stephens City, Va.

Helping pastors develop intercultural competence

The term “white privilege” was not in my vocabulary or understanding while living in a neighborhood for 18 years, where whites were in the minority. In my faith community as a child, my Sunday School teacher and classmates were non-white. It wasn’t until I thought about attending Hesston College that I recognized it was more possible for me to leave the city than many of my neighborhood friends. Economically there were similarities — my parents couldn’t afford college and neither could my neighbors — yet I had an opportunity to …

Continue reading »

.