Virginia Mennonite Conference

Connections Archives

Bridging community, making connections

December 21, 2014
by Alicia Horst
Executive Director of NewBridges Immigrant Resource Center

Bridging community, making connections

In August, a young woman described a difficult housing situation to Jaime Miller Gonzalez, our Case Manager. She and her husband moved their belongings into a double wide trailer with the intent of living there the next day. Unfortunately, a fire burned the majority of the trailer on the night of the move. The young couple had paid for the trailer in full, but had not secured property insurance and was unable to afford demolition costs. Through the Mennonite Builders’ Guild, Jaime was able to contact Partners Excavating, who donated …

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Third Conference Pastors’ Leadership Consultation

December 20, 2014
by VMC staff

Third Conference Pastors’ Leadership Consultation

Pastors and credentialed leaders from throughout Virginia Mennonite Conference gathered on Friday, November 14, for the third Pastors’ Leadership Consultation. This consultation was entitled, “The Role of the Bible in the 21st Century,” discussing Scripture’s authority and the wide spectrum of biblical interpretation in an effort to understand varying points of view. Weavers Mennonite Church, in Harrisonburg, Va., hosted the event at the Shady Oak facility.

Giving opportunity

December 19, 2014
by VMC staff

Giving opportunity

Equipping and nurturing the leaders of congregations is at the heart of Virginia Mennonite Conference’s work. We seek to grow towards the way of Christ not only in our personal life, but in our community connections that seek to represent significant impulses to be the body of Christ at work in the world. A charitable gift to VMC keeps the discipleship formation vision alive among our churches, ministries and partnerships. Donations designated for VMC may be sent to the Conference Office at 901 Parkwood Dr., Harrisonburg, VA 22802, or contributed …

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Middle School Retreat: Timeless stories of God’s transforming power and grace

December 19, 2014
by Brad Kolb
Youth pastor at Grace Mennonite Fellowship, Lacey Spring, Va.

Middle School Retreat: Timeless stories of God’s transforming power and grace

The weather was nearly perfect when middle school students, youth workers, and youth pastors from Virginia Mennonite Conference gathered at the Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Retreat Center in Wirtz, Va., on September 20 and 21 for the conference’s annual Middle School Retreat. With full sunshine and temperatures in the upper 50s, both the youth and the adults enjoyed a leisurely Saturday afternoon of kayaking, canoeing, soccer, basketball, frisbee, archery, rock climbing on the climbing wall, playing card games, relaxing and laughing. At night, we were treated to a campfire, snacks, …

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A great cloud of witnesses

November 23, 2014
by Clyde G. Kratz
Executive Conference Minister

A great cloud of witnesses

The writer of Hebrews states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 [NRSV]) The …

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Leaders needed!

November 22, 2014
by Clyde G. Kratz
Executive Conference Minister

Leaders needed!

As part of the Listen and Learn Initiative, whereby I sought to visit with each lead pastor in Virginia Mennonite Conference, I had a startling discovery: two-thirds of the 60 lead pastors whose birth date is on record in my office will turn 70 in the next 15 years. Broken down in five year increments, I calculated the number of current pastors who will turn 70 or be beyond that age: In 2014-2019: 13 pastors In 2020-2024: 15 pastors In 2025-2029: 15 pastors 43 of the 60 pastors leading congregations …

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Eastern Carolina congregations collect ‘alternative taxes’ for CPT peace work

November 21, 2014
by Dave Nickel
Chaplain and member of Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Eastern Carolina congregations collect  ‘alternative taxes’ for CPT peace work

District congregations do not always agree with one another. Along with discussing how we may be at variance with one another, the district council for Eastern Carolina District decided to focus on one way our congregations are united: we are called to live Christ’s peace, and we are frustrated by our complicity in the United States military industrial complex. Using Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) materials, the council chose to educate the congregants through a series of bulletin inserts which showed that almost 50% of our federal tax dollars go to …

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Spirit instinct!

September 12, 2014
by Clyde G. Kratz
Executive Conference Minister

Spirit instinct!

And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. —Philippians 1:9-11 (NRSV)— A fifth scripture text that I have selected to guide my leadership practices is this prayer found in the opening chapter of Philippians. Acts 16 provides a historic account of the founding …

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Making disciples as we go!

September 9, 2014
by Jon Trotter
Communications Associate for Virginia Mennonite Conference and Virginia Mennonite Missions

Making disciples as we go!

Hundreds gathered for worship, delegate sessions and workshops to engage a fundamental call of Jesus: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. This theme also guided each Bible study, testimony, worship message and delegate table conversation over the two-day Assembly, July 24-26, at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Va. Clyde G. Kratz, Executive Conference Minister, brought the message Thursday evening, in which he outlined some of the ways the people of Virginia Mennonite Conference have been instrumental in bringing people to faith and discipling them. “To be a disciple …

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Anabaptist Renewal Circles hosts national gathering in Pennsylvania

August 9, 2014
by Beryl Jantzi
Director of Stewardship Education for Everence; served on the listening committee of the Anabaptist Renewal Circles gathering

Anabaptist Renewal Circles hosts national gathering in Pennsylvania

A national gathering of MC USA pastors, agency representatives and interested church members took place at the Weaverland Mennonite Church in Lancaster County, Pa. July 10-12. About 160 registered for the event with 15 in attendance from Virginia Mennonite Conference. Participants came from many states and other parts of the church. “For me, in a few words, this gathering was about our own repentance or realignment to God’s attitude and purpose. Instead of finger pointing, I experienced renewal, as God’s kindness invited me to change. While there was some excellent …

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