Virginia Mennonite Conference

Pathways

Convention: facilitating difficult table conversations

October 22, 2015
by Loren Swartzendruber
President of Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Convention: facilitating difficult table conversations

With the exception of two Mennonite Church USA Conventions, I have been present as a pastor or as an employee of a denominational agency or institution for the last 40 years. Kansas City 2015 was the first time I served as a delegate, in this case appointed by Virginia Mennonite Conference. I also served as a table group leader in the delegate sessions. Because of my role as a delegate and other responsibilities on behalf of EMU, I did not attend as many of the worship services as usual, nor …

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God met us at Table 80

October 20, 2015
by Phil Kniss
Lead pastor of Park View Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Va.

God met us at Table 80

The work we had to do weighed heavily on those of us around Table 80 at Mennonite Church USA Convention in Kansas City. We were carefully prepared for our work of “spiritual discernment,” and were reminded often throughout the delegate assembly to work in a spirit of prayerful openness to each other and to the Holy Spirit. God met us there at Table 80. We had deep differences between us, but the Spirit enabled us to listen and learn from each other as we honestly shared our hearts and our …

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Intrigued and challenged by our ‘Jerusalem’ events

October 18, 2015
by Elroy Miller
Conference Moderator

Intrigued and challenged by our ‘Jerusalem’ events

I left both Virginia Mennonite Conference (VMC) Assembly and Mennonite Church USA Convention in Kansas City feeling deeply moved by the worship experiences with emphasis on what it means to live like Jesus during challenging times. I was intrigued by the notion that holiness and unity aren’t just two dynamic concepts on a continuum, but rather “two sides of the same coin.” Both must be experienced in context of the other to fully appreciate their meaning. As moderator of VMC I asked the following questions: “What in the world can …

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A God ‘bigger than our differences’

October 16, 2015
by Mary Jo Lehman
Member of Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship, Chapel Hill, N.C.

A God ‘bigger than our differences’

Planners for the Mennonite Church USA Convention in Kansas City carefully assigned delegates to tables of eight or nine persons to reflect both geographical and viewpoint diversity. None of us at Table 22 knew each other beforehand, but the preliminary conversations around the table went at ping-pong speed as we quickly established commonalities and relationships. The tables bonded well, which led to respectful, fruitful sharing. Our table, like many others, occasionally leaned in after the close of a business meeting to continue a discussion. We took turns replenishing our table’s …

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Engaging possibilities and walking together in love

October 14, 2015
by Clyde G. Kratz
Executive Conference Minister

Engaging possibilities and walking together in love

Summer 2015 will be remembered for the gatherings of the body of Christ within our Anabaptist-Mennonite faith family. In mid-June Virginia Mennonite Conference held their annual Assembly on the theme “Built into a Spiritual House” (1 Peter 2) at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church. The first week of July, Mennonite Church USA held their biennial Convention in Kansas City, Mo., with the theme “On the Way” (Luke 24). Mennonite World Conference met in Harrisburg, Pa., at the end of July with the theme “Walking with God.” The opening worship service focused on …

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Conference Archives seeks church records for preservation

July 28, 2015
by Harold Huber
Conference Archivist

Conference Archives seeks church records for preservation

Congregations are busy with many activities that require their attention, but it is important for them to preserve the historical record of God’s work in and through their congregational life and ministries. Every congregation should have an historian who regularly collects, organizes and sends their records to the Virginia Mennonite Conference Archives for preservation and historical purposes. Although digital records are becoming more popular, at this point we still prefer paper copies. The most important kinds of records to send to the Archives are: Weekly worship bulletins Newsletters, including birthday …

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In action: How Harrisonburg District is making disciples

July 27, 2015
by Roy Hange
Harrisonburg District Minister and co-pastor of Charlottesville Mennonite Church, Charlottesville, Va.

In action: How Harrisonburg District is making disciples

The spiritual dance of disciple-making takes many forms in, among and beyond the Harrisonburg District churches: Invitations to faith and baptism—One of my greatest joys in walking with pastors is seeing the smiles on their faces when they tell the stories of persons coming to faith in Jesus Christ and recent baptisms. I have also heard stories of persons becoming a church member with the common phrase: “Finally I have found church where I can feel at home as a follower of Jesus.” Making disciples through invitation and welcome is …

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Continual transformation: Manantial de Vida coaches with discipleship classes

July 26, 2015
by Juan Carlos & Wendy Malvaez
Pastors of Manantial de Vida, Harrisonburg, Va.

Continual  transformation: Manantial de Vida coaches with discipleship classes

From this moment on, we face one of our biggest challenge as the Body of Christ; to make true disciples of Jesus. At Manantial De Vida (Fountain of Life), we are committed to walk through this process with any person who joins this ministry. The process of following up, teaching, and mentoring are key to spiritual growth. In discipleship, we teach the precepts of the Bible and Christian living which is a call to total rendition, holiness, an attitude and heart that worships Jesus in all aspects of life. It …

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Mara Chin connections culminate in Charlotte church

July 25, 2015
by Skip & Carol Tobin
Skip Tobin is USA Ministries Director, a shared position with Virginia Mennonite Missions. Carol Tobin contributed editing.

Mara Chin connections culminate in Charlotte church

Our Conference demographic has just experienced a change of no small significance. The Tennessee Carolina Kentucky District has recently welcomed a vibrant group of young refugee families whose passionate Christian faith has enabled them to endure the throes of transition from Burma to Malaysia to the US. The Chin are a large minority people numbering about three million, found mostly in the Chin State located in western Myanmar, but also in the eastern Indian state of Mizoram and in Bangladesh. Their homeland, the all but inaccessible Chindwin valley, serves as …

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A common purpose: our witness and our with-ness

July 24, 2015
by Jake Lee
Pastor at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, VA

A common purpose: our witness and our with-ness

Over the past couple of years, Harrisonburg Mennonite Church has sought become more, not less, religious. Religion gets a bad rap these days. We often hear people say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious”, or, “I’m for Jesus, but against religion.” But we believe that to be spiritual, to be “for” Jesus, is to embrace religion. The word comes from the Latin religare, which was used to describe sticks bundled together for fuel. It is where we get the word “ligament.” Essentially, it means to be bundled together for a common …

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