Virginia Mennonite Conference

Pathways

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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Pastoral Consultation meets to engage questions of “Same-Gender Attraction, Relationship, Lifestyle”

November 18, 2015
by Jon Trotter
Virginia Mennonite Conference Communications Manager

Pastoral Consultation meets to engage questions of “Same-Gender Attraction, Relationship, Lifestyle”

One hundred pastors and credentialed leaders in Virginia Mennonite Conference gathered in November at Lindale Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Va., for a three-day Pastoral Consultation, a time of intentional listening, sharing and discernment on “Same-Gender Attraction, Relationship, Lifestyle.” This was the fifth in a series of five Virginia Mennonite Conference consultations that offered a space for input and conversations on issues in the church. The format included plenary sessions, table discussions, listening and responses as leaders sought to come to a greater awareness and understanding of each other and the mission …

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Mennonite World Conference connects father and son

October 22, 2015
by Aldine Musser
Co-pastor of Stephens City Mennonite Church, Stephens City, Va.

Mennonite World Conference connects father and son

Alberto Othuon, a third generational Mennonite from Tanzania, currently worships at Stephens City Mennonite Church. The 16th Global Assembly of Anabaptists brought his father to Harrisburg, Pa., from Tanzania for international worship and fellowship with 7,500 Mennonites from 65 countries. His father, Bishop John Nyagwegwe, has been walking with God (the Mennonite World Conference theme) for a long time. He serves in the town of Shirati, Rorya District of the North Mara region. He operates in 28 villages, in seven wards. Lancaster County missionaries started the Mennonite Church in East …

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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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