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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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