Jesus and the two disciples On the Road to Emmaus, by Duccio, 1308–1311, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena

Our journey on the Emmaus road

April 17, 2020
by Clyde G. Kratz
Executive Conference Minister

I have been reflecting on the Emmaus Road experience found in chapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel. Two followers of Jesus are going to Emmaus. Along the way, a stranger joins them. They travel together talking about the events that have occurred. Recounting the death and resurrection of Jesus, there is an aura of confusion, bewilderment, loss, and uncertainty.

In the evening hour, eating together, they are transformed by the presence, words, and actions of the stranger. They experience the holy moment of recognizing the stranger is Jesus. In addition to being profoundly overwhelmed with their moment of illumination, they also experience liminal time. For these followers of Jesus, the death and resurrection of Jesus has brought an end to what they once knew for certain, that the religious patterns and the institutional structures were going to crumble.

However, with the death and resurrection of Jesus, they experienced an overwhelming journey of seeking to discover the meaning of all these things, and subsequently, the human patterns that would develop after this unbelievable event.
Welcome to our own liminal time! The end of what we knew for certain has come to screeching halt. We are living in times we never experienced before, the patterns of our life are changing, and we are learning many new things. I have learned in a very real way that relationships matter, and that we can go to great lengths to make sure we are in relationship—thanks to technology. I have learned about vulnerability. Potentially, I and family members could be impacted by this virus, and life could come to an end. The future is uncertain concerning when the impact of this pandemic comes to a close. I wonder: is this a blizzard, the beginning of winter, or an ice age?

Yet, not knowing, I walk by faith trusting in the providence of God, veering away from conspiracy theories and apocalyptic proclamations, living in hope that a way will be discovered that gives life, not only to me, but the most vulnerable in our midst. Until that time comes, like the early church, they prayed daily, cared for each other, engaged in mutual aid, and lived in expectation that God is doing something new and we will be transformed!

One of the challenges that I face is forwarding or not forwarding resources to you as leaders that I receive as emails. I know my inbox has become too cluttered with materials—some very good and some not so good, that I am supposed to read. At times, it is overwhelming trying to decide if I need to bother with it. Do you receive the same ones that I do from Mennonite Church USA, Everence, and other organizations offering solutions to aspects of this pandemic? This update is an overview of some of the recent information that has come to my attention.

Mennonite Church USA – Michael Danner

Here are a few more resources for congregations and conferences:
• Our web team is working to get the new pastoral salary guidelines on our website. The online tool will not be updated by Everence until Mid-May. The geographical units did not change.
• Everence, MDS and MCC have partnered to provide a congregational assistance fund. Click here to see additional information on Everence website.
• The Corinthian Plan general information and specifics related to COVID-19 can be found here.

Mennonite Church USA – Shana Peachey Boshart

Hello! I hope you and your loved ones are well. Today I am forwarding you the latest Faith Formation newsletter from Mennonite Church USA because I want to make sure that you are aware of this newsletter.

I’m also asking you to forward it to the faith formation leaders in your area conference and encourage them to subscribe so they can be informed about the latest updates in Mennonite faith formation resources. I’ve been sending this out fairly frequently in recent weeks, and some folks may not yet be aware of it. You can find back issues here.

[Please pass this on to your youth leaders and faith formation leaders.]

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

See webpage here.

Resources for living and worshiping together through extraordinary times
We’re collecting suggested resources from our learning community that can foster a spirit of hope, trust, resilience and ongoing faith during the global COVID-19 outbreak. Please share them freely!

Recent additions

  • Resiliency in the Time of Coronavirus: A Toolkit for Leaning Into Our Anxiety and Trauma: a toolkit compiled by Peter Anderson, a 2019 MA: Theology and Peace Studies graduate now living in the Twin Cities
  • Podcast: Lament in the Bible (COVID Sabbath, Episode 8): an interview with Bob Yoder, D.Min., Advancement Associate
  • Easter Season at Home 2020: A Building Faith Resource created by Talashia Keim Yoder, an MA in Christian Formation student from Goshen, Indiana, and a pastor at College Mennonite Church in Goshen
  • Video: Embodied Affirmation: Rachel Miller Jacobs, D.Min., Associate Professor of Congregational Formation, shares a short prayer adapted from a Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience resource from Eastern Mennonite University.
  • Visit our resource page for links

Note: See also our coronavirus update page for information about AMBS’s logistical changes in response to the pandemic.

Eastern Mennonite Seminary

– See

Navigating Ministry During COVID-19
Online forum series for pastors

EMS is offering the following online forum discussions for free to provide resources for pastors during this difficult time in ministry.
Register now

Pastoral Care in the Time of Covid-19 and Beyond
Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30 pm EDT.
This forum will include a facilitated discussion on grief/loss without physical presence, caring for others from a distance, caring for ourselves, etc.
Facilitators include Penny Driediger, ACPE Clinical Educator, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and Sentara RMH Staff Chaplain; Eric Martin, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community Supportive Living Chaplain; and Lonnie Yoder, Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Eastern Mennonite Seminary.

Spiritual formation for pastoral resilience
Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30 pm EDT

Signs of pastoral fatigue, spiritual practices to sustain the pastor
More details coming

Understanding trauma and secondary trauma
Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30 pm EDT

Supporting front-line responders and recognizing secondary trauma
More details coming

Theological questions during anxious times
Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30 pm EDT

Support for navigating theological issues associated with the pandemic
More details coming

Ethical issues of medical care
Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30 pm EDT

Issues of access, justice and understanding the medical system during the pandemic
More details coming

Biblical resources for despair and hope
Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30 pm EDT

Biblical literature that gives voice to human despair and theologically responsible use of scripture for hope in life and death
More details coming

I want to reaffirm to you that Mennonite Church USA and their ministries are seeking to be responsive to the needs of congregations and their pastors during this time. I am encouraging you to utilize these resources, because they represent the best of our Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition in terms of faith (theology) and praxis (life in the world).

With abiding appreciation to you as pastors and leaders for the innovation and compassion that you are offering to your faith community, thank you!

Blessings in your service,

Clyde G. Kratz
Executive Conference Minister