Clyde G. Kratz

Caring Leaders

December 21, 2020
by Clyde G. Kratz
Executive Conference Minister

I have a collection of coffee mugs. I have one from Michelin Tire, from the time when I changed truck tires for Moyer Packing Company, the largest beef packer on the East Coast. I have a series of coffee mugs of major league baseball teams that I purchased at games. I have Eastern Mennonite College and University coffee mugs from various time periods. I have coffee mugs given to me from non-profit organizations as a thank you. I have coffee mugs that I purchased at a special restaurant that my wife Eunice and I frequented, or from which we hold a special memory.

So I needed to purchase a coffee mug to commemorate this period of time. Eunice lamented “Do we need another coffee mug on a shelf or boxed away somewhere? I said yes. I went searching for the right coffee mug to commemorate this pandemic. Amazon is really helpful with a wide variety of options – some of which most likely should not be on my desk. But the one I settled on is a Dr. Anthony Fauci coffee mug with this saying: “I don’t know how to explain to you that you should care for other people.” I proudly display, and do not use, this coffee mug in my kitchen next to the coffee maker. Hopefully, it will end up in my office in the near future.

This issue of Pathways highlights ways the church cares! Not just in a pandemic, but by a deeply-seeded value that is part of our faith community DNA. At times, some people lament the institutionalization of the church, the cost of institutional buildings, and expansive programs that require professional development staff – with annual fund drives, large fees for services, and an ever-expanding footprint on good soil. When I read about – or even remember – the formation of these institutions (maybe ministries is a better term), I applaud innovative men and women, often ahead of their time, who had a vision for the community of faith to meet needs of people beyond what a local congregation could handle on their own.

Today, we benefit from these ministries that we often take for granted. I am excited by these stories which are written by a representative of the ministry. I am overwhelmed by the leadership adaptations that these valued ministries have achieved in order to overcome the obstacles associated with this pandemic. These leaders and their staff need to be commended for their resilience in the midst of the challenges they have faced. They have demonstrated a commitment not only to their organizational mission, but to care for their staff, participants, and visitors that come
through their facilities.

I am listing each agency that is a Conference Ministry or Endorsed Ministry, and their chief executive officer, so that you can write them a personal thank note when you send them a year-end check to assist them in meeting their financial needs.

• Paul Leaman, Eastern Mennonite School
• Aaron Kauffman, VMMissions
• Susan Huxman, Eastern Mennonite University
• Marie Bradley, Family Life Resource Center
• Kent Kauffman, Highland Retreat
• Kevin King, Mennonite Disaster Service
• Marian Buckwalter, Mennonite Women of Va.
• Jon Aldridge, Mennowood Retirement Community
• Alicia Horst, Newbridges Immigrant Resource Center
• Nancy Hopkins-Garriss, Pleasant View Inc.
• Angela Rouse, Roberta Webb Child Care Center
• Judith Trumbo, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community
• Bob Briscoe, Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center

I am a witness to the care that each of these leaders provides to our community of faith, and I value their affiliation with Virginia Mennonite Conference. I do not have to explain to them how to care, because they are caring leaders!