Editorial: Connecting the dots

Gordon Zook

In the Fall 2017 issue of Pathways, Executive Conference Minister Clyde G. Kratz made the case for sabbaticals for pastors, including his particular three-month sabbatical at the end of the year. During these months, I have accepted the assignment to fill in for him on a part-time basis, to connect some of the dots which…

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Reconfiguring the Conference structure

Elroy Miller

Early on in my social work career, I was introduced to the notion of self-care and rest. Growing up as I did on a dairy farm, I was mostly indifferent to its meaning. Getting up early to do farm chores—whether I was tired or not—was not optional. We (my dad, my brothers and I) just…

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Finding the Sabbath in sabbatical

Phil Kniss with two of his grandchildren

For many years I’ve been blessed to serve in congregations that give priority to offering sabbaticals to its pastors. Yes, Mennonite Church USA congregations get a not-so-subtle nudge from the denomination. A recommended sabbatical policy is written into pastoral support guidelines. Congregations may choose whether to follow the guidelines, and not all do. Even in…

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Conference terminates Yoder’s credentials

Based on the findings of the Virginia Mennonite Conference (VMC) Investigation Team regarding Duane Yoder, the previous pastor of Lindale Mennonite Church, Linville, Va., and on Yoder’s decision not to contest those findings by declining to participate further in this process, Conference leadership acted to terminate Duane Yoder’s ministerial credentials for further ministry within Virginia…

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Finding the image of God in each incarcerated neighbor

Jason Wagner

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…

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Where does the Virginia Mennonite story begin?

Steven Nolt

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…

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