June 26, 2014

Donna Merow's ordination

Three congregations credential new leaders on Pentecost

by Sheldon C. Good

Many Christian congregations commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, and three Franconia Conference congregations in particular acknowledged the Spirit’s movement through the credentialing of leaders for ministry. Read more….

Youth Gather for Outdoor Worship

by Lora Steiner, managing editor

Youth from Franconia Conference and Eastern District gathered on Sunday, June 1, for an afternoon of worship, celebration, and inspiration. . Watch the highlight video and share with your congregation and youth group!

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Everence

Kenneth Hochstetler named as next president of Everence

The Everence board of directors has named Kenneth D. Hochstetler (Blooming Glen congregation) as the organization’s next president and CEO. Hochstetler will assume the role upon the retirement of President and CEO Larry D. Miller at the end of August. Read more….

Social Stream (FranconiaMC, #fmclife)

Care and Share
Cindy Moyer

Wrapping Up

by Cindy Moyer, Living Life to the Fullest*

Hard to believe it, but I leave Albania on Saturday. I think it may be too soon to reflect deeply on my time here but I wanted to write some sort of conclusion while it is still fresh. I have for a long time enjoyed the analogy of life being a journey or a road to be traveled.  Read more….

Do you or someone from your congregation have a blog on faith and life or faith and leadership?

Add it to our blogroll by emailing eralph@franconiaconference.org.

Mark Your Calendars

Mark your Calendar For a complete listing of upcoming events, check out the Franconia Conference Calendar. The Conference office keeps a Google calendar of congregational and Conference Related Ministries events to help avoid scheduling conflicts—so please help us keep it up to date! Add your event to the calendar by sending an event invitation to calendar@franconiaconference.org.
Conference Assembly 2014

  • WHEN: November 14 & 15, 2014
  • WHERE: Penn View Christian School in Souderton, Pa.
  • WHAT: Joint assembly with Eastern District Conference including worship, workshops, delegate sessions, and more!
Biblical Interpretation Seminar

  • WHEN: October 25
  • WHERE: TBD
  • WHAT: Hear different perspectives on how we go about reading Scripture as we discern together what the Spirit is saying to the church.

FYI

esperandoPastors: Please Update Your 2014 Delegate List

If you have submitted it already, thank you!  If not, you still have time.  Here is how you can do it:

EMU delays formal action on hiring policy after listening process

After a six-month listening process that engaged a broad range of stakeholders, including Mennonite Church USA, the board of trustees of Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va., has delayed formal action regarding the hiring policy and individuals in covenanted same-sex relationships.

The November 2013 board decision to suspend personnel actions related to the current hiring policy will remain in effect as discernment continues.

In offering his public appreciation to President Swartzendruber and his leadership team, Andy Dula, chair of the EMU Board of Trustees, said, “I am proud to be part of EMU, a university where contentious issues can be engaged with mutual respect and with Christian discernment and compassion. We are extremely grateful for President Swartzendruber’s leadership during this challenging time.”

“The process was consistent with how the church engages in discernment around difficult issues,” said Carlos Romero, executive director of Mennonite Education Agency.

The president’s cabinet invited a wide range of constituents—including students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, church leaders—to fill out survey forms giving their views on the hiring policy. “More than 7,000 people responded to our survey,” according to BJ Miller, director of institutional research.

In addition, 20 “dialogue sessions,” including approximately 300 individuals on campus, were held. At least one president’s cabinet member was present at each session to listen and anonymously report perspectives to the rest of the cabinet. The president and cabinet members also engaged leaders across the church.

“The listening process was extremely valuable in enabling the president’s cabinet to gain a deeper understanding of the range of feelings, hopes and fears about extending university employment to persons in same-sex covenanted relationships,” added Dula. “Based on this feedback, we acknowledge that the church is currently engaged in extensive discernment over human sexuality. We wish to honor our relationship with the church by not taking a final action now on changing EMU’s hiring policy.”

According to EMU President Loren Swartzendruber, “We solicited feedback through the listening process, not because it is a democratic process but because we felt it was important to hear from those who care deeply about EMU.”

President Swartzendruber confirmed that views proved to be highly divergent and often passionate, regardless of the stance.

“We never expected to see consensus on this matter,” said Swartzendruber. “We were hoping for respectful dialogue, and indeed this is what we saw within our university community. Internally there was a consistent theme of wanting to maintain unity in spite of our diversity on these and other important issues.

“EMU’s role as a university is to grapple with the difficult questions of our time,” he said. “From the beginning, we bathed this process in prayer, seeking God’s guidance. We also received encouragement from numerous church leaders and members to stay engaged with the Mennonite Church as we wrestle with these questions.”

Dula said the board has no definite timetable for making a final hiring policy decision. “Many of us from EMU will participate in the Mennonite Church USA’s continuing discussions on human sexuality—we’ll consider what emerges in the wider church in making our plans,” he said.

The board’s official statement, passed by a strong majority vote on June 20, 2014:

We reaffirm EMU’s mission—to prepare students to serve and lead in a diverse global society—and EMU’s role as a university that fully engages the difficult questions of our time and welcomes diverse perspectives and experiences into the conversation. Out of respect for EMU’s relationship with Mennonite Church USA and its ongoing discernment of human sexuality, we defer action on formally changing EMU’s policy on hiring employees in covenanted same-sex relationships. The November 2013 board decision to suspend personnel actions related to the current hiring policy will remain in effect as the discernment process continues.

*The views expressed in each week’s blog do not necessarily reflect those of Franconia Conference; these blogs are included to initiate conversation and network members of the conference community. See our full Terms of Use.
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