by Stephen Kriss
We are three weeks into Executive Minister Ertell Whigham’s three month sabbatical. In the meantime, I’m serving as acting executive minister, which so far has meant attending to both more details and broader issues and possibilities for our community of faith together. These months will continue to provide opportunities for staff growth and engagement in new ways. Our conference youth minister, John Stoltzfus, is also on sabbatical, which makes the staff lean and busy for the summer.
In Mennonite Church USA, our conference currently has the most advertised pastoral openings. We are searching for diverse leaders from Taftsville in Vermont to South Philly to serve among our congregations. With about a dozen pastoral openings across our Conference, this is a significant time of transition and focused work. Pastoral transitions are high priorities for LEADership Minister engagement to help keep our congregations healthy and growing.
This summer we, the staff, begin “Going to the Margins” staff meetings which will mean the Conference office will be closed the last Wednesday of July, August, and September in the afternoons as staff engage with our congregational communities. Our first “Going to the Margins” staff meeting will be with Doylestown Mennonite next week where we’ll engage with pastors and spend time learning there. I look forward to each of these three afternoon times out together.
Franconia Conference is about conferring. There are frequent meetings and there is much planning happening for meetings coming up this fall. Office staff work hard to ensure that we are ready to gather together in ways that are meaningful and that information flows in a timely and efficient way. We’re in process of planning for our annual assembly and continue to work to update our pastoral credentialing records.
There is much to do. We have many good stories to tell. We continue to work and to hope. I invite you to join together in prayer for the conference, staff, board and everyone across our almost 7000 people conference community as together we strive to “live a life worthy of our calling.”