Tag Archives: David Boshart

Worthy of our Calling to Extend Christ’s Peace

by Stephen Kriss

During the last staff meeting in this space in between, I invited my colleagues to share their celebrations and questions for the last month.   Without exception, the celebrations and questions had to do with pastors.   We celebrate the completion of pastoral search processes, with the beginning of Mike Spinelli’s leadership at Perkiomenville; the call of Maria Hosler Byler to an associate pastor role at Salford; Josh Jefferson’s installation and licensing last Sunday at Souderton as a youth pastor; and Sandy Drescher-Lehman’s beginning as pastor at Methacton. Many of these processes were lengthy discernments.   We celebrate the new beginnings and new possibilities that leadership can bring in the life of our communities.

Conference staff took a road trip with Pastor Bruce Eglinton-Woods (Salem), to explore the community where the congregation is ministering.

Our questions had to do with how we walk with pastors and congregations through difficult times.  We wonder how God will provide with prolonged pastoral search processes at Franconia and Taftsville.  We prayed as John Bender from Allentown who was in the hospital making difficult decisions between life and death, as he was readmitted to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia (he made the decision by the time our meeting had ended).  We prayed for an upcoming surgery that Charlie Ness from Perkiomenville will be undergoing.   These are all things we attend to as staff beyond our meeting time and carry in our hearts and heads.

The last month has meant focused attention on planning for Conference Assembly — a great time to celebrate the work God is doing in our midst, and spend time discerning and equipping ourselves for the future.  Registration and the docket are available at http://edc-fmc.org/assembly/  to help us, as a conference, prepare for assembly at Penn View Christian School.  Postcard invitations and posters will be coming to your congregations in the next two weeks. We’ve hosted and gotten some feedback from our time with David Boshart (moderator-elect) from Mennonite Church USA.  We’re prepping for his return at assembly to discuss more specific issues around human sexuality that continue to challenge our capacity to be church together, while going to the margins to be and proclaim the Good News.

Our conference executive minister Ertell M. Whigham comes back on the job on Saturday, October 1.  My season of this stretch of the race as acting executive minister has passed.  I’m ready to return the baton and responsibilities back to Ertell as he navigates the next few months.  I’ve learned a lot in these months.  I’ve been busier than usual with meetings, emails, texts and phone calls.  I have lots of hope for us as a community, but recognize our fragility at the same time.  God continues to bless us with flourishing, and challenges enough to test and grow our hearts, minds, and souls.

At the beginning of these three months, I felt drawn to the text to “live a life worthy of my calling.”  This time, ending this stretch, I want to turn that text back over to us as individuals and a community, to stay focused on the things we’ve discerned together, and to live, work and minister together in such a way that honors the sense of call that exemplifies what God has invited us toward in extending the peace of Christ to each other and to neighbors nearby and faraway.

Promises & Practices: Recap of the Conference-Wide Gathering

By Barbie Fischer

On Saturday, September 10, in lieu of pre-assembly scattered meetings, members of Franconia Conference were joined by their sisters and brother from Eastern District Conference at Franconia Mennonite Church for a morning of dialogue and discernment around the topic of promises and practices. This dialogue was led by David Boshart, moderator-elect of Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA) and executive conference minister for Central Plains Mennonite Conference.

boshart2The day began with worship led by Larry and Doris Diener of the Franconia congregation, followed by David Boshart offering insight into why he has hope for MCUSA. He stated that while he has hope, he finds that his hope for a “vibrant future for Mennonite Church USA is provisional.” He offered three provisions he sees, stating, “there is a vibrant future for Mennonite Church USA provided that we:

  1. Rekindle the gift of God’s grace that has made us alive through the power of the cross of Jesus.
  2. Keep the good works for which we have been created in proper perspective.
  3. Recover our joy in our common life through covenant and spiritual practice.”

In the second part of the morning, David spoke of promises and a “biblical understanding of covenant that originates with God and which we have received through our baptism.” Specifically saying that, “our mission as a church is to bear witness to this covenant by embodying together, and by God’s grace, the way of the kingdom.”

boshart1It was brought up that covenant is mentioned throughout the denominational documents both in the Confession of Faith and Membership Guidelines – a covenant being, “an offer of a holistic relationship based on an unconditional promise memorialized in a sign.”

David demonstrated how often the church seems to work out of a more contractual relationship, standing face to face, looking to Jesus on the side, rather than a covenantal relationship, standing shoulder to shoulder, looking at Jesus.

He also spoke of his own conference, Central Plains, and their search for unity, mentioning that they have asked themselves, “is it possible to find our unity in common spiritual practices?” From that, they went on to develop A Covenant of Spiritual Practices.

There was discussion times throughout the morning where attendees were asked to discuss the following three questions:

  1. How might understanding our relationships within the denomination as covenantal be a gift to us rather than a burden?
  2. How do our expectation for one another change when we move from face to face orientation where we are the negotiators to a shoulder to shoulder orientation where we are all trying to draw closer to Jesus?
  3. Does covenanting to common spiritual practices offer more hope for the future of MCUSA than doctrinal uniformity? (Recognizing there is tension between the two and this is not a choice of one or the other, but perhaps a recalibration of the tension.)

Following the morning session, credentialed leaders and those pastoring Franconia Conference congregations were invited to stay for further giving and receiving counsel on relationships between congregations, conference, and MCUSA. This came as a request from the conference board who was seeking counsel and wishing to hear the perspective of Franconia Conference credentialed leaders and those pastoring the conference congregations.

Boshart_David_2014To hear the full audio of David Boshart’s presentation and view his PowerPoint, visit: http://franconiaconference.org/media/audio-gallery/.

David Boshart nominated for MCUSA moderator-elect

by Mennonite Church USA staff

David Boshart
David Boshart

David Boshart of Wellman, Iowa, has been nominated to be moderator-elect of Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA).

Delegates will vote on the nomination at the 2015 MCUSA convention, held June 30-July 5 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Boshart is currently the executive conference minister for Central Plains Mennonite Conference. He has also served on the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board for seven years.

Prior to being appointed as executive conference minister in 2010, Boshart served as a pastor of local congregations for more than 25 years. He has a doctorate in leadership studies with an emphasis in missional theology from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and is the author of the books Becoming Missional: Denominations and New Church Development in Complex Social Contexts and Sex and Faith, a Bible study guide on male sexuality from the Closer than a Brother series published by Faith and Life Press. Boshart also serves as an adjunct professor at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, and Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

In his current role, Boshart provides leadership for the overall mission, vision and direction of Central Plains Mennonite Conference. He works with local congregations to help them focus their vision for ministry in their local contexts, and also to help develop partnerships among congregations to expand their capacity for witness and mission.

Boshart was nominated by the Leadership Discernment Committee of Mennonite Church USA, and his nomination was affirmed by the MCUSA executive board.

If delegates approve the nomination at the 2015 assembly, Boshart will serve two years as moderator-elect and two years as moderator and chair of the executive board. He would succeed the current moderator-elect, Patricia Shelly of North Newton, Kansas. The present moderator is Elizabeth Soto Albrecht of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Boshart is married to Shana Peachey Boshart, who serves as Central Plains’ conference minister for Christian formation, and they have three sons. They are part of West Union Mennonite Church, Parnell, Iowa.