New LEADership Ministers join Franconia Conference staff

Experienced Mennonite pastors John Bender and Aldo Siahaan have joined the Franconia Conference team of LEADership Ministers, bringing experience in church planting, intercultural leadership, and congregational pastoral work. Each will serve alongside several congregations yet to be decided and will work from home bases in southeastern Pennsylvania’s largest cities while continuing pastoral ministry assignments. read more

Conference focus groups provide feedback for national meetings

Ten leaders from Franconia Conference congregations voiced wide-ranging perspectives during two conference calls held recently to garner feedback on a controversial action taken by Mountain States Mennonite Conference earlier this year. In addition to those on the conference calls, about a dozen other leaders and delegates submitted written responses to Franconia Conference. read more

Youth groups move from charity to justice

Ben: As Salford prepared to experience Mennonite Church USA’s biannual gathering in Phoenix, AZ we understood that this was going to be a different kind of experience. We knew that there were a whole host of reasons that various churches were in favor of attending and not attending. One of the dramatic factors of a trip to the Southwest was that several of our sister congregations would be unable to afford the travel expenses. read more

Celebrating ACLF

A decade ago, Franconia Mennonite Conference leadership noticed a critical problem: seminary-trained leaders were increasingly in short supply. So when Delaware Valley Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), a conference-related ministry, turned over a well-funded college tuition scholarship program to Franconia Conference, a solution was soon to emerge. read more

Beauty for Brokenness: Growth toward Wholeness

On the morning of Saturday, June1st, thirty women came together at Salford Mennonite Church in Harleysville (Pa.) for the first women’s equipping event sponsored by the new Eastern District & Franconia Mennonite Conferences Women’s Committee. read more

Carrying the cross on Good Friday

This year on Good Friday, Ripple participated in the West End Ecumenical Worship, which involved a procession of the cross, ending at the host church, where 5 congregations joined for a 3 hour worship service. Each church was responsible for leading worship for a 1/2 hour slot.

We had announced this for many weeks in advance so many Ripple folks showed up on our front porch, which was along the processional route, where we joyfully and willingly joined the procession, which had started at the Episcopal church just a few blocks away. Isaiah, 6, and his sister, Marinette, 8, regular “Ripple Kids,” were the first to speak up to help carry the cross. read more

Hurricane Sandy leaves destruction and opportunity

Three days after Hurricane Sandy swept through south-eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, members of Franconia Conference are still cleaning up from massive flooding, downed trees and power lines, and extensive power outages.

Communication has been challenging and reports are trickling in–entire communities are still without power, dealing with road closures, and running short on supplies as gas stations and grocery stores are also without electricity. read more

Can enemies become friends?

I guess I started thinking about this earlier in the summer. I was acting as ‘crowd control’ at a peace camp at Franklin Park in Allentown. The story teller had the kids acting out Acts 10—where Peter and Cornelius move from historic animosity toward friendship and salvation. A Jewish fisherman, a Roman Centurion, and their respective cohorts took on a decidedly urban, Latino flavor. The kids seemed to enjoy the story, but when they were asked to think about why someone like Peter would be friends with someone like Cornelius their answers were painfully honest. When asked to imagine creative ways to respond to bullies—they couldn’t seem to think of anything but fighting back. And I could see why a white woman of privilege, suggesting Jesus would have them do otherwise, didn’t necessarily sit well with them. read more

2012 Peace Camps: Love on a Local Scale, part 3

What does Anabaptist witness look like? It looks like a neighbor who listens in order to understand, learns from difference, and wants to join in God’s recreating what is broken. In Allentown, we are slowly learning to know—and so to love—our neighbors.

Ripple-Allentown’s first go at a peace camp – three evenings, Wednesday through Friday – was full of important learning. We showed up at Franklin Park, just behind St. Stephen’s Community Outreach Center in west Allentown, a park that is a center of play and activity and the location of the Peace Pole planted last year as part of marking Pastor Tom Albright’s ordination. read more

Salford youth extend hospitality in Allentown

Salford Mennonite Church is a place with many resources and talents – yet we as a church are often are at a loss at how to use these resources in the world. Every once in a while, an opportunity takes shape that touches us in a meaningful way.

During the month of February, Salford’s members collected over 50 grocery bags filled with non-perishable food items, as has been a tradition for many years. The second part of this tradition is that Salford’s youth have delivered the groceries to a community where this can be of use. Our youth leaders reached out to Steve Kriss at Franconia Conference, who suggested that it might be helpful to get in touch with the Ripple Allentown community. read more