Tag Archives: Vincent

Locally Handmade Comforter Appears in the New York Times

by Barbie Fischer

Vincent quilts 3Often when items are donated to a ministry, the recipient of the donation is unknown. The Vincent Sewing Circle ladies are well aware of this fact as they have been making comforters by hand since 1934 and donating them to people in need, in recent years mainly to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Having donated numerous handmade comforters over the past 82 years it was exciting for the ladies of the Sewing Circle to discover one of their comforters in a photograph in the New York Times.

On March 22nd, in the LENS Blog of the New York Times appeared an article entitled, “Dilley, Tex., Home to the Nation’s Largest Immigration Detention Center.” The article is about a multiplatform project known as “Welcome to Dilley” by a creative cooperative known as Black Box. As explained in the article, the project dives into a town at the heart of the national immigration debate, Dilley, Texas. Through the project, Black Box tells the story of immigration detention in the United States by sharing the stories of the detainees and the other residents in the small town where the largest immigration detention center in the United States is housed.

One of the woman featured in the project is Yadira López Lucas. Flipping through the slideshow in the New York Times article and appearing in a New York Time post on Facebook one can see Yadira and her three children sitting on a bed in a Mennonite House in San Antonio. The house is run by Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), in partnership with San Antonio Mennonite Church. The caption reads, “After being released last spring from the Karnes detention center about an hour and a half from Dilley, she [Yadira] had become the Mennonite House’s de facto caretaker as she waited for her case to wind its way through the system. With her were her sons, David and Daniel, and her daughter, Melany.” The comforter that appears on in the lower left-hand corner of the photograph of Yadira and her children was made by the women at the Vincent Sewing Circle. (Click here to view the photo.)

Vincent quilts 4Linda Lindberg, of Vincent Mennonite Church and a member of the Vincent Sewing Circle spotted the photo graph and says, “My reaction to seeing it wasn’t anything special.  I just recognized it (the corner of the comforter on the bed at bottom left) and was thankful that I could see the end result of our labor.”

Vincent quilts 2

She goes on to say, “I looked further at the picture for my own “proof” to see if it was ours and recognized several pieces of the printed fabric–especially the black with printed flowers on the band around the outside of the patches.  I remembered trying to decide what color of thread to sew the fold over with because of the contrast of black and medium blue (I went with blue).  The blue backing is part of a very large bolt that we found several of at Goodville Fabric Outlet for less than a dollar a yard and an unusual 110 inch width, so I recognized that also.  The pattern of the patches (diagonal stripes where there was enough of one color/print) is typical of the many, many tops Marjorie Benner, of Souderton Homes, has stitched over the years.  She also cut smaller patches than is typical for these “refugee” comforters.  I have become familiar with the prints/colors of material used in many of our comforters from knotting them, sandwiching them, pinning, and hemming them.  So I was quite sure it was one that we had worked on!”

Vincent quilts 1The Vincent Sewing Circle started in 1934 as a place for women to use their skills to help others. Women from several Mennonite Churches in the Pottstown area came together to form the group. Currently the group meets in a home owned by Vincent Mennonite Church every second Wednesday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and breaks for devotions and lunch. If you are interested in joining the group please contact Vincent Mennonite Church at office@vincentmc.org.

Everence awards scholarships to three conference students

Three students from Franconia Conference were named recipients of Everence college scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Everence, a financial, insurance and banking services organization rooted in faith and values, offers its scholarship program each year as a means of encouraging young people to explore the integration of faith and finances while helping them on their educational journeys.

This year’s $500 scholarship recipients include Abigail Anderson, Jacob Ford, and Sarah Nafziger. The essay topic was, “Describe a person who has modeled the concept of stewardship for you. How did his or her example influence your life choices?


Jacob Ford, of Franconia congregation in Telford (Pa.), pursuing a degree at New York University, wrote about  William Temple Hornaday, Smithsonian Museum conservationist:

“It is not impossible that the most responsible thing to do with one’s wealth is to give it all away.  It’s not impossible that a comfortable life is a weakness and not a strength, a sign of habits overdue for upheaval.  Stewardship is, and must remain, responsibility, and Hornaday’s example in not an excuse to make deliberately bad decisions.  Yet stewardship must not prohibit the preposterous.”


Sarah Nafziger, of Vincent congregation in Spring City (Pa.), pursuing a degree at Penn State, wrote about her father: “Both Dad and I are stewards of the Gospel. I have learned from Dad how to take care of things well. The Gospel is different than resources, my body, or my family–with those there is only so much I can invest and give. The Gospel is a treasure that God has entrusted me with that I can give freely and still keep.”


The third local recipient was Abigail Anderson, of Covenant Community Fellowship in Harleysville, (Pa.).  She is pursuing a degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  In her essay, Abigail said, “My parents have taught me to be generous with everything with which God has blessed us.”

These students are among 42 recipients of Everence college scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year. About 200 students from across the country applied for scholarships – a benefit of being an Everence member – for the coming academic year. Recipients were chosen based on academics, leadership, community involvement and responses to an essay question.

“We look for students who succeed in school but go beyond that to get involved in their communities,” said Phyllis Mishler, member benefits manager for Everence.

One student received a $3,000 scholarship, three received $2,000 scholarships and 38 others received $500 scholarships for the upcoming school year. Visit everence.com for a complete list of scholarship recipients and their photos.

Everence offers banking, insurance and financial services with community benefits and stewardship education. Everence is a ministry of Mennonite Church USA and other churches. To learn more, visit www.everence.com/souderton or call 215-703-0111.

Introducing Vincent Mennonite Church

Vincent Mennonite Church

Vincent Mennonite Church is located at 39 Seven Stars Rd., Spring City, PA.   We have been in existence for 277 years, founded 40 years before our country gained its independence.   Our current church was built in 1974 and is situated on a rural lot with a pavilion built in a grove of trees.

Our current pastor is Pastor Tim Moyer.  Our current leadership structure consists of 3 teams:  Elder Team, Lay Ministry Team, and the Administration Commission.

Our Vision for Vincent Mennonite Church is “For all people to become followers of Jesus Christ with us, and to nurture one another in a Christ-centered life of Worship and Service.”

Vincent is a unique and exciting church; a harmonious blend of believers from a diversity of backgrounds and ethnicities who support one another as we collectively follow Christ.  We are a warm and friendly congregation that nurtures an atmosphere where visitors quickly realize that they are valued and welcome.  We are committed to maintaining our core foundational beliefs while at the same time endeavoring to present the message of Christ in a manner that is relevant to each person.

Some of the weekly events that we offer to our church and community include Youth Group activities, Son Seekers, (ages 10 through 8th grade), Ladies Support Group, and Sunday School.  Monthly events include Ladies Sewing Circle and Children’s Church.  Yearly events include Vacation Bible School, The Country Fair/Antique Tractor Show, Mother/Daughter Banquet, Father/Son Baseball Picnic, Harvest Party, potluck fellowship meals, and a Reading Phillies Excursion.  We also have special services during the year centered around Good Friday, Easter, Communion, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  Seasonal events include Adult Choir and Children’s Choir.

The Orphan Ministry is a new ministry at Vincent.  The purpose of this ministry is to inform and make available opportunities for the congregation and the community to provide for the needs of orphans in this country and abroad.  It is in response to God’s mandate to bring justice, care, and protection to the fatherless and oppressed.  The Orphan Ministry will be spearheading one to two projects per year to aid orphans.

Introducing Vincent Mennonite Church (pdf)

Conference students receive Everence scholarships

Jacob Ford
Jacob Ford, Franconia congregation

SOUDERTON, PA – Everence has announced that three Franconia Conference students are among 42 recipients of this year’s Everence college scholarships. The scholarship program encourages young people to explore the integration of faith and finances while helping them on their educational journeys.

The scholarship awardees are:

  • Jacob Ford, Souderton, PA; Jacob attends Franconia Mennonite Church and is a student at New York University.
  • Sarah Nafziger, Mohnton, PA; Sarah attends Vincent Mennonite Church and is a student at Penn State University.
  • Rachel Speigle, Telford, PA; Rachel attends Blooming Glen Mennonite Church and is a student at Northeastern University.
Sarah Nafziger
Sarah Nafziger, Vincent congregation

Nearly 200 students from across the country applied for scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year. Recipients were chosen based on academics, extracurricular activities, leadership, community involvement and responses to an essay question.

Students wrote essays about someone who models the concept of stewardship.

“We were encouraged to see that so many students have people in their lives who set an example of how to be good stewards of their time and resources,” said Phyllis Mishler, member benefits manager for Everence. “They’re learning important lessons about how much impact a spirit of generosity can have.”

One student received a $3,000 scholarship, three received $2,000 scholarships and 38 others received $500 scholarships for the upcoming school year. For a complete list of scholarship recipients and their photos, visit Everence.com.

Rachel Speigle
Rachel Speigle, Blooming Glen congregation

Everence helps individuals, organizations and congregations integrate finances with faith through a national team of advisers and representatives. Everence offers banking, insurance, and financial services with community benefits and stewardship education. Everence is a ministry of Mennonite Church USA and other churches. To learn more, visit Everence.com or call (800) 348-7468.

Did you know about the Area Conference Leadership Fund?  The ACLF gives grants for seminary training to members of Franconia and Eastern District conferences.  Find out more about it or make a donation here.

Redefining success at the ‘Top of the World’

Bethsaba & Dale Nafziger

bethsaba-sorting-green-coffee.JPGI grew up in Vincent Mennonite Church, Spring City, Pa. I first went to Nepal, the land of Mt. Everest, under Mennonite Central Committee in 1979. Bethsaba, a native of Darjeeling, and I were married there in 1994 – where we currently continue to serve under Mennonite Mission Network. Until 2003 we happily served in various capacities under the United Mission to Nepal. Around that time, however, UMN had a number of entrepreneurial projects that they were looking to “spin off” into small private enterprises. Bethsaba “latched onto” one of those as an opportunity for providing jobs and employment to women living in our village. The opportunity was that of making frozen french fries. Our new company’s name was, appropriately, “Top of the World.”

Reena was one of our first Top of the World employees. She entered this life with “three strikes” against her: first she was a girl, second she was low caste, and third she had a hearing defect. While she worked Reena simply observed us. Then she began to ask questions…questions not at all of the nature one would expect to hear from an “uneducated” village girl. To make a long story short: Reena is now one of the key members of our local congregation.

In 2007 we added frozen pizzas to our product line. During that same year we added on coffee and re-registered our small company under the name “Top of the World Coffee.” A busy year and a half passed between company restructuring and the time we first began selling coffee. This time was occupied learning the coffee business, acquiring the necessary equipment, sourcing coffee, etc. Nepal is a landlocked country so everything either needs to be imported via airfreight, at considerable cost, or via India, at considerable risk. On November 16, 2008 we finally roasted and sold our first bags of coffee. It was a joyous occasion!

dale-roasting-coffee.JPGFrank A. Clark once said, “If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” That statement nicely summarizes our experiences in practicing “business as mission” here over the past seven years. Nepal is a stunningly beautiful country – given that it contains the highest mountains on earth how could it possibly be otherwise? The people are friendly, the culture is exotic…and the church here is growing at an amazing pace. Economically, however, it is also one of the most rigorous business environments possibly found on the face of planet earth. In addition to the issues that arise from Nepal being land locked, we currently struggle making and selling frozen foods with 12 hours “loadshedding” (daily lack-of-electricity), political instability, and perpetual shortages of essential supplies.

If economic problems alone are not sufficient, however, possibly our greatest area of challenge is that of business ethics. Fortunately, we are not alone in confronting these issues. We are part of a supportive network of national and expatriate Christian business women and men who call ourselves “Great Commission Companies – Nepal.” We meet weekly for prayer and also have regular monthly meetings. Luci Swindoll stated, “In God’s economy you will be hard-pressed to find many examples of successful ‘Lone Rangers.’” Based upon our situation here in Nepal, I couldn’t agree more! One of the issues that we regularly deliberate here is, “How do we define ‘business success?’” If one narrowly defines it on the basis of the teaching found in a traditional MBA…one may as well pack up and go home…or never even come to Nepal in the first place. Looking at success from a Kingdom perspective, however, makes the whole effort worthwhile. Just look at Reena!

Friends and well-wishers occasionally ask how they can access our products – as a way of supporting our efforts. Regrettably, they are not available in the USA…nor will they realistically be available there in the foreseeable future. Something that everyone can do, however, is pray. Beyond that people are most welcome to contribute to our continuing lives and service here under Mennonite Mission Network. Giving fills a very real need. Finally, our Top of the World Coffee does have business goals that I be happy to communicate via personal e-mail correspondence.

We are grateful to you, the churches of the Franconia Mennonite Conference, for your faithfulness in helping us to redefine business success here at the top of the world!