Tag Archives: Wayne Nitzsche

Love is a Verb and So Much More

by Wayne Nitzsche, Interim LEADership Minister and Pastor of Perkasie Mennonite Church

When taking elementary Greek as a seminary student, suddenly it dawned on me that my knowledge of the English language was woefully inadequate. I might not have been able to tell you that a verb “is a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence, and forming the main part of the predicate of a sentence, such as hearbecomehappen,” as Google says. But I’d have been able to say that is an action word!

So when I learned the theme for Mennonite Church USA for 2017, launched on Valentine’s Day, was: “Love is a Verb” I knew about verbs. I’m just glad they didn’t go with: “Love is a predicate noun.”

As followers of Christ we believe that God is love and that we are called to participate in God’s love. Not by the cheap “I’ll love you if you love me” ways of our culture, but in the gritty work of loving God, ourselves and our neighbors.

This theme of Love is a Verb will be the theme at our denominational assembly in Orlando in early July. As we lead up to that, Perkasie Mennonite (PMC), and perhaps other Franconia Conference congregations have recently engaged this theme. Here at PMC we developed a six week worship series focusing on: love is… a verb, … obeying Christ, … mutual, …. fear-less, ….of God, and …. life-giving. The series has been a study of the book of First John.

“This word of life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us…so that our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:2-3)

For the writer, the love of God is expressed in the revealed “word of life” (Jesus Christ) so that we might have fellowship (koinonia) with God and with each other. That love we’ve received is then expressed in love for each other in the local fellowship. Yet, scholars believe this struggling church was fractured because of theological diversity and a refusal to love in word and deed. In a series employing sharp contrasts comes the command to do the hard work of love.

Our love has been put to the test in very specific ways as we have walked with congregation members in life and death. I witnessed people expressing their love by sharing meals, sending cards, sitting in silence, in unceasing prayer and in many other acts of love. I know this happens on a daily basis, not only at PMC but in all the churches spread out over our conference.

We have members demonstrate active love – love as a verb – by urging us to speak into the political process with a voice of concern for peace and justice. We had hard discussions in our Sunday morning second hour around the issue of racism, and talked about what steps we might take to become allies.

As an Interim LEADership Minister with Franconia Conference, I’ve been relating to Alpha, Bally and Taftsville congregations. It’s been a joy to hear stories of love in action. Bally created a large banner with the words from the Welcoming Your Neighbors posters: “No matter where you are from, we are glad you are our neighbor” written in Arabic, Spanish and English. During a committee meeting, a stranger entered and expressed his appreciation for the sign. He is a recent immigrant from the Middle East and had been feeling very vulnerable.

Love in action is expressed at Taftsville in their recent addition of solar panels on the roof of their meeting place.  They are now generating electricity that goes back onto the grid, as they continue to implement steps to care for God’s creation. I could go on with other illustrations just in these three congregations.

Let’s continue to challenge ourselves and our congregations to make Christ’s love known in our local communities. May we also celebrate and testify to the ways it is already happening in small ways in the wonderful diversity that is Franconia Mennonite Conference.

“We know love by this that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” (1 John 3:16)

Franconia Conference Welcomes New Staff Member

Beginning in July, 2017, Mary Nitzsche will join the Franconia Conference staff as Associate Executive Minister. This role will include the work that was previously classified as Conference Pastor. She will serve as primary staff person for the ministerial committee and assist in pastoral accompaniment with various groups within Conference, such as with Conference chaplains and retired leaders, while also serving as the primary connection with Mennonite Church USA, attending denominational meetings, CLC and working with credentialing processes.

Mary is well known throughout Conference, having served as a credentialed leader in the role of Pastor of Pastoral Care and Spiritual Formation at Blooming Glen Mennonite (PA) for the past nine years. Mary has also served as the Conference Board Ministerial Committee Chair and thus a member of the Conference Board since 2013. She has resigned from these roles to step into her position as Conference staff.

In addition to her work within Franconia Conference, Mary has also served as a Regional Pastor with Ohio Conference for 12 years, she worked as a counselor within the Church Relations office at Goshen College, and early in her career was an elementary school teacher.  Mary holds a Master’s degree in pastoral counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary (OH), a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Goshen College (IN) and an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts from Hesston College (KS).

On March 26, 2017, in an announcement to Conference Staff and Board, Executive Minister Steve Kriss wrote, “Mary’s gifts will help add depth and care to our ministry and leadership team.  I’ve experienced Mary as someone who genuinely exhibits the fruits of the Spirit in her life and trust that she’ll bring that fruitful presence further into our life together.  After consulting and conversing with numerous persons across our Conference community, it seemed as if there was a clear call from us and the Spirit sensing that Mary’s gifts would serve our fellowship and God’s purposes well at this time.  I’ve appreciated Mary’s insights, her capacity to listen and to imagine.   I look forward to Mary’s participating in Franconia Conference leadership in a different way as she begins the staff role this summer.”

Mary states that her guiding verse is Isaiah 30:18a and 20b-21: “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you. . .your Teacher will not hide. . . your eyes shall see your Teacher. And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”

In regards to her new role she said, “I am humbled and honored to accept God’s new call to serve as Associate Executive Minister of Franconia Conference. I pray the gifts and the congregational and conference experiences I bring to this role will help me lead with grace, wisdom, and hope. In this time of uncertainty and opportunity in our conference, denomination, nation and world, I hope to join staff in being attentive and responsive to the movement of God’s Spirit already present and working through us.”

Mary is married to Wayne Nitzsche, pastor of Perkasie Mennonite Church. They have two adult daughters: Alison, living with her husband, Michael, in Long Beach, California, and Megan living in New York City. Mary and Wayne are Midwest natives and have both lived and served in a variety of congregational and conference settings.

For fun and relaxation, Mary enjoys walking/hiking, knitting, working Sudoku or jigsaw puzzles, sewing, and baking.

Disoriented Following

By Wayne Nitzsche, Interim LEADership Minister

I’ve been granted the privilege of walking with the congregations of Alpha, Bally and Taftsville as they engage the journey of calling a pastor. Jenifer Eriksen Morales has prepared them well for the steps in the process. But as in all of life, we make plans and sometimes it works to perfection and for a brief moment we believe we’re smartly in control. The rest of the time, life happens.

For example, recently I planned for a weekend trip to Taftsville, Vermont to have meetings with the Transition Team, Council and to preach on Sunday morning. The meetings went well, the congregation offered warm hospitality, and Vermont showcased its winter beauty, a dazzling display. Sunday afternoon when I’d plan to return home, four inches of new snow blanketed our vehicles. Vermonters for whom that is no big deal,
cautioned me about evening travel in blowing and drifting snow. I decided to spend an extra day and wait out the storm.  Initially I was frustrated. How could I miss a Monday morning and evening meeting and a day of work? When I let go of the temporary and minor disorientation of my schedule I was able to relax. I was gifted with an hour-long walk in the snow, and engaging conversation with my delightful hosts.

My change of plans was a minor inconvenience. But other situations feel more major. Heather Wolfe, member of the Taftsville Transition Team reflected on a piece of their four year pastoral search process. At one point, two pastoral candidates seemed to be real possibilities. However, both people withdrew their names from consideration. Dorcas Lehman, who was an interim pastor at that time, reminded the Team that Moses wandered in the wilderness for forty years before reaching the Promised Land. Surely Moses felt much disorientation, and disappointment.  Heather remarked that they hoped it didn’t take 34 more years to get to their Promised Land of finding a pastor!

In January, I visited Alpha Mennonite Church and was delighted to hear Krista Showalter Ehst preach a sermon called “Disoriented Following” based on the text from Matthew 4. Jesus begins ministry in a new place, and immediately calls two sets of brothers.

Krista began with her own story of disoriented following. She was about to graduate from seminary. A congregation inquired about her openness to a pastoral call. While on a silent retreat she sensed the Spirit validating her call to pastoral ministry. Soon there were multiple long-distance Skype interviews with a search committee resulting in a call to candidate at that church. Krista purchased plane tickets but then suddenly questions began to emerge from the search committee and the offer to be the pastoral candidate was withdrawn. Krista was obviously disoriented and devastated. Questions about that experience remain, but she testifies that it led to growth and new opportunities.

Krista says about Matthew 4:12: “Jesus himself is coming off a very disorienting experience–his temptation in the wilderness. Somehow, this disorienting wilderness experience seems to have brought him a renewed strength and clarified call as he now chooses this moment to begin his ministry.”

Later she says about the call of the brothers, James and John, and Peter and Andrew: “What a daring decision, and what a disorienting decision! They don’t even know what “following Jesus” means–in fact they may not even know that this guy’s name is Jesus yet! All they have to go on is his invitation and this cryptic phrase that they’re going to somehow fish for people. And so without any concrete sense of what lies ahead or where they will be led, they step out into this abyss of newness and change. I can’t imagine a more disorienting moment. I’m curious whether, an hour down the road, James turned to John or Peter turned to Andrew and said: “Brother, what in heck are we doing?”

Matthew has a purpose when he tells this story. And I think part of it is to remind his readers that the brothers’ disorienting beginning to their discipleship is indicative of the overall nature of discipleship. Being Jesus’ disciple has the potential to totally transform and change the shape of our lives–what we do with our lives, our relationship to family and friends and the various people and things we come to depend on. Being a disciple of Jesus and the kingdom he proclaims may just turn our lives upside down and call us away from everything familiar and secure.” This is just a little piece of Krista’s sermon. She agreed to send me the manuscript. Being the generous person she is, I’m sure she’d share it with you too.

What is your personal story of disoriented following? We all likely have many as we try to follow Jesus, and trust God’s loving care. We surely have them as congregations too. Often pastoral transition can be very disorienting for a congregation. It’s when congregations turn to the conference for leadership. It offers a great opportunity to live into the disorientation and grow by reconsidering current identity, context and mission.

Clearly we are in a disorienting time as a nation.  It offers the church the opportunity to differentiate itself from nationalism, patriotism, redemptive violence and consumerism that is often confused with American Christianity but has nothing to do with the gospel of Christ.

That Sunday at Alpha, Krista concluded her sermon by leading us into sharing the Lord’s Supper. Perhaps we need to more frequently rejoice in this gift that Jesus gave us. As we eat and drink may it prompt a powerful memory of his life; freely given for love of this beautiful but often disorienting world. May we live into these disorienting times, as individuals, and congregations so we may live courageously, oriented toward Christ’s kin-dom, coming on earth as it is in heaven.

Transition brings Interim LEADership Ministers

As the Conference is in a time of transition, it provides an opportunity for reflection and strategic planning for the coming years. With that, the new Executive Minister, Steve Kriss, and the Conference Executive Committee have provided a six-month transitional period that included bringing on three contracted LEADership Ministers, one of whom will also serve as Interim Director of Congregational Resourcing.

On January 1, 2017, the Conference welcomed Emily Ralph Servant, Randy Heacock, and Wayne Nitzsche into the role of Interim LEADership Minister. Emily will also serve as the Interim Director of Congregational Resourcing. Their willingness to serve in these interim roles ensures that all conference congregations have a dedicated Conference Minister available to serve them. In addition, with Emily stepping in as Interim Director of Congregational Resourcing the Conference can expect continued equipping events available to all Conference members and some geared toward credentialed leaders.

“Interim times are valuable for reconsidering and rethinking staffing configurations,” says Steve Kriss, Conference Executive Minister. “With the departures of Ertell and Jenifer, we have an unusual opportunity to reimagine how to lead and serve at the Conference level.  While I don’t anticipate changing our model of LEADership Ministry for accompaniment alongside pastors and congregations, this team of interim LEADership Ministers for six months will provide excellent space while also offering clear contacts for Conference ministry.  Emily, Randy and Wayne are skilled leaders who have conference level experience.  I’m grateful for their availability and willingness to serve in this time of change.  I’m grateful too for the flexibility and trust we have found with our congregations in the willingness to embrace each of them in the interim role.   As a conference we have a healthy pool of gifted and capable leaders; Emily, Randy and Wayne are evidence of this in their responsiveness to our invitations to serve together.”

Emily has been credentialed with the Conference since 2010, and a member of the conference since her youth.  She has served as a worship leader at Bally Mennonite Church, led worship and taught Sunday School while a member at Salford, and conducted interim ministry work with Swamp and Indonesian Light. She also spent time serving Sunnyside congregation in Lancaster, PA. Emily will also serve a number of Congregations as LEADership Minister while working to provide meaningful equipping events over the next six months.

Looking toward this new role, Emily states, “There is a special spirit in Franconia Conference that feels different from other contexts in which I’ve ministered, one that continues to draw me back!  I love the way that we celebrate diversity, passionately partner in different types of mission, and support one another in difficult times.  I’m so pleased to minister again as part of the staff during this time of transition, walking alongside some really gifted pastors and congregations!”

Randy Heacock steps in to his role as Interim LEADership Minister while continuing as pastor at Doylestown Mennonite Church. Randy was ordained in 1991 through Virginia Conference transferring to Franconia Conference in 2001 when he accepted the position at Doylestown. Randy has a wealth of pastoral experience spanning the last 35 years and has also served on the Virginia Conference Nurture Committee and as Chairperson of the Virginia Peace Committee. He has been noted for his steady presence and ability to walk with congregations through difficult times, holding space with patience as the Spirit moves making discernment possible.

In regards to his new role as Interim LEADership Minister, Randy says, “I am excited for the opportunity to walk alongside other church leaders as they pursue a Kingdom vision.”

Wayne Nitzsche currently serves as pastor at Perkasie Mennonite Church. He will continue in that role as he joins the Interim LEADership Ministry team. Wayne has been a member of Franconia Conference since accepting the role at Perkasie in 2008. Originally, Wayne was ordained in 1989 through Ohio Conference where he would serve as Regional Pastor for 12 years. Throughout his career, Wayne has served in a number of ministry roles including time under Mennonite Board of Missions, now known as Mennonite Mission Network. Wayne has been noted as having exceptional listening skills and truly strives to model Jesus in his everyday life. He will be working in these next six months with three congregations who face transitions themselves.

Wayne states, “God is with all our congregations. Perhaps God’s presence is most keenly experienced in times of pastoral transition. I look forward to walking with Alpha, Bally and Taftsville through their transition. I’m sure I will be enriched by the ways the Spirit is at work in these congregations. I hope to draw on twelve years of conference ministry experience in Ohio Conference, along with present pastoral perspectives from my pastorate at Perkasie Mennonite.”

We welcome these three to their new roles and are grateful for their answer to serve in this capacaity.

To learn more about the new Interim LEADership Ministers check out their full bios at: http://franconiaconference.org/directory/staff/

Counterintuitive Solidarity

By Jenifer Eriksen-Morales

“Mom, check this out!”  My son called me to share his interest in a TV show. The host, Jeremy Wade, was underwater, speaking through scuba gear, right next to a giant crocodile!  He explained approaching a crocodile from above, below or directly in front, can be quite deadly as one may be mistaken as a threat or prey.  However, when one approaches a crocodile in cool water from the side or back, imitating them by crawling slowly along the sandy riverbed, “I can get quite close to it,” Wade stated as he reached out and touched the crocodile who didn’t even flinch. (Don’t try this!) He went on to say as a result of this encounter he felt safer in the water.  He went on to comment that to learn about Tiger Fish, it is better to use a crocodilian rather than human perspective.   He then floated next to the croc, narrating as the camera panned.  He drew attention to the plants, critters, light and shadows allowing the world to be observed from the vantage point of a crocodile.  I was flabbergasted; Wade wasn’t studying crocs, he was learning about Tiger Fish from crocodiles!  What he was doing was counterintuitive, courageous, and exciting!

I was reminded of a conversation I had with Mike Derstine, Pastor at Plains, that morning.  Over coffee, Mike shared his learnings about counterintuitive solidarity from a recent Webinar entitled “Neo-Anabaptism and Anablacktivism” offered by AMBS and facilitated by Drew Hart and Greg Boyd.

Mike shared his learnings so enthusiastically I was compelled to do a little research.  Hart writes in his blog, “White intuition and experience (limited by homogeneous networks) is signifying one thing while black experience is claiming an alternative reality. What are people who participate in dominant society to do when their intuition and experience contradict the experiences of oppressed people?”  Hart goes on to call for counterintuitive solidarity, by “trusting the historically marginalized and oppressed perception above one’s own… Jesus’ own solidarity performance is a call to discipleship and imitation as a way of being in the world. It is the cure for privileged blinders that leaves people’s own vision impaired and unreliable. The Spirit is pulling all of us to see things “from below” because that is where God has chosen to move, work, and transform the world (1 Cor. 1:18-31).”

drewhartpic
Drew Hart

While Drew’s blog focuses on racism in the United States, clearly his point is relevant in other contexts where people are marginalized and oppressed.  In the statement, “Going to the Margins, Kingdom Mission Strategy,” adopted by Franconia Conference’s delegate body this fall, “We advocate that Franconia Conference be intentional about identifying those on the margins of our churches and society, and provide resources for the work of mutual transformation according to the good news of Jesus Christ. “  I imagine, if we as a conference, as organizations, as congregations, and as individuals are to take this statement seriously, the dominant culture will need to learn the art of counterintuitive solidarity.  We must find ways to create space to get up close and personal, listen well and trust the perception of “the other” enough to begin to see from their vantage point.

drewhartgraphicThe Perkasie congregation is doing this through a 6 week Sunday school study, “Returning Veterans, Returning Hope,” a curriculum provided by Mennonite Central Committee. As part of this, a veteran will come and share his story with the congregation.  Pastor, Wayne Nitzsche comments, “The Perkasie congregation solidly identifies as a Peace church.”  They wonder what it may mean to be welcoming and inclusive of veterans, to journey with them, and by modeling Jesus share his love, healing and hope.  Pastor Wayne also wonders, “What are we willing to learn from Veterans? How do we listen to their story deep enough to see what we can learn from them about courage, and loyalty and discipline? Veterans have something to offer us, if we are willing to listen.”

andrew_huth_fmc_ed_youth_event_082As we go through the steps of identifying and listening to those who have been marginalized, partnering locally and globally, sharing the gospel and planting churches, how might the Holy Spirit be inviting us to explore beyond our patterns, stereotypes and intuition in order to develop alternate ways of seeing and experiencing reality.  What might we learn from another’s point of view?

To read all of Drew Harts Article quoted above visit: http://drewgihart.com/2013/08/07/400-years-of-white-blinders-counterintuitive-solidarity-and-the-epistemological-advantage-of-the-oppressed/.

For more information and to obtain a copy of Mennonite Central Committee’s “Returning Veteran, Returning Hope,” Sunday School Curriculum visit: https://mcc.org/media/resources/1719.

Jenifer Eriksen-Morales is Minister of Transitional Ministries and a LEADership Minister for eleven congregations in Franconia Conference.

Pastors receive coaching in life and wellness

Trina Stutzman
Stutzman

by Lora Steiner, Franconia managing editor

When people think of health coaches, they usually think of Biggest Loser, the television show where participants vie each week to see who can lose the most weight—or someone with a whistle, like that annoying high school gym teacher who made your whole class run timed miles. Trina Stutzman isn’t one of those coaches. Stutzman, of Perkasie, Pa., is a wellness coach with Everence, through an initiative that offers combined support, education, and accountability to help people have more balance in their lives and increase their wellbeing.

Wellness coaching starts with a phone call to Everence, which matches interested participants with wellness coaches. The initial conversation focuses on what the participant hopes to gain from coaching—What’s most important to you? Where do you want to go?—then from there, it’s about establishing small goals and setting up first steps to success. Some people want to check in every week, others every month, but no matter how often, it’s always about working towards the participants’ goals. All coaching is done over the phone, and wellness coaches offer safe, supportive, nonjudgmental, and confidential space for conversation.

Wayne Nitzsche, pastor of Perkasie congregation, decided to take advantage of wellness coaching about two years ago, and stayed with it for a full year. When he first saw it was being offered, Nitzsche didn’t really think it was something he needed, but decided to try it anyway. What he found was a holistic approach to his wellbeing: concern for body and soul, mind and emotions.

For Nitzsche, the process ultimately led to him establishing habits for more balance, practices he still sticks to.

“I’ve come to believe pretty strongly that as we pay attention to our own functioning—be that spiritual or physical or emotional—that we find a deeper, richer life… but the temptation is to always look outside, look to someone else, to make our lives better, instead of looking within,” says Nitzsche.

Nitzsche says the hardest part was setting realistic goals, ones that were both stretching and yet attainable. His coach was good at reminding Nitzsche of his goals and being gracious when he didn’t meet them, celebrating when they were met, and looking deeper when they weren’t.

“To have that encouragement and accountability,” says Nitzsche, “Knowing that you’re going to talk to someone about what you’re doing or not doing—can be pretty helpful.”

Rollin Handrich, who works with Everence in their Goshen, Ind. office, says that sometimes the changes they’ve heard about have been dramatic, other times, incremental. But as he points out, people have often spent a lifetime developing habits that lead to their healthcare problems. The goal of the program, Handrich says, is to get people to rethink some of those habits and set comfortable goals, all the while considering the full picture of their lives: What are your stresses? What is your home life like? “It’s not just eat better, and exercise.”

Stutzman agrees.  “[Wellness coaching] is more than just physical health, but really looking at, ‘Do you want to be well?’ And that looks different for every person.”

She says some people set goals like losing weight, but for others, it’s setting healthy boundaries or stress relief. In a way, Stutzman sees her work as helping people bring into balance the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself.  “What does that look like to love yourself as you love other people?”

So far nearly 400 people—about 10 percent of eligible pastors and employees of Mennonite organizations—have participated in at least an initial phone call. It’s a part of the insurance plan offered to pastors and employees of Mennonite organizations whose plans are managed by Everence. Costs are covered by employers, and there is no charge to those who opt in to the program. Pastors and spouses covered by the Corinthian Plan can receive up to $600 for each filling out the online assessment and a follow-up coaching call to discuss their results. More information on wellness coaching is available at www.everence.com/wellness-coaching or by calling 800-348-7468, ext. 2462.

Remembering Becky Felton

from the Peace & Justice Committee of Eastern District and Franconia Conferences

Becky FeltonThe 2012 Peace Mug Award for Franconia and Eastern District Conferences, announced at the  joint fall Conference Assembly, honors Becky Felton, who passed away peacefully on November 2, 2012 after a courageous struggle with cancer.

Becky was a persistent advocate for peace and justice in her congregation, Perkasie Mennonite Church, in her community, and with the Peace & Justice Committee. Wayne Nitzsche, her pastor, described Becky as a congregational peacemaker in many ways.  “Perkasie has a worship ritual of lighting a peace lamp as we recite our pledge to be peacemakers. Becky urged us to consider and pray for peace locally and globally. She invited the congregation to participate in peace retreats and walks and brought needs for peace to our attention,” he reflected.  “But most importantly, Becky modeled the way of Jesus in her relationships in the congregation and beyond.”

Becky organized an intergenerational “Faith in Action” Sunday school class to keep peace and justice issues in front of the congregation.  The bi-monthly class has taken.on issues like The DREAM Act, hunger and homelessness, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Becky suggested topics for the class and sometimes recommended or invited guest speakers. Faith in Action is not only about education, but also invites everyone to act.  “She made us write letters and make phone calls –  to help us speak our own little peace” to situations of oppression and conflict, one friend remembered.

Becky also faced her terminal illness with peace, knowing that she was at peace with God and with others.

Jason Hedrick,  Peace and Justice Committee chairperson, described Becky as “a pillar of the committee and a mentor. She created space for me to learn and grow from the time I first started to serve on the committee and even more so when I took over the role as chair. Her life modeled what it meant to work for peace; to consider those who were marginalized, both within our own community and outside; to take the time to listen to those who had differing view points; and to challenge others to grow, to take action. Mostly, though, she was a friend. What better way is there to work towards peace in the world than to be a friend to someone?”

Those who knew her well describe Becky as a champion of peace and justice,  at peace with God  and  at  peace  with others.   Becky served the Peace & Justice Committee as secretary, as financial secretary, and, for the past ten years, as registrar for our annual Winter Peace Retreat.   But because of her broad understanding of current peace and social justice issues and her character, these roles don’t adequately describe her presence and her leadership, both in her congregation and with us on the Peace & Justice Committee. She was aware, compassionate, proactive.

peace mug presentation
Jason Hedrick & Samantha Lioi from the Peace & Justice Committee present the peace mug to Becky’s husband Jon and children Cody & Torey. Photo by Kreg D. Ulery.

“We appreciated her sense of humor,” noted Samanthi Lioi, the conferences’ minister of peace and justice, “because it’s really easy, especially for peace people, to take ourselves too seriously. Just by who she was, Becky steered us clear of that. And her pragmatic questions and focus on specific action was indispensable as a balance for the idealism and big ideas of some others of us. It was a fruitful balance – vision shaped by attention to planning and details. Thinking of Becky’s efficiency, and her way of getting huge amounts of work done–while being friendly about it!, I’m humbled…and reminded how deeply we need each other as we go about joining God’s birthing of shalom in the world. While we feel deep gratitude as a committee for Becky’s way of nurturing peace among us, I’m not sure we know how much we’re going miss her.”

Peace Mugs, provided by the Peace and Justice Support Network  of Mennonite Church USA, are awarded by our Peace & Justice Committee to honor  those among us who demonstrate a life-long commitment to peace and justice.  Find out more about the Peace & Justice Committee on their website.