April 3, 2014

Aldo Siahaan

New LEADership Ministers join staff

by Sheldon C. Good

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….

Recovering catholicity

by Steve Kriss, Director of Leadership Cultivation

I still remember the words of my tour guide in St. John Lateran in Rome. She referred to our group’s Protestants with loving disdain. She announced, “For the Protestants here, I want you to remember that this was your ‘Vatican’ — the center of the Western church for centuries before you splintered away. Your faith has come to you through this space.” Read more….

Steve Kriss

Hadi Sunarto

Ministerial Update (April 2014)

Steve Kriss provided this update from the March & April meetings of the Credentials and Ministerial Committees:

Hadi Sunarto was approved for a license for specific the ministry of deacon at Philadelphia Praise Center.

Krista Showalter Ehst was approved with a license toward ordination to serve as pastor at Alpha Mennonite Church. Read more….

Social Stream (FranconiaMC, #fmclife)

  • (Tw) ‏@BethanyBirches Check this out! Architect Robert Buchan created this short video tour through the building… http://goo.gl/fb/C8Shb  
  • (Tw) @chrisnickels Attending a workshop today, “Breathing Forgiveness”, with pastors & leaders from local UCC & Mennonite communities.
  • (photo) Ted Swartz performed Learning to Play at Salford and Plains this past weekend. He’ll be back in May to perform at West Philadelphia and Zion.
Learning to Play


Prayer-poem for Lent 5, Year A

by Samantha Lioi, Formation:Community*

We are watching.

Craning our necks listening in the darkness,

aching for any sound of your breathing,

more than the night shift

ache for their beds,

more than the night shift

ache for their beds. Read more…

Do you or someone from your congregation have a blog on faith and life or faith and leadership?

Add it to our blogroll by emailing eralph@franconiaconference.org.

Mark Your Calendars

Mark your Calendar For a complete listing of upcoming events, check out the Franconia Conference Calendar. The Conference office keeps a Google calendar of congregational and Conference Related Ministries events to help avoid scheduling conflicts—so please help us keep it up to date! Add your event to the calendar by sending an event invitation to calendar@franconiaconference.org.
Pastors & CRM Leaders’ Breakfasts

From 8-10am, cost: $7 includes breakfast.

  • Rescheduled: Healing Your Town. (Upper Perk Community Life Center, 104 Main St., East Greenville, PA). New date coming soon.

Ervin Stutzman Town Hall Meetings

  • OPTION #1: April 10, 7pm at Swamp Mennonite Church, Quakertown, Pa. Come early (between 5:15-6:45) with a bagged dinner for a time of fellowship. Drinks provided.
  • OPTION #2: April 11, 9:30am at Salford Mennonite Church, Harleysville, Pa.
  • WHAT: Engage with Stutzman around recent developments in Mennonite Church USA and to ask questions about the denomination’s future.
Meeting with Loren Swartzendruber

  • WHEN: May 15, 7-9pm
  • WHERE: Towamencin Mennonite Church, Kulpsville, PA
  • WHAT: An opportunity for credentialed leaders to dialogue with EMU President Loren Swartzendruber about EMU’s listening process.

Youth Worship Event

  • WHEN: June 1, 11am-2:30pm
  • WHERE: The lawn outside the Mennonite Conference Center and Mennonite Heritage Center in Harleysville, Pa.
  • WHAT: Jr and Sr High Youth from Eastern District and Franconia Conferences to worship together on the lawn! More information to come.


Franconia Conference Meeting with President Loren Swartzendruber

Eastern Mennonite University will be holding a gathering for credentialed leaders on May 15 from 7-9pm at Towamencin Mennonite Church in Kulpsville. The gathering is an opportunity for Franconia pastors and credentialed leaders to dialogue with President Loren Swartzendruber about EMU’s listening process around hiring practices and covenanted same-sex relationships. For more information on the listening process, visit http://www.emu.edu/listen/.

Shirley Hershey Showalter presents program on “Blush” and “A Mennonite Woman”

The Mennonite Heritage Center, 565 Yoder Rd., Harleysville, announces a special author’s event and lunch on Saturday, May 17 at 12 noon.  Shirley Hershey Showalter, author of “Blush: a Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World” will present a program on Mennonite Women’s History in Eastern Pennsylvania.  A light lunch will be provided for the event.

Ms. Showalter will base her program on her own writing and that of two other authors:  “A Mennonite Woman: Exploring Spiritual Life” by Franconia Conference pastor Dawn Ruth Nelson and “Mennonite Women of Lancaster County” by Joann Hess Siegrist.  She will have clothing from her mother and grandmother as well as a board of women’s photos from her family collection on display and will sign copies of her book “Blush” after her presentation.  The book will be available for purchasing in the MHC museum store. Registration is required for the event; tickets are $25.

Shirley Hershey Showalter grew up on a Mennonite family farm near Lititz, Pennsylvania. The first person in her family to go to college, she eventually became the first woman president of Goshen College in Indiana. After six years as an executive at the Fetzer Institute, Kalamazoo, Michigan, she became a full-time writer living in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Her memoir: “Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World”  (September 19, 2013) tells the story of a little girl who dreamed big and was transformed by dreams much bigger than her own. It was named a Best Spiritual Book of 2013 by Spirituality & Practice. To register for the event, go to www.mhep.org or call 215-256-3020.

Values-based Leadership Program Registration Open for 2014-2015 Class

by Krista Allen, Goshen, IN

Registration for the thirteenth class of the Values-based Leadership Program is open. The program is comprised of two sessions which are scheduled for October 28-30, 2014, and February 24-26, 2015, both taking place at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, Mount Pleasant, Pa.

The Values-based Leadership Program helps individuals in leadership roles gain a fresh perspective, one that views leadership and organizational processes through a uniquely Anabaptist lens. This perspective guides participants in following Jesus’ servant leadership model while celebrating both community and diversity. A participant will come away grounded in leadership practice in faith, values and life experiences.

“This collaborative effort of leadership development in our denomination is one of the best expressions of developing leaders outside of our formal educational settings,” wrote Terry Shue, director of leadership development for Mennonite Church USA, in a recent blog post on leadership development. “In this program leaders of all walks, pastors, CEOs and staff in our church agencies come together to develop leadership practices and styles through an Anabaptist death lens.”

VBLP encourages self-discovery and emphasizes leading from within to reach one’s potential rather than fitting some prescriptive set of leadership expectations. It stresses the importance of inspiring a shared vision and motivating one’s colleagues to work together, contributing their gifts and strengths to the overall process. It creates a dynamic where the program’s facilitators become advocates and mentors, attentively supporting personal growth as a leader. It sets the stage for collaboration within a learning community comprised of leaders in various settings.

“Other training I’ve taken provided academic and theoretic learning, which was valuable,” said Galen Lehman, President of Lehman’s Hardware (Kidron, Ohio), and graduate of the 2010 VBLP. “VBLP provided emotional learning, which was invaluable. When I came back, people around me noticed an improvement in who I was and how I led.”

Registration is limited to forty-five participants for this five day program which is divided into two parts. Leaving a time gap between part one and two allows participants to reflect on and begin implementing what they are learning bringing real life experience back to the second session.

Tuition for the two-part program costs $945 before August 31, 2014 ($1045 after August 31). Participants are also responsible for expenses associated with transportation, materials, and lodging and meals during the program.

Because of the Values-based Leadership Program’s outstanding reputation, businesses and organizations often provide some monetary support to enable their employees to attend. Scholarship money is also available for individuals demonstrating financial need.

The Values-based Leadership Program is co-sponsored by Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Everence, Laurelville, Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Education Agency, Mennonite Economic Development Associates, MHS and Schmucker Training & Consulting.

You can register for the Values-based Leadership Program and learn more about scholarship opportunities at www.vblp.org/register or by calling 800.839.1021.

*The views expressed in each week’s blog do not necessarily reflect those of Franconia Conference; these blogs are included to initiate conversation and network members of the conference community. See our full Terms of Use.