August 8, 2013

Shepherd's Village

The Shepherd’s Village reaches out to Kenya

by Bob Keeler, Towamencin

The people of Olkeri, Narok County in Kenya don’t have electricity, but thanks to a solar-powered well pump installed earlier this year, they now have a well they can use.

“It’s the first of its kind in that area,” said James Sankan, founder and president of The Shepherd’s Village and member of Towamencin congregation. Read more….

Justice in the streets

by Mikah Ochieng, John Tyson, & Jacob Hanger, communication interns

What is justice? In a famous essay, Christian ethicist Stanley Hauerwas considers the possibility that pursuing justice is a bad idea for Christians. Read more….

interns 2013

Bally Mennonite

Introducing Bally Mennonite Church

Bally Mennonite Meetinghouse was built in the 1730s in the Bally Community, which was settled by German Reformed, Catholics, and Mennonites, who have traditionally worked together. At one time, Bally had a number of industries, but currently has just two major industries: Bally Block and Bally Ribbon. We are a small congregation of about 100 people. Pastor Klaudia Smucker is our minister.
Read more….

Social Stream (FranconiaMC, #fmclife)

Blooming Glen baptism

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
Pastors & CRM Leaders’ Breakfasts

  • Sept. 26, 8-10am: James Krabill

Credentialed Leaders Appreciation Dinner

A Christmas "thank you" dinner for credentialed leaders and their guests will be held on December 3, 6:30-8:30pm, location TBA. Enjoy holiday music, good food and conversation, and guest speaker Michael King, dean of Eastern Mennonite Seminary.

Morning with Elizabeth Soto Albrecht

You’ve been following Elizabeth’s journey online, on Facebook, through Intersectings. On Friday, August 23, 9-11 a.m., you will have the opportunity to hear and converse with Elizabeth, in person, about what she’s learned…on the other side of her journey.  This event will be held at the Mennonite Conference Center in Harleysville. There is no charge for this gathering. Beverages will be available, but NO breakfast will be served.  RSVP at

Notes to Pastors

Eastern Mennonite Seminary Pennsylvania campus Fall Courses

Orientation & Convocation
Location: EMU Lancaster
Schedule: Saturday, September 7, 2013, 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

* Meets core requirement

CTH 501 Christian Tradition I * (4 credits)
This course begins a year-long survey of the church history, from Pentecost to the Reformation. It also includes a focus on graduate research and writing skills.
Location: EMU Lancaster
Schedule: Weekly on Tuesday evenings, 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Sept. 10, 17, 24; Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; Nov. 5, 12, 26; Dec. 3, 10, 17
Instructor: Brinton Rutherford, Ph.D., Lancaster Mennonite Conference
More information

CM 643 Missio Dei in Cultural Context * (3 credits)
Equivalent to Gateway “Anabaptist Mission & Peace”
This course calls and equips participants to join in the drama of God’s mission in the world.
Location: Conestoga Mennonite Church, Morgantown, Pa.
Schedule: Monthly on Friday and Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sept. 20 & 21; Oct. 18 & 19; Dec. 13 & 14
Instructor: Steve Kriss, Ph.D. cand., EMS & Franconia Mennonite Conference
More information

BVNT 671 First & Second Corinthians * (3 credits)
This course simulates a house church in Corinth who first received Paul’s letters. It engages students in an interactive exploration of Paul’s concerns and theology.
Location: Franconia Mennonite Conference Center, Harleysville, Pa.
Schedule: Bi-weekly on Fridays, 3:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; Sept. 13, 27; Oct. 11, 25; Nov. 8; Dec. 6, 20
Instructor: Reta Halteman Finger, Ph.D., Harrisonburg, Va.
More information

Mennonite Spirituality (3 credits)
This course focuses on the “soul” of Mennonite faith communities: devotional life public & private; faith-shaped cultural values; spiritual life as expressed in language and art.
Location: Biblical Seminary, Hatfield, Pa.
Schedule: Weekly on Thursday evenings, 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26; Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; Nov. 7, 14; Dec. 5, 12, 19
Instructor: John Ruth, Ph.D., Harleysville, Pa. and Dawn Ruth Nelson, Ph.D., Harleysville, Pa.
More information

Holy Lands in Context * (3 credits)
This cross cultural course and trip to the Middle East immerses students in the rich and varied dynamics of culture, faith, geography and history in the Holy Land.
Location: Cross-Culture
Schedule: November 13-23
Instructor: Steve Kriss, Ph.D. cand., EMS & Franconia Mennonite Conference
More information

SMFE 601 Clinical Pastoral Education
Kenton Derstine, CPE Supervisor from EMS main campus will offer one unit of CPE over two semesters at EMU Lancaster during 2013-2014. To apply or for more information visit Clinical Pastoral Education

Remembering Gerald Studer, former pastor of Plains congregation

Pastor Gerald C. Studer, 86, of Rising Sun, Md., and formerly of Lansdale, Pa., went to his heavenly home Thursday, August 1, 2013.  He was the husband of the late Marilyn (Kreider) Studer, who passed away September 12, 2003. Born January 31, 1927, in Smithville, Oh., he was a son of the late Martin Gottleib and Edna Lucille (Blough) Studer.

Gerald attended schools in the Smithville, Ohio area where he completed high school in three years. After his junior year of high school, he entered Goshen (In.) College and graduated in 1949. He returned to the Goshen/Elkhart area and graduated with Th.B., B.D., and M.Div. degrees.

At the young age of 20, Gerald was ordained to the Christian ministry. He has served on the General Board of the Mennonite Church and executive bodies of three Mennonite district conferences as well as many church-wide committees. Gerald also wrote curriculum materials and articles for denominational periodicals and other Christian magazines and journals. Among his published works is a biography, Christopher Dock: Colonial Schoolmaster and several theological studies, including Toward a Theology of Servanthood and After Death, What?

In his more than 50 years of service, Gerald served as pastor at Pleasant Hill (Oh.) Mennonite Church, Smithville (Oh.) Mennonite Church, Scottdale (Pa.) Mennonite Church, and Plains (Hatfield, Pa.) Mennonite Church and then Conference Minister of the Atlantic Coast from 1990 to 1994. He also served as Overseer to various congregations in the Franconia Conference. While living in Lansdale, he served as president of the Board of Trustees of Christopher Dock Mennonite High School.

A Celebration of Life was held on Wednesday, August 7 at  Plains Mennonite Church.  Contributions may be made in Gerald’s memory to The Mennonite Heritage Center, 563 Yoder Rd., Harleysville, PA 19438.

*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.