Approximately 20 persons gathered on the east side of the Delaware River at Alpha (NJ) Mennonite Church on Thursday, September 13, for the first Conference Assembly Scattered meeting. Assembly Scattered meetings have been held for the last several years in preparation for the annual conference assembly to be held at Franconia Mennonite Church in Telford, Pa, on November 9-10.
The agenda for this year’s gatherings is centered around recommendations from the conference’s Vision and Finance Plan Team (VFP). The VFP was established following the Conference Assembly Scattered and Gathered meetings in 2005 and is a part of a broader listening process to help determine how best to use Franconia’s spiritual, human and financial resources.
The gathering at Alpha was opened with a reflection on John 17:1-26 before moving into a discussion on the document prepared by the VFP. The larger question being asked this year is how Franconia Mennonite Conference can align its resources with God’s movement in the world and among its churches, ministries and individuals. One of the smaller–albeit more difficult–questions focuses on what to do with the Indian Creek Road Farm, located near Harleysville, PA. The Conference has owned the farm since 1955. Other topics include credentialing and sustaining leaders, as well as credentialing and supporting church-related ministries and initiatives.
Franconia conference staff led participants through each section, and invited them to share any feedback they had about the recommendations, including questions, concerns or affirmations.
Future Assembly Scattered meetings will be held at Plains Mennonite Church, Hatfield, Pa. on Sept. 18; Perkiomenville (Pa.) Mennonite Church, on Sept. 20; Nueva Vida Norristown (Pa.) New Life, on Sept. 27; Rocky Ridge Mennonite Church, Quakertown, Pa. on Oct. 2; Perkins Restaurant, Bloomsburg, Pa. on Oct. 4, and Taftsville (Vt.) Chapel Mennonite Church, on Oct. 13 at 4:00 p.m. All meetings will be held at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted, and everyone is welcome to join, whether or not they are a conference delegate.
“It is important, essential, for Franconia Conference to meet on location,” said Steve Kriss, who is the Director of Communication and Leadership Cultivation for the Conference and has worked closely with the VFP process. “The best discernment happens when we meet face-to-face in our communities.”