Conference Assembly to build unity

Emily Ralph, Swamp,

Franconia and Eastern District Conferences will hold a joint conference assembly this November.

“We felt that this is an exciting opportunity resulting from a long standing conversation about what it means to work together for God’s purpose and ministry in our region from Georgia to Vermont,” said Ertell Whigham, Franconia Conference’s executive minister.

The planning for this annual gathering, which will be held November 11-12 at Penn View Christian School in Souderton, Pa., has already begun. Members from both conferences are working together on details of the joint worship service on Friday evening, including guest speaker Dennis Edwards (pastor of Peace Fellowship Church in Washington DC), an intercultural worship team, and exploration of this year’s theme, Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ (from Ephesians 4:16). Although each conference will hold its own delegate sessions, Eastern District and Franconia Conferences will reunite for part of the day on Saturday to recognize new leaders and discuss future collaboration.

Franconia Conference is also planning a series of Conference Assembly Scattered gatherings, which will meet on the evenings of October 4, 9, 11, & 19 at locations throughout eastern Pennsylvania (TBA) or online streaming. The purpose of these gatherings is to prepare delegates, according to Gay Brunt Miller, director of administration. “It is an important assignment that helps to influence and shape the work of Franconia Conference and should be accepted with a real sense of God’s call,” she said.

This is not the first partnership between Franconia and Eastern District Conferences: they already share office space and staff and are in the process of hiring a shared conference youth minister. The conferences also share resources and training events, so the joint conference assembly is a logical next step. “It feels natural and timely,” said Whigham. “We are excited about the possibilities of what it will mean for our future together.”