Conference review report released; board acts on immediate recommendations


Stephen Kriss,

Franconia Conference’s Review Steering Committee met with the Franconia Conference Board of Directors on May 4, 2010, to receive the review and recommendations of LaVern Yutzy, consulting associate Mennonite Health Services. Yutzy was commissioned for the review by the Franconia Conference Board in response to questions around decisions related to staffing and proposed vision made earlier this year. He developed the report and recommendations after a process of interviews and consideration of responses from the Conference community. Both the board and the committee received Yutzy’s work as an independent consultant based on the content offered through the listening process. After careful and deliberate conversation, the board moved to receive Yutzy’s report and to follow through with the immediate recommendations as outlined in the review.

The board’s immediate actions include:

  • Receiving the resignations of the moderator and assistant moderator after a reconstituted board is situated this summer.
  • Appointment of a nominating committee comprised of members of the Review Steering Committee who are not currently seated on the board (Donella Clemens of Perkasie congregation, Mike Derstine of Plains congregation, Beny Krisbianto of Nations Worship Center and Joy Sutter of Salford congregation). The nominating committee will receive nominations for additional open board positions—including Conference Moderator, Assistant Moderator and Finance Committee Chairperson.
  • Withdrawal of the plan to lay off all Franconia Conference staff as was outlined in February 2010.
  • Appointment of an interim staff leadership team of Noel Santiago and Ertell Whigham that may serve through July 2011.

The Review Steering Committee will continue in its role through 2010 though Yutzy will not be meeting regularly with the group. The committee will continue to receive feedback and to work to discern a path toward a hopeful future for the Conference community. Yutzy’s report suggests a high-level of engagement across the Conference in response to the review and looks forward to continued engagement with delegates and the broader constituent community. The committee has established the following timeline for the review and implementation of the recommendations.

  • The Review Steering Committee (Donella Clemens, Mike Derstine, Randy Heacock, Beny Krisbianto, Jim Laverty and Joy Sutter) will now receive feedback by email at regarding the content and recommendations of the review through May 28, 2010. This feedback may also include nominations for the roles of finance committee chairperson, moderator, assistant moderator and at large members recommended to serve in a reconstituted Board of Directors of Franconia Mennonite Conference. Nominations for those positions will be received until June 30, 2010.
  • The review will be posted immediately on additional updates and timeline information will also be posted to the Conference website at
  • A newly constituted board will begin to serve after affirmations of new members by delegates in late summer 2010.

The committee wishes to express appreciation to LaVern Yutzy for patient listening and engagement in the development of the review, report and recommendations, in helping to find a way that Franconia Conference may continue to bear witness of Christ’s way of peace and to extend God’s healing and hope to the world.

Click here to view the Franconia Conference Review and Recommendations prepared by LaVern Yutzy.

Click here to download and view a PDF of the Review Steering Committee’s process for the recommendations.