Franconia Conference names steering committee and review timeline

Stephen Kriss

The board of directors of Franconia Conference has named a Conference Review Steering Committee to provide oversight for the assessment being performed by consultant LaVern Yutzy. The committee includes:

  • Donella Clemens, Perkasie (Pa.) Mennonite Church
  • Gerry Clemmer, senior pastor, Souderton (Pa.) Mennonite Church
  • Randy Heacock, pastor, Doylestown (Pa.) Mennonite Church
  • Jim Laverty, pastor of equipping and discipling, Souderton Mennonite Church
  • Karen Moyer, Rocky Ridge Mennonite Church at Quakertown, Pa.

The committee will be expanded to include a sixth person. Suggestions of persons who might be considered as a sixth member are welcome from all constituents. Please send suggested names to by April 6, 2010, for consideration.

The review being conducted by Yutzy, consulting associate with Mennonite Health Services Alliance, is intended to shed light on recent events in Franconia Conference; to provide better understanding of issues that will need further processing and to find a path toward a hopeful future. The process is designed to review the role, structure and staffing of Franconia Conference, clarifying issues around recent events and underlying concerns while not intending to answer all questions.

The review listening process began on March 18 and initially focused on conversations with 14 Conference staff. Yutzy met with 15 persons on March 29 and 30 including delegates, pastors and other interested persons from the Conference. With guidance from the Conference Review Steering Committee, Yutzy will continue the listening process. He will be available on April 8 and a second April date later in the month. Persons who would like to share their perspective are invited to call the Conference Center at 267-932-6050 and speak to Carla or Melissa to arrange a time to meet with LaVern or email to schedule a face-to-face meeting time on either of those dates.

Yutzy has received a number of e-mails and invites persons to continue to share their perspectives and counsel. Feedback about this communication and any aspect of the review process is welcome. Though LaVern may not be able to respond to every e-mail, counsel and comments are valued and appreciated at

The Conference will send postcards with response questions to all congregations and delegates encouraging feedback into the process by April 24, 2010.

Recommendations that emerge from this review are likely to require further review and processing with persons and groups involved in order to determine appropriate direction. The Conference Review Steering Committee will develop a potential process for reviewing the recommendations and a path for decision-making regarding those recommendations. The report is expected to be available to the board and delegates in mid-May, 2010.