September 19, 2013

John Ruth Memoir

A window into the life of some Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonites

from the Mennonite Heritage Center

“A first-born and only son, I opened my eyes in a sprawling 122-year-old farmhouse along a pleasant creek in southeastern Pennsylvania,” writes Mennonite historian, John Ruth, in his forthcoming book, Branch: A Memoir with Pictures. Read more….

Taking time for justice: learning from Samantha Lioi

by John Tyson, summer writing team

In his book, Ervin Stutzman noted that Mennonite peace rhetoric has shifted focus away from nonresistance, toward justice. Unlike nonresistance, the work of justice is naturally outward-oriented, concerned with the common good and the overall health of the local community. Read more….

Samantha Lioi

Finland Mennonite Church

Introducing Finland Mennonite Church

Finland Mennonite Church is the body of 200+ believers that meet for worship together on Ziegler Road in Pennsburg, PA. The church was established in 1931 as a church plant out of the Franconia Conference Home Missions Program in a building just down the road from our current location. The church sits at the intersection of several regions and our congregation includes people from many different towns and students from more than four school districts. Read more….

Social Stream (FranconiaMC, #fmclife)

  • (FB) Whitehall Mennonite What a glorious night at Byler farm! Telescope, bonfire, smores, surprise fireworks, and impromptu singing. And the best people ever!
  • (Tw) Today at @SpringMountMC: meal liturgy, a sharing table, profound conversations, celebrating town collaboration. And pumpkin cheesecake bars.
  • (video) Zumē House via Christ Fellowship Church worth hearing this voice – a voice not generally given space…
Syrian Crisis


Featured blog: Changing my mind

by Ken Byler, Higher Ground Leaders Forum*

Economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”  The lesson for leaders is clear…how many of us are willing to admit a mistake or change our course of direction when faced with a new reality? Read more….

Do you or someone from your congregation have a blog on faith and life or faith and leadership?
Add it to our blogroll by emailing

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

Held at Hennings Market in Harleysville from 8-10am, cost: $7 includes buffet breakfast. RSVP

  • Sept. 26: James Krabill from Mennonite Mission Network will present on “Worshipping our way into God’s future."
  • October 17: Mark van Steenwyck, a Mennonite pastor from Minneapolis, MN
    will present on “The Economics of Jesus – The Church and Jubilee."

A Conversation on Race & the Church

  • WHEN: September 21, 7pm
  • WHERE: Historic Germantown Meetinghouse
  • WHAT: A modeling conversation between Drew Hart and Ben Walter on issues around race in our congregations.
  • MORE INFO: Contact Samantha Lioi

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, Souderton Mennonite Home. Enjoy holiday music, good food and conversation, and guest speaker Michael King, dean of EMS.

Notes to Pastors

Eastern Mennonite Seminary STEP Program Kicks off its 10th Year!

On August 17, three Cohorts gathered: Year 1 — 16 students; Year 2 — 10 students; and, Year 3 — 8 students. Since its beginning in 2004, sixty-five students have graduated from STEP. Consider taking a graduate course this Fall, our flexible courses and programs make it easier to fit seminary study into your busy life!

AMBS Church Leadership Center courses this fall

Believing Out Loud: Finding your Preaching Voice

  • Allan Rudy-Froese
  • On campus November 5-6 and January 27
  • Also offered in North Newton, Kansas, and Harleysville, Pennsylvania
  • "Wear loose-fitting clothing. This gets physical," says Professor Allan Rudy-Froese of his upcoming Preaching Seminar. "Preaching is a physical activity where mind, body, voice, and passion are engaged, yet often the preacher prepares the sermon seated on a chair in the silence  of the church office." Discover much about, and gain new confidence in your preaching voice. Get details and register by Oct. 14

Exploring Peace and Justice in the Bible (short course)

  • Online, non-credit, six weeks, $200
  • Perry B. Yoder
  • October 23-December 3
  • Reflect on peace and justice practice today through the study of Biblical passages. Focus on issues such as the relationship between peace and justice, how God acts for peace and justice and how we should act. Get details and register by Oct. 2

Webinar: Congregational Finances and the Role of the Pastor

  • Beryl Jantzi and Terry Shue
  • Thursday, October 3, 10:00-11:30 a.m. EDT
  • This webinar will highlight money-related issues which impact pastors daily. Some congregations expect the pastor to engage at all levels and others try to separate the pastor as much as possible from the financial work of the church. The two presenters have extensive experience in pastoring, conference, denominational and agency-related involvement. Get details and register by Sept. 29

Webinar: Advent Planning

  • Rachel Miller Jacobs
  • Thursday, October 17, 7:30-8:45 p.m.
  • Participants will be introduced to the Advent theme, "O the Mystery of God’s Dwelling!" and the lectionary scriptures for the season. We will explore how to use and adapt worship resources published in Leader magazine, including suggestions for visuals, music, scripture presentations, sermons, and children’s worship. Get details and register by Oct. 13

The Amish Story: Traditional Anabaptists Engage Modernity

The Mennonite Heritage Center, 565 Yoder Rd., Harleysville, announces an evening course THE AMISH STORY: TRADITIONAL ANABAPTISTS ENGAGE MODERNITY for Tuesday evenings October 15, 22, 29, and Nov. 5, 2013 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm.  The Amish are often the focus of questionable and unfounded information in the popular press and reality show scripts but this courseis an opportunity to learn about both the beginnings and 21st century expressions of Amish faith and life.

Taught by Dr. Ken Sensenig and cosponsored by Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Lancaster, Pa, the class will cover topics such as the origins of Amish faith, immigration patterns, theological foundations, church life, cultural characteristics, diversity among the Amish community, conflict with modernity and engaging the modern world.

Dr. Kenneth L. Sensenig, Ephrata, holds a Doctorate from Temple University and is the Assistant Director of Mennonite Central Committee, East Coast.  He has taught at Eastern Mennonite University, Lancaster, PA and Omdurman Ahlia University, Sudan, Africa, among others. He serves on the Board of Directors, Eastern Mennonite Missions and Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society.

Preregistration is required and the cost of the class is $45.  Primary resources for the class are The Riddle of Amish Culture by Donald Kraybill, Rev. ed.  (Johns Hopkins, 2001) and  One Thousand and One Questions and Answers (Pathway Publishers, 1992) along with reading one copy of the Budget newspaper. The books will be available for purchase at the Mennonite Heritage Center museum store. To register for the course, go to, email or call the Heritage Center at 215-256-3020.  A complete course syllabus and additional reference sources will be sent to participants upon registration.

*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.