Summer inquiry program participants begin internships

Sheldon Good

A record-setting 10 students will begin their internships through Franconia Mennonite Conference next week as part of the Mennonite Church USA’s summer inquiry program. Two college students will work directly with the conference, while eight will intern at various ministries across the United States.

The ministry inquiry program is an 11-week internship traditionally available to any student attending a Mennonite college. Students interested in a specific area of ministry — usually, but not limited to, pastoral ministry — are able to gain hands-on experience by working alongside a supervisor in their respective discipline. The inquiry program is offered year-round but is most popular in the summer, and all participants are given a stipend for their work.

“The conference is blessed with the presence and ministry of 10 interns,” said Franconia Conference executive minister, Noel Santiago. “This represents the value our delegates place on ensuring that young adults have the opportunity to not only connect with the church, but to help shape it as well. Along with the gifts, vision, passion, questions and ‘new eyes’ they bring to our various context, inquiry program participants contribute to the ongoing unfolding of God’s reign as we seek to Equip leaders to Empower other to Embrace God’s Mission.”

This year, through a grant from Eastern Mennonite Seminary, three Franconia Conference students attending non-Mennonite institutions have been given the opportunity to participate in the ministry inquiry program: Tim Moyer, a sophomore at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia from the Blooming Glen (PA) congregation; Felicia Moore, member at New Beginnings Community Church in Bristol, PA, who is in her second year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; along with Philadelphia Praise Center attendee and first year Penn State University student, Andrew Liemon. Moyer will work with Franconia Mennonite Conference, while Moore and Liemon will assist with ministries at their home congregations.

Moore is thankful for the grant and is excited about her opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in a ministerial role. “I chose to do the inquiry program because I saw an opportunity to learn and grow,” she said. “I hope that this experience teaches me more about the numerous talents in the Franconia Conference and how churches relate to each other.”

Two students will intern with congregations in the mid-west: John Tyson, a sophomore at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) and a member at Souderton Mennonite congregation, who will intern at Christ Community Church in Des Moines, Iowa; and EMU sophomore Jordan Good, a member of Bally Mennonite congregation, who will spend his 11 weeks with Walnut Hill congregation in Goshen, IN.

Three students will work with congregations on the East coast: Jessica Cassel, a sophomore at Bluffton University, will work in the area of youth ministry at her home congregation, Souderton (PA) Mennonite; Emily Derstine of Plains Mennonite congregation, a sophomore studying at EMU, will spend her summer in suburban Washington, D.C. with Nueva Esperanza/New Hope Fellowship; Peter Koontz (don’t know his congregation), a Goshen College junior from Elkhart, IN, will intern with Oxford Circle congregation. Both Derstine and Koontz are working in congregations that are Franconia Conference Partners in Mission.

Along with the nine students in the ministry inquiry program, there will be one Goshen College student who will participate in each of the college’s unique inquiry programs — camping inquiry and service inquiry, both students listed respectively: Mercy Oyama, a Goshen College sophomore from West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship, will work alongside various managers at Spruce Lake Camp; Krista Ehst, junior at Goshen College and member at Perkasie (PA) Mennonite congregation, will work alongside Moyer at Franconia Conference.

All of the participants will begin their work at the end of May and finish towards the beginning of August. Eight of the students are sophomores in college.