Tag Archives: Conference News

Pressing On – Congregational Profile: Mennonite Bible Fellowship

by Julia Heck, Mennonite Bible Fellowship

Morris Mennonite Bible Fellowship is a small congregation, located in Tioga County, PA.  It is in a valley, nestled between five gorgeous mountains.  Planted in 1953, this congregation was a mission outreach of Franconia Mennonite Conference.  Some of the original workers were Sam Landis, Clayton Godschall, Bob Felton, and Willard Bergey.  Bob Felton was the first pastor.  Later, Arthur Kolb was called to serve here.  Then, in 1969, Paul and Faith Benner were called to move to the Morris area.  So, they left Finland Mennonite Church with three small children and moved to Wellsboro.  Paul became pastor in 1970, and they have been faithful to this congregation and community ever since.  Since 2008, John Brodnicki, Paul’s son-in-law, has taken the place as senior pastor, with Paul filling in as needed.

The community in Morris consists mainly of life-long residential families.  In many cases, several generations have called Morris “home”.  To fit into the community, a person needs to commit to long-term presence here.  The saying goes that either you have to be born into it or bury someone here before you become a local.

The Benner family has lived in the area for around 50 years.  This has allowed us to live life as a part of the community.  We owned and ran the local general store for 13 of those years, allowing us to share common ground with many from the community.  Paul worked as a carpenter/contractor, while pastoring.  Others from the congregation have taken up occupations or started businesses in the area, so people can get to know them.  Rose and Nelson Yoder ran the Witt-Yoder Personal Care Home for several years.  John Brodnicki works in forestry, while pastoring.  Others have worked in garages, counseling, retail, medical and mental health, ski lodges, printing, restaurants, running people to healthcare visits, and cleaning and providing care in homes.

We have several people from the community who come to the church for special events.  When asked, they claim Mennonite Bible Fellowship as their church, even when they don’t attend Sunday services.  We are often asked to perform funerals and weddings for people in the community.  We are a small group, so we often work alongside other local congregations to provide holiday services and VBS.  This builds the Christian community around us and we all appreciate the feeling of inclusion.

Thursdays are special.  Several women from the congregation meet with community women to knot comforters and fellowship over the noon meal.  Sometimes they go on outings together, which promotes feelings of ownership and belonging.  Walking beside these women, through illness, death, abusive situations and times of joy, allows us to bond very closely with them.

Other ministries include prison ministry, visitation, senior banquets and working with local fire/ambulance fund-raisers to name a few.  Recently we participated in the local Trunk or Treat and Easter egg hunt.  Those of us who are employed minister through friendship ministry at work.

The needs are great in Tioga County.  Drugs and depression, both monetarily and emotionally, bind many souls.  Family division is devastating the vast majority.  Most churches are teetering to survive.  The “old faithfuls” come as much as they can, but many suffer illness.  Young families stop by, but when there are no other children there, they move on.

Many children have grown up at MBF and have spread out for various reasons.  Employment that sustains a young family is tough to find in the area.  The Christian community is suffering, so the hopes of finding a Christian spouse are low.  But God has called a few of us to return and carry on the work of the mission.

Despite all of this, we press on.  We want to remain faithful for those who do reach out for companionship, support, and prayer.  We feel that being present and available is our best witness.

If you feel called to a new adventure in ministry, please come by and check us out.  The people are warm and eager to greet anyone who stops by.  At Sunday services we offer worship, sharing and prayer time, sermons, monthly life stories, Sunday school and monthly fellowship meals.  Wednesdays, we have evening prayer gatherings.  Thursday the women’s group meets.  Support is offered any time needs arise.

Please pray for our congregation, and if you can, stop in for a visit.

Prayer requests:

  • that they would see and respond to the opportunities God provides to connect with and serve people in the community in ways that bring glory to God and draw people to Jesus
  • that they would be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit each day.

For more information, contact Pastor John Brodnicki at 570-353-2407 or Pastor Paul Benner at 570-353-7866.

 

Letting Go Ethically

The Care and Share Shoppes in the Souderton Shopping Center are a part of the Mennonite Central Committee Thrift Shop Network.

If Marie Kondo has inspired you to tidy up this spring, consider these tips from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), which runs a network of thrift shops across the United States and Canada, including the Care and Share Thrift Shoppes, a Franconia Conference Related Ministry.

  1. Do your research. Ask your local thrift shop what items they accept before donating them. Some thrift shops don’t have the resources to accept furniture or electronics. Others may have an “upcycling corner” where they’ll accept items that are broken or missing pieces (like a puzzle or board game).
  2. Clean your items before donating. Many thrift shops, especially those who depend on volunteers, don’t have the resources to clean or repair items. When your items are clean, they have a greater chance of being sold and avoiding the dumpster.
  3. Don’t donate broken items or old TVs. Unless a thrift shop tells you differently, assume they don’t have the resources to repair broken appliances or electronics—and it could cost them more money to responsibly dispose of them. Instead, look for recycling programs through your city, energy provider or local box stores.
  4. Be thoughtful. Would you give the item you want to donate to a friend or family member? If not, perhaps you need to think about a different way to reuse or recycle it.
  5. Buy second-hand items as much as possible. While thrift shops are grateful for your donations, repeatedly buying and donating new clothes (“fast fashion”) does more harm than good. Thrift shops are often overwhelmed by donations of women’s clothing but are more likely to need men’s and children’s clothing.
  6. Consider volunteering. MCC’s thrift shops are more likely to have the time and skills needed to ethically dispose of and recycle unsellable items if they have a strong volunteer base.
Volunteers receive donations at the Care and Shoppes.

MCC’s network of thrift stops are all working to handle donations responsibly, with concerted efforts to reduce waste and care for the environment. Most of the proceeds from the shops go to MCC’s “Most-Needed Fund,” which supports humanitarian efforts in local communities and around the globe, including relief and development, peacemaking, education, prison ministry and immigration advocacy. To see what’s happening at your local thrift shop, visit https://thrift.mcc.org/.

The Care and Share Shoppes are open for business, as well as for donating, Monday through Saturday — learn more at careandshareshoppes.org.  They also have a variety of volunteer opportunities.  Contact Suzanne Kratz (skratz@careandshareshoppes.org), Volunteer Manager, to learn more about becoming a part of the team!

Riding for a Better Future

by Mike Ford, Blooming Glen congregation, with Rabbi Nathan Martin

In May 2019, a unique group of bicycle riders will ride from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. on behalf of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light (PA IPL), a statewide organization dedicated to helping faith communities bring a moral voice to climate change.

There will be a mix of Quaker, Mennonite, Jewish, and nonreligious participants, riding together to promote an awareness of climate change issues and environmental stewardship. In D.C., we’ll join with a group of riders from State College and spend a day on Capitol Hill, meeting with congressional delegations to share our concerns about the need to keep environmental sustainability as a central value in their legislative work.

Mike (3rd from L.), John (4th from L.) and Ben (far R.) and their host family in Newark, DE during the 2018 ride.

Having done the ride in 2018 alongside Mennonite pastors John Stoltzfus and Ben Wideman, I found it a wonderfully educational experience. Each day along the way we met with faith communities to hear their stories of how they were working to make their communities and cities more sustainable. A Presbyterian congregation in Maryland was eager to share how they became certified as an “earth care” congregation by the Presbyterian Church USA movement; a synagogue in Baltimore shared how they are becoming a neighborhood organizing hub for community activities and urban renewal, including environmental advocacy.

Fixing a flat

I love discovering things and making new friends while on a bicycle. Riding mile after mile alongside two Jewish rabbis, we learned about each other’s faith traditions, finding many common traits such as valuing peace and justice. We were hosted by church/synagogue folks along the route and enjoyed delicious food and gracious hospitality. We met pockets of passionate environmental stewardship folks along the way, all motivated to care for the earth by different faith traditions.

It was also stimulating to meet with legislative representatives and advocate for policy to help care for the earth as the future home for my children and grandchildren. I look forward to our May 2019 adventure/advocacy trip and encourage you to follow along through the PA IPL website.

Donate online or mail donations in support of the 2019 Bike Ride to: PA Interfaith Power & Light, 210 W. Hamilton Ave. #295, State College, PA 16801.

A Clear and Gentle Voice

by Gwen Groff, conference board member

Jim King recently finished his third three-year term as a Franconia Conference board member. 

King brought skills from his background in business and from service on other boards.  John Goshow, Franconia Conference’s moderator and board chair, describes King’s voice as clear and valuable in stressful times. “Jim did not hesitate to express his opinion,” Goshow said. “He was gentle in the way he expressed his perspective. In challenging times, he has a very steady demeanor. He is optimistic. He brought wisdom, experience and maturity to our board work. When the tension between the board and constituency exploded in 2010, Jim played a large role in finding ways for the board and constituency to move together in more healthy ways.”

Making ice cream in Plains Park

According to Goshow, King’s impact on the board has been lasting. “Jim’s footprint is really big. When he joined, the meetings were scheduled to begin at 1 pm; they didn’t really get rolling until 2, and they often lasted until 6. Jim found them to be fairly unstructured, without clear agenda, but lasting half a day. Jim was instrumental in making board meetings more organized.”

King first agreed to serve on the board in order to better understand the conference-congregation relationship. “I had come to Plains congregation from Germantown,” he said. “I knew there were issues between Germantown and Franconia Conference. I had felt critical of the conference because of the breakdown of the relationship between the congregation and the conference, and I believed it was unfair of me to be critical if I didn’t know how the conference functioned in that situation. So I agreed to be on the board.”

Visiting old friends at the plastics warehouse

King believes that cultivating face-to-face relationships is very important. During his time on the board, he visited a variety of different congregations, worshiping with them, talking with their leaders, and being present in person. “Relationships are an asset,” King said. “It’s important to be available for conversations.” 

One of his ongoing concerns is how the conference can stay connected with congregations that are new to the conference and that must relate across great geographical distances. “We struggle to ‘maintain right fellowship’ with those who are just a hundred miles apart. How can we stay connected to people across the country? Distance is hard. How do we build those connections going forward?”

Another issue that King continues to care about is nurturing relationships with the youth. He would like to see more attention to connecting the youth of different congregations. “Some congregations don’t have the resources to hire a youth pastor,” King said. “I’d love to see the conference help organize service projects for youth from various congregations to work together on peace and justice issues. It’s a good way for youth to form connections in the church and build networks that can be useful in future careers. I know I would never be working in a business in recycled plastics if I had not spent two years in voluntary service in New York City.”

King believes that the relationship between the conference and congregations is in a good place. “We have engaged and committed staff and effective Lead ministers,” he said. “I feel this is the best relationship I’ve seen in the past nine years.” He anticipates an adjustment as he steps back from a central role, knowing that he’ll hear about what’s happening through delegate reports and publications, but won’t know the background and context of the issues. “I trust the process,” he said. “But I will miss having a role in shaping the process.”

MDS project in Nebraska with his wife, Joan

Now that he has “termed out” of the FMC board, King plans to order a couple more hives to increase his bee colony.  He also hopes to do more volunteer work trips with Mennonite Disaster Service and Mennonite Central Committee’s Sharing With Appalachian People. “This is the stuff I enjoy,” he said.

 

Grace to Fail at Faith and Life

by Sandy Drescher-Lehman, Methacton congregation

As I abandoned my warm cozy couch by the fire on Thursday evening, February 7, to head into the cold and rainy night toward Swamp Mennonite Church, I couldn’t remember anything about why I was doing this except that I had registered for another Faith and Life gathering. The thought of being with other credentialed leaders, whoever would show up, was meaning enough for my heart and soul (think: ENFP, Enneagram 7).

Being the first to arrive, I watched Swamp’s pastor, Nathan Good, putting the final touches on a welcoming table of fruit, cookies, and chocolate bark and then enjoyed the arrival of other pastors.   These were “my people”.

As we settled down around tables and J.R. Briggs, author of the book Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure, began his talk, I finally remembered what the topic was.  I also remembered that when I had registered, I wasn’t sure why I’d need to hear about this, since everything’s been going so well for me and the community at Methacton Mennonite Church.

But that wasn’t the point really.  I had voted a few years ago at conference assembly to affirm a group of pastors to provide quarterly gatherings for study, enrichment, and fellowship around how we practice our faith in life. They have delivered and I’ve never been disappointed.

J.R. Briggs, author of “Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure”.

What I soon realized was that the points the speaker was making were good to be reminded of, because even on my best days, I do make a lot of mistakes.  We all do, of course! What we do with those failures, and the accompanying feelings of rejection—and ultimately shame—was the topic for discussion.  How do we attend to the failures that we should expect and that Jesus does not keep us from, so that we can continue to find joy in our ministries?

After reading 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 & 16-18 several times together, we  shared our definitions of failure and success and vulnerability.  What do we do when we get BLASTed (Bored, Lonely, Anxious/Afraid, Stressed, or Tired)?  We were invited to think about the lies we’re tempted to believe about ourselves when we make mistakes, and the masks we put on to cover them. Instead of defining our success by the 3 Bs (Building, Bodies and Budget), we were encouraged to find freedom in the 4 Fs (Faithfulness, Fruitfulness, Fulfillment and Fellowship).

And those are the words I left the evening with: the good news that God uses people who fail, the good news that is only available to those who have failed, and the good news that freedom is found in nothing to hide, lose, or prove. J.R. and those around my table that night, in honest and vulnerable sharing, renewed my joy of being a pastor, alongside so many other wonderful people, who all fail at times and can then talk and pray about it together.

Thank you to the Faith and Life Commission members, for another good time of study, reflection, and renewal.

Faith & Life gatherings for credentialed leaders are held quarterly.  This year’s topics revolve around issues of leadership.  Our next gathering will be held in several locations around eastern PA and via Zoom on May 8 & 9, focusing on women in leadership with Carolyn Custis James.

The Powers That Be

by Chantelle Todman Moore, Intercultural Coach

In identifying and addressing how power plays out in our congregations across racial, gender, and class lines, we must first address our “intersectional” experiences of congregational life—that is, how race and gender bias combine to create multiple forms of exclusion.

As a black, formally-educated woman, our society grants me certain access points to power. I am also aware that others may have increased or decreased access to power, both in church settings and in our country, simply based on their social, biological, racial, and class identities.

Denying this influence increases the potential for harm and can create a barrier to being the “Beloved Community,” a term found in the gospels and held up by the Civil Rights movement. We all need to be aware of the power we hold and how we use it in harmful or helpful ways in congregational life.

I invite you to take a power inventory of your congregation. Engage this in an open, curious and prayerful approach:

  • Who has access to formal/informal power?
  • What are the racial, gender, and class identities of those who hold leadership/ministry positions?
  • Who makes decisions and shapes decision-making processes?
  • Who shapes the mission/vision of the congregation?
  • Who has become a member of the congregation, who has not, and why?

You might discover patterns that reveal how power operates in your congregation, which demographic is entrusted with power, and how that power falls across racial, gender, and class lines.

These questions can also be a catalyst for more courageous conversations within your congregation about how power is utilized and the ways it supports or impedes living in covenanted Beloved Community. Alongside of noticing and asking questions about how congregations engage power, we can also look to the life of Jesus to see how power is used.

Jesus, the most power-filled (divine) human, did not shy away from engaging power. He knew how to use power as a tool in service to building and sustaining the life of a covenanted community.

Jesus understood and owned the scope of his power as a child of God: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God” (John 13:3); in Luke 4, we see Jesus returning from enduring temptations in the wilderness, filled with the Spirit’s power, proclaiming in the temple that he was anointed and empowered to do the work of the Father.

As a people belonging to God, we must also understand and own the scope of our individual and collective power, for the work of God’s kingdom.

Jesus shared his power: Jesus sent out his disciples and shared his power to drive out demons and cure diseases (Luke 9:1); instead of hoarding or protecting power, we find a savior who treats power not with a scarcity mindset, but with a mindset of abundance. He shares power because there is more than enough power to go around—in fact, there is a limitless supply.

This is good news! As a church, we can invest in meaningful and creative ways to share our power (relational, financial, etc.), knowing that there is enough power for all of us to experience fruitful and abundant living.

Jesus used his power to address forms of oppression in contextual and meaningful ways: Jesus didn’t use his power as a form of control over others or a show of might; instead, he used his power to set the oppressed free, give sight to the blind, and right wrongs (Luke 4: 18-21).

Our invitation is to name and address the complex ways power is used in our congregations. The ongoing work is enabling a prophetic imagination for new equitable methods of sharing and using our power so that reconciliation and restoration, Beloved Community, can be a reality.

Adapted from “The Struggle is Real” in Leader magazine (Summer 2017).

Looking Ahead to Convention

Photo courtesy of MC USA

It is time once again for our biennial Delegate Assembly, scheduled for July 2-6 in Kansas City. The Delegate Assembly provides the opportunity for our MC USA family to assemble for worship, fellowship, prophecy, relationship building, understanding and deepening our commitment to Christ and each other. In 2019 we will focus on equipping our church leaders for mission while we discuss major issues of policy and discern next steps for the national conference. It is important that the voice of our constituency be heard as we gather together from all parts of the church. The Delegate Assembly is your opportunity to not only speak to the establishment of general policies and the development of programs to carry out those policies. But it is an opportunity for you to connect with and listen to the various members in our great and diverse denomination.  Come see and hear what is next for MC USA. Join in helping our denomination live into its call. Meet Mennonites from all over the United States and learn how they are living into the commitments of the Journey Forward process.

Select your delegates now!  Refer to the Information for Delegates to learn about the delegate selection process and registration.

Photo courtesy of MC USA

Other materials for the delegate assembly will be posted on this webpage as they become available. 

In addition to delegate business, the delegate session at Menno-Con 19 will be featuring a teaching session each day with Tom Yoder Neufeld.  Tom is Professor Emeritus from the University of Waterloo.  He is the author of the commentary on Ephesians part of The Believers Church Bible Commentary series.  The delegate session will also feature stories from congregations across our denomination that give life to our Renewed Commitments from the Journey Forward.

I hope to see you in Kansas City this summer.

Glen Guyton, Executive Director
Mennonite Church USA

Called Outside of “Church”

by Mike Spinelli, Perkiomenville congregation

It is not often that you get to bless someone as they enter a new ministry while knowing that they are staying around as part of your church family.  At Perkiomenville Mennonite Church (Perk for short), we were able to do this as we blessed Scott and Heather Roth for a new ministry with Young Life in the Upper Perkiomen Valley.

Scott Roth shares at Fall Assembly 2018.

Scott’s ministry in the Upper Perk Valley has taken many forms, from teen center and bike shop manager to thrift store director.  He has also been the associate pastor for Perk for the last five years.  Through it all, Scott’s heart for Upper Perk is well known, in the Valley as well as the church. 

As a church, Perk has benefited from Scott’s unconventional approach to ministry.  While we have some of the typical church programs for youth, Scott has also used his connections in Upper Perk to create on-going service projects.  He also used an online platform to connect kids in deeper exploration of faith themes.  But Scott felt there was a work he was called to outside of the “traditional church.”

Scott began to sense that God might be opening a new avenue of ministry; that avenue presented itself as Young Life.  Young Life is a national ministry aimed at engaging teenagers with the good news of Jesus through weekly club meetings, Bible studies and camp.  Young Life leaders first engage students in their own spaces—like clubs and sports—and invite them to join the weekly meetings when they are ready.

Scott worked with a group of volunteers to start the club portion of the program in the fall of 2017, but he began to feel he could be doing more.  Through a season of prayer and discernment with family, friends, and other associates, Scott pursued becoming a full-time missionary with Young Life.  His status with Young Life was confirmed in October of 2018.

Scott and Heather Roth are blessed by Perkiomenville leadership and Franconia Conference Leadership Minister Noel Santiago.

On December 16, 2018, Perk Church used part of the morning worship service to affirm and bless Scott and Heather for their past ministry and the new venture.  Different people of various ages spoke of Scott’s unique way of pushing their boundaries.  Scott shared how much Perk Church has blessed his family and how they are glad to remain as part of the congregation.  Together we celebrated Scott’s testing of our comfort zones and blessed them as a couple who were now stretching their own comfort with this new venture.

While Scott’s role at Perk has concluded, the Roths (including children Rowan and Ashlyn) will still call Perk their church home.  Scott noted that he will soon be a youth parent as Rowan will transition into the youth group after this school year.  The church is also part of his financial support team.  Knowing Scott, the partnership of Young Life and Perk Church will soon extend to helping new students and families engage and enter God’s kingdom and find new life in Christ.

This is My Father

by Holly Meneses Smith

This is my father. Pounding everywhere he goes, his feet to the ground with purpose. As if shaking a fist at the demons underground, “I will defeat you!”  Make no mistake, Michael Meneses is here. I knew it when he would walk across the wooden floorboards upstairs; from bedroom, to bathroom, to office. From office, to bathroom, to kitchen. 

Pastor Mike Meneses serving communion at Wellspring Church of Skippack.

My father is home.  Most of the curls on his head are combed back into greying waves. Quick, forceful combing in the bathroom mirror.  All movement aims towards his purpose.  He keeps his comb in that mirror.  The same mirror on which he would draw secret steamed messages to his children between showers; surprise love notes that would appear and disappear just as quickly.

This is my father. Jam and peanut butter on toast, cream of wheat, cheese and crackers. Simple cravings, really. Simple and unapologetic, like his convictions.  Straightforward, like his certainty.  Clear and sharp edged, like his reasoning.  Our pallets are the same. 

This is my father.  Spontaneous dancing with his children in his office, as if on some Latin dancing show.  If we got too clumsy, stumbling underfoot, he would simply lift us atop them, where we would glide effortlessly across the carpet with his movements. Movements that revealed a spirit of celebration, hidden, often, amidst an all too demanding and, unbeknownst to many, a profoundly wounded life.  When it came to finding light in the darkness, this man taught me how to pray, and how to samba. 

This is my father.  The man who pastors his church with vigor, and grace.  Whose words can be soft while his voice is strong.  The man who calls troops into spiritual battle, while in the same moment inviting his people into eternal peace.  His is a faith to move mountains, and a heart that never doubted that God could. 

This is my father.  Unmatched is the delight that lights up his face in the presence of his grandchildren.  Children, who reminded him of a time in his own innocence, when he could run carefree through the world, the wind at his back, his feet light on the ground.  A time when the smile that cracked upon his face was boundless, when laughter bubbled up from his little belly and split open his little lips.  A time when the elation he felt while chasing a friend or biking down a street had the potential to fill the world.  And it would fill the world, he knew, for God’s unconditional love is evident in the joy of little children.  It was this love that he pointed to every day until the very end.

This is my father.   This determined, faithful, convicted, impassioned, life-loving child of God.  I imagine that his heart pounds in his chest once again; that his laughter fills the chambers of that great kingdom, as he races through the streets and dances on the feet of his Father. In that place where the love notes never disappear from the mirrors and where the demons are utterly defeated.  There, where he is fully known and eternally celebrated.  This is my father.  My father is home.

Together, We’re Still Fans

by Mike Clemmer, Leadership Minister

I am a life-long fan of the Philadelphia Eagles.

This has not always been a joyful endeavor, especially during seasons filled with disappointments, injuries, and without Super Bowl victories. That is, until February 4, 2018, when, in a state of disbelief, I watched as we won Super Bowl LII.

The celebration of that victory still feels like it is alive and ongoing within my heart today, even though this season has already ended without a championship. Yet, as a fan, I am already looking forward to all the great possibilities of the 2019 season. No matter what, I believe in this team and I will always cheer them on.

I am also a fan of the Church.

This has not always been a joyful pursuit. There have been disappointments along the way, people have been hurt, and we have not yet seen the kingdom being fully fulfilled with Christ’s return. We often get side-tracked from pursuing the main purpose of the church by our personal preferences as to how the church should look and what its focus should be.

We are called to proclaim and to be a sign of the kingdom of God through our worship, discipleship, and life together.  I long for the possibility of the church being “all together in one accord” (Acts 2) so that the Spirit can fill us anew. Yet despite its shortcomings, as a fan of the church, I always have hope.

This fall, my son and I had an opportunity to attend the Eagles/Texans game at Lincoln Financial Field. It was a close game that the Eagles eventually won. But what I noticed, as I sat amidst 65,000 fans, was that we were “all in one accord.” The fans sitting around me were women and men, young and old, and from every ethnic background possible. We did not always agree on what plays the Eagles should call, or what players should be on the field at a certain time, but we cheered together with passion and energy.

We all were seeking the same result—a win.

So we cheered together at good plays, booed together when we felt that the officials were not treating our team well, and sang the Eagles’ fight song together after each touchdown. We even hugged and high-fived complete strangers, because, at that game, the differences between us did not matter at all. We were simply expressing ourselves as fans of the Eagles.

As I think of the new 2019 “season” of the church, I also have the same feeling of positivity. There are many things happening, both in our individual churches as well as within the Franconia Conference—things I am hopeful and excited about.

Of course, there will be some set-backs and disappointments along the way, but each new year is an opportunity for everything to fall together and perhaps even have the opportunity for us to experience what it means to be “in one accord.”

My prayer is that, as fans of the Church, we can spur one another on as we passionately celebrate, together, what God is going to do.