Tag Archives: Connie Detwiler

Ministerial Update (June 2012)

An update from Noah Kolb, Pastor of Ministerial Leadership, on behalf of the Ministerial Committee

Rose Bender Ordination
Rose Bender was ordained at Whitehall on May 27.  Photo Gallery
  • Derek Cooper, assistant professor of Biblical studies and historical theology at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield (Pa.) was approved for a two-year license toward ordination. He and his family are members at Deep Run East (Perkasie, Pa.). The seminary, through his congregation, requested a ministerial license for his work in preparing pastors.
  • Joy Sawatzky was approved for a two-year license toward ordination for her ministry as chaplain with Living Branches. She presently has a license for specific ministry. She is a member of the Plains (Hatfield, Pa) congregation.
  • Don McDonough resigned from his associate pastoral role at Spring Mount (Pa.) to give leadership to a missional experiment called Arise in the Harleysville, Pa. area. He is accountable to Chris Nickels and the Spring Mount congregation.
  • Randy Good resigned as pastor at Taftsville (Vt.). He will complete his ministry there at the end of August.
  • Blaine & Connie Detwiler completed their pastoral leadership at Lakeview, (Susquehanna, Pa.) at the end of May. They have accepted pastoral leadership at the Marion Congregation in Franklin Conference.
  • Scott Landes has resigned as pastor at Frederick (Pa.) and completed his ministry there on June 15.
  • Rose Bender was ordained  on May 27 at Whitehall (Pa.). Steve Kriss and Noah Kolb officiated. A large crowd of church community and relatives were present.
  • Ubaldo Rodriguez was appointed to fill an opening on the ministerial committee. Ubaldo is the church planter at  New Hope Fellowship/Nueva Esperanza (Baltimore, Md.), a church plant of New Hope Fellowship Iglesia Nueva 
  • Dennis Edwards, pastor of Peace Fellowship (Washington DC) has resigned as pastor. He has accepted a pastoral position in Minneapolis, MN. Dennis has been credentialed with Franconia serving a Partner in Mission congregation.

Update from the Ministerial Committee (April 2012)

Update from Noah Kolb, Pastor of Ministerial Leadership, on behalf of the Ministerial Committee

Connie's ordination
Connie Detwiler was ordained at Lakeview Mennonite Church on May 6.

On April 4 the Ministerial Committee approved Connie Detwiler for ordination as co-pastor at Lakeview Mennonite Church. Her ordination was on May 6.

Rose Bender was approved for ordination on April 4 as the pastor of Whitehall Mennonite Church. Her ordination is being planned for May 27.

Franco Salvatori has been called by the Rocky Ridge Mennonite Church as their permanent pastor. He was installed on March 25.

Joyce Hunsberger was granted a license for Christian education and children’s ministries at Salford on April 29.

New Life Fellowship in Northern PA has closed. Phil Maenza who pastored the congregation for more than ten years works in the community. Since he is no longer the pastor of the congregation, his specific ministerial license will cease.

Women join together to ‘Come and be Filled’

Sandy Landes

celebrate-003.jpg“Come and be Filled,” was the theme of the recent “Celebrate, women joining together” event held at Franconia Mennonite Church on Saturday, April 17. An all-day event, it included worship, sharing from the Word by Bonnie Stevenson of Mexico City, pampering stations including neck and shoulder massage as well as being refreshed through fellowship and prayer. A group from Blooming Glen ministered through singing “At the Foot of the Cross,” an echo of the message for the day, laying down our burdens and picking up the joy. We were blessed by the testimony of Luz Maria Vargas, a church planter with her husband in Gaithersburg, MD.

266 women of the region and beyond attended from congregations and communities throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Lancaster as well as from Northern PA and the Washington DC metro area. Planned by nine women from local congregations, the purpose of the day was to help women come to relax, refresh, renew and rejoice as we celebrated the love of Jesus.

The following response to the day by Connie Detwiler, co-pastor of Lakeview Mennonite Church, reviews some of the highlights:

“God’s presence was sensed in many ways. The day was beautifully planned and flowed along wonderfully well. From the moment our group walked into the church we were welcomed. The hospitality of the greeters was warm and helpful in every way. What a heartwarming site as more and more ladies came and to hear the different locations they came from! The ways God draws us to unity is precious!

Bonnie is an amazing speaker. Her spirit is ever so gentle and delightful and yet so strong in who she is and ‘whose’ she is. What a gift we had in her!

Kudos over and over to the worship team! How amazing it was to have a group of women from different churches leading the praise and worship time! The voices, the instruments, and the spirit in each of them was just lovely and inviting.

It was humbling and challenging to be asked to be part of the prayer team and as always, God showed up in amazing ways as we prayed. I really feel many were ministered to through prayers that only God knows the end results.

The prayer rooms offered places of quiet and reflection in many ways, from the visuals to the guided prayers. And, speaking of visuals, the front of the church was a beautiful reminder of “being filled”…many times, over and over.

The ladies giving the massages were ministering to many and the massages were just a special treat, a great way of pampering.

The lunch was delicious and just right for the setting we were in.

It was obvious that much time, many thoughts and fervent prayers went into this time of celebration preparation and many were blessed. I have heard only positive comments from our group that attended and I’m sure if distance weren’t a problem, I’d be hearing more.”

celebrate-007.jpgA few other comments captured in passing included the following thoughts gleaned from Bonnie’s teaching:

  • The Lord loves to hear my voice!
  • Keep looking up!
  • Be thirsty!
  • Maranatha – The Lord is coming!
  • Be faithful in the little things
  • Intercession – keep knocking
  • Lay my burden down and pick up joy
  • With forgiveness, comes healing
  • “The message about being wakened in the night and just enjoying the presence of God instead of stewing about not sleeping well, helped me on Saturday night.”

And Kristi Wile, Franconia Mennonite Church, writes, “I couldn’t wait to spend an entire day worshiping and fellowshipping with other women! I knew that God would do an amazing thing. With the worship time, the testimonies, and the speaker, God made His presence perfectly clear. At one point, I was standing down front amidst other women and I was so highly aware that the Holy Spirit was moving right around me and in me. It was awesome! I came away so full and overflowing that it was several days before I could read my Bible again!”

As a way to reach beyond us, the women in attendance were given an opportunity to knot two comforters for distribution in Haiti through Mennonite Central Committee. While “Celebrate” was free for those in attendance, an opportunity was given for donations towards the expenses of the day and any monies received in excess were promised to be forwarded on to Grace Assembly Network in Haiti, a Franconia Conference Partner in Mission. We are thankful to report that $417.00 will be sent to the church in Haiti.

celebrate-010.jpgFor those who would like to hear the worship and teaching, CD’s are available for purchase at Franconia Mennonite Church for $5. Call the church at 215-723-3220 to confirm availability.

You are invited to join in prayer as God’s leading is sought for any future “Celebrate” events. We look forward to being a part of God’s purposes fulfilled in the lives of women in this region.

On an adventure: Becoming all that God intends

p1100041-copy.jpgConnie Detwiler, Lakeview

After receiving his MDiv, my husband told me, “Hon, we are on an adventure.” Here I am fifteen years later, shaking my head in wonder and commenting – Are we ever!

I grew up on a dairy farm where I had wide open spaces to play, explore and use my imagination. I have always loved the clear sky at night dotted with thousands of stars and have appreciated God’s creation in many ways. I don’t remember a time that I didn’t feel a connectedness to God.

Perhaps it would be easier to write my story about becoming a Mennonite pastor if I were a cradle Mennonite. My ancestors were not from Switzerland, Germany or Russia. They were from England and Scotland and were very different from the Anabaptists.

I was baptized as a baby and grew up in a Methodist church. During my childhood I attended the Lakeview Mennonite Bible School and occasionally their Sunday School. As a family we didn’t leave the farm much so VBS was my vacation and I loved it. I sang songs and learned Bible verses and stories which I have not forgotten. It was my social outlet and connection with other Christians which was unique to my family of origin. As a teenager I had a strong Christian peer group and one of my best friends was a Mennonite. These formational years certainly had an impact on my spiritual growth.

Eventually I married one of the local Mennonite boys, Blaine Detwiler. I became a member of the church where he grew up. This was the same church where I had attended VBS. We were in the process of buying the family farm when his calling to become a pastor transpired. We sold the cows, packed our bags and moved to Harrisonburg, Va., where he attended Eastern Mennonite Seminary. I audited classes when possible and began to understand more of who I was as a person and also my worth as God’s child. I learned that God’s grace grows in private places of prayer and I found that God has come near to restore and make things right…another milestone in my spiritual growth.

After seminary we returned to our home congregation where Blaine was asked to pastor. My role as his wife has included partnering and walking with him on this journey of ministry. Over the years various folks in our congregation have pointed our that I have pastoral giftings that differ from Blaine’s, which make us a good “team.” I have pondered these observations and words of encouragement for some time.

Four years ago at our annual church retreat, Noel Santiago and a woman named Jeanette Phillips, prayed for me. I hadn’t met either of them before. Their prayer included the following, “God has been calling you to a ministry for some time and you’ve been keeping this hidden in your heart.” Wow, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I did both. Those words resonanted in my soul like nothing before and I felt God saying, “It’s time.”

Sometime later, during group spiritual direction, a gentleman mentioned that he strongly felt I have pastoral giftings and needed to begin to pursue my calling and consider becoming licensed. I began to discern this more with our church elders and council, my spiritual director and other persons in the congregation. All have been encouraging and affirmative. I am humbled and excited as the “adventure” continues.

I recently completed an Anabaptist History and Theology course which widened my understanding of the word “radical.” Our Anabaptist ancestors were of that vein, in the deepest of ways. They loved Jesus and lived the Sermon on the Mount without a thought given to another way. I was amazed to discover that women played just as an important role in Anabaptist witnessing as the men. I discovered that over a third of Anabaptist martyrs were women. I pray for the dedication and courage they demonstrated as I follow the stepping stones of these faithful ones.

Possibly my calling to ministry began a long time ago in the wide open spaces of the farm where I realized I have been known and loved by my creator. The brightest stars on a clear night remind me I am never alone on this journey and a falling star reminds me of the activity of God’s spirit. I was told years ago that my grandma prayed that someone in our family would become a pastor. The process of discernment regarding my calling and licensing has caused me to become relentless in praying that I may become all God intends, for His glory and makes me realize the prayers of a grandmother can be very powerful.