Tag Archives: Don McDonough

Seeking peace and pursuing it with Conference youth

by Don McDonough, Arise

Arise & Methacton youthWhat happens when a youth group from a 274-year-old congregation (Methacton) meets with the youth from a community outreach that is just about a year old (Arise)?  What happens when you then pile those youth in a couple of vans and drive two hours to a cabin where they will be cooped up for a couple of days?  What happens when you add to this mix three 50-something-year-old leaders who want to connect with these kids and have a serious discussion about being peacemakers? You get a weekend when all of us learned a lot about each other and probably a little more about ourselves, a weekend when we all learned that we can have a lot of fun together.

The teenagers could not have been more different.  The ethnic differences were the first to fade away and as we got to know each other better, a variety of other differences began to surface.  The students were raised and shaped in different contexts and by different influences.  Some attend church regularly, others don’t.  They came from five different high schools, each of which had its own culture and its own idea of what is cool.  One youth described the car that they wanted their grandfather to buy for their 16th birthday.  How must that have sounded to the person next to them who never knew their grandparents and for whom the hope of owning a car seemed so far out of reach?

Arise & Methacton youthDespite our differences, we were able to bond and soon shared freely about ourselves and our lives.  Our discussions centered around peace issues; more than just war or mass shootings, we talked about an attitude of peace.  The youth shared about bullying, social media abuse, and sports violence.  For the older leaders, it was sad to see how the very activities we used participate in for relaxation and community building have turned into a competitive, anxiety-causing force.  Even the cheerleaders shared how their focus was less on encouraging their team and more on degrading the other team.  How do we become peacemakers in this environment?

We were so blessed to have Ron Wycoff-Kolb along.  Ron shared passionately about how God convicted him to become a conscientious objector even though he had voluntarily joined the military during the Vietnam War.  We listened intently as he told the story of his family’s rejection and the price he had to pay for following this call to peacemaking.  We were challenged; in the end, a diverse group of teens and a few post-mid-lifers found some common ground. May all of us be brave enough to take a costly stand for peace, whatever our context and whatever our age.

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.