Tag Archives: Franconia Conference staff

Marta Castillo Joins Conference LEADership Ministry Team

Franconia Conference welcomes to the LEADership ministry team Marta Castillo, a woman with a deep love for the kingdom of God both inside the walls of the meeting house and beyond. Marta is the daughter of Franconia Conference-rooted mission workers.  She also has been shaped by all four of our linguistic cultures in Franconia Conference: Marta grew up in both Vietnam and Indonesia, is a primary English speaker and lives in a bilingual family and community of English/Spanish speakers.  Marta has been a member at Nueva Vida Norristown New Life since 1994 and joined their pastoral team in 2009.

Marta loves to hear the stories of God’s work and how God is growing the church and growing individuals. With broad mission experiences internationally and in a US urban location, Marta is committed to prayer along with active engagement of diverse neighborhoods with the message of Christ’s Good News.  She is passionate about the intercultural work of unity in cultural diversity, antiracism, and racial reconciliation.

She will begin her work as a member of the conference LEADership Ministry Team working with Centro de Alabanza de Filadelfia and engaging with another Spanish speaking congregation that is interested in relating to the conference. Marta speaks fluent Spanish and has a strong love for the hospitality and generosity within the Hispanic culture. With her upbringing in other countries and living in Norristown, she relates with other cultures every day. Marta is looking forward to walking with not just Spanish speaking congregations, but all congregations – hearing the stories of what God is doing in their midst and walking alongside of them, paying attention to God’s spirit helping to develop vision and mission.

After almost five years serving on the conference board, Marta resigned her seat to join the LEADership ministry team. Two of those five years was spent serving as assistant moderator for the conference. She graduated from Eastern Mennonite College (1992) with a major in Elementary Education and is currently taking classes at Eastern Mennonite Seminary.

Lifegiving to Marta is one-on-one conversations, as she love to hear people’s stories. She also enjoys time in solitude, reading, walking, and exercising. She can also be found spending time hiking and camping with her husband Julio and their two teenage children, Andres and Daniel.

While serving with the LEADership Ministry team, Marta will continue as Associate Pastor at Nueva Vida Norristown New Life.

Staff Update: The Space In Between

by Stephen Kriss

We are three weeks into Executive Minister Ertell Whigham’s three month sabbatical.   In the meantime, I’m serving as acting executive minister, which so far has meant attending to both more details and broader issues and possibilities for our community of faith together.   These months will continue to provide opportunities for staff growth and engagement in new ways.   Our conference youth minister, John Stoltzfus, is also on sabbatical, which makes the staff lean and busy for the summer.

In Mennonite Church USA, our conference currently has the most advertised pastoral openings.  We are searching for diverse leaders from Taftsville in Vermont to South Philly to serve among our congregations.   With about a dozen pastoral openings across our Conference, this is a significant time of transition and focused work.  Pastoral transitions are high priorities for LEADership Minister engagement to help keep our congregations healthy and growing.

conference assembly 2015 175This summer we, the staff, begin “Going to the Margins” staff meetings which will mean the Conference office will be closed the last Wednesday of July, August, and September in the afternoons as staff engage with our congregational communities.  Our first “Going to the Margins” staff meeting will be with Doylestown Mennonite next week where we’ll engage with pastors and spend time learning there.  I look forward to each of these three afternoon times out together.

Franconia Conference is about conferring.  There are frequent meetings and there is much planning happening for meetings coming up this fall.  Office staff work hard to ensure that we are ready to gather together in ways that are meaningful and that information flows in a timely and efficient way.  We’re in process of planning for our annual assembly and continue to work to update our pastoral credentialing records.

There is much to do.  We have many good stories to tell.   We continue to work and to hope.  I invite you to join together in prayer for the conference, staff, board and everyone across our almost 7000 people conference community as together we strive to “live a life worthy of our calling.”