by Randy Heacock, Doylestown Mennonite Church
Franconia Conference Annual Assembly focuses this year on Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ, from Ephesians 4. As we gather together on Friday, November 11, we will worship in song, through story and in listening to the word of God communicated in a fresh and compelling way through Dennis Edwards, pastor of Peace Fellowship Church in Washington, DC, a Partner in Mission of Franconia Conference.
Dennis is credentialed as a Mennonite minister through Franconia Conference. He is married to Susan and together they have four adult children. Dennis plays several instruments and enjoys the sax the most. If you follow Dennis on Facebook, you’ll know that he regularly checks-in at Gold’s Gym. Originally from Queens, NYC, he is a faithful fan of the New York Jets.
Dennis is a Biblical scholar: he received a master’s degree and doctorate in New Testament Studies from Catholic University and holds a Masters of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. (He has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Cornell, by the way). Dennis has taught for Eastern Mennonite Seminary along with other schools of higher education, and currently serves as adjunct professor at The Ecumenical Institute of Theology and Bethel Seminary of the East. Even with his busy schedule, Dennis still finds time to serve with community pastors, coordinate meetings with local Mennonite workers, and write.
I have known Dennis for 15 years as a friend and colleague and, while some may appropriately be impressed with his academic achievement, his keen intellect, or his musical giftedness, I can easily say above all else he is a gift to us as a faith community. As a scholar both of the Bible and culture, Dennis is able to provide keen insights about what it means to be a follower of Jesus today. Dennis has a distinctly Anabaptist perspective both in his teaching and practice of Christian faith. He continually communicates and demonstrates a desire for people both individually and corporately to experience more fully the kingdom and presence of God.
Though a powerful preacher, Dennis is a gentle and loving man. His love for God is easily witnessed in his love for people. My wife and I both noticed this when first getting to know Dennis and his family. The way he interacted with his family and in turn the respect and kindness that his two sons extended to their two younger sisters spoke clearly that love was the foundation of their family. I have had the privilege of watching that love flourish in his children, his faith community, and in all his interactions.
If you want to meet and hear from someone who follows Jesus, is a Biblical scholar, and is able to encourage others on their own path in following Jesus, I suggest you attend the worship service during Conference Assembly on Friday, November 11, 7pm at Penn View Christian School in Souderton (or streaming online at franconiaconference.org). Please join me in beginning to pray for Dennis as he comes to share and for our hearts and minds to be open to what God has for us. I am sure God will show up!