Tag Archives: Joy Sawatzky

Sharing Breakfast and Life

by Emily Ralph Servant, Interim Director of Congregational Resourcing

“I was not really looking forward to the morning event.  I wasn’t even sure it had much to do with my call and work,” confessed Joy Sawatzky, a chaplain at Living Branches.  “What happened was a nice surprise.  I like surprises.”

The “morning event” was a breakfast sponsored by Living Branches and Franconia Conference exploring questions of spirituality across generations.  On February 14, a panel of leaders answered questions about calling, spiritual practices, and hope.

“What happened was heart-felt sharing from three different generations around call and how that was and is lived out, not just in the lives of those on the panel, but in the table conversations afterwards as well,” reflected Sawatzky.

Panelists Krista Showalter Ehst, John Ruth, Paula Stoltzfus, James Krabill, Josh Meyer, and Ray Hurst expressed curiosity about other generations, pondered over advice they would give to their younger selves, suggested practices that are important in the life of the Church, and confessed how their priorities in ministry have been shaped by their life experiences (listen to the podcast).

After the panelists shared, pastors gathered around tables to share their own stories, challenges, and questions.  The take away—a hope for the future of the church and a hope for more of these conversations.

Living Branches began to explore sponsoring conversations on aging after a pastor told them, “Our church is aging, however our energy is focused on family and youth; we would appreciate thinking and talking together about issues of aging. Help us.”   Living Branches believes that as a member of the community and a participating ministry of the Franconia Conference, they have a calling to connect with and resource their community and churches around the issues of aging, says Margaret Zook, Director of Church & Community Relations at Living Branches.  “We believe that joy and purpose in life is enriched through conversations at all stages of our life.”

Credentialed leaders are invited to two breakfasts this April:

  • April 19, 8-10am, at Souderton Mennonite Homes. Chaplains from Living Branches will present the documentary “Being Mortal” and facilitate a conversation around faith and end of life issues.  (RSVP to Margaret_Zook@LivingBranches.org).
  • April 25, 9-11am, at Blooming Glen Mennonite Church. Anne Kaufman Weaver will lead a conversation around her research in resiliency for women in pastoral leadership (RSVP at franconiaconference.org/events).

“Taking time to be together to learn, to network, to eat together, to drink coffee and tea together helps keep our leadership and relationships vibrant and lively,” says Franconia Conference executive minister Steve Kriss.  “While our schedules are busy, this time apart, even for a few hours, is an important respite and a significant time to strengthen both skills and relationships among us as credentialed leaders in our conference community.”

For questions related to upcoming events or to request resourcing for your congregation, contact Emily (email or 267-932-6050, ext. 117).

Running toward God (& the joy of finding the right ministry match)

Joy Sawatzkyby Joy Sawatzky, chaplain, Souderton Mennonite Homes (reposted by permission)

I am scheduled to be ordained into pastoral ministry February 9 at Souderton Mennonite Homes.  It’s a service that affirms God’s call on me to lifelong ministry to the Church, and gives me the credentials and oversight to do so through the Franconia Mennonite Conference.

I have been almost this close to being ordained before… twice.  And each time I found a reason not to accept the invitation.  Each time the reason was the same.  It was because I was not convinced that I was ‘called’ to this life of service to the Church – for a lifetime.

In the movie “Runaway Bride”, Maggie has a tendency to run away when it comes to a marriage commitment.  Maggie has just left another groom standing at the altar, and has jumped aboard a FedEx truck as an escape route.

Ellie: Where is she going?
Fisher:  I don’t know, but she’ll be there by 10:30 tomorrow.

Like Maggie, I wasn’t always sure why I ran away, but just knew it wasn’t right – knew it in that place where I discern what God is saying to me.  I knew it wasn’t the time.  I was not running away from God or even God’s call (in the larger sense).   I have been running toward God since I was a kid, after making a serious personal commitment to God’s loving and sustaining grace at our church camp, and have always lived a life pointed towards God.

Oh, I have thrown a tantrum or two at God since then, but never veered from that early innocent desire to be connected to and in service with my Creator – to live that life that God created me for. The verses that I live by are from Psalm 139:13 – 14:

For it is you, o god, who formed my inward parts;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,
wonderful are your works;
I know that well.

Here at SMH I have found a place of ministry that fits with God’s call on my life.  The time is right.  I am not even tempted by all the FedEx trucks on the road!  Thanks be to God for this marvelous gift!

Joy Sawatzky will be ordained at Souderton Mennonite Homes at 2pm on February 9, 2014.  All are welcome to attend!

Ministerial Update (November 2013)

Joy Sawatzky
Joy Sawatzky, pictured here receiving prayers of blessing at Conference Assembly 2012, was approved for ordination at the November 3rd ministerial meeting.  Photo by Andrew Huth.

from Noah Kolb, outgoing Pastor of Ministerial Leadership

The ministerial committee met on November 3rd.  Chris Nickels was welcomed as a new member.  Marlene Derstine was thanked for her completed time of service.

  • Sandy Landes was approved for a license toward ordination at Doylestown congregation as Pastor of Prayer and Pastoral Care.
  • Joy Sawatzky was approved for ordination as Pastor/Chaplain at the Souderton Mennonite Homes.  Joy is a member of Plains.
  • John Bender’s ministerial credentials were received from Allegheny Conference for ministerial leadership at Ripple and Franconia congregations.
  • The ministerial credentials of Emily Ralph and Robert Nolt were approved to be transferred to Lancaster Conference.
  • The license toward ordination for Julie Prey, Joe Hackman, and Scott Franciscus were renewed for another two years.
  • Duane Hershberger’s ministerial status was changed from active to retired.
  • Donna Wilkins’ license for specific ministry was terminated with the end of her responsibilities at Blooming Glen.
  • Mike Ford, formerly youth pastor of Franconia congregation, has transferred to Blooming Glen, working in youth ministries.
  • Walt Morton is serving as an interim pastor at Lakeview.