Tag Archives: MCUSA

Hope for the Future Top Read Blog of 2017

Franconia Conference’s own Danilo Sanchez’s blog post about Hope for the Future made MCUSA‘s top 10 most read posts of 2017, coming in at number 2! Hope for the Future is, “an annual gathering of people of color serving in leadership positions across Mennonite Church USA that started in 2012.”  If you missed it the first time around check it out here.

“The earth is the Lord’s”: Visiting Israel & Palestine

This week, we are sharing several reflections from participants on the October 2014 “Come and See” tour to Israel and Palestine. While Joy Sutter participated in the spring 2014 tour to Israel and Palestine, we wanted to include her reflections, which were shared with her fellow Mennonite Church USA executive board members at their June 2014 meeting. 

Participants in the Mennonite learning tour of Israel/Palestine visit the separation wall in the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. The wall cuts off the camp from an olive grove where residents used to work and play. (l. to r.) Isaac Villegas, Stanley Green, Ann Graber Hershberger, Mohammad Al-Azzah (Palestinian tour guide), Joy Sutter, Joanna Hiebert Bergen (MCC Jerusalem staff), Ron Byler, Tanya Ortman, Chad Horning, Ed Diller and Duane Oswald. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler)
Participants in the Spring Mennonite learning tour of Israel/Palestine visit the separation wall in the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. The wall cuts off the camp from an olive grove where residents used to work and play. (l. to r.) Isaac Villegas, Stanley Green, Ann Graber Hershberger, Mohammad Al-Azzah (Palestinian tour guide), Joy Sutter, Joanna Hiebert Bergen (MCC Jerusalem staff), Ron Byler, Tanya Ortman, Chad Horning, Ed Diller and Duane Oswald. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler)

“Come and see” were the prophetic words of an amazing journey I experienced with other Mennonite Church USA leaders in Israel-Palestine this spring. This simple invitation, to come and see, changed my worldview of the people, the politics and the pictures that I had formed in my mind prior to my visit. I always knew there was conflict happening in the Middle East, but until I was able to see it in person, I did not truly understand it, and it did not penetrate my soul.

I needed to come and see for myself so that I could better understand that the conflict in Israel-Palestine is:

  • both ancient and modern. It is deadly serious, and it is silly.
  • religious and secular.
  • fought with words, weapons and incorrect information presented in Western media.
  • about land, the air above it and the water below it.
  • about hoarding water, tearing down olive trees and building separate roads for Israelis to return to their settlement homes.
  • about 430 miles of a 20-foot-high wall with electrical fencing.
  • about watchtowers, tear gas, young Palestinians being detained and thrown into jail, interrogation and humiliation.

I heard the words of Jeremiah all the more clearly when he said, “They say peace, peace, when there is no peace” [6:14], and was reminded of Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those who live in it.”

A closing prayer

Leader:       We pray for laborers who cannot enter their place of work. We pray for youth and young adults who are losing hope for their future. We pray for mothers who are fed up with the bloodshed and killing and the constant use of military might. We pray for families who have lost loved ones.

Group:        Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Leader:       We pray that you would open the eyes of the world—of Israelis, of Palestinians, of Americans and Canadians—to this injustice. Help the world to see that the security and freedom of one people depends on the security and freedom of others.

Group:        Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Leader:       We pray for politicians, that they may realize that the security and peace we all long for will not come from the use of military force, but by assuring justice for all. Help us to be bold to speak for peace achieved through nonviolence as the only way for all peoples to work together for an equitable and just future.

Group:        Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Leader:       God, you have called us to be followers. Give us wisdom. Free us from hatred and bitterness. Fill us with agape love and a passion for justice, so that we might respect the rights and dignity of all. Help us to see your divine image in everyone.

Group:        Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

All:               And all God’s people say, “Amen.”

Joy Sutter, of East Norristown, Pennsylvania, is a member of the Mennonite Church USA executive board. This piece originally appeared in “On the Way,” a publication of Mennonite Church USA. Reposted with permission. 

David Boshart nominated for MCUSA moderator-elect

by Mennonite Church USA staff

David Boshart
David Boshart

David Boshart of Wellman, Iowa, has been nominated to be moderator-elect of Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA).

Delegates will vote on the nomination at the 2015 MCUSA convention, held June 30-July 5 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Boshart is currently the executive conference minister for Central Plains Mennonite Conference. He has also served on the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board for seven years.

Prior to being appointed as executive conference minister in 2010, Boshart served as a pastor of local congregations for more than 25 years. He has a doctorate in leadership studies with an emphasis in missional theology from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and is the author of the books Becoming Missional: Denominations and New Church Development in Complex Social Contexts and Sex and Faith, a Bible study guide on male sexuality from the Closer than a Brother series published by Faith and Life Press. Boshart also serves as an adjunct professor at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, and Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

In his current role, Boshart provides leadership for the overall mission, vision and direction of Central Plains Mennonite Conference. He works with local congregations to help them focus their vision for ministry in their local contexts, and also to help develop partnerships among congregations to expand their capacity for witness and mission.

Boshart was nominated by the Leadership Discernment Committee of Mennonite Church USA, and his nomination was affirmed by the MCUSA executive board.

If delegates approve the nomination at the 2015 assembly, Boshart will serve two years as moderator-elect and two years as moderator and chair of the executive board. He would succeed the current moderator-elect, Patricia Shelly of North Newton, Kansas. The present moderator is Elizabeth Soto Albrecht of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Boshart is married to Shana Peachey Boshart, who serves as Central Plains’ conference minister for Christian formation, and they have three sons. They are part of West Union Mennonite Church, Parnell, Iowa.

 

An invitation to Conference Assembly

David Hersh – Moderator, Eastern District Conference
John Goshow – Moderator, Franconia Conference

For the first time since 1999 Eastern District Conference and Franconia Conference will hold their annual assemblies together at Penn View Christian School on November 11 and 12. We want to extend our personal invitation to all members of both conferences to attend Assembly 2011.  On Friday evening at 7 PM we will join together in worship with Rev. Dr. Dennis Edwards from Peace Fellowship in Washington D.C.  Dr. Edwards is known widely for his energetic preaching style and his gifted teaching of the Word.  On Saturday we will meet both jointly and individually to do the business of our respective conferences.

In 2001 the General Conference Mennonite Church and the Mennonite Church joined together to form one denomination, Mennonite Church USA.  Now, all of the congregations affiliated with Eastern District Conference and Franconia Conference are members of MCUSA.  Our two conferences send delegates to the MCUSA’s biannual convention, we participate together in the Constituency Leadership Council (CLC), and we collaborate together with other MCUSA conferences on the east coast through Atlantic Northeast Conferences (ANEC) in outreach and church planting efforts.  As moderators we have been blessed and inspired by the many ways our two conferences work together locally as well as with MCUSA.  Recently we announced that our two conferences and Christopher Dock Mennonite High School have collaborated to hire a full time Youth Pastor. In the past we have partnered with Frederick Mennonite Home and Mennonite Health Services to offer a training opportunity for Conference Related Ministries.  And our conferences share office space which provides many opportunities to work together.

In the past year we have met a number of times with Ron White, Eastern District Moderator-Elect and our Conference Ministers, Ertell Whigham (Franconia) and Warren Tyson (Eastern District) to think about how we can work together to do God’s Kingdom work.  We believe that this collaboration is good and that it will add value to both of our conferences; we look forward to finding many ways to work together in the future.

So, we think this year’s assembly symbolizes our growing desire to continue to find ways of working together to do God’s work and to do this in such a way that the rich histories of each conference are respected and appreciated.  We are open to the leading of God as we continue to be faithful to discover how we can advance the Kingdom together.

It is our hope that the chapel at Penn View Christian School will be filled on Friday evening with members of our two conferences worshiping God together, united in the desire to do God’s work.