Tag Archives: Park View Mennonite Church

Journeying In Faith

By Steve Kriss, Executive Minister, and Mary Nitzsche, Associate Executive Minister

Brent, Danilo and Mike

As Conference Youth Minister John Stoltzfus completed six years in that role with Franconia Conference in July, he stated, “As a conference we need to continue to ask the question of how we are passing on the faith and work of the church to the next generation. How are we doing as a church in modeling a self-giving faith centered in Jesus Christ? We will need to place our trust and hope in a revealing God who has been faithful for many generations. We trust that the same Spirit that is at work in our lives will continue to live and move in our children and the next generation of the gathered body of Christ.”

The reality of congregational and conference youth ministry is changing. Conference has been aware of this. Two years ago the Board invited a taskforce to review how conference equips youth ministers, leaders and the youth. John was a part of this process. The task force results and recommendations should be available in the next months.

In August, John and his wife Paula relocated to Harrisonburg, VA where Paula began a pastoral role at Park View Mennonite Church.  Before leaving, John helped to develop an interim plan for continuing Conference youth ministry. Recognizing that youth ministry requires the work of many, three youth pastors have volunteered to serve in the following roles for the next school year: Brent Camilleri, associate pastor of Deep Run East, is assuming leadership for facilitating the ongoing monthly youth pastor gathering; Mike Ford, pastor of youth at Blooming Glen Mennonite Church, is coordinating the Spring Junior High Late Night Blast; Danilo Sanchez, associate pastor of Whitehall and co-pastor of Ripple, will continue to serve on Mennonite Church USA Youth Ministry Council and be a liaison to the denomination.

Conference is grateful for the willingness and readiness of Danilo, Mike and Brent, who bring long histories of service and leadership in our Conference to carry extra responsibilities over the next months ensuring our youth and their leaders continue to be supported and equipped. This interim arrangement gives Conference time to continue the review process and discernment before making any long-term decisions regarding Conference youth ministry.  We value your prayers for continued discernment in next steps as we together imagine Conference-wide youth ministry into the future that is rooted in our shared Anabaptist values and carries out our shared priorities of (trans)formation that is both missional and intercultural in the way of Christ’s peace.

Stoltzfus Resigns Conference and Dock Mennonite Academy Role

John Stoltzfus, Conference Youth Pastor and Campus Pastor for Dock Mennonite Academy, announced his resignation from both roles effective July 31.  John has served in this capacity for six and a half years in a joint appointment between the school and both Franconia and Eastern District Conferences.  He and his wife Paula, along with their children, will relocate later this summer to Harrisonburg, Virginia, where Paula will join the pastoral team of Park View Mennonite Church.

John’s steady work in accompaniment with our Conference youth pastors and acumen in working with the changing context of youth ministry has been key in the ongoing work of Anabaptist faith formation across the generations.  John’s depth of commitment to pastoral presence, thoughtful engagement in our congregations and commitment to bridging the life of our Conference and Dock Mennonite Academy have helped to cultivate healthy relationships and honest open-handed collaboration. 

John was the second person to serve in this joint appointment.  Both the Conference and Dock Mennonite Academy anticipate interim appointments for the upcoming school year for campus ministry and conference ministry roles respectively.  A Conference Youth Ministry Task Force report commissioned by the Franconia Conference Board is expected to shape the future trajectory for the role and responsibilities when released later this summer.  

John wrote in his resignation letter, “This announcement is not an easy one to make as I have deeply appreciated the life and work of both the conference and school environment. It has not been without its challenges but I am so grateful for the privilege of working with a wonderful group of colleagues and friends. I have learned much in this role and I will take with me significant insights and skills learned here.   I am confident of the good work that will continue here and of the way God’s Spirit will continue to raise up new leaders and empower you and the broader community for the work God has called us to do.”