As the Conference is in a time of transition, it provides an opportunity for reflection and strategic planning for the coming years. With that, the new Executive Minister, Steve Kriss, and the Conference Executive Committee have provided a six-month transitional period that included bringing on three contracted LEADership Ministers, one of whom will also serve as Interim Director of Congregational Resourcing.
On January 1, 2017, the Conference welcomed Emily Ralph Servant, Randy Heacock, and Wayne Nitzsche into the role of Interim LEADership Minister. Emily will also serve as the Interim Director of Congregational Resourcing. Their willingness to serve in these interim roles ensures that all conference congregations have a dedicated Conference Minister available to serve them. In addition, with Emily stepping in as Interim Director of Congregational Resourcing the Conference can expect continued equipping events available to all Conference members and some geared toward credentialed leaders.
“Interim times are valuable for reconsidering and rethinking staffing configurations,” says Steve Kriss, Conference Executive Minister. “With the departures of Ertell and Jenifer, we have an unusual opportunity to reimagine how to lead and serve at the Conference level. While I don’t anticipate changing our model of LEADership Ministry for accompaniment alongside pastors and congregations, this team of interim LEADership Ministers for six months will provide excellent space while also offering clear contacts for Conference ministry. Emily, Randy and Wayne are skilled leaders who have conference level experience. I’m grateful for their availability and willingness to serve in this time of change. I’m grateful too for the flexibility and trust we have found with our congregations in the willingness to embrace each of them in the interim role. As a conference we have a healthy pool of gifted and capable leaders; Emily, Randy and Wayne are evidence of this in their responsiveness to our invitations to serve together.”
Emily has been credentialed with the Conference since 2010, and a member of the conference since her youth. She has served as a worship leader at Bally Mennonite Church, led worship and taught Sunday School while a member at Salford, and conducted interim ministry work with Swamp and Indonesian Light. She also spent time serving Sunnyside congregation in Lancaster, PA. Emily will also serve a number of Congregations as LEADership Minister while working to provide meaningful equipping events over the next six months.
Looking toward this new role, Emily states, “There is a special spirit in Franconia Conference that feels different from other contexts in which I’ve ministered, one that continues to draw me back! I love the way that we celebrate diversity, passionately partner in different types of mission, and support one another in difficult times. I’m so pleased to minister again as part of the staff during this time of transition, walking alongside some really gifted pastors and congregations!”
Randy Heacock steps in to his role as Interim LEADership Minister while continuing as pastor at Doylestown Mennonite Church. Randy was ordained in 1991 through Virginia Conference transferring to Franconia Conference in 2001 when he accepted the position at Doylestown. Randy has a wealth of pastoral experience spanning the last 35 years and has also served on the Virginia Conference Nurture Committee and as Chairperson of the Virginia Peace Committee. He has been noted for his steady presence and ability to walk with congregations through difficult times, holding space with patience as the Spirit moves making discernment possible.
In regards to his new role as Interim LEADership Minister, Randy says, “I am excited for the opportunity to walk alongside other church leaders as they pursue a Kingdom vision.”
Wayne Nitzsche currently serves as pastor at Perkasie Mennonite Church. He will continue in that role as he joins the Interim LEADership Ministry team. Wayne has been a member of Franconia Conference since accepting the role at Perkasie in 2008. Originally, Wayne was ordained in 1989 through Ohio Conference where he would serve as Regional Pastor for 12 years. Throughout his career, Wayne has served in a number of ministry roles including time under Mennonite Board of Missions, now known as Mennonite Mission Network. Wayne has been noted as having exceptional listening skills and truly strives to model Jesus in his everyday life. He will be working in these next six months with three congregations who face transitions themselves.
Wayne states, “God is with all our congregations. Perhaps God’s presence is most keenly experienced in times of pastoral transition. I look forward to walking with Alpha, Bally and Taftsville through their transition. I’m sure I will be enriched by the ways the Spirit is at work in these congregations. I hope to draw on twelve years of conference ministry experience in Ohio Conference, along with present pastoral perspectives from my pastorate at Perkasie Mennonite.”
We welcome these three to their new roles and are grateful for their answer to serve in this capacaity.
To learn more about the new Interim LEADership Ministers check out their full bios at: http://franconiaconference.org/directory/staff/