by Steve Kriss, Executive Minister
The process of gathering started last night with persons coming from California, Indiana and Mexico. Partners and leaders began to stream toward Souderton Mennonite Church for our historic Assembly that begins tomorrow. We have gathered together for generations each autumn as the community now known as Franconia Mennonite Conference. It’s a massive incarnational effort involving lots of details and logistics—name tags, seating assignments, worship practice, PowerPoint slides in multiple languages and thankfully, Longacre’s Ice Cream and lunch from Landis Supermarket.
These events have certainly changed over the years from intensive discernment among credentialed leaders on the difficult topics of the day, to equipping and celebration inter-culturally and inter-generationally with a sense of family gathering, face to face listening and conversation. We’ve switched from Pennsylvania Dutch to English to quad-lingual with videos. It’s a representation of who the 7,000 of us are in less than a 24-hour timeline.
It’s hard work and it takes resources. Yet, by gathering together we underscore the importance of the Incarnation, the love of God made manifest in real time and places. We listen across our differences in culture, practice and even varied Anabaptist theological perspectives. It’s ultimately a celebration of the holy tie that binds, of commitment centered in Christ that now span the globe and yet have been rooted deeply in the soil of what has become Southeastern Pennsylvania.
We gather because we say it matters that we hear each other, that we hear the Spirit together:
That we celebrate and pray.
That we mark the passing of another year of witness, mission, and ministry.
That God continues to call and we continue to follow.
That God’s dream for us though yet unfulfilled is still unfolding.
Hasta pronto. Sampai ketemu lagi. Hẹn sớm gặp lại. 很快见到你
See you soon!