It has been a month since I was tromping through snow at Amigo Centre during the Pastor Gathering, but my gratitude continues for that time of renewal and connection.  The gathering began with the Healthy Boundaries workshop for credentialed leaders who had not yet received that valuable training.  The retreat which followed, thanks to Linda Thomas’ input and the Leadership Enhancement Team’s thoughtful planning, was a rich and renewing time of worshiping, reflecting, sharing, and laughing together.  Perhaps the highlight for me in my new Mission Leadership Team (MLT) role, however, was the Pastor Summit on Wednesday.  The meaningful conversation and collaboration left me energized for the work of the conference, and wishing that a greater percentage of pastors and leaders could have attended.  It is inspiring to witness so many leaders who, with their eyes open to the challenges facing the church, are invested in empowering our conference to move forward with its vision of Christ-centered, Spirit-led ministry in the world God loves.  I give thanks to be a part of a community of such committed and creative servant leaders!

That same spirit continued in the November 23rd MLT meeting.  Motivated by some contacts that Dan and Bob initiated, the MLT is working to gain a better understanding of who we are as a conference, and using that to inspire our vision of who can continue to become together.  That work included everything from exploring our own MLT group dynamics, to envisioning increasing IMMC intercultural competence, and discerning how to empower leaders for the future of the church.  While there are challenges ahead for our conference and the broader church, in this Advent season I am rejoicing in the ways that I am witnessing the Spirit of Immanuel—God with us—alive and at work in our IMMC community! – Naomi Yoder, MLT member, East Goshen Mennonite Church