October 13, 2021
weLink connects Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference congregations to each other, to partner organizations and agencies, and to our wider Mennonite Church USA family. It is published during the second week of each month.
This year’s Pastor Gathering is less than a month away! If you are a pastor or contact person for a congregation without a pastor you are invited to participate in this three-day equipping and fellowship retreat. It will take place at Amigo Centre on November 8-10. And even if you cannot attend, there is a webinar that will be held on Monday that you’re encouraged to attend from wherever you would like to zoom in from.
If you are a congregational leader, please encourage your pastor(s) or contact person to attend.
A Word from MLT
This is my third year on the Missional Leadership Team (MLT). Most of this time has been impacted by the pandemic. Virtual meetings have taken the place of in-person meetings. This year (July 1) has begun with renewed energy to meet the conference’s vision and mission through a willingness to make changes. We know from experience in the physical world that an object at rest stays at rest until a force acts upon it. The Holy Spirit is at work to make changes in and through the MLT and Indiana Michigan Mennonite Conference (IMMC). Change for change’s sake brings chaos and confusion. However, with MLT’s focus on IMMC’s vision and mission, our desire is that change will bring hope and purpose to individuals and faith communities.
The annual All-Teams Leadership Retreat was held in a virtual format on Saturday, Sept 28 amid the rise of COVID variants in our geographical region. (I tested positive for COVID on the following Monday, in spite of being fully vaccinated. I was thankful I did not transmit COVID to others at this meeting.) I miss the in-person meetings but for the well-being of others the virtual meetings are a great solution.
The All-Teams Retreat was an energizing start to the new church year. The Co-Conference Ministers, Joanne Guillardo and Sharon Yoder and the new Administrative Coordinator Clayton Gladish effectively led and facilitated the retreat. The retreat focused on addressing issues related to intercultural competency and white supremacy in our structure, leadership roles and decisionmaking.
My desire, both personally and for our conference, is to address issues and facilitate change that will expand our vision and welcome and affirm all those who desire to participate in God’s beloved community. As I confront my own privileges and bias as a white male in our society, I know the work is never done. As we welcome new members to MLT and other teams, I pray that we can live into accepting the work that the Holy Spirit has started in us.
Duane Yoder, MLT Treasurer
- Journey weekend: participants gathered at Amigo center for a weekend of learning and fellowship. Joanne, along with conference ministers from Ohio and Central District, taught sessions pertinent to ministry. Fellowship was had during worship and mealtimes. A very full but enjoyable weekend!
- The energy, commitment, and capable direction given by leadership teams of IN-MI Mennonite Conference (IMMC). Almost all (25 in total) connected via zoom for the annual All Teams Retreat September 17-18. See Duane Yoder’s A Word From MLT above.
- Shawn Lange and his agreement to join the visioning work of the Missional Leadership Team. Shawn is one of the pastors at New Foundations United in Christ Mennonite Fellowship.
- Installation services for new pastors serving in IMMC: Deron Bergstresser (Waterford) on September 19 and Craig Oury (Shalom) on September 26.
- Joanne will preach at Prairie Street on October 24th on Mark 10:46-52.
- Pastoral cluster groups continue to meet monthly for fellowship and discussion centered around timely ministry topics.
- Sharon met with two congregational leadership teams in recent weeks to discuss upcoming pastoral transitions.
Credentialing and Leadership Development
- Leadership Enhancement Team will host a congregational coach training on October 20, with David Boshart presenting on cultivating a culture of mission oriented congregations.
- Monica Miller met with the Ministry Credentialing Team (MCT) for a credential interview on September 8. We are delighted to welcome her to IN-MI Mennonite Conference; she’ll serve as a pastor at First Mennonite Church beginning on November 1.
- Sharon is working with two pastoral search committees who have had long-term part-time pastoral ministry openings. We are grateful to have applicants for these positions after long searches.
- Credentialed leaders participate in a Healthy Boundaries seminar every three years. MCT recently sent letters to ministers who are due to complete this requirement. To register for the training, please follow this link: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/ministry/church-vitality/healthy-boundaries-training/.
Update from Amigo Centre
- Save the Date: Amigo Women and Girls Retreat is scheduled for March 18-20, 2021. Speaker is Leandrea Lange from New Foundation United in Christ Fellowship, Elkhart, Indiana. Additional information will be coming soon.
- Save the Date: Winter Youth Retreats are being planned for January and February
- Sr High – January 14-16
- Jr High – February 18-20
- Storm damage update: due to a powerful storm that swept through our area on August 12, we have sustained damage to 17 buildings and our trails are currently not safe. We are working to open up a trail for guests as soon as possible. Meanwhile our main facilities – Retreat Center, West Shore Lodge, Activity Center and Dining Hall were unharmed and still very usable. Going forward we will appreciate volunteers to help with the continued clean up that will be necessary over the coming months. If you or your group would like to assist, please contact Amigo Center – at 269-651-2811 or email Cheryl@amigocentre.org. Cheryl Mast is coordinating our volunteer cleanup effort through this challenging time. Thank you for your continued support through this time of Covid and our current storm damage cleanup. For our most updated Covid Regulations, please check online on our homepage at www.amigocentre.org. Thank you!