Stay tuned! We are excited to launch a series of monthly webinars on Intercultural Competency. This work is inspired by the incredible energy and interest surrounding this topic at Annual Sessions 2020. Phil Waite (College Mennonite), Dan Miller and Nekeisha Alayna Alexis (AMBS) created this series as a way to help viewers engage with topics including: white supremacy, intersectionality, anti-racism and what intercultural competency looks like in the congregation. Details on this learning series will be sent out in the next few weeks.
* Missional Leadership Team has appointed Joel Kern to fill an open position on the Ministry Credentialing Team. Joel has a BA in youth ministry and a Masters in Social Work. He works at Oaklawn on the teen campus in South Bend. He and his family attend Berkey Avenue.
* MLT will meet the last weekend of August for their Annual planning retreat. Please join us in prayer for their gathering, and for contacts being made by Gifts Development Team to complete the team.
* We’re celebrating a growing awareness, and commitment towards reconciliation, that God’s Spirit is bringing. We encourage you to visit the anti-racism page on the IMMC website for resources on this topic.
*Recent conference minister calls Sharon and/or Dan participate in have focused on sharing each conference’s work on anti-racism, sharing resources and exploring how we might walk together. Walking with other conference ministers in this work has been positive and collaborative.
*Bob Yoder and Dan Miller met with Mid-States leaders on August 11. Conference ministers and moderators of Central District, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana-Michigan conferences meet twice a year for the purpose of learning from one another and cooperating on areas of mutual concern.
* As we approach September, Dan and Anna will establish some routines for being as the office. Remember that even though much work is being done remotely, you can connect by calling the office between 8am and 4:30pm.
Credentialing and Leadership Development
* In July two congregations completed their pastoral searches and called new pastors to join their leadership teams! In August the Ministry Credentialing Team is doing credential interviews and we are planning for credential/installation services at North Goshen and Walnut Hill in September.
* On August 23, Sharon Norton will receive a license toward ordination for her work as co-director of Europe and Africa with Mennonite Mission Network. The service will be held via zoom at Walnut Hill Mennonite Church.
* Sharon Yoder and trained search guides continue walking with five congregations who are in various stages of pastoral leadership transitions. Given Covid19, many contacts with pastoral applicants are happening via phone and zoom calls.
Our income for the month of July was much higher than expected due to some churches that were behind in giving made it up in July. Income was $20,168.00 more than expected and our expenses were $1,539.00 below budget. Thank you for your generosity. –Jim Norton, bookkeeper
Bethany Christian Schools-Updates
Back to School!
Welcome back! The Bethany Christian community of faculty and staff is so excited to welcome students back to school.
While the beginning of this school year probably feels different than back to school celebrations of the past, we are still anticipating a successful semester at Bethany. Faculty and staff have been preparing for the return of students in a variety of ways. This has included comprehensive conversations around the health and safety of the community and a continuing development of instructional skills to better challenge students no matter whichlearning platformwe are utilizing.
We also know that returning to school has some risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic that is still present in our community. BCS has safety measures in place and is prepared to take extra precautions for the health and safety of everyone in the building.You can read more about the complete COVID-19 safety response and back to school plan here.Don’t miss the section titled Family Resources, where many of your potential questions might be answered. And please don’t hesitate to reach out to faculty and staff or administrators with questions.
Despite a number of uncertainties and anxieties that may linger as the community returns to BCS, the things that make a Bethany education unique remain: challenging academics and a faith-rooted care for each students’ growth and development.
At Bethany, each student is known and valued as an integral part of the whole BCS community. Whether instruction is taking place online or in-person, students are receiving the quality educational experience that you’ve come to know here. Welcome back!
Leon Bauman will be joining Bethany as a study hall supervisor and teacher aide. He retired in 2019 from a career in education, most recently as an elementary school counselor at Goshen Community Schools. After a year of travel, reflection, study and time with family, he is excited to be “coming back to school again!” (photo 1, below)
Abbe Buller is joining the Bethany community as the advancement assistant. She has most recently worked with Michiana MEDA and College Mennonite Church. Abbe and her husband Patrick are members at Berkey Avenue Mennonite and have two children, Isaac and Lena. She enjoys reading, cooking and family bike rides, and is “excited to be part of an organization that’s creating amazing space for holistic education.” (photo 2)
Daniel Mast will be teaching PE and Health this coming year in addition to continuing to coach the varsity boys basketball team. Daniel is a 2006 graduate of Bethany. Daniel and his wife Ally attend Assembly Mennonite in Goshen and their son Beck is almost 2 years old. “My family and I are very excited about becoming even more connected to the Bethany community,” said Daniel. (photo 3)
Gabriella Ochoa will teach high school Spanish. Most recently she was a full-time Spanish instructor and taught courses in Latin American history and culture at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. Gabriela and her husband Robert Brenneman have two sons, Nicholas and Robert, and they relocated to Goshen in July. “I am looking forward to getting to know my students and to sharing my love and enthusiasm for the Spanish language and the many cultures it represents,” said Gabriela. “As a Guatemalan who had to learn English as an adult, I know how hard it can be to learn a foreign language — but also how exciting it can be as your world opens up to a whole new community of people” (photo 4)
Kyle Stocksdale is joining Bethany as the media center coordinator. He attended Goshen College where he studied history, peace studies and classical guitar. He enjoys reading, being outside and experiencing nature, and taking apart and restoring old bits of technology, but “most of all, I love taking walks with my wife, Brianne, and my dog, Oliver.” (photo 5)
Updates from Amigo
Summer is winding down but Amigo Centre is still taking reservations for families. If you’re looking for a quiet relaxing weekend, come stay at the Retreat Center or West Shore Lodge. Both buildings have small designated suites to limit contact with people outside of your group. Meals, staff led activities or pontoon rides are available. Groups need to be 10 or fewer. Call 269-651-2811 or email us at email@example.com
If you like to travel with your own lodging come spend a weekend (or a whole week) at Amigo Park. The fish are biting and the beach is open. We are currently only open for campers with a self-contained bathroom in their camper. Give us a call at 269-651-2734
Homeschooling this year? Amigo Centre’s homeschool program will be running in a modified approach. Classes are limited to 10 students. All classes will be outside or in a pavilion setting. Come explore God’s Creation in lessons designed for different age groups and different topics. 7 sessions throughout the year. more information can be found at amigocentre.org/homeschool-program.html
Amigo Centre has had to change the way we operate. We’re looking for volunteers to help as we plan and host guests this fall and into the winter. We are in need of people to help deep clean, paint, plant, fix, repair, mow and weed. We have three cottages that we are trying to update for guest retreats and could use help in all aspects of the project. Drywall, painting, roofing, basic plumbing, siding. If you’re interested email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark your calendars for next summer. Registration is open for summer camp. If you’re 18 or older we have started our summer staff recruiting. Let us know if you’re interested in working as a counselor or providing leadership to our programming. Contact email@example.com more information.
Our speaker, Connie Gochenaur is a storyteller and a blogger. The mother of four grown daughters and Grandma to seven beautiful grandchildren, she’s a transplanted city girl, now living the “Green Acres” life. Her devotional writing has been featured in The Upper Room and Prodigal. Her passions, outside of writing, are for the local Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack, and an art ministry she began for senior citizens. She is passionate about the study of God’s Word, and fascinated by how relevant it is to daily living.
Join us for an enriching weekend as we explore God’s Story, our own, and discover how the two fit together. Through worship and workshops, we will uncover spiritual truths as we take ownership of our stories – for God’s glory. From the simplest memory to the most complex tale, your story is valuable. It is worthy of attention – and redemption. YOUR STORY MATTERS!
SAVE THE DATE: Amigo Bike Michiana scheduled for October 8-10, 2021.
Our speaker will be Dr. Sibonokuhle Ncube, founding Executive Director/National Coordinator of the Brethren in Christ Compassionate and Development Services in Zimbabwe, currently studying at AMBS. In fall of 2018, Dr. Ncube was part of a Global South Voice Speaking Tour of the Great Lakes region, co-sponsored by MCC and the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions.
The project: Climate Mitigation in Zimbabwe. Partnering with the Brethren in Christ Church Compassionate and Development Services (CDS) to work with disadvantaged communities in the Gwanda North wards as part of an Anabaptist Christian witness to promote climate change resilience through sustainable crop and livestock production. This gender sensitive project promotes Conservation Agriculture principles for both female and male farmer households, as well as assistance in repairing and construction of dams and bore holes, raising the living standards, widening food choices and increasing project participants’ incomes.
Visit our web site for registration and additional information: amigocentre.org
Road Scholar update. Since 1994 Amigo has been involved with the world-wide “Adventures in Lifelong Learning” organization now known as Road Scholar. (Originally called Elderhostel.) Along with every other organization, Road Scholar has seen its programming cut back in light of Covid-19. Amigo has been informed that we will no longer be able to offer programming through Road Scholar through 2022. We have been running three programs – a Study of the Amish and Mennonites, a genealogy program, and two different quilting programs each year. We will miss these programs and participants immensely, but look forward to a time when they can return.
Scrapbooking, Crafting and Sewing retreat updates: we will not hold large retreats as we have in the past. Instead, the scheduled dates are limited due to providing all participants with a single room. We will set groups of friends up in smaller areas to work (masks are still required inside) and encourage everyone to enjoy the outside as much as possible (masks not required if social distancing outside). We are setting up spaces for you to gather outside and enjoy the beauty that Amigo has to offer. When’s the last time you just sat and listened to the bird, Sandhill cranes and geese communicating around a lake… or watched the chipmunks and squirrels play… it’s very entertaining! Bring your family or friends and we will provide the space for you to work and play. Call us for availability – 269-651-2811.
weLink connects IN-MI Conference congregations to each other, to the conference organizations Amigo Centre, Bethany Christian Schools and to the wider church. It is published on the second Wednesday of each month. weLink issues are archived on the conference website at im.mennonite.net/welink-archive/.