November 7, 2019
In Our Prayers
We are called to give thanks this week by District Conference Moderator Marty Barlow:

We give thanks for the success of last week's District Conference and for District Executive Minister John Jantzi and Office Manager Sarah Long who worked tirelessly alongside 2019 District Conference Moderator George Bowers, District Officers and the Program and Arrangements Team.

We give thanks for the preachers, worship leaders, special musical guests, volunteers who served during the business sessions and the wonderful servants from Antioch who worked diligently to accommodate over 300 people at the conference.

We give God the glory for the multitude of gifts He has placed in our congregations and for the hands that serve so faithfully.

We also give thanks to God for the opportunities He has provided for times of learning, worship, fellowship and decision-making.

Let us give thanks, not only during this month of Thanksgiving, but let us see and appreciate the beauty in serving all through the year.
District News
District Conference Highlights
The 2019 Shenandoah District Conference concluded Sat. afternoon at Antioch after the delegate body, comprised of 261 representatives, elected the  leadership slate  and accepted the proposed budget. The   Congregational Withdrawal Paper  passed 240 to 19, and the   Calling the Called resolution  was affirmed with no dissenting votes heard.

The business sessions were preceded by times of worship. Conference preachers were George Bowers, Galen Combs and Jan Orndorff. Worship leaders were Linda Waggy and Mark Bowyer. Leah Hileman led m embers of the Luray congregation, Leaksville UCC, Bethlehem Lutheran, St. John's Baptist, Bethel Baptist and the Bethel-Mayland congregation in a special choral presentation featuring Steve Green's Find Us Faithful.

Fri. night worship services were led by George Bowers, who introduced this year’s conference theme: “Bearing Jesus’ Fruit.” George and Dale Bowers illustrated the theme through a skit about cutting down the trees in the orchard that were not bearing fruit. Dale, with chainsaw in hand, was persuaded to wait until the conclusion of the service to make a decision about chopping down the trees. In the meantime, worshippers contemplated the parable of the fruitless fig tree found in the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. George reminded the listeners that, "We can't bear Jesus' fruit if we're not rooted in Jesus."

As time elapsed and "fruit" was placed on the trees, Dale Bowers' chainsaw was not needed. The "fruit" hanging on the trees at the end of the evening were the programs, events and activities in District churches. Click here to read the poem George wrote about this story from Luke, and click here to listen to a recording of this sermon.

On Saturday, Galen Combs' meditation focused on allowing God to change us through spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, reading and meditation. These practices bear fruit. He illustrated this concept by telling the story of wanting to pull the leaves off of the trees in his aunt and uncle's apple orchard in Ky. when he was young. He soon learned that stripping the trees would mean fewer apples in the fall. He also learned that trees have to be planted at the right time and pollination is essential. As the fruit develops, it must remain connected to the vine because, "You can't staple apples to the tree," he said.

In a lighter moment, Combs asked the audience to list their favorite things involving apples. Fritters, sauce, pie, butter and, of course, dumplings topped the list. One lone voice cried iPhone, to the amusement of the crowd.

Jan Orndorff's meditation picked up on the themes introduced by Combs. Orndorff related a personal story about being led by the Holy Spirit to give a panhandler a twenty dollar bill, even though she had a lot of excuses for not doing so. The man was so hungry, he ran as fast as he could across six lanes of traffic to purchase food. That left quite an impression on Orndorff about being in constant communication with God and being willing to respond.

Being tuned into God's plan through reading scripture, prayer and asking yourself how this applies to your life leads to spiritual growth. Orndorff reminded those who were gathered that Jesus was humble and loving enough to wash even Judas' feet--the one who would betray Him. She encouraged everyone struggling with this degree of love and humility to, "Come back to God and let Him show you how to love." Orndorff believes, "Heaven is the fulfillment of what happens now."

At the end of the business session, the gavel was passed from 2019 District Conference Moderator George Bowers to 2020 District Conference Moderator Marty Barlow. District Executive Minister John Jantzi conducted the consecration ceremony for the District Leadership slate. Barlow announced the 2020 District Conference will be Nov. 6-7.

After the conference, the worship center, which featured donations of produce and other items, was gathered up to be delivered to Columbia Furnace's Love Center. This food will be distributed to Shenandoah County families who are food insecure.

Seventy-three congregations were represented at this year's District Conference and 41 people attended as non-delegates.

More District Conference stories will appear in the Dec./Jan. Shenandoah Journal, due out Nov. 30.

Photos were provided by Becky Leland and Brenda Diehl, unless noted otherwise.
District Leadership Elected for 2020
Moderator Elect
Daniel House
Congregational Care
Bruce Bowman
Development Team
Paul Davis
The following have been selected for the District Leadership Slate to serve in 2020. Click here for the candidates' biographical information.

Moderator Elect  - Daniel House

District Leadership Team:
Congregational Care - Bruce Bowman, Second Term
Development - Paul Davis, Second Term
Discipleship Ministries - Jan Orndorff
New Church Development - Leah Hileman
Outdoor Ministries - Marty Doss, Second Term

Gifts Discernment Team:
Jim Chappell
Gail Johnson, Second Term
Frank Tusing

Becky Leland

Standing Committee:
Karen Shiflet
Discipleship Ministries
Jan Orndorff
New Church Development
Leah Hileman
Outdoor Ministries
Marty Doss
Gifts Discernment
Jim Chappell
Gifts Discernment
Gail Johnson
Gifts Discernment
Frank Tusing
Program and Arrangements
Becky Leland
2020 District Leadership Slate
Standing Committee
Karen Shiflet
Annual Conference 2019 Compelling Vision Update Released
May Hope Continue to Flourish Among Us is the title of the Annual Conference 2019 Compelling Vision Conversation Data Report recently released by the the Compelling Vision Working Group and the Compelling Vision Process Team. These two teams have been working collaboratively on the project and this report represents some of the data that has been submitted and considered since Annual Conference. This is not the final statement for the Compelling Vision process, but is an update that provides some insight into the depth and breadth of the comments received. Click to read the full report . The final Compelling Vision statement will be presented at the 2020 Annual Conference.

Churches are encouraged to print and post documents such as these or create notebooks for adult Sunday School classrooms, making this information available for members who do not receive the weekly Shenandoah Update. It is important for Denominational and District communications to be widely shared with all members of the congregations.

Th e 2020 Annual Conference, God's Adventurous Future , will take place July 1–5, in Grand Rapids, Mich., at the DeVos Convention Center.
Pastoral Vacancies
Friends Run/Smith Creek - full-time, David Morris, interim pastor, congregational profile available
Garbers - part-time, congregational profile forthcoming
Leake's Chapel - congregational profile forthcoming 
Mill Creek - full-time associate pastor, congregational profile available
Pine Grove - part-time, congregational profile forthcoming

Pleasant Hill - part time, congregational profile forthcoming
Waynesboro - full-time, Dot Mellott, interim pastor, updated congregational profile available
District Sponsored Events
Milestones in Ministry
Pastor John E. Sayre
Pastor Howard "Hardy" Lutz
Community Mission
Pastor Patrick Mellott
Free Union
Paul Mundey Addresses Pastors at Celebration
The Milestones in Ministry dinner, held last Fri. at Columbia Furnace honored the memory of three pastors and celebrated the achievements of 46 other pastors who have retired or are still serving.

The pastors who have died since last year's District Conference include John Earle Sayre (Bridgewater), Howard "Hardy" Lutz (Community Mission) and Patrick Mellott (Free Union).

Ministerial Leadership Team Chair Ryan Cooper gave the invocation before the dinner event and Nathan Hollenberg provided special music. Hollenberg prefaced his musical selections with the story of growing up in the church that Pastor Scott Duffey pastored. Now, many years later, Hollenberg credits Duffey with playing an important role in his call into ministry.

In District Executive Minister John Jantzi's opening remarks, he expressed "...a profound sense of gratitude" for all the pastors of the Shenandoah District. Jantzi introduced Annual Conference Moderator Paul Mundey as the former pastor of Fairview-Endless Caverns. Mundey served for two years at Fairview-Endless Caverns before becoming pastor at Friendship Church of the Brethren in Linthicum Heights, Md.

Mundey, in his address to pastors, spoke about the harvest of ministry. To illustrate his point, Mundey compared ministry to mowing a lawn. When the lawn is mowed, one is able to look back immediately and see the work they have completed. Ministry is different from mowed lawns in that the success is not immediately visible. The seeds sown in ministry may come to fruition one day and the sowers may never know the seeds they planted took root and grew. He encouraged pastors with three affirmations: Timing is everything, discouragement is inevitable and the harvest is slow (but it is wonder-full). Mundey shared this hope from Galatians with the audience, "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" (Galatians 6:9 NKJV).

To view a listing of pastors celebrating milestones in ministry this year, click here.
Scott Duffey
(Photo from Staunton COB Website)
Nathan Hollenberg
Meetings at the District Office
Please take note of the following meetings and events scheduled for the District Office:  
-Nov 7: 1 p.m., staff meeting, District Office, phones unanswered
-Nov. 14: 11 a.m., staff meeting, District Office, phones unanswered
-Nov 18: 6 p.m., Disaster Auction Committee, District Office
-Nov. 28-29 District Office closed for Thanksgiving holiday.
Mark Your Calendar
Nov. 8: The Bridgewater College Oratorio Choir will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall in the Carter Center for Worship and Music at Bridgewater College (Location is No. 11 on this linked map ).

Nov. 9: Community Fish Fry at Evergreen ( 645 Evergreen Church Road , Stanardsville), 4:30-6:30. Love offerings will be accepted.

Nov. 9: An Alternative Christmas fair will be held at Bridgewater Church ( 420 College View Drive , Bridgewater), between 9 a.m.and 1 p.m. Representatives from a variety of nonprofit organizations in the area and elsewhere will be there to receive donations. It is a wonderful way for contributors to give to their favorite organizations like Habitat for Humanity, SERV, Gemeinschaft Home, Heifer Project, Valley Program for Aging Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Free Clinic, the Klein Homestead, Collins Center, First Step and others. This year there will also be a Santa's Attic sale. Gently used household items will be for sale as will bake goods. Lunch items may also be purchased. Click here for more information .

Nov. 16: Fried Tenderloin and Roasted Turkey Suppe r to benefit The Women's Fellowship Disaster Auction donation at Fairview Endless Caverns ( 484 Fairview Church Road, Timberville ), beginning at 4:30 p.m. Menu includes: fried tenderloin, roasted turkey, homemade dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, green beans, applesauce, homemade rolls, desserts and drink. Cost: $10 per person.

Nov. 16:   Bittersweet Gospel Band concert, Staunton Church ( 1615 N. Coalter Street , Staunton), 6:30 p.m. Pastor Gilbert Romero will be here from Los Angeles and join band members from Ind., Penn., and Va. Learn about Bittersweet Ministries in Tijuana, Mexico , too. The music is infectious and inspiring. The stories are heartbreaking. A Love Offering will be received for the ministry. Click here for flyer .

Nov. 17: The Brethren Service Center: Standing on Holy Ground , 4 p.m., Bridgewater ( 420 College View Drive , Bridgewater), featuring Miller Davis, a director at the Brethren Service Center from 1971 to 1998. Sponsored by the Brethren & Mennonite Heritage Center, .

Nov. 27: Thanksgiving Eve services at Mt. Olivet ( 17723 N. Mountain Road, Broadway), 7 p.m.

Dec. 1: Christmas Carol Hymn Sing at Timberville . Guests will be The Good Time Gospel Quartet . Click here for flyer .

Dec. 8: Love Light service at Lantz Chapel , Bridgewater Retirement Community ( 302 North Second Street , Bridgewater), 7 p.m. This service for celebrating, honoring and remembering is open to the community and features the BRC Village Choir and Bridgewater Church of the Brethren Children's Choirs. Click here for flyer.

Dec. 14: A Heritage Christmas with the Brethren & Mennonite Heritage Center , ( 1921 Heritage Center Way, Harrisonburg), 2 to 6 p.m. Crafts, live music, singing and refreshments. Cost : $10 adults, $5 students, children 5 and under are free.

Dec. 21-23: Live Nativity with Mill Creek , 7 to 9 p.m., nightly, at Michael’s Barn ( 8218 Port Republic Road , Port Republic). Contact the church office with questions.
District Youth Events
Place the following two dates on your calendar for 2020:

Jan. 15: Sr. High District Youth Retreat. Details will be released soon.
Feb. 28-Mar. 1: Youth Roundtable at Bridgewater College. The theme will be 2020 Vision. More information will be forthcoming.
Brethren Disaster News
Disaster Auction Donation Ideas for 2020 Discussed
Disaster Auction Committee Chairperson Catherine Lantz reported that advertising in the 2020 Disaster Auction and Sale book will begin after District Conference this weekend. There have been fewer businesses advertising and efforts are underway to reach out to those who no longer advertise, as well as to identify new businesses that would like to advertise in the auction booklet.

The committee also reminded church representatives to begin planning for the Jan. 1 deadline for ad submission. Contact Catherine Lantz at 896-7556 for additional information. An email will be forthcoming to those designated as church representatives.
The Shenandoah District Disaster Auction Committee is encouraging churches that have not done so in recent years to construct theme baskets for the Auction to be held May 15-16, 2020.

Creative ideas sell well, according to the committee. Member Gerry Beam adds, "Theme baskets would be a good way for every church to participate." Almost anything may serve as the basket. Past theme basket creations have used laundry baskets, popcorn tubs and even outdoor fire pits as containers. The choice of container can set the theme and the imagination can soar from there.

The committee is also calling crafters to think of new things to create, such as wind chimes, lawn whirligigs or other ornaments. Youth are challenged to find new ways to participate. Eddie Major wonders if there are any technologically advanced teens out there who would be willing to put together a PowerPoint presentation or video that depicts the work accomplished through the funds raised at the auction. This presentation or video could be projected throughout the auction to educate people what the program is all about.

Contact Catherine Lantz at 896-7556 to become involved with the planning or to volunteer to help.
Disaster Auction Book Ad Sales Set to Launch
Brethren Woods
Renewing Our Faith Outdoors Dinner Dec. 8
Do not let the name fool you. Renewing Our Faith Outdoors Dinner will actually be held indoors on Dec.8 at Brethren Woods. This annual dinner is for everyone who wants to support the ministry of Brethren Woods . H ors d'oeuvres will begin at 5 p.m., with dinner served at 5:30 p.m. Musical artist and worship leader Jessica Crawford will perform. Co st: $75.00 individual tickets or $600.00 for a table of 8. To purchase tickets, contact Brethren Woods | 269-2741

Photo source:
Upcoming Classes
The annual Clergy Tax Seminar is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2020 , for seminary and academy students, pastors, and other church leaders. Participants will learn how to file clergy taxes correctly and legally, how to comply with regulations while maximizing tax deductions, and may earn 0.3 continuing education units. Registration is $40 per person and the registration deadline is Jan. 15, 2020. For registration and other information, click here .

Eastern Mennonite Seminary’s annual School for Leadership Training Jan. 13-15, 2020. “Shalom in the Streets: Recapturing God’s Vision in Ordinary Places.” Register before Nov. 26 , to take advantage of the early bird special of $190. The theme is “Shalom in the Streets: Recapturing God’s Vision in Ordinary Places.” For more information and requirements
Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership is hosting several upcoming classes. Click here and scroll down to view future educational offerings.
Continuing the work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together.
Questions? Comments?
Contact Brenda Diehl
Director of Communications
Images through , unless otherwise noted.