Susquehanna Conference 
April 2018 Newsletter

Bishop's Desk

I trust you are ready for Spring. I look forward to getting out and work around our home and plant plants and see the growth of our shrubs. Every Spring brings with it a lot of work to ready soil and address the old dead branches lying on the ground, or still hanging on in the plant or tree.
I love the many illustrations that Jesus used from nature as he explained the Kingdom of God to us. I see those very illustrations at work in the environment around my home. This year one of the things that happened in our last snow storm was that the snowplow driver didn't quite know the lay of the land at the side of our home. It seemed he lined up for the mailboxes at the back of our cul-de-sac and plowed through. Unfortunately, it wasn't a straight line from one point to another, and eventually about a foot of my lawn was laying about three feet from the edge. There was about a thirty-foot scar.
It is interesting how vibrant things are however. We left on a trip the day of the storm and returned a week later to find it. The moved dirt was laying grass side down. I spent time on two days picking up sod and seeking to put it back in place. The scar is still visible, but the spring growth will allow it to mend. I am grateful.
Do we do our best to take care of the scars in our personal journey with one another quickly, or do we let the "turned soil" of the scar lay and possibly have the life of the relationship die, rather than heal? I often think about the emotion of anger. It is a real and strong emotion. We have it. But we are also to deal with it.
Ephesians 4:26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold . . . 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
The first verses speak to dealing with our emotion of anger, the later verse speaks to what happens when we don't deal with our negative emotions and let them fester.
This Spring I pray the season of new growth and development will help us all to do the needful in being right with those around us, and particularly in the family of the church.
Bishop Ken
In This Issue
Annual Meeting

April 14, 2018

Open Hands Ministries








A ministry of spiritual direction and faith coaching for pastors.

If you would like to learn more about spiritual direction or faith coaching, I am willing to pay for coffee, a breakfast or a lunch to explore their benefits for your ministry.  Please call or email me using the contact information below.  In the meantime, I am praying for you and your congregation.

Eldon Fry
(717) 385-3980

Annual Meeting - April 14
The Annual Meeting is almost upon us!  This year the meeting will be held at The Meeting House Dillsburg Campus on Saturday, April 14. Come anytime after 8:30 a.m. for registration and refreshments. The meeting will start 9 a.m. and conclude with lunch (free of charge). 
An invitation for Pastoral Colleagues and Worship Leaders - April 14
This is a busy time in the church calendar. Many of you are leading Lenten services in addition to the normal array of ministry activities, and then Holy Week and Easter will be upon us in no time. We've got something planned on Saturday, April 14 at 3 pm that might help you to be refreshed after this busy season. We are inviting pastors, worship leaders, church leaders and anyone from your congregation or parish that might benefit from the event. Come and join us for a worship workshop, dinner and a concert, or simply come to enjoy the concert with acclaimed singer / songwriter, Audrey Assad.

For more information including schedule, registration, and concert tickets go to  www.messiah.edu/tickets

We are praying that the event will provide a wonderful time of food and fellowship, deep conversations about reviving liturgy and worship in our various traditions, and a musical concert that you will not soon forget. Please come and join us!

With Lenten longing and Resurrection hope,
Rev. Dr. Donald D. Opitz, campus pastor of Messiah College
Dr. Douglas M. Curry, worship pastor and professor of Christian music and worship
Mennonite World Conference
The mid-term meeting of the MWC is happening the last two weeks of April in Kenya.

Bishop Ken  is one of two representatives for the Brethren in Christ U. S. He will be attending these meetings and so will not be available directly. He will seek to follow his email as time permits. The members of our Vision Team are available to other pastors if you need to touch base with someone. Thank-you for your prayers for this worldwide gathering of Anabaptist related church fellowships.
Ministry Development Day - May 3
Join us for our next Ministry Development Day on Thursday, May 3 from 9:30 am until 3:30 pm at Mechanicsburg Brethren in Christ church (1050 S York St., Mechanicsburg, PA  17055). We  will be having a Vision Day with Fresh Expressions.
Hispanic Ministry
Having started Spanish ministry in April, 2003 the Susquehanna conference currently has 4 small Spanish congregations and two other ministry points. We are recruiting a team of interested people and faithful prayer warriors to surround these cross-cultural kingdom efforts with prayer. We desperately need prayer for a hunger for God and his salvation for Hispanics around us and a breakthrough of harvest among them. If you would like a current report of these works, to sign up for a monthly prayer letter or to commit to weekly pray for us, send an e-mail to   mikerholland@gmail.com . Would you be one of the 120 to join us to see this breakthrough?

Preparing for General Assembly
All credentialed pastors and elected delegates from congregations are voting members of General Assembly.  We are privileged to host General Assembly this year right here in the Susquehanna Conference at Messiah College, July 13 - 16, 2018.  Each congregation is to name their delegates and to send their pastor(s) to this significant time for us to be together as a church family.

One of the items on the agenda for this gathering relates to the changes we are making in our Manual of Doctrine and Government related to our Bylaws.  This process was approved in principle at our last General Assembly in Florida.  We will gather to finalize our work this year.  A great resource is available to all of us in a Webinar that was provided and recorded for us if we missed it.  Please see the following material.  All pastors and delegates should be sure to watch this material prior to General Assembly.
Directed Study Courses - Spring 2018

The Brethren in Christ U.S. is providing ministry training opportunities for 2018:  registration is now open for Summer Term 2018 DSP courses and 2018 core courses. 

Directed Study Courses  - Summer term begins May 7 and runs through August 10.

To check out these courses and/or to register go to https://bicus.org/training/directed-study-program/  

Core Courses

Theology of the Church - Taught by Dr. Terry Brensinger
   Hollowell BIC, Waynesboro, PA                         June 11-13, 2018                  8:30 am - 4:30 pm
 
BIC History and Values - Taught by Dr. John Yeatts
   Elizabethtown BIC, Elizabethtown, PA               July 30-August 1, 2018         8:30 am - 4:30 pm
 
Theology of Salvation - Taught by Dr. Alan Robinson
   Fairview BIC, Englewood, OH                            August 9, 2018                     7:00-9:30 pm
                                                                              August 10-11, 2018              8:00 am - 4:00 pm
 
Leadership and Structure Within the Brethren in Christ Church - Taught by Dr. Layne Lebo
   BIC U.S. Church Offices, Mechanicsburg, PA    August 13-15, 2018              8:30 am - 4:30 pm
 
To check out these courses and/or to register go to https://bicus.org/training/core-courses/

If you have any questions, contact Donna Sturr, Registrar at  dsturr@bicus.org  or 717.697.2634, ext. 5435.
 
Blessings!
 
Donna Sturr
Assistant for Leadership Development