Susquehanna Conference 
March 2017 Newsletter
Bishop's Desk

During the first two months of this new year I have had the great privilege to travel internationally and experience the reality of three different nations beside our own.  Two of the nations I visited are places where I have been before and where I know a local language.  Everyone knew I was a foreigner, but I didn't feel like one.  Another nation I visited used a language that I don't know, even though I once studied it.  I truly felt like a foreigner, even though people were very gracious in helping me in the things I needed as I was there with them.

The reality is that we don't have to travel internationally to cross cultural and "language" barriers.  They may happen in the midst of traveling within our own country as people do things differently than we do.  It may also happen as people come among us within the church.  Things we do or say that seem so normal to us may be foreign to the new person.  Are we helpful to these people?  Do we work to break down our cultural divides?  The reality is that all of us need to be open and receptive to the new people in our midst within the church.

I encourage you to think about the things you just "do naturally" within your church circle.  It may relate to areas of worship.  Perhaps it relates to social customs that are specific to your congregation.  Maybe it is a greeting time, or where you find something to drink, or even how you enter into your worship center and greet one another.  If I am new, everything can end up feeling very foreign to my normal experience.

Our call is to love one another and to love those who are new in our midst.  Let's be sure that we reach out to those around us to make them feel comfortable to be with us in our places of worship and with us in our communities of faith.  This is part of our calling as followers of Jesus.

Be Encouraged!

Bishop Ken Hoke
In This Issue
Upcoming Ministry Development Days

Thursday, May 18
The Meeting House, Carlisle campus

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. Or visit our website,
Openhands.usIn the meantime, I am praying for you and your congregation.

Eldon Fry

New Email Addresses
We have new email addresses! Please use these going forward as you contact Bishop Ken and the Conference office. Any emails sent to old addresses will be forwarded to these new addresses.

Bishop Ken:
Susquehanna Conference Office:
Conference Assistant

I am pleased to announce that Caren Bream has accepted the position of Regional Administrative Assistant for the Susquehanna Conference. Caren comes highly recommended as an innovator and initiator, greatly skilled in management and organization. She currently lives in Boiling Springs, PA but has also lived, worked and studied in Los Angeles, California and Sydney, Australia. 

Caren says that she is looking forward to participating in what God is doing while serving the Susquehanna Conference in this position.

Morning Hour Congregation

I am pleased to announce the conclusion of another pastoral search.  The Morning Hour Congregation has known for some time that Pastor David Rose would be retiring at the end of this term of service.  He will be completing his service mid- May.  Thank-you Dave for years of service in the church.  

We are pleased to announce that the Pastoral Committee has announced the calling of Renee Durbin
to be their next pastor.  Renee was the successful candidate among some nine candidates for this position.  She is well known to the congregation having served as their youth pastor for the last several years.  Renee is presently doing her Masters level studies at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary through an online degree program.  She is a 2010 graduate of Messiah College majoring in Christian Ministries and she has recently received ministerial credentials with the Brethren in Christ.  Welcome Renee to this new post of service in a very familiar location.

Messiah Lifeways

It was announced on Sunday, March 12, that Terry Rose will be completing her service at Messiah Lifeways as the Director of Pastoral Ministries. Terry has served at the Village since 2005.  On the completion of her assignment at the Village she will be taking up a post with Hope Healthcare in Ft. Myers, Florida as a Hospice Chaplain.  Her husband, Dave, will be joining her in Florida when he finishes up at Morning Hour.  We, along with the Village, express our sincere thanks to Terry for her years of service within our Conference.
2017 Annual Meeting: 'Can you Imagine?'
April 8, 2017
New Life Community, 64 E North Street, Carlisle PA 17013

Our Annual Meeting is just a month away.  We are planning for a great time together as we gather and hear about the work of churches across our region and beyond.  We trust that you are planning to have your congregation represented at this year's gathering.  

Our theme this year is "Can You Imagine?"  Our theme verse comes from the wonderful benediction that Paul gives in Ephesians 3:20 'Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.'

We are going to hear from a number of churches about things we are doing to touch our communities.  What can we imagine God wants to do through our congregations in the places where we are placed?  A great theme T- shirt will be available.  All proceeds from the sale of these T-shirts will go to support vision initiatives of the conference.  They will be selling for $15.00 a T-shirt.  Pre-order by emailing Drew Kalbach, with size and quantity.

If you haven't already signed up, SIGN UP now! Please RSVP by March 30th.
Theological Study Group
The Theological Study Group will meet on March 23 from 9:00 am to 12 noon at the BIC General Church Office Building in Grantham. The topic will be Teaching Biblical Chastity in an Age of Sexual Freedom. The presenter will be Dr. Harvey Payne, a highly respected BIC child psychologist from Greencastle, Pa. To register, contact Bob Verno at or 717-732-4179. 

AND save-the-date for the next Theological Study Group on May 31 at The Meeting House (Dillsburg campus) from 9am-noon. The topic will be "Experiencing God in Worship in the Age of Technology", and the presenter will be Pastor Doug Curry from the Grantham Church staff.
Building Disability Awareness in our Community
You are invited to attend a seminar on "Understanding Challenging Behaviors" on April 13, 2017 from 10 until 12 pm at 64 East North Street, Carlisle. 

Understanding Challenging Behaviors is a collaborative effort to build disability awareness in our community.

For more information and to sign up CLICK HERE.
Next Ministry Development Day
You're invited to our next Ministry Development Day on
May 18 at The Meeting House, Carlisle campus (1155 Walnut Bottom Road, Carlisle).

The topic will be coaching. We are planning for the day to start at 9 am go until 3:00 pm for people who would like to stay and do some extra work on this skill set. The Coaching Cohort is pulling the day together. Lunch will be provided.

SIGN UP  to attend! 
Directed Study Courses - Summer 2017

Registration for Summer Term DSP (May 8 through August 11) is now open.   The cost for each course is $150 for everyone.  

 "A Different Game of Thrones;" 
To check out these courses and/or to register go to .   It is important to register early so that you can purchase your books.  
Registration is also open for the 2017 impact seminar  entitled "A Different Game of Thrones:  Imagining the Peaceable Kingdom Overcoming the Empire."  This one-day seminar is scheduled for 7 different dates and locations as follows:    

May 1, 2017                  Hollowell BIC (Waynesboro, Pa)
May 2, 2017                  Mechanicsburg BIC (Mechanicsburg, Pa)
Every Christian tradition struggles with the concept of "two-kingdom theology." The Brethren in Christ, with roots in the Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan traditions, has always had a unique wrestling match with how to live fully as citizens of God's new reign through Christ, while still being part of the sin-broken creation that Christ came to redeem. "Two-kingdom theology" is, more often than not, a "two-kingdom dilemma."
This seminar qualifies for Lifelong BIC Learning credit for our licensed and ordained ministers.  The cost of the seminar including lunch is $35.00 per attendee.
For further information and to register go to
Core courses  are now open for registration to all licensed and commissioned ministers as well as those who are pre-screened for seminary aid.
Even though registration is at no cost to you, it is necessary to register online at .   
If you have any questions, contact Donna Sturr, Registrar at or 717.697.2634, ext. 5435.