Webinar: The Inside Scoop for Orlando ’17

I had a great time talking with the convention staff for Orlando ’17!  In this webinar, you will discover what new components to expect at convention this year, info on the special YOUTH SPONSOR/PASTOR resource afternoon, best travel tips, ideas on how to get your youth group to bond, and much more…

If you aren’t registered for Orlando, do it today! Registration ends April 30.

Responsible Service Trips: A conversation about doing it right!

Listen to this conversation with Krista Dutt, author of the book,  “Merge:  A Guidebook for Youth Service Trips”, hosted by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, conference minister for Western District.  In this conversation, Krista talks about why service trips are foundational to faith formation, best practices, and why the term “mission trip” isn’t the preferred word choice.  Brought to you by The Gathering Place–an online community for spiritual formation, resourcing, and networking faith formation leaders in Mennonite Church USA.

Webinar–Equipping and Empowering Volunteers with Dalene White

In this energetic webinar, Dalene White, coordinator of the Volunteer Program at Bethel College shares how to recruit, train, encourage, and thank volunteers.  As healthy ministers and ministering people, we realize that we cannot do it alone–but need to equip the saints to do the work of the Church!  Dalene offers The Gathering Place her wisdom about how she created a flourishing network of volunteers that feel equipped, inspired, and appreciated–and invites us to reflect on how we can do the same in our own contexts.

Webinar–Racialized Society and the Way of Jesus


This month, The Gathering Place hosted Drew G. I. Hart, author of the book, Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism. Drew presents a thicker understanding of racism for the Church to consider in this webinar, “Racialized Society and the Way of Jesus.”

Here are some additional resources to supplement learning on this topic:

  • Host a book club and read/discuss, Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the way the Church Views Racism by Drew G. I. Hart
  • Consider taking your youth (or intergenerational) on a learning trip. Todd Allen runs the Civil Rights Bus tour, “Returning to the Roots of the Civil Rights Tour”.  He has a FB page rather than a formal website where information is disseminated regarding information on his 2017 summer options.
  • A priority named in Mennonite Church USA’s Purposeful Plan is “Undoing Racism.”  This page highlights some resources available for congregations/individuals to use regarding this initiative. A video on undoing the Doctrine of Discovery can be found here.
  • Older resources are also available about race analysis (white privilege, etc.) – MennoMedia, “Beyond the News:  Racism” – http://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/50/13989 and MCC’s “Free Indeed” – http://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/18/7968.
  • Teaching Tolerance, offers a variety of free film kits and education resources.
  • Gather and watch “Hidden Figures” film in your local movie theatre and hold a post-movie discussion.

Webinar–Sexual Abuse Prevention

In this webinar, Anna Groff, executive director of Dove’s Nest discusses best practices for sexual abuse prevention in our congregations.  Some highlights:

  1. Believe–if a youth discloses sexual abuse/violence, believe him/her (2:3 women have experience sexual violence)
  2. Learn more–know and understand grooming signs for sexual abuse
  3. Implement and follow a protection policy
  4. Consider and safeguard against youth on youth/child sexual abuse
  5. Nurture healthy and deep listening culture
  6. Understand boundary crossing vs. boundary violation
  7. Intentions are irrelevant

Increase safety:

  1. Decrease isolation and secrecy
  2. Increase supervision–2 adult rule
  3. All activities should be observable and interruptable
  4. Provide education on personal, emotional, and physical boundaries
  5. Educate about appropriate touch

Additional informational about protecting our children can be found on Anabaptist Faith Formation Network. Here is a copy of Anna’s powerpoint presentation.

November Webinar

Margot Starbuck & Dave King, authors of, Overplayed, offer The Gathering Place community a thought-provoking webinar on the busy lives of youth.  In this presentation, they address common myths parents/adults believe about playing sports/choosing activities and offer wisdom about how to navigate through the many choices busy families face.


  1. Know your child…you don’t owe your child.
  2. Have a clear understanding of your own family mission. Use this as the lens in which to choose activities.
  3. Decide ahead of time, before a season begins, your schedule and let coaches/advisers know what your child will not be able to attend.  Don’t decide on the fly.
  4. Multiple-sports/diversity of activities is not only good, but needed!
  5. Let your child lead the conversation after a game/event. Hearing from their point-of-view allows you to see what really matters to them (as opposed to your perspective which might be more performance driven).


Webinar with John D. Roth, “Faith & Practices: Uncovering Practices that Navigate the Divide”


This month, The Gathering Place is thrilled to have Dr. John D. Roth, professor of history at Goshen College provide a webinar on, “Faith & Politics: Uncovering Practices that Navigate the Divide.”  In today’s crazy political extremes, how should Christian faith find expression in the public square?  How are our Mennonite beliefs and practices relevant to politics?

In this seminar, John expounds on three practices for Mennonite and Anabaptist’s to engage politically:

  1. Voting is not only a right but a rite
  2. Our church is a ministry of reconciliation–practice of empathy
  3. Seeking the welfare of the city

Webinar with John D. Roth

“Faith & Politics: Uncovering Practices to Navigate the Divide”

with Dr. John D. Roth, Goshen College

Friday, October 14, 1pm EDT/12pm CDT




“In today’s crazy political extremes, how should Christian faith find expression in the public square (including the 4-year election cycle, but beyond it as well)? How are Mennonite beliefs and practices relevant to politics?  John D. Roth, professor of history at Goshen College, will share some practices and disciplines that could help church leaders navigate through deep political divides that exist even in our Church, reminding us of where our ultimate loyalty lies.”

  Sign up for this conversation today!

John D. Roth is professor of history at Goshen (Ind.) College, where he also serves as the editor of The Mennonite Quarterly Review, and the director of the Mennonite Historical Library. He is the founding director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism at Goshen College, secretary of the MWC Faith and Life Commission, and is currently focusing on several projects related to the global Anabaptist fellowship.  He and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of 4 adult children (including 2 granddaughters) and are active members at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen, Ind.