May Webinar: Attach with Sticky Paper?

This month, The Gathering Place hosts Sarah Bixler as she presents

“Youth Attachment to God and the Church:

Should the Church Act Like Fly Paper?”

Wednesday, May 17, 1pm EDT

Some congregations hope their youth ministers will transform them into fly paper: get their youth to stick to the church (preferably, their congregation) and not disappear into thin air after high school. But is the fly-paper model the best one for nurturing a lifelong commitment to Christ in the Anabaptist tradition? In this webinar, Sarah Ann Bixler, PhD student at Princeton Seminary will present that attachment theory provides another lens for considering how adolescents attach to congregations, which comes in all forms: avoidant, ambivalent, disorganized and secure attachment. And recent brain research provides more insights when it comes to adolescents’ attachment. This webinar explores how congregations can nurture ideal attachment for adolescents in their care that ultimately leads to their attachment to God in Christ. Sign up today!

 

Sarah Ann Bixler is a PhD student in practical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, focusing on Christian education and formation. A former youth minister at Zion Mennonite Church (Broadway, VA), Sarah has also worked as a middle school teacher, youth curriculum writer, conference youth minister, conference administrator and residence director. She currently resides in Princeton, NJ with her husband, Benjamin Bixler, and their three children. They attend Oxford Circle Mennonite Church in Philadelphia.

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.

March Study Circle–MERGE

What does it mean to do short term mission responsibly?  What’s the difference between responsible and irresponsible short term mission?  What’s the role of education in short term mission?  Who’s teaching whom?  And just how do you plan a mission trip anyway?  Are there valid alternatives to “going on mission” and/or complementary activities you can do at home?

Krista Dutt and Kathy Neufeld Dunn hosted  a conversation about these questions and others based on the hands-on resource, MERGE: A Guidebook for Youth Service Trips.  This study circle is intended for those who have taken youth services trips before and those who have never led such a trip. See video below to listen to the conversation.

MERGE weaves practical how to’s, biblical story, personal and group reflection, ritual and action goals after you get home to create a balanced, thoughtful experience for youth and adults.  In 2009, when Mennonite Mission Network asked Krista to write this book, this was the only resource that included ideas for pre-planning, as well as action plans for after you return home “down from the mountain top.”  This resource is intended to be a small part of a broader discipleship and faith formation ministry in your congregation.

Scripture Emphasis:  Exodus

Content Summary:

  • Introduction & Timetable for the trip

Before You Go:

  • Trust – Building a Team
  • Inner Life – Preparing to Meet God
  • Awareness – Understanding Culture
  • God’s Activity – Joining in God’s Mission

During the Trip:

  • Faith in Action – Serving and Learning Away from Home

After the Trip:

  • Reflection – What Did We Just Do?
  • Integration – What to Do with What We Learned?

There is also a journal included in the guidebook that you may reprint for each participant. You can order your copy of MERGE here.

Kathy Neufeld Dunn is the Western District Conference Associate Conference Minister for Kansas supporting pastors and congregations in the region.  She also serves as the Resource Advocate for WDC, coordinating and leading trainings and other educational events for pastors and congregations.  Most recently she was the pastor of First Mennonite Church, McPherson, KS.  She’s also had the privilege of leading a Service Venture trip.  She and her husband, Michael, share their home with three cats.  Cats are easier to herd than youth or young adults on a service trip.  (Just kidding.)

 

Krista Dutt currently works alongside Anabaptist churches in the Chicagoland area for Mennonite Central Committee.  She worked as Chicago City Director and Program Director over a ten year period for Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection (DOOR) which is when she wrote Merge.  She graduated from Bluffton (College) University and AMBS.  She lives in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago with her husband, Jim and son, Ben and a host of pets of their choosing.

Below is the conversation that took place on Tuesday, March 21, 2pm EST 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.

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

jesus-on-politics

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

 

 

roth_johnd2_08

“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.