South Central Conference has been in conversation with Omot and Hannah Aganya about a church planting assignment in Kansas City beginning in July, 2016. Omot and Hannah came to the United States as refugees more than 20 years ago. They were associated with the Mennonite related church in Ethiopia. After coming here, Omot had a chance to attend an Assembly of God related college. After graduation, he and Hannah were recruited by the Assembly of God as church planters. Together they successfully planted two churches for the Assemblies and later also served in Ethiopia as missionaries with the Assembly. After Omot received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Bethel Seminary in Minneapolis, they decided to attend Emmanual Mennonite Church and applied for a pastoral assignment with the Mennonites. The Aganyas will be working with immigrant people but Omot’s vision is to form a multiethnic congregation. We are hoping that Omot and Hannah and their children will be able to attend our annual conference June 10-12 at Whitestone Mennonite Church. Omot has formed a prayer group in Minneapolis to pray for this effort. We would also like to form a prayer group in South Central Conference to support this work. If you are interested in being part of this prayer group, please contact James Wenger at email@example.com.
Maria Hernandez, a Bluffton University math major from Iglesia Menonita Buenas Nuevas, recently returned from a spring break spent, not focused on herself, rest, or relaxation, but on service. Hernandez, along with a group from the university, spent her spring break doing service work in Pennsylvania.
The group began their week at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center clearing brush, trimming trees, and organizing storage. They ended their break rehabbing homes for Habitat for Humanity in Pittsburgh, PA. Hernandez said that portion of the trip reminded her of all the people that helped her family succeed as she grew up. “I feel that they best way I can help out now is to make them proud by paying it forward,” she said, “It is good to take a timeout from the real world and take some time to reflect and give back.”
Recently, we received information from Mennonite Church USA that the Lilly Foundation has given 1 million dollars to help Mennonite Churches address economic challenges facing pastoral leaders. Over the next three years Everence will be administrating these funds; which have been divided into two funds to be used for specific initiatives aimed at addressing these economic challenges. One fund can be accessed by conferences to be used for financial education events planned for pastors. The other pool has been set up as a grant fund that will be used to address current debt that congregational pastors are under. The catch is that the grants are matching funds; other groups must match whatever Lilly Foundation gives. This match can come from the conference, from congregations, or from groups of interested persons. (It cannot come from the pastor being helped). This is a wonderful opportunity for us to join Lilly Foundation to encourage and bless pastors with these financial needs. More information about conference-wide financial education events will be coming. HERE is a flyer with more information about how you (along with additional funds from SCC) can bless your pastor by helping them with their current debt. You may also contribute matching money to help pastors that are serving other SCC or Mennonite Church USA congregations have access to these grants. Please contact your Regional Conference Minister or the conference office at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you would like to help spread the word about this opportunity with your congregations feel free to share THIS VIDEO with the link to the flyer as well.