Almost a million visitors in the past 30 years have heard the story of how Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites seek to follow Christ in their common beliefs and unique ways at Menno-Hof in Shipshewana, IN. Regional Conference Minister Clarence Rempel and his wife Amanda invested the month of March as volunteer hosts welcoming visitors from 20 countries including Myanmar, Colombia, and Ukraine. Guests came from 30 states and all religious backgrounds – Assembly of God to Unitarian to Mormon. On our slowest day with blizzard conditions, two young men from Berlin, Germany, walked in at 4 PM, the last opportunity for a tour. Our busiest day was 123 which included two Amish school groups. In the dungeon room, visitors often grew quiet and reflective after hearing the stories of faithfulness to Christ in the face of persecution and death, stories told in the Martyrs Mirror, a book found in almost every Amish home.
Clarence reflects, “It was a delight to witness to Christ through the presentations and the personal conversations. Each day brought new Spirit-inspired encounters.”
Over a decade ago, Pleasant View imagined a time when it would need a new sanctuary and more classrooms. That vision is becoming a reality. Nine months ago, there was only a dirt pad. Today, a steel structure sits atop a solid concrete foundation. With each passing day, less imagination is required as the new spaces begin to take shape.
Spearheading the project is the building committee chairperson, Matt Jackson and project manager, Daryl Mast. They are part of a larger building committee made up of interested people from the congregation. There are also a series of subcommittees working together to approve bids and seek answers to all of the questions that come with constructing a new building. When complete, the new building will house a new sanctuary, new library, new offices and a host of new classrooms all geo-thermally heated and cooled.
Pastor Jeff Selzer hopes that the project will be complete in time for Christmas, though when asked about a projected completion date, he is quick to respond, “When it’s done.” Once the new building is complete, the 1928 building and 1967 sanctuary will be torn down to make room for more parking.
Mennonite Mission Network is sponsoring an event at the Arca de Salvacion church in Fort Myers, Florida, April 6-8. With the title of SENT, the meeting will involve more than 100 Mennonite mission-minded, Jesus-following leaders in a church planting summit. There will be church planters, groups and individuals testing the call, missional entrepreneurs, outreach experimenters, pastors, missiologists, and conference leaders.
Jim and Jodi Ostlund, church planting couple at Journey@McPherson, will be presenting two seminars, describing the campus church, and the multisite church. They will draw upon their current experience in planting a congregation in a supermarket building being remodeled in stages, with an attendance up to 200. Several persons from south Texas are also expected to attend the conference as participants.