Category Archives: Pastor’s Post


Some have referred to interim pastors as “temporary shepherds”.  Others, often mockingly, have called them “very lame ducks”!  Actually, the ministry of an interim pastor is a much-needed and often complicated one.

  1.  “Just don’t rock the boat” –  The nature of a temporary ministry may include attention to matters of vision, mission, building, staffing, budget, growth, and structure.  Sometimes congregations find themselves in severe conflict and a major state of decline.  Then “rocking the boat” has already happened and interim pastors tend to the system (congregation) and deal with urgent issues. Fortunately, BCMC has done incredible work in the past number of years in many of these areas.  “Rocking the boat” is not desired nor anticipated.  More than likely, I will be called to steer the boat, keep it on course, and encourage the passengers (BCMC leaders and participants) to keep on rowing.  There is much to be thankful for; there is much to look forward to.  I will hold up the mirror and reflect what I see as I minister in the name of Jesus Christ.
  2.  “Just what will you do?”  The three areas that will require my 3/4 time are:  worship/preaching, crisis ministry, and administration.  We will work together as a current staff who already have a tradition of spiritual worship that combines the heart, mind, and soul in Christian discipleship.  I will work with the Worship Commission to invite many voices to participate–especially with attention to inter-generational worship–by offering their gifts in word and deed.  In the area of pastoral care, I will attend to crisis situations and major life changes.  Susan Wheeler and I will coordinate care along with the Visitation Team and Deacons.  And finally, I will attend to administration to be sure that communication is clear and goals are accomplished.  The Church Board will be setting direction and consulting with the congregation as the Pastoral Search Committee begins its work. I look forward to these varied ministries in the next 6-12 months.
  3.  “Weren’t you retired?”  Yes, I was!  I enjoyed the less demanding schedule and the ability to sleep late and travel to see my mother in Minnesota, my brother in Colorado and our daughter in Ohio.  However, the tug to serve BCMC was very strong and the opportunity to again delve deeply into pastoral ministry a true calling.

May God grant us all new visions for mission as we conclude the 15-year chapter of ministry of Heidi Regier Kreider and prepare to welcome a new pastor in the next year.

Dorothy Nickel Friesen


Pastor’s Post

MCUSA youth from across the country found themselves ‘on the way’ to downtown Kansas City for #Mennocon15. Many groups flew from far off locations, while other groups piled on buses to travel to KC from cities like Denver, Columbus, and Philadelphia.

The BCMC Senior High, twelve students and five leaders, enjoyed a nice little jog to convention in a big red van and a couple Subaru’s! (Thanks Orvin and Janet!)


Row 1: Laura Tran, Elizabeth Tran; Row 2: Sarah Turner, Jon Voth, Allie Shoup, Jason Wong, Will LeVan; Row 3: Mercedes Rodriguez, Maggie Dungan, Ben Lichti, Angus Siemens; Row 4: Christian Rodriguez, John Tyson, Austin Prouty, Zoe Siemens, Karen LeVan, David LeVan

The first word that comes to mind for me, as I think about the convention experience, is stimulating. We start by gathering downtown in a large city, a context quite different from the familiar wider Newton community. Once unpacked, we find ourselves, suddenly, in a big convention center amidst crowds of people. Everywhere we turn, there is a seminar, a game, an admissions counselor, a group of friends, a college exhibit, a free t-shirt, a hymn sing, a folk concert, somebody with a video camera, a movie – the list goes on! Twice a day, we gather for worship in front of an expansive stage adorned for a full band. Two large screens and an array of flashing lights create a highly engaging and – oftentimes – overwhelming atmosphere. Worship services begin with creative advertisements and calls to engage convention through means of several social media platforms. From a youth and youth sponsor perspective, the convention is more ‘on the move’ and less ‘on the way’!


Dining room at Kansas City Community Kitchen

I am grateful for the fact that mid-way through the week, our group had the opportunity to break off from the convention spectacle and spend an afternoon serving at the Kansas City Community Kitchen alongside Rich, John, Kenny, and Juan the baker. The Kansas City Community Kitchen serves 2,500 hot lunches per week and 130,000 hot, nutritious meals per year in a neighborhood not too far removed from downtown. As youth sponsor Karen LeVan noted in her reflection on our service experience, Lead Chef Rich asked us to “be honest about whether you give what you hope to receive.” I believe our group was abundantly faithful to Rich’s request, even as it meant cutting down raw chicken. (A helping of Juan’s fresh cookies served as additional motivation!)

As the week progressed, it was clear that Senior High youth were encountering and processing the issues and atmosphere of the adult delegate sessions as they attended numerous seminars and other events. On Saturday morning Ben Kreider, a BCMC delegate, visited with us to talk about his delegate experience and the content of the resolutions. Ben shared about the tension and widespread emotions present in the delegate assembly, but he also noted the spirit-filled dialogue that he encountered at the table with fellow brothers and sisters representing many diverse communities.

At one of our many morning breakfast and debrief gatherings, each of us in the circle shared one of our favorite aspects of the convention experience. I was struck by the fact that almost everyone shared something different. While #Mennocon15 at times felt overstimulating, I am grateful that the large buffet of activities and experiences meant that there was something engaging for everyone.

I am also grateful for twelve students who jumped completely into the convention experience. I am grateful for Ben Lichti, David LeVan, Karen LeVan, and Allie Shoup, who devoted an entire week to enabling the students to learn and grow. Finally, I am profoundly grateful for a congregation that values and supports the lives of youth.

– John Tyson

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Pastor’s Post

I recently joined others from BCMC to attend the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City. Highlights for me included worship services with inspiring preaching and vibrant music; dozens of conversations with new and longtime friends; a gathering of other women pastors; and seminars on racial justice, theology for rural congregations, and inclusive congregations that welcome members of the GLBTQ community.  I served as a table leader at the the delegate assembly, and appreciated the love and respect shown as people of widely different viewpoints and experiences spoke their convictions and listened carefully to others.  I also felt deep sadness, as I witnessed pain, anger and division within our “beloved Mennonite Church,” (as the moderator called it several times).  I wonder what the experiences we have had and decisions we have made at convention will mean for our denomination, conference and congregation?  In this spirit, I share with you a column written by Richard Gehring, moderator of Western District Conference, in Sprouts, WDC’s weekly newsletter. ~ Heidi Regier Kreider

On Forbearance – by Richard Gehring, WDC Moderator

By now, most people who are interested have likely heard the results of votes taken at last week’s Mennonite Church USA Convention in Kansas City. While there were significant actions taken on several important issues, most attention has been focused on the two resolutions that speak to the role of LGBTQ persons in the church. Delegates affirmed the Forbearance Resolution that recognizes the diversity of perspectives in our church, and calls on us “to live in grace, love and forbearance” with one another. The same day, the delegate body also adopted the Resolution on Membership Guidelines that re-affirms the guidelines that prohibit pastors from performing same-sex marriages, and imposes a four-year moratorium on any action to change them.

The two statements clearly stand in tension with one another. Many would say that they are even contradictory. For WDC, the votes do little to help us clarify the potential impact of adopting or rejecting the resolution we face at our own Annual Assembly in October.

Much of what happened in Kansas City, however, is impossible to convey in news releases and brief reports. It was about much more than what the resolutions stated and how many people ultimately voted for and against each one. For several days, delegates sat around tables with sisters and brothers in Christ, seeking to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit. There were more than 90 such tables, each with 8 or 9 delegates present.

At my table, we came together from many different places, theologically as well as geographically. We spoke from the heart, sharing our convictions regarding the truth of Christ to the best of our understanding. We listened to one another. We wept with one another. We prayed with and for one another. We laughed with one another. And we wept with one another some more.

The table thus became a sacred space where Jesus was palpably present. I am convinced that all of us are deeply committed to faithfully following Christ. And all of us are deeply committed to living within the church, the Body of Christ. I remember and understand more deeply that Jesus’ promise to be present wherever two or three are gathered in his name is a promise given in the midst of instructions regarding church conflict. (Matthew 18:20)

I doubt that any of us ultimately changed our minds regarding the significant topics we discussed and voted on. We may not have been right in all our decisions. But I hope that we all came to a better understanding of why our brothers and sisters hold different viewpoints. I know that was true for me. And I hope that we can continue to be the church together even in the midst of our differences.

I know it won’t be easy. It is difficult—perhaps even impossible—to extend the experience of the table across the denomination, or even across WDC. I know that many will choose not to come, or feel that they are unable to come, to the table. I know that some have felt unwelcome or even unsafe at the table. I know others are tired of the conversation and don’t have the energy to come back to the table. I know that many—including me—have felt pain, anger, sorrow and fear at the table. But it is my prayer that we will continue to seek out those with differing viewpoints and experiences as we seek to do our best to be the church that God is calling us to be. We will make mistakes. And we will need to continually practice humility, grace and forbearance with one another.

In introducing the Forbearance Resolution, Pastor Charlotte Lehman of Reba Place Fellowship in Evanston, IL declared, “Conflict is not the enemy. The Enemy is the enemy. We want to glorify God in both the outcome of our dialogue and the way we conduct our dialogue.”

As conference moderator, this is my prayer for WDC. May the way we conduct our dialogue give glory to God. May the outcome of our dialogue bring glory to Christ. And may our dialogue continually seek to reveal the glory of the Spirit.

(To read earlier Pastor’s Posts, click in “Pastor’s Post” below, and scroll down.)

Pastor’s Post

The people of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston, SC, are in our thoughts and prayers following the recent tragic shooting of nine members of that congregation while they attended a Bible study.  Most of us probably have a jumble of feelings and responses:  We lament the violent and senseless deaths of those who lost their lives, and pray for comfort and strength for survivors. We are appalled at the hate and racism that led the shooter to commit this horrible deed, and we long for justice and healing for human brokenness and dysfunction. We protest the easy access to guns that made possible such destruction of life, and acknowledge our own complicity in systems of violence and racism.   And, we are moved by the deep faith, expressions of love and reconciliation, and proclamation of God’s presence that has been evident in the congregation at Emmanuel AME.  May we stand in solidarity with these sisters and brothers in Christ, as we find our own ways to lament suffering and death, bring healing where there is hate, protest weapons of violence, and bear witness to God’s justice, love, and reconciliation in a hurting world.

As a prayer for this week, I offer an adapted version of the prayer of confession for this week from the discernment guide for delegates to Mennonite Church USA convention:

God, you know both our outer actions and inner motives, our frailty and faults. Our confession is not to add to your knowledge, but a way for us to be honest with ourselves. It is also a means to receive forgiveness and restoration in our communion with you and those around us. So, forgive us our sins and restore us  to a right relationship with you, with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and with our neighbors. For the sake of our wholeness, the healing of the church, and the liberation of the world we pray.  Amen.

– Heidi Regier Kreider

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Pastor’s Post

Our family recently observed the 5th anniversary of my father’s death.  It was a sad time, but also an occasion to recall favorite memories.  I remember how my father always had a story or a joke at the tip of his tongue.  The one that came to my mind recently, as I have been contemplating my upcoming transition (from pastor at BCMC to Conference Minister at Western District Conference) is the story about the church which had a Bible verse posted over the door to their crib nursery.  It was a verse from 1 Corinthians 15:51:   “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed!”  Corny, I know…but true.  Whether we are hoping for resurrection or just some dry diapers, whether we are adults still grieving the loss of a parent, or a pastor and a congregation anticipating a leadership transition, we will be changed.

Change is an inevitable part of life, yet our impulse is usually to resist change – to hold out against the loss, grief and disruption that change brings to our lives.  As I prepare to leave my role as pastor after 15 years at BCMC, there are times I would rather just “sleep” than “be changed.”   There are moments I would rather just toss all my files in the recycling bin than sort through them carefully to decide what to put in the archives. There are moments I would rather just disappear quietly than go through the exhausting emotional process of saying farewell to congregation members and co-workers.  There are even moments I would rather just stay with “business as usual” at BCMC than push the congregation and myself into the deep and uncertain waters of pastoral transition.

Even the changes we plan for – such as graduation, marriage, retirement, or a new vocation – can bring stress, anxiety and sadness at leaving behind things that are good.  At the same time, change is essential for growing, learning, health and vitality.  Transition brings us into a “liminal” time, a concept first used by anthropologists to describe rites of passage and the stage of ambiguity between what has ended and what has not yet fully begun.  This word comes from the Latin “limen” which means “threshold.”  When congregations and their leaders cross new thresholds, it involves disorientation, grief and stress.  Yet it also creates fresh vision, an opportunity for people to use their gifts in new ways, and deeper dependence on God and realization of the Spirit’s guidance.

As we move across the threshold of pastoral transition, I’d like to post over the door some more verses – my prayer for BCMC:  Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. …God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:5-7, 19-20)

– Heidi Regier Kreider

(This was published recently in the Pastor’s Corner in the Summer 2015 issue of the BCMC Kaleidoscope newsletter)

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Pastor’s Post

This summer BCMC is hosting Allie Shoup in the Ministry Inquiry Program, a service-learning experience sponsored by Mennonite Church USA to provide opportunity for college students to explore pastoral ministry.  Allie will participate in a variety of activities at BCMC supervised by pastor Heidi Regier Kreider.  Allie and her husband Will are students at Bethel College, and live in Newton.  BCMC members are invited to host them for meals (or provide meals) on Sunday noons and Monday through Thursday evenings, as a way to get better acquainted and support her in this exploration of ministry.  Please contact the church office if you are interested in doing this.  Here is Allie’s own introduction of herself and some reflections upon beginning her Ministry Inquiry Program experience:

Allie and Will Shoup

Allie and Will Shoup

Hi-Hello! I’m Allie Shoup (though you’ll find me on some lists as Alexandra), a senior Bible and Religion major at Bethel College and the Summer 2015 Ministry Inquiry Program student and Intern here at BCMC. I am a dog person without a dog. I love yoga on lazy summer afternoons, driving in the country with my husband Will as we listen to indie folk, and sweet cups of hot tea sipped over a good book. Before the age of 20 I had worked in, lived in, or visited 15 countries on 3 continents. I am SCUBA certified, macaroni and cheese is not healthy but is my favorite meal, and I love the color teal. And while all of these things are a snapshot of me — my actual story, what led me here to you, is what follows.

I was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas with my parents Rhonda and Steven Shook, who are both practicing educators, along with my little brother Evan (two years my junior), and a myriad of young women who came into our home as exchange students or just someone looking for a place to belong. I was blessed to have a home led by parents striving to live out their Christian faith with involvement in the Church of God (out of Anderson Indiana). I spent a couple of years of my childhood in the jungles of Papua New Guinea as my parents worked in a missionary school for Wycliff Bible Translators, and I returned to the other side of the island (Indonesia), flying-solo from the US, my first year of high school. I finished up my last three years of high school at Maize High and began my college career at William Jewell College in Kansas City in the Fall of 2011. After my first semester I found my way home to Wichita to attend Wichita State University for three semesters, and this is where I met my husband Will. My eyes met Will’s in a class on the Apostle Paul taught Wes Bergen in January of 2013, and our whirlwind romance led to a June wedding under the cottonwoods on his parents’ farm 10 miles north of Pratt, Kansas just five months later.

As young people devoted to God’s kingdom and committed to seriously living out Christ’s call to a radical life of nonviolence, justice, and community, we found a place of solace in the Mennonite circles that we encountered through Wes Bergen. After Wes married us and we moved to Lawrence, Kansas to live and work for a year, we found a small place of belonging at Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence. The Mennonite communities that we met were open to the difficult questions that we had about the essence of Jesus’s message and what the radical implications of that message were on our daily living. And so it was, that after a year hiatus from school, we decided that we wanted to finish up our undergraduate educations at a Mennonite institution, which we knew would have a history in this kind of discourse and individuals exposed to our beliefs — Bethel College.

At Bethel, I have been blessed with Faculty and Staff that want to engage with me, but Campus Pastor Peter Goerzen in particular has worked to encourage me in my interests and talents. Peter approached me in the Fall asking if I had considered ministry as a path I might be interested in or called to, and invited me to consider visiting Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in November and participating in the Ministry Inquiry Program in the Summer. This was the first time that the path of pastoral leader had been presented to me as an option. The church I attended with my parents as a child never had a woman in a head leadership role, and the churches that I attended individually in high school and college had strictly prohibited women from roles of leadership (except for minor roles held in conjunction with a husband). Here, a new door was opened for me, and behind it lied a vocation that was a beautiful mosaic of each and every one of my passions: education, social-work, philosophy, theology, music, art, public speaking, leadership, and the list goes on. In this line of work, I see endless opportunities to learn and grow and contribute, and be myself.

This opportunity at BCMC this summer to explore all the facets of the job of a pastor is a gift that I am inexpressibly grateful for. I hope to find, in these few months, some direction for my future, encouragement in the midst of uncertainty, and the chance to grow as both student and teacher. While in your midst I will be working with Pastor Heidi Regier-Kreider to understand her job, I will sit in on Sunday Schools, hang out with the Youth, run the Active Response time during Vacation Bible School, accompany the Youth to Mennonite Church USA Convention in Kansas City, participate in worship on Sunday mornings, and accompany your spiritual leaders to hospital rooms, funeral homes, and committee meetings. Twice this summer, you will find me behind the pulpit sharing a sermon and I thank you in advance for your loving support and encouragement as a I learn a craft of which I am only an apprentice. These first few days have been a whirlwind, but I am filled with thanks and excitement and joy and energy as I enter this new adventure and time of exploration. I can’t wait to get to know your community and all of the wonderful individuals that make up the body of Christ here.

With many thanks and blessings,

Allie Shoup

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Pastor’s Post

On Sunday, April 26, following the worship service at BCMC, moderator Jim Robb announced that pastor Heidi Regier Kreider has accepted a call to serve as Conference Minister for the Western District Conference (an area conference of Mennonite Church USA) beginning August 17, 2015.  She will conclude her role as pastor at BCMC on July 31, at the end of her current term. Below are comments Heidi shared at the congregational meeting later on Sunday:

I want to share with you some background about the process leading to my decision to accept the position of Conference Minister for Western District Conference.

Earlier this spring, my 3-year pastoral evaluation took place in an appreciative inquiry process that focused on future priorities for BCMC and pastoral leadership in the congregation. On April 19, a report from the process was shared with the congregation during Sunday school.

Personally, I felt that the evaluation process was a positive experience, including both affirmation for my leadership and constructive criticism to strengthen my ministry.  I was reminded why I love BCMC, with all its diversity of people and ideas; and the process reinforced my gratitude for the opportunity I have had to serve this congregation, work with a wonderful staff, and grow as a pastor among a gifted community of faith!

The appreciative inquiry process was also a period of time in which I listened carefully for God’s voice, and my own internal sense of direction for the future.  When the position of Conference Minister for Western District Conference was announced, I sensed that my life experience and ministry gifts could be the right match for this calling.  After fifteen good years at BCMC, I also sensed a nudge toward fresh challenges and settings for ministry that will press me toward greater personal and vocational growth.

So, when the Executive Board of Western District Conference approved hiring me as Conference Minister, I received that decision as God’s call for me to serve the church in a new way.  I now look forward to shifting my attention to another level of the church: Supporting congregations and pastors of Western District Conference, encouraging initiatives in Anabaptist faith formation and church planting, nurturing cross-cultural relationships, and – yes – even joining in the creative, Spirit-filled process of conflict, listening, and living together in our diversity over sexuality and church polity.

Over the next several weeks, the current WDC conference minister will initially work with BCMC to guide next steps in pastoral transition. After I begin as conference minister relating to other congregations and pastors, the WDC will appoint someone besides me to relate as conference minister to BCMC in its ongoing transition, recognizing my former relationship with BCMC.

This shift in ministry for me means that I will not seek another term as pastor at BCMC. Even so, I sincerely hope that the congregation will not consider the recent pastoral evaluation and appreciative inquiry as unnecessary, but rather make use of the questions and observations that came out of the process to help shape BCMC’s vision and leadership in the future.

And, though change is always difficult, I believe there is a solid foundation for pastoral transition at BCMC at this time in the congregation’s life.   BCMC has a strong and skilled staff in place, dedicated leadership on the Church Board, commissions and committees, and incredibly rich resources for nurturing vitality, witness and growth.

As we move forward to plan for transition, we will feel a mixture of many emotions which may include anticipation and uncertainty, sadness and hope.  I am already experiencing all of those, realizing that it is difficult to leave the congregation I love!  At the same time, I believe it is good to make a transition at a time when the pastor-congregation relationship is healthy and positive.  I pray for God’s guidance for BCMC in the future, and give thanks for the many ways in which each member of this community will contribute to that future!

Thank you to BCMC for being the church, the body of Christ.

– Heidi Regier Kreider

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Pastor’s Post


This image is captured by Austin Prouty. Austin is a senior at Newton High School and co-president of the Senior High youth group. The setting of this image is his family’s home and farm; a pond sits on the right – just beyond the edge of the frame.

It’s approximately 7:25 AM and it’s cold. See the winter coats, the wool hats, earmuffs and blankets, and people clinging to coffee cups for the added warmth.

It is Easter morning. Before this image emerged into being, these people gathered to breathe, sing, pray, and hear scripture. They listened to the violin and the guitar, and the voices of youth and youth sponsors. All of it while the orange and pink glimmers of sunrise shot through the overcast skies, briefly, and then receded back in surrender to the clouds. The sun, present and absent almost at once.

Now they are refreshing their bodies with coffee, orange juice, delicious breads and donuts and fruit.

There is abundant conversation – conversation between young and old. Stories are being shared. Some are about how good the coffee cake tastes. Some are about how surprisingly bad the storm was a few days ago. Some conversations are about how cold it is and some are about how beautiful it is that we share this time together on Easter morning.

The story of Easter is extraordinary. God makes a way out no way and through the risen life of Jesus Christ brings new life to all that is and has ever been. We have done nothing to earn this. It is an extraordinary gift, no strings attached.

We remind ourselves of this extraordinary story, the story that brings all of our lives – all life – together, every Easter morning.

The image Austin captures reveals the ordinary side of it all. In the midst of the extraordinary, emerges the ordinary: people of all kinds together…drinking, eating, worshiping, waiting and watching out in the cold.

Can we hold these two things, the extraordinary and ordinary, together?

I wonder if that is what it means to hold onto this story of Easter – long after the sun has risen, sets, and rises again.

On Easter morning, we find the story of our ordinary lives harmonizing vividly with the extraordinary story of God’s gift of new life that rises and shines right upon us.

As we move on from Easter Sunday, as the extraordinary story recedes slowly back into the clouds, absent yet present, can we search deeper into those ordinary things – calling a friend, hearing scripture read on Sunday morning, sharing zwiebach with family at faspa – to find the extraordinary, to find new life rising?

– John Tyson

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Pastor’s Post

Recent articles and discussion in Mennonite media have drawn new attention to sexualized violence and abuse of power within the Mennonite community.  At the center of the conversation is the article by historian Rachel Waltner Goossen, “Defanging the Beast”: Mennonite Responses to John Howard Yoder’s Sexual Abuse, in the January 2015 issue of Mennonite Quarterly Review.  In her article Rachel describes her research into the history of Yoder’s actions and the response of the church, including the devastation suffered by victims and the failure of church institutions to provide transparency for the truth, support for victims, and adequate accountability for Yoder.   For an excerpt of the article, see .

On April 12, Rachel Waltner Goossen will be a guest speaker at BCMC in an adult Sunday school elective at 10:50 a.m. in the sanctuary.  All are invited to come hear Rachel speak about her research and the article.

As the wider church continues to process the impact of Yoder’s actions and the larger realities of sexualized violence and abuse in the church and its institutions, this is an important time to review how BCMC seeks to prevent sexual abuse in the local congregational setting.  Here are policies and practices at BCMC:

  • As credentialed ministers within Western District Conference, BCMC’s pastors are required to take training for prevention of clergy sexual misconduct, and to sign a code of sexual ethics. WDC also requires pastors to provide annual accountability plans that identify ways in which pastors maintain healthy supervision, boundaries and self-care, as well as guidance found through peer groups, coaching or spiritual direction.  BCMC affirms Mennonite Church USA’s Ministerial Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure.
  • BCMC’s Guidelines for the Safety of Children and Youth were approved in 2006 by the Church Board. The introduction to these guidelines state that “BCMC should be a safe haven for all who enter here.  All staff and volunteers representing BCMC shall conduct themselves in a manner that upholds the high standards of Christian ethics.  They shall at all times be responsible for their actions when representing the trust and authority given to them by the congregation.  Personal boundary invasions or misuse of power, including sexual abuse or harassment, will not be tolerated.”   To read the guidelines in their entirety, see  Guidelines for Safety of Children and Youth.   Since it has been nearly 10 years since the guidelines were approved, the Church Board is planning to facilitate revision of these guidelines in the near future.
  • Circles of Grace is a Christian safe environment curriculum designed to educate children and youth about positive relationships with God and others, and to help them identify and maintain appropriate boundaries. The Faith Formation Commission of BCMC is responsible to implement this curriculum in annual sessions for children and youth of all ages.  For more information see
  • As part of BCMC’s new Care for People policy, the Deacon Commission has been asked to gather information and recommend guidelines to the Church Board regarding response to persons who have committed sexual offenses. A helpful resource for this is the document “Protection and Inclusion: Guide for Congregations on Safely Including Persons Who Have Committed Sexual Offenses” available from Dove’s Nest at

HomeFor more general information and resources, see  Dove’s Nest’s mission is to empower and equip faith communities to keep children and youth safe in their homes, churches, and communities).

Of course, having policies and procedures in place is just a beginning.  There is always more we can do as a community of faith seeking to care for the vulnerable, provide accountability for those in power, and live out God’s transforming shalom.  We must continue to seek out opportunities to support survivors of abuse and trauma, become more educated about the realities of abuse in homes and congregations, name institutional and personal abuses of power, and commit ourselves to healthy relationships and appropriate use of power.

May God grant us wisdom and strength in the ongoing journey toward greater wholeness and justice in the church and its organizations, our homes and communities.

– Heidi Regier Kreider

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Pastor’s Post

February and March have been a busy time for BCMC’s engagement with young adults.

On February 25, the Education Service Scholarship Committee (ESSC) held a fundraiser in tandem with the Wednesday night supper and received a wildly generous donation of $3,496. Through the work of ESSC, this donation will allow the congregation to double our scholarship contribution for current and future Bethel College (BC) students. BC students will now receive $2,000 toward their education per year.

During the fundraiser supper, current BC/BCMC students Ben Kreider, Eric Preheim, Emily Harder, and Alex Van Nguyen shared stories about their college journeys and thanked the congregation for support.

Alex Van Nguyen, a student from Vietnam, shared a particularly heartfelt reflection on his time at BC and BCMC, including this powerful statement: “I am not an US citizen, I did not grow up in a democratic society, and I am not even Mennonite. However, you all have welcomed me in your congregation with open arms as a member of your church, your family. Your actions have reinforced my belief that the grace of God and the love of humanity have reached beyond national identity, political conviction, and religious belief.  Bethel College is such a rewarding experience for me.”

In addition to the fundraiser, BCMC’s engagement with young adults has led to the launch of a new Sunday school space. Young adults, including college students, are now meeting in Room 28 for coffee, snacks, and conversation. As this new class begins forming, it hopes to focus on topics specifically related to contemporary young adult life, while also engaging changes in culture and the church.


Jerrell Williams, BC intern for youth ministry

Amidst these other engagements with young adults, BCMC had the privilege of hearing a sermon delivered by Jerrell Williams on March 1. Jerrell, our current Bethel College intern in the area of youth ministry, reflected on the church’s mission in the context of wider society. Jerrell encourages the congregation to “make time for what matters” by becoming more involved in the work of serving our neighbors, especially populations who are pushed to the margins. Jerrell’s sermon reminds us that young adults often are more oriented toward service and mission and less interested in consuming church programs.

This flurry of engagement with young adults again shows that BCMC is a community that cares for its relationships with young people and that their voices are valued and received with true sincerity. In the coming months and years, what are other ways that BCMC can engage young adults?  Feel free to post your ideas on our Facebook page!

– John Tyson