Pastor Jennifer's Notes: Stirrings at CMC

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What stirs you up? That ‘stir’ can mean different things. On the one hand we can be stirred up and stressed, irritated or truly irate. On the other hand we can be stirred up and animated, engaged, or hopeful. The image of stirring, though, reminds me of a cup of tea. I drink fair trade green tea every morning, but there no need to stir because I don’t add anything. But if I make a pot of chai, which is not a daily habit, but something I enjoy now and again, I stir in honey and milk from local sources. I watch the color of the whole concoction change into something wonderful, better than the sum of its parts.

CMC is an Anabaptist-minded congregation in which there is always something stirring. I love that about our church. Here’s what I’m noticing. Some of us, in leadership roles, are stirred up about administration. As lead pastor, administration is part of my job description. However, we also have a Church Administrator (paid staff) and an Administration Commission Chair (congregational leader). And every commission chair or committee chair certainly has some administrative duties. At times we’re not clear on who has which administrative responsibilities, so this month we’re pulling together an administration consultation, including a couple of persons from outside CMC (Roy Hange, our overseer and Fred Miller, Administrative Pastor at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church) to offer counsel and help us gain clarity on how we could improve our administration practices here at CMC.

Perhaps you think administration is about the dullest topic for a pastoral column that I could have chosen, but I think administration is as important to the life of the church as stirring is to a good cup of chai. Who wants globs of honey stuck on the bottom of the teapot?

What else is stirring? CMC is stirring about political and social issues like war-tax resistance, climate change, immigration, and healthcare. I appreciate that many of us want to engage these concerns from a distinctively Christian point of view. The CMC prayer ministry is entering into a time of discernment to clarify their calling to pray and equip the congregation for prayer. We are welcoming a new associate pastor, Dayna Olson-Getty, and a short-term pastoral intern, Naomi Yoder in another month or so. And through the leadership of Marsha Thomas (Youth Commission chair), and a core group, CMC will begin the Safe Churches sexual abuse prevention work. CMC is also stirring with new attenders. Have you met…Lela-Faye Yoder, Jordan Luther, Bob Carson, Susan Pleasant, Alexa Short, Jessica Kraybill, Jonathan Nofziger, Grace Hercyk, Jim and Anna Smucker? Among them a vineyard owner, a psychology professor, and a French horn player to name a few things I’ve learned recently.

And, yes, all of this stirring requires some administration. The good news is that CMC administration is catching up with congregational life and mission, rather than controlling it. It is the Spirit of Christ that brews us into chai—I mean church—and pours us out in an act of friendship with the world.

Community Mennonite Church
70 South High Street Harrisonburg, VA