EMS Conference to Promote Church Vitality

In an often chaotic and fragmented world, how can church leaders encourage their members to pursue wholeness?

Dorothy Bass, director of the Valparaiso (Ind.) Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith, will address this question at the School for Leadership Training (SLT) at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Jan. 15-18, 2007. The program theme is, “Practicing Life Abundant in the Congregation and Daily Life.”

Dr. Dorothy Bass Dr. Dorothy Bass

Dr. Bass will help church leaders understand Christian practices, why they are important and how congregations can live these practices more deeply. Bass’s work on the Valparaiso project focuses on helping Christians live their faith with vitality and integrity in the world today.

Tuesday morning, Bass will lead a session titled “What are Christian practices and why do they matter?” Wednesday morning, she will focus on “Practicing our faith in the congregation and everywhere else,” and Thursday morning, she will speak on “Leading congregations in revitalizing Christian practices.”

Brenda Martin Hurst, assistant professor of practical theology at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and SLT coordinator, said the conference focus is important “because church leaders are not the only ones who are harried and wrestling with the rapid changes in the church and the world – congregations are, too. Bass has a vision for congregations to thrive, not just survive, by embracing Christian communal practices that are truly life-giving.”

Many Workshops Offered

SLT participants will also select workshops on such topics as, “Dead Sea Scrolls, DaVinci Code and the Gospel of Judas,” “Young Adults on Mennonite Practices for the Future” and “Making our Churches Safe Places.”

SLT will also feature a concert by Jim Croegaert on Tuesday evening. Croegaert writes and performs praise and worship music and was formerly a leader and musician at Reba Place Fellowship in Evanston, Ill.

A Wednesday evening appreciation banquet will honor Ruth Brunk Stoltzfus and Ella May Miller for their pioneer work in Mennonite radio broadcasts.

Each day’s events will open with worship and music. Other activities include a forum with seminary dean Ervin R. Stutzman and a pastors and church leaders forum.

Registration is $120 per person before the December 31 deadline. For more information and online registration, visit www.emu.edu/seminary/slt or call Linda Alley at 540-432-4698.