Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship
A congregation of Mennonite Church USA
Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship
the OWL

December 22, 2013

Berkey Announcements | Our Schools | Community Announcements | Classifieds

Berkey Announcements

Advent Season

The Nativity of ChristO, the Mystery of God's Dwelling is the theme for Advent through Epiphany worship this year. We hope the icon and the prelude will help you to enter the mystery and awe of Christ's coming into our world. We hope you have found it meaningful to reflect on The Nativity of Christ. If it would enhance your reflection to know what the artist, Michele L. Hofer, had in mind in creating this icon, the Advent resources include an explanation of the artwork. Learn more.

GMA Thank You

Thank You!Goshen Ministerial Association recently received a $1,710.00 monetary gift from Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship as part of our involvement with Churches Baking Together. They wish to thank us for participating in this community initiative, and for giving toward the emergency needs of those in the Goshen community!  Requests for assistance from households in the Goshen community remain constant, seemingly driven by realities such as job scarcity, decreasing hours of work, and need for unemployment assistance.  Each month local congregations encounter local people that present requests for help in meeting basic living needs, and the GMA Emergency Fund helps to meet a portion of these needs by offering care and hope to a diverse population here in Goshen. Our giving is appreciated.

Giving Note

PennyBecause our bank will not accept foreign bills and coins, please make sure that you place American currency into the offering. Thank you. ~ Treasurers

Box Tops for Education

Hopi StudentsMany thanks to everyone who brought Box Tops for Education. This past year over 700 points were processed and sent to the Hopi Mission School located in northeast AZ. Hopi Mission School is a small, private Christian elementary school affiliated with the Mennonite Church USA and American Baptist Churches USA. You may learn more about the school at Please continue to support this ministry by bringing your Box Tops for Education.

Support for Ten  Thousand Villages

Ten Thousand VillagesPlease consider making a purchase from or donation to the Goshen Ten Thousand Villages store prior to the end of the year. We know that many in this congregation are radically supportive of our local store and for this we are extremely grateful. Currently, Elijah Metekai and Darin Short are on the board. As well, we have had numerous Berkey members who have served on the board or currently work as volunteers. The store would benefit, though, from any additional support you can provide this year since sales have declined and costs have increased. This is not a make or break year but as we review recent trends and look to the future, additional support would be welcomed as we assess our overall strategy and identify necessary changes in 2014. Donations can be made payable to: Ten Thousand Villages, 206 S. Main St., Goshen, IN 46526. Thanks for considering.Learn more.

Sunday School Notes

Sunday SchoolWith our relatively new starting time of 9:30 a.m. rather than 9:00 a.m., there has been some confusion about when Sunday School is to begin and end. Typically our worship lasts until 10:45 which allows for Sunday School classes to begin at 11:00 a.m. and end at noon. However, if worship ends earlier than 10:45 a.m., a verbal announcement will be made by someone from the Christian Education Commission clarifying start time for Sunday School. Music will play indicating start time and ending time each Sunday.

Childcare Request

ChildcareAdam and Elise Derstine are looking for a nanny/baby-sitter for Abram when Elise begins working again in January. They anticipate needing someone 3 days per week, 5 hours at a time (15 hours total). Please let them know if you are interested or know of other childcare resources.

Appreciative Inquiry Congregational Evaluation

TrainIn early November, the Spiritual Leadership Team met with generational focus groups to evaluate and assess its vision, articulated in 2010, A Recalibrated Vision, and to evaluate and assess its goal "to engage each person intergenerationally in the ministry of Christ." There were 5 focus groups: the SLT/elders, representatives from the commissions/Sunday School teachers/MYF/JYF sponsors, and 3 generational groups: 20s and 30s, 40s and 50s, and 60+. Each group responded to these questions:
  • Tell us a story of a time when you were most aware of God's presence and purpose or most excited about your involvement at Berkey Avenue.
  • What are the things you value deeply about yourself in settings outside of the congregation, about being a member/regular attender at Berkey; and what do you value about Berkey?
  • What do you think is the core value of Berkey?
  • If you had a wish for our congregation, what would that be?
Here is the summary of the findings from the Appreciative Inquiry process. At the bottom of the summary are the questions that we asked groups to discuss at the November Congregational meeting. If you would like to add your response to these questions please do that by emailing Marilyn Rudy-Froese or Jan Bender Shetler.

Animate: Faith Sunday School Class

Animate: FaithCome ponder, reflect on, and discuss topics of faith in the Animate:Faith class. Each week we will watch a DVD portion with one of these leading voices, spend time in personal reflection and journaling (the journal will be provided: a donation of $15 is suggested), and engage in conversation. Marilyn Rudy-Froese will facilitate this class. This week, Nadia Bolz-Weber explores the topic of the Cross: Where God Is. Learn more and hear excerpts.

Throwback Thursdays

Throwback ThursdaysHead on over to our Facebook page for a photographic collection of our early history -- complete with difficult to recognize building features, incredible hairstyles and clothing, and who knows what else we will dig up! Play along and see if you can spot anybody you know, and don't forget to like our page if you haven't already!

Our Schools

Bethany Christian SchoolsBethany Christian Schools

Internationally-renowned folksinger John McCutcheon will be in concert at Bethany Christian Schools on March 29, 2014. Reserved-seat tickets are now available to purchase online for Christmas gifting—or for those just wanting to reserve prime seating early. Learn more.

Goshen CollegeGoshen College

The Goshen College Art Department and art club are co-sponsoring a themed student art exhibit in the Harold and Wilma Good Library Gallery at Goshen College. The exhibit, based on the theme “recycled,” opened on November 28 and will be on display through Feb.19, 2014. A reception will take place on Monday, February. 10, from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Good Library Gallery. Learn more.

AMBSAnabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

Jamie Pitts, assistant professor of Anabaptist studies, will teach an online, Spanish-language Anabaptist history and theology course, Feb.12–March 25. Reading and discussion will be similar to seminary classes but the course does not earn AMBS credit. Learn more.

Community Announcements

Merry Christmas from MCC Great Lakes

As we celebrate God's love and compassion this Christmas season, we are grateful for your faithful support. We invite you to reflect on the verses and images from MCC's work around the world in this online photo gallery. MCC continues to work alongside local churches and communities to carry out disaster relief, sustainable community development and justice and peace-building work in the name of Christ. Enjoy this Christmas wish video from MCC. May the joy and peace of Christ fill you this Christmas season!

Menno-Hof Winter Events

Menno-Hof has again planned a winter series of events for the months of January through April 2014 titled “Coffee, Cookies and Community: Part II.” The first event is January 19, 2014, 6:00 p.m. at Menno-Hof. John D. Roth, professor of history at Goshen College, will speak on the topic, “A Cup of Cold Water: Service in the Amish-Mennonite Tradition.” Sometimes people have described the Amish and Mennonites as “separatist” groups. Yet, we also believe that followers of Jesus are called to share God’s love with others in tangible and visible ways. From the beginnings of the Anabaptist movement in the 16th-century, service to others has been a central part of our understanding of Christian faith and practice. Drawing on lots of examples, this program will summarize the theological and historical basis for our commitment to service. Bring cookies to share, coffee will be provided. RSVP is requested as seating is limited; call (260) 768-4117.

Witness Through Storytelling: A Women's Spirituality Retreat at Merry Lea

Women of all ages are invited to Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center on the evening of Friday, January 31 through Saturday, February 1 for a weekend getaway that will include time outdoors, time to reflect on biblical texts related to nature, guided contemplative prayer and storytelling workshops. Jackie Wyse-Rhodes, Karla Minter, and Janie Beck Kreider will provide input. The retreat will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday evening and end mid-afternoon on Saturday. After the hectic holiday season fades, this retreat aims to provide spiritual rejuvenation and spark creative, worshipful expression. Come, bring a friend, and enjoy delicious food, creative workshops, crisp winter hikes, time to relax, and insightful input from the presenters. The cost of $45 includes two meals and lodging; $25 students. To register, email Janie Beck Kreider at The registration deadline is January 21. Learn more.

MDC Goldenrod Seeks Contributions

This Christmas, several Goldenrod community members will be with family or friends for Christmas, but there are still a good number of individuals who will not.  For these individuals we work to ensure that they have staff for the holiday so they are not alone and that they have some gifts on Christmas morning.  In the past we have had a staff member who organized an extensive effort to get items donated for this purpose.  This year we are trying a new approach, simply asking for financial contributions to help cover the cost of gifts. We are tremendously thankful for all the many ways your church families support the people of MDC Goldenrod.  Any amount is helpful and all donations that come in from this request will go towards the Christmas Gift Project.  Checks can be mailed to, or dropped off at, our office, 1514 College Ave. Goshen, IN 46516. If you have questions or would like additional information please contact Colin Rusel.

All You Need Is Love Women's Conference

Register, donate toward scholarships and check out the tentative schedule. "All You Need is Love," taking place February 20-22 in Leesburg, VA, will wrestle with theology, diversity, and the complexities of Christian love. The theme was chosen to both playfully acknowledge the way love is brought to the forefront by Valentine’s Day in February, and also wrestle with the complexity of love as an element of Christian faith. February is also Black History Month, and one of the primary commitments of the conference is to work at undoing racism and advancing intercultural transformation. Learn more.

Mental Health Conference

Conference on Faith Communities and Mental Illness"Creating Hope: The Power of Faith Communities in Mental Health Recovery" is a one-day conference that will take place January 15, 2014, in Chicago, IL. Hosted by Pathways to Promise and others, this conference will present ways that faith communities and people engaged in mental health recovery can work together to educate their communities about mental illness and equip them to develop supportive, caring responses. The cost of this conference is $25. Learn more.


Have something to sell, rent or lend?  Want to buy or borrow something? Looking for a job or wanting to volunteer? This is the place to have it be known!

Are you looking to live out your faith by using your gifts in another country? Serving and Learning Together (SALT) is a unique year-long cross cultural immersion experience with MCC for Christian young adults (18 to 27 years old) from the United States and Canada. Participants live with local host families, serving in a variety of assignments with partners in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and Central America and the Middle East. Learn more about the program or apply online by February 15 at You can also contact Darlene Dintaman at the MCC Great Lakes Office at or (574) 534-4133 for more information.
Bethany Christian Schools invites applications for the full-time term position of media center coordinator. The position will begin when it is filled and is expected to be available for most or all of the current school year, which ends June 2, 2014. For details and application procedures, see
Do you have skills in the building trades and maintenance and a desire to put your talents and gifts into a ministry committed to helping people connect with God, with creation and with each other? Amigo Centre seeks a Maintenance Director to assume responsibility for the maintenance and care of Amigo's grounds and facilities. This full-time year-around position gives opportunity to utilize building and maintenance skills while working with a committed and caring staff and connecting with guests and campers of all ages. More information is available at or by calling Cliff Brubaker at (269) 651-2811. Amigo Centre, located near Sturgis, MI, is a 400 acre year-around camp and retreat facility which belongs to the Indiana Michigan Mennonite Conference.

Getting to Know

Our Stephen Ministry Team

Twila Charles Leichty

Twila Leichty

I was planted in Lancaster Co., PA, and grew there for 30 years. Then I was transplanted into the soil of Williamsport, PA, where I worked as a licensed clinical social worker for the next 30 years. While there I adopted my family of 7 daughters, all of whom were adopted as older children. Once when we were talking about what we wanted to do when we grew up, I told the girls that I would get married when I grew up. The youngest protested, insisting that I was grown up, so I clarified my answer, pointing out that I was raising them first; then I would get married. In 2008, years after they had all started their families, and I had both grandchildren and great grands, I did marry Paul Leichty and started putting down some roots in Goshen. Changes were many! I was no longer employed; I was no longer single; finances changed; my community and church changed. The support system that I had, I now needed to access over many miles. It would have been helpful, had there been someone, locally, to walk alongside me during those days and early years of adjustment. That's one of the reasons I decided to be a Stephen Minister.

Whether you are new or a charter member, we are continually learning to know each other and we want to get to know you more. It can be very simple, your name, what you do for a living and what you are interested in. You can view our newsletter archive for some examples. Interested in being featured? Let us know!

Did You Know?Project Peanut Butter (PPB) seeks to advance the treatment of severe malnutrition, the greatest contributor to child mortality in the world today, using effective, locally produced ready-to-use therapeutic foods. Luke Hostetter, son of Joy and Rick Hostetter, has been working with this organization in Ghana, helping build a future factory in Kumasi, Ghana. You can read more about PPB and Luke's adventures in the  PPB December newsletter.

Luke poses with the Ghana warehouse team
Do you have an interesting fact about Berkey to share?  Let us know!

We will no longer be printing and distributing calendars each month.  They are however, available for download.
DownloadDecember Calendar

This Week
December 24: Christmas Eve Service, 7:00 p.m.

CalendarView Events Calendar

PrayerPlease contact the office by 9:00 a.m. Thursday with prayer requests.

Lois and Wayne Hochstetler, pastoral counselors to Mennonite Mission Network personnel around the world, were based in London, England, for five years. In November, they returned to Illinois to complete the last four months of their assignment before retiring. Pray for the Hochstetlers in the many adjustments they are experiencing.

DownloadDec. MMN Prayer Vine

Church Notes
Sunday Service Info
This Sunday: December 22

Betty  & Sherm Kauffman, Cassie Sessa, Ruth Hathaway
Nancy & Dick Yoder
Offering Counters: 
Dick Ramer, Karl Sommers
Matthew Williams, Lana Smucker

Next Sunday: December 29

Marcia Weaver, Cassie Sessa, Ruth Hathaway
Nancy & Dick Yoder
Offering Counters: 
Dick Ramer, Karl Sommers
Matthew Williams, Lana Smucker
Statistical Report 
(December 15)

Attendance: 159
Bethany Tuition: $15.00
General Fund: $5,383.00
Agape: $5000.00
College Matching: $620.00
MCC Relief Kits for Congo Christmas Project: $149.52
Coffee: $115.20
Sunday School Books: $60.00
Other: $50.00

Berkey Avenue
Mennonite Fellowship

2509 Berkey Avenue
Goshen, IN 46526
(574) 534-2398

Office Hours
8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m.

Dan Schrock
Marilyn Rudy-Froese
Lois Stoltzfus Mast

Greg Smucker (Chairperson)
Roy Bergey
Lee Roy Berry, Jr.
Shirley Dick
Jan Shetler

Renae Yoder (Chairperson)
Doug Baker
Laura Horst
Richard Miller
Copyright © 2013 Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship, All rights reserved.