Greetings! I am excited about beginning my time in a new role with the congregation: three-quarter-time interim pastor for one year, beginning on June 1. A little about me: In 2019, I graduated with an MA and MDiv from Bethany Theological Seminary, and in the fall of 2020 I began a doctoral program at George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. I am currently completing the coursework portion of that PhD program and intend to proceed with my comprehensive exam this winter and then move into the dissertation phase. I also teach as an adjunct faculty member at Elizabethtown College in the religious studies department. This fall I will teach Introduction to the New Testament and co-teach a second course, Artistic Peacebuilding. All of these roles - teaching at the college, my PhD work as a student, and this new role with our congregation - are invigorating to me in a variety of ways.
Our family moved last year to a new-to-us old home (built in 1920) in Manheim. Mark primarily works from home as a software developer, which gives him the flexibility to also tend to our assortment of chickens and ducks and work on various projects around the house. Hannah is a rising senior at Goucher College in Towson, MD, majoring in dance and minoring in studio art. She will work at Camp Swatara for the first part of the summer and then will be traveling a bit before heading back to campus in August. Isaac will be a sophomore this fall at Elizabethtown College, where he is majoring in chemistry and is involved in a variety of activities, including club soccer, ultimate frisbee, and student senate. This summer he will work at Camp Hebron. Darah is completing her freshman year at Lancaster Mennonite High School, and she enjoys playing goalkeeper for the girls’ soccer team and is passionate about animals. Moriah is finishing 7th grade at Kraybill Mennonite School in Mount Joy, and she spends many hours at the dance studio. She is also the primary caregiver for the newest member of our household, our kitten, Fern.
I am looking forward to this next year as interim pastor, and I am excited to join the pastoral team alongside Pam and Jason. Much of my work will involve preaching and worship planning and collaborating with lay leadership to consider some possibilities for the organizational side of our congregational life. I hope that we will have the opportunity to take a collective breath for a moment, consider the possibilities for this in-between time, and then work together to begin to discern who the Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren is now and who we want to be in the future. I anticipate it will be good work, sometimes challenging and sometimes energizing, but always together, searching for hints of God’s wisdom and comforted by God’s love for our community.
Submitted by Naomi Kraenbring, Interim Pastor