Lancaster, Lititz, and Mellinger Districts become Conestoga River District

Conestoga River District of LMC

The Mellinger, Lancaster, and Lititz Districts have decided to become one new district, called the Conestoga River District. After several years of working together, the pastors and the 13 congregations of the Mellinger, Lancaster, and Lititz Districts have officially joined together into one new district. If you are interested in more background a one-page summary of the history and reasons for choosing Conestoga River District are available in the church office. Bishops Rodney Martin and Joe Miller.

New Name for Mellinger, Lancaster, and Lititz Districts


The three districts’ first movement towards each other came when Bishop Jason Kuniholm served as the bishop for the three separate districts.

With several changes during the discernment around congregations deciding to be a part of LMC or Mennonite Church USA the pastors and congregational chairs of the three districts gathered with Keith Weaver, LMC Moderator, on several occasions to discern the calling of a new bishop. Joe Miller and Rodney Martin were called by a search committee made up of a representation of the three districts to serve as co-bishops for the three districts.

Rodney and Joe tested with the pastors if they would welcome meeting together as a way to have a larger and more dynamic pastoral cohort. There was an agreement by the pastors to try meeting together for one year and then evaluate. After the year, the experiment was embraced by all the pastors.

There also were several occasions of worship and fellowship for all members of the three districts which were very well received. The pastors and bishops felt that it was important to not rush to officially bring the three districts together but to enjoy simply working collaboratively.

With the calling of a three-person Bishop Finance Committee with one member from each of the districts, it became clear that from a “best practices” perspective being legally one district would be important. A time of discernment within the district pastors’ gathering resulted in strong affirmation for forming one district. Congregations were then asked to give their counsel and affirmation. This too was unanimous.

Why Conestoga River District?

This name was chosen primarily for the geographic and historical connections to this area. Here are some of those thoughts:

  1. Conestoga is the name of a Native American tribe that lived in south-central Pennsylvania, most likely from the Iroquoian language, and sometimes said to mean “people of the cabin pole” (Hans Herr House has a replica of a longhouse). Our connection – we are a people of this area; it is where we live, and it acknowledges and honors those who lived here first.
  2. Conestoga Wagons were named after the Conestoga River in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and is thought to have been introduced by German settlers. Our connection – just like the wagons that carried people and goods beyond their homesteads; we too seek to spread the Good News beyond our borders
  3. See map below – Our Spirits have been stirred to realize we are living in the watershed of the Conestoga River. As people who are committed to Creation Care, believing God cares about his whole creation and has invited us to serve as caretakers, we desire to grow in our care of the watershed in which all of our congregations are located.

With the LMC Bishop Board’s approval, we are now officially the Conestoga River District of LMC.

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