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.
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.
This name was chosen primarily for the geographic and historical connections to this area. Here are some of those thoughts:
With the LMC Bishop Board’s approval, we are now officially the Conestoga River District of LMC.