Editor’s Note

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

II Corinthians 4:7

It was a heartfelt plea, an entreaty to welcome everyone who walks through our doors. We don’t know their story, but “each person is a treasure in a clay jar.” Somehow, those simple words from our FMC interim pastor Frances Ringenberg struck a chord and transformed my view of reaching out with a welcome for all—visitors or long-time members. As one who enjoys wandering through antique stores, I could picture a cherished jar, easily broken if not handled with care.  And certainly, experiences and losses in the struggles with Covid emphasize the fragility of life. I cherish the wisdom and caring that Frances and her husband Ron shared with us.

Frances Ringenberg (left) chatting with Monica Miller.

Preparing for the installation of Monica Miller as the new fulltime pastor for First Mennonite has accentuated our emphasis on welcoming and transformation. Various groups gathered at her home to clean, unpack and paint as she moved into her new apartment. We will continue to look for ways to ease her transition into a new congregation in a new city.

Also in this issue, continuing our theme for the year, we explore additional ways our lives are being transformed—by remembering Dagne Assefe, beloved pastor at Shalom Mennonite Church, by sharing wisdom from guest speakers, taking walks to soak in the beauty of autumn, and preserving the abundant harvest of fruits and vegetables.

Traveling continues to bring challenges and changes. But the treasure of time with family and friends encourages us to seek out ways to stay safe when we are not at home. 

A renewed emphasis on improving and beautifying the Memorial Garden at First Mennonite has allowed the congregation to visualize the new plans and share in the task. Finally, pondering life lessons from the seasonal transformations in a flower garden encourage us to treasure the last bouquet of autumn—and maybe even arrange it in a clay jar.

Some photos from the licensing and installation service on November 7 at First Mennonite Church—welcoming Monica as our pastor on this day of joy!

Waiting expectantly for the service to begin
Conference Minister Sharon Yoder leads the licensing service
Paul Hartman, search committee chair, welcomes Monica
Monica is surrounded by prayers from the congregation
Celebrating Monica with a festive feast of pies

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About the author

Carol Mullet

How can it be November already? Showers of red and yellow leaves falling like confetti provide visual proof that Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays will soon be at hand—a magical time of year that I treasure no matter how we celebrate. I’m looking forward to family time in Phoenix, as well as gatherings close to home!

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