The Fourth Annual EAF Conference is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, October 18-19, 1996, in Lancaster, PA. Two veteran Christian broadcasters will be our primary speakers. Dr. Woodrow Kroll, General Director of the Back to the Bible radio broadcast, will speak twice on Friday and at the closing luncheon on Saturday. Bill Detweiler, former pastor of Kidron (OH) Mennonite Church and speaker on The Calvary Hour radio broadcast, will speak on Friday afternoon.
The theme of this year's conference will be "How We Read The Bible." It will examine the way reading and interpreting the Scriptures shapes our attitudes toward the major issues of the day. The program will include great music, meaningful worship, open forums for discussion of pertinent issues, the Executive Secretary's address, and time for personal interaction and fellowship. You won't want to miss it. Mark the dates now. I'll let you know the exact location in the next newsletter.
At their January meeting, the EAF Board of Directors took action to establish The Center for Evangelical Anabaptism, to be located, at least initially, in Harrisonburg, VA. The Center will serve our constituency by providing resources for discipleship and ministry in a post-modern, post-Christian culture. Among other things, The Center's program will include a sequence of seminars and conferences, to be offered both on-site and in extension locations, and the eventual development of a graduate-level curriculum carrying full academic credit, perhaps in cooperation with one or more existing seminaries or graduate schools.
Many forms and expressions of modern Anabaptism reflect the influence of theological liberalism and neoorthodoxy. The Center will endeavor to preserve and advance Anabaptist distinctives within the framework of evangelical faith. It will provide a context for practical study of the relevance and viability of evangelical Anabaptism in a pluralistic society awash in a sea of competing ideologies. It will offer practical help for Christians struggling to maintain a consistent witness for Christ in a secular culture marked by cynicism and despair. In short, it will be a place where serious Anabaptist believers can have their minds stretched,
their hearts warmed, and their ministries enriched.
A descriptive brochure is in production and should be available mid-summer. Contact our office if you would like one or more.
As this newsletter goes to press, we are making plans to move our offices in a few weeks from the upstairs apartment in my house to the new office building recently constructed by Steve Wingfield Ministries to serve as their headquarters and to provide office space for other evangelical ministries. The building is located on SR 42, just south of Harrisonburg, VA. We will occupy three rooms, including a two-room suite on the building's northwest corner and another room on the southwest corner which will be the first home of The Center for Evangelical Anabaptism. It is a beautiful facility, and we appreciate the invitation to locate our offices there. Total cost for rent and utilities will approximate the costs in our current location, but the outlay for EAF will be greater, since we have been sharing office costs with another organization, and that will no longer be the case.
In keeping with our commitment to strengthen the ministry of preaching in evangelical, Anabaptist congregations, EAF is sponsoring our second Expository Preaching Institute, April 7-10, 1997, at the Stephen Olford Center for Biblical Preaching in Memphis. The first EAF institute at the Olford Center was held in the spring of 1995 and was a tremendously enriching experience for all who attended. A registration form will be included in the next newsletter. I simply wanted to make you aware of the dates so that you could get them into your schedule. I am currently working with David Olford in planning the program for the week, and we are hoping to secure funding to subsidize the cost of the program for EAF members. If you are interested in attending, you may let me know even before the registration forms are mailed, and I will reserve a spot for you. This is very much a couples' event, and we encourage participants to attend as a couple. I guarantee you this will be the highlight of your year
For the first time in our history the EAF Board has set numerical goals for individual membership and congregational affiliation in 1996. Individual membership stands currently at 325. Our goal is to increase that to 500 by year's end. You can help us meet that goal by making people in your circle of influence aware of EAF and encouraging them to consider membership.
There are currently four congregations affiliated with EAF. Our goal for the year is to increase that number to twelve . In that regard, I take this opportunity to welcome officially the three newest congregational affiliates: Easton Mennonite Church, Easton, PA, Charles Brunstetter, pastor; Paradise Mennonite Church, Paradise, PA, Fred Martin, pastor; and Living Faith Fellowship, Harleysville, PA, Glenn Alderfer, pastor. We had previously welcomed our very first affiliate congregation, Rockville Mennonite Church, Honey Brook, PA, Amos Stoltzfus, pastor. We look forward to many more congregations affiliating with EAF in the next several months. Please note that EAF affiliation need not affect other conference or denominational ties in any way. Contact our office if you would like one or more of the brochures which describe our policy
regarding individual membership and congregational affiliation.
In January, Vernon Myers, who had served as EAF board chairman since our inception in 1992, joined our staff on a part-time basis as Director of Development. Welcome, Vernon. He was replaced as board chair by Amos Stoltzfus who has served on the EAF board from the beginning. We hope to announce Vernon's replacement as a member of the board in our next newsletter. EAF staff members do not serve on the board as a matter of policy.
Both Vernon and I are available to meet with congregations, pastors, and groups of interested persons to discuss the work of EAF and answer your questions regarding our current and future ministries. I am also available to preach in conferences and renewal meetings and to lead the seminar, "For the Sake of the Kingdom: Why Anabaptists and Evangelicals Need Each Other." (This seminar was previously titled "The Anabaptist Vision: A Contemporary Interpretation and Expression.") The booklet by that same name, which was due out in January, has been unfortunately delayed. It has turned into a far larger project than I had earlier anticipated, and time available has
been less than expected. I am now committed to a July 1 target date for publication. If you wrote earlier to request a copy, your request is on file and will be honored as soon as the booklet is off the press. If you would like a list of suggested conference, seminar or renewal meeting topics, contact our office and we'll send one out to you right away.
Interest in EAF continues to grow, across the US and internationally. I recently traveled over 3,500 miles meeting with pastors and others in Indiana, Nebraska, Illinois, and Winnipeg, MB, Canada. A local EAF chapter is forming in the Franconia, PA, area, and we expect the same phenomenon to develop in other areas. If you are interested in forming such a group, feel free to take the initiative to do so or contact our office for whatever assistance we may be able to provide in that endeavor. Above all, pray fervently for EAF. God has raised up this work, there are many doors of opportunity open before us, but, of course, there are adversaries as well. We depend on your prayers and your words of encouragement to keep us going. Let us hear from you, and, if ever you are in Harrisonburg, please do stop by our new offices. If I am in town, I'd love to visit with you.
© 1996 Evangelical Anabaptist Fellowship