Seven reasons why
you should attend
-To experience the churchwide community
-To worship God and grow in your Christian faith
-To help "tend the church" in delegate sessions
-To participate in Servant Projects--service to the Nashville community
-To enjoy fellowship through the arts, exhibits, seminars, various alumni meetings and a special celebration for all ages on July 4
-To serve the body by volunteering to register attenders, usher for worship and delegate sessions, help out in the children's program or provide care for infants and toddlers
-To explore Nashville, Music City USA
Convention logo focuses on Christ's cross
Newton, Kan. (GCMC/MC)--The newly chosen logo for the Mennonite assembly and Mennonite Youth Convention, to be held July 2-7, 2001, in Nashville, Tenn., focuses on the cross and the ability of Christ to bring his followers together.
The logo parallels Colossians 3:12-17, the text chosen by both adult assembly and Youth Convention planners, which includes these words: "Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. ... whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus..." (14, 17a, NRSV).
The logo was designed by Ken Gingerich of Middlebury, Ind., graphic designer for Mennonite Board of Missions, Elkhart, Ind.
"The church includes imperfect people who are slowly being shaped by Christ into the community of faith," Gingerich said. "As we learn to yield to God's love and to one another, as we walk patiently together and forgive each other, Christ perfects us. Our unity in Christ draws others unto him. The broken pieces become as one in the light of the cross.
"The cross was once a symbol of dishonor and pain, meant only for outcasts. By becoming an outcast himself and dying on the cross, Jesus gives us life and calls us to live as brothers and sisters, not valuing the power, materialism and individualism of this world.
"But the world is also our home, and we must love it as God does. In the name of Jesus, we tell others of God's love and care for creation, and work to bring peace to those who are separated from one another and from God."
"To me [the logo] represents the many areas of my life, the good, the bad, and even the ugly," said Youth Convention director Steven Francisco. "Even though I don't quite have it together, Christ is faithful by shining in, and illuminating through my life. His presence through the Holy Spirit also helps me to get it together' [Youth Convention theme] in the bad and ugly places in my life.
"Some will come to Nashville with all dark pieces, but through worship and fellowship they will find the opportunity for Christ to shine in their lives as well."
"[The logo] conveys brokenness and unity at the same time," said adult assembly planning committee member Meg Sabulsky, a communications staff person for Franconia Mennonite Conference, while committee member Janeen Bertsche Johnson, minister of community life at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, added, "It communicates the held together' theme nicely." The adult assembly theme is "In Christ, held together."
"I am pleased to see that we will not put theme words on the logo, but will let the art give us different meanings," said Curt Weaver, Lancaster (Pa.) Conference youth minister and another member of the Youth Convention planning committee. "I like that the cross is the visible focus point and that the lines, while all connected to it, are circling different spheres of the whole. It communicates diversity with a common source."
Lana Miller, youth pastor at Clinton Frame Mennonite Church in rural Goshen, Ind., and a Youth Convention planning committee member, added, "The cross is definitely pronounced, however a little unbalanced and off-center. It's not a perfect cross, [but] the cross will never be perfectly represented in our lives. The only one who can perfectly represent the cross is Jesus. ... It's the process of changing and molding that makes us more like Christ."
Nashville 2001 will be held at the Opryland Hotel on the outskirts of the city, with activities offered for adults, young adults, youth, junior high students and children. More than 8,000 participants are expected.
Young Adult Activities
Seminars - Topics include intimacy and relationships, gifts discernment, spirituality, faith nurture and more. Specific times and titles will appear in the program book due out in May.
Luncheon meetings - A popular venue for informal discussions on various topics. Usually an "expert" introduces the topic, followed by an open forum. In St. Louis, we discussed denominational integration, anti-racism and homosexuality.
Worship - All are invited to participate in the joint and adult worship times. In addition, there are two special times for young adult-oriented worship--planned by, with and for young adults.
Late night - After all the meetings and sessions are over for the day, there are activities planned with young adults in mind. These will include coffee houses, plays, time in downtown Nashville and, we hope, a river cruise. These are times to get to know one another, make new friends and catch up with old friends in fun, exciting places.
More - Other events include: an exhibit and performance area called mTOWN; a family peace celebration on July 4 with fun, exciting and inspiring things to do at Opryland and even in Nashville itself. There will be art exhibits, plays, comedy, music, and much more.
'Gettin' Together in Christ' - Nashville 2001 Junior High Convention
10. Meetin' other Mennonite youth
9. Worshipin' at services designed with you in mind
8. Celebratin' service to others
7. Ridin' "The Tide" at Nashville Shores
6. Lockin' yourself in with hundreds of your new closest friends
5. Catchin' a vision for the Mennonite Church in the new millenium
4. Creatin' lifelong friendships
3. Eatin' great food (grits optional)
2. Understandin' what following Jesus means in your daily life
1. Gettin' together in Christ!
Children will walk "hand in hand with Jesus"
Newton, Kan. (MC USA)--Emphasizing the importance of children to the church is basic to planning for their participation at Nashville 2001, says children's program coordinator Carol Grieser.
Children entering grades 1-6 in fall 2001 are invited to participate in the Children's Convention at the assembly of Mennonite Church USA, July 2-7 at the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville. The theme for the children's program is "Together, hand in hand with Jesus."
"I'm very excited about how the adult assembly planning committee has really understood the importance of children in the church, and how much the committee has helped us," says Grieser. "The children's time together [at Nashville] is very important. It's more than childcare--it's nurturing children, getting them excited about the church, helping them to verbalize their faith in their own words and begin to act on it, and having them develop friendships that can be renewed every couple of years."
Grieser, a member of College Mennonite Church in Goshen, Ind., recently retired from 30 years of teaching kindergarten, first grade and gifted third grade in the Elkhart, Ind., school system. She is being assisted in the children's program planning by Eleanor Snyder, Kitchener, Ont., director of children's education for the General Conference Mennonite Church, who wrote the curriculum for the Children's Convention and will be leading worship there.
Other planners are Judy Friesen (infants and toddlers) and Susan Graber (pre-school), both of Newton, Kan., and Carla Stanton, Nashville, a representative of Harmony Mennonite Church.
Children's Convention activities will center on "developing an understanding of what it means to be God's chosen ones," says Grieser. Each morning there will be worship through singing, Bible lessons and drama and/or stories, along with memorizing a Bible verse for the day. Children's music leaders are Gwen and Les Gustafson-Zook of Goshen, assisted by Kent Dutchersmith.
Afternoons will feature a variety of activities. The children will be able to visit mTOWN, the central exhibit and activities area for Nashville 2001, where there will be recreational choices such as four-square, ping-pong and miniature golf. On Thursday afternoon, there will be special drama and story-telling for children on one of the mTOWN stages.
Other afternoon activities include swimming, and a field trip to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville. On Saturday morning, Mr. Fredd (Lee Eshleman), star of Mennonite Media's "Rhythms of Peace" video series for children, will visit the Children's Convention.
There will also be regularly scheduled craft times that will enable children to do their own service projects. They will be making quilts that will be given to a local organization that serves children, and can also roll bandages or put together school kits for distribution overseas by Mennonite Central Committee.
The Children's Convention will be located in the Governor's Ballroom, which is close to the Presidential Ballroom, the main venue for adult group activities.