Allegheny Mennonite Conference distributed nearly $1 million to its 16 congregations in the spirit of Jesus’ parable of the workers (Matthew 20) during its annual conference celebration Aug. 6 at Laurelville Retreat Center near Mount Pleasant, Pa.
The funds were part of the proceeds Allegheny received from the November 2020 sale of property in Washington, D.C., which formerly housed the International Guest House ministry.
Conference moderator LeAnne Zook described the distribution as a “radical trust” in Allegheny’s congregations as they begin to use the funds for God’s work of hospitality, welcome, peace and justice. The only mandate is that congregations share their stories over the next several years about their process and any programs or collaborations that grew or expanded.
Congregations who were listed as members of the conference as of July 1 were eligible to receive proceeds. The total distribution was $933,570 — the remainder of the $1.35 million sale after closing costs, a tithe to Mennonite Church USA ministries and a gift to the MC USA archives to house historical materials. Some proceeds were used to increase conference reserves.
Because of Hyattsville Mennonite Church’s longstanding participation and support of the International Guest House’s more than 50-year ministry from just outside Washington in Maryland, the congregation received half of the final distribution, or $466,785. The other 15 member congregations received an equal portion of the other 50%, or $31,119 each.
Hyattsville has been in conversation about how to continue the guest house’s legacy, including talks with an Everence representative.
Conference delegates deliberated over the last two years how to distribute the tithe, gift to the archives and final parable-inspired distribution.
“This is a once-in-a-generation kind of opportunity for our congregations to imagine how to partner with the Spirit of Jesus who is already working in the 16 neighborhoods of our member congregations,” said conference minister David Mishler, “and to build new relationships and collaborations that provide hopeful alternatives to so much division, lament and pain in our neighborhoods.
“We hope to extend the legacy and witness of the International Guest House’s ministry of radical hospitality with these seeds sown. Our congregations are dreaming new dreams as an outgrowth of our delegates’ vision to share ‘a day’s wages’ with all our member congregations.”
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