Eastern District & Franconia Conference has become Mosaic Mennonite Conference, a change announced during a conference-wide virtual worship service on Pentecost Sunday, May 31.
With about 8,500 members in five states, the new conference is now one of the largest and most diverse in Mennonite Church USA. Its office is in Lansdale, Pa.
Mosaic Mennonite Conference was formed by the reconciliation of Eastern District Conference and Franconia Mennonite Conference in 2019. The new conference includes congregations in California that transferred in 2017 from Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference.
Nine congregations in Florida that were formerly part of Southeast Mennonite Conference, plus one additional Florida congregation, are currently “partners in ministry” of the new conference. Mosaic Conference delegates will vote this fall on whether to receive these congregations as full members.
“As the reconciled Eastern District & Franconia Conference, we are excited about the future that God is calling us into,” conference moderator Ken Burkholder said in the announcement video on May 31. “We believe it is appropriate to mark this transition in our collective history with a new name.”
The name, Mosaic Mennonite Conference, was affirmed by the conference board in February. Of nearly 50 suggestions, “Mosaic” was a clear favorite in focus-group testing, popular across the conference’s cultures and geographies. It translates well into the conference’s other five worshiping languages: Chinese, Haitian Creole, Indonesian, Spanish and Vietnamese.
The creation of something new out of many parts was central to the choice of the new name. “We’re different people; we’re allowed to experience Jesus in different ways,” said Danilo Sanchez, conference youth formation pastor. “Each piece in this new mosaic that we’re forming has the ability to shine and be bright and to feel like they have value and worth.”
The name “Mosaic” also captures the “celebration of lots of things coming together in explosive and creative ways,” said conference board member Yvonne Platts of Nueva Vida Norristown (Pa.) New Life congregation.
Pentecost was chosen as the day for unveiling a new name and a new identity because it’s about transformation, executive minister Steve Kriss said in his Pentecost message.
“The times when names of people are changed in the biblical story represent a turn. We are turning in the midst of a crisis,” he said, referring to the COVID-19 quarantine, the economic downturn and the waves of #BlackLives Matter protests around the country. “We did not plan this time. This is God’s time for us to gain a new name. To receive power. To recognize our gifts.”