Snapshots into Journey Forward: The Reference Council

Mennonite Church USA is building upon the work of the Future Church Summit at #MennoCon17 in Orlando. A dynamic group of writers has been called together to produce a concise description of MC USA’s shared values and guiding theological foundations. We’re calling this process Journey Forward. Over the next few weeks, the Menno Snapshots blog will be featuring interviews with the Journey Forward Writing Team and Reference Council, giving you a peek into the diverse life and faith experiences that are coming together in this moment in MC USA’s history.

Heidi Regier Kreider is conference minister for Western District Conference of Mennonite Church USA and a member of the Reference Council for the Journey Forward. She is a member of Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, Kansas.

Tell us one interesting or fun fact about you – something we wouldn’t already know. I recently learned how to quilt (though I’ll be practicing for a long time to make my stitches small and even)!

Tell us about one of your spiritual heroes / heroines. How have they been influential in your faith journey?  I think of my parents, Sara and Fremont Regier, who have been influential in my faith journey in numerous ways. They gave me the gift of unconditional love and taught me the value of practicing spiritual disciplines, creating family rituals and traditions, offering hospitality to friends and strangers, working and playing, telling stories, building cross-cultural relationships, and exploring new dimensions of faith through all seasons of life.

What is your favorite worship song or hymn? Why? I have many favorite songs! One that comes to mind at the moment is “Now, on land and sea descending” (Hymnal: A Worship Book #655). We don’t often get opportunities to sing “evening” hymns in church, so I used to sing this to my children at bedtime. In a world filled with so much anxiety and fear, this hymn reminds us to trust God even in the darkness, and praise God even in the face of fear and uncertainty. The musical harmony and shape of the melody fits wonderfully with the text, raising our voices to sing “jubilate!” before settling peacefully at the end.

What draws you to this work with Mennonite Church USA and Journey Forward? The Mennonite Church has an important message to share in today’s world, yet our witness has often been obscured by a failure to practice what we preach as a peace church, by our assimilation with religion and society around us, and by our inward focus on preserving certain cultural expressions of community. The Journey Forward presents an opportunity to again articulate our core distinctives as Anabaptists and to share good news with the world around us.

Our Journey Forward core values document will reflect what we think is most important as Anabaptists, specifically as MC USA. When you think about your identity as Anabaptist-Mennonite, what value, belief or idea most excites you – what grounds you in your faith?  I believe that justice, peacemaking and reconciliation are at the heart of the gospel, most fully revealed through the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus who calls us into community as his disciples.