Assembly terminology

2% offering

On the first Sunday of the month we have two baskets for offerings: one for our regular tithes and offerings, and the other for our 2% offering. We give 2% of our income as an act of restitution for injustices in economic distribution. Some of this offering is given toward local restorative and anti-oppression initiatives which address harm caused to African Americans and Indigenous groups as a result of our White supremacist culture & colonialism. Some of the offering is given toward global needs arising out of U.S. exploitation of people and places beyond the U.S. The 2% committee, and the reparations committee, determine how to distribute these funds.

We have a weekly newsletter called the Assemblyline where announcements are shared. Assemblyline announcements should be emailed to by 11 p.m. on Thursdays.

Weekly announcements; available by email, online, or on paper by request. You can subscribe to receive the Assemblyline via email by clicking here.

Birthday candle and ice cream visit
Assembly children up through middle school are celebrated during first hour on a Sunday close to the child’s birthday, along with a few sentences about the child in that week’s Assemblyline. Children ages 3 through grade 8 get taken out for ice cream by a member of the pastoral team each year for the child’s birthday. To ensure your children can participate in this tradition, give your children’s names and birthdates to the church office by filling out the Contact Form

CDC or Central District Conference
Assembly is a member of Central District Conference of Mennonite Church USA.

Congregational meeting
Assembly does not have a traditional church council or church board. Instead, there are monthly gatherings (typically on the 3rd Sunday of the month) of all interested adults to discuss congregational business and make decisions. Depending on the agenda, we hold these meetings in person or on Zoom.

When used with a capital F, “Faith” refers to Faith Mennonite Church, our sister congregation that shares our meetinghouse on New York Street.

Fellowship break
A time to visit informally with others after the worship service, while children and youth are in Sunday school. Coffee is typically provided.

First hour
The first portion of the morning worship service, from about 9:30-10:45 AM.

Gathering space
The area just outside the worship space with the mailboxes. Also called the lobby or the narthex.

Goshen Montessori School. This preschool rents classroom space from the church during weekdays.

Instant Church Directory
The app and website that we use to share our contact information with each other in the congregation. If you’d like your information added to the directory, or if you’d like instructions for how to access the church directory, please contact the church office. (If you are already listed in the directory, you can log in to view the directory, or edit your own information here).

Junior youth or JYF
Grades 6-8

The labyrinth in our memorial garden (on the south side of the meetinghouse) was recently built (in November 2020) and is open for your use, although the garden is an ongoing project. For general information about labyrinths, you may visit this webpage:

Leadership Group
The closest Assembly equivalent to a church council or church board. Six elders, 1-2 apprentice elders, and the pastoral team, who meet at least once a month to provide support for the pastoral team and do initial processing of church business to prepare for congregational meetings.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer/Questioning. Assembly is a “welcoming” congregation, meaning that all people who are LGBTQ are welcome to worship with us and be fully part of the congregation.

Library of Care We recently began to introduce our Library of Care to the congregation, during our Epiphany worship series in January 2021. This is a collection of items crafted by artists and artisans in the congregation that you may “check out”. Each item represents a place where you might be on your spiritual/life journey. For example: “Barren Space” or “Waiting” or “New Beginnings”. Each person’s path is different-each will have their own moments of achievement, transition, and sorrow. We know God shows love for each of us at every point in our lives.

An electronic mailing list to which we send Orders of Worship and Sharing & Prayer emails each week, as well as information about other events. This is separate from the list of Assemblyline subscribers. We also have a separate listserv for parents, which we use to send appropriate resources and information related to children’s activities at Assembly. To sign up for any of these email lists, email or fill out the information sheet at the end of the Assembly Survival Kit.

Our building at 727 New York St. This is where we gather for worship, fellowship, discussion, and Sunday school for children and youth on Sundays. Small groups and Assembly participants can also reserve space in the meetinghouse any time during the week. (Contact the church office for more information and to request a reservation). Since Fall 2021, Goshen Christian Montessori Preschool rents classroom space at the meetinghouse during the week.

Mennonite Central Committee, a relief and development agency supported by a broad constituency of Anabaptist groups, including Mennonites.

Ministry Team (as compared to committee and task force)
A group of people who wish to give focused attention to a specific faith- and/or justice-related issue. Two current examples are the Prayer Ministry Team and the Safety Networks Ministry Team. Ministry teams vary from Assembly committees and task forces by having voluntary membership and a life span determined by the members. Committees and task forces are appointed by leadership group and/or congregational discernment. Committees renew annually through the leader selection process. Task forces end when their task is completed.

Multipurpose space
Also sometimes called the “old worship space”. This space has typically been used for in-person fellowship break, fellowship meals, congregational meetings, and elective classrooms.

Mennonite Youth Fellowship, grades 9-12

Pastoral team
Assembly’s team of four co-pastors functions as a support/guide for the congregation, with an intentionally non-hierarchical structure. The pastors work with the rest of the Leadership Group to provide congregational leadership, and pastors share the responsibility of providing pastoral care with small groups. Each pastor preaches only a few times a year; small groups and other participants contribute their gifts to preaching and worship leading on Sundays. Assembly thinks of leadership a bit differently than many churches, so you don’t have to be officially welcomed by the pastor to become a part of the congregation. Still, they’d very much like to meet you, so don’t hesitate to reach out to one of them. Email is a great way to contact the pastors. To contact one of the pastors, or the church office, fill out the Contact Form.

Privileges of the Child
A long-cherished document for Assembly; it can be found on the church website here. For information about how we seek to include children and their parents in our church life during the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact Lora Nafziger, Pastor of Faith Formation.
Given the preciousness of our children and youth and their potential vulnerability to abuse, we covenant for their safety and full participation in our community. Out of our commitment to love and care for all of God’s creation we make a covenant to our children, youth, adults, families and community. This Covenant, along with Assembly’s “Digital Communications Policy” and “How to Report Suspect Abuse” can be found here.

Short for “Small group representatives.” Small groups are the building block of Assembly life, pastoral care and general functioning. Each small group has a rep, and reps meet monthly during the school year to share and process congregational needs. Small groups take turns planning and leading worship services in certain seasons of the year, and also assist with tasks such as fall and spring workdays at the meetinghouse. Small groups also do some processing of congregational business.

Second hour and electives
“Second hour” refers to activities that follow the “first hour” of worship on Sunday mornings. Sometimes “second hour” involves worship, fellowship, and/or sharing. Other times “second hour” involves “Sunday school”-like discussion for adults. We often use the term “electives” rather than “Sunday school” because we do not have classes with a fixed membership; instead you can “elect” (choose) to join a second hour discussion based on your interest in the topic.

Small group shuffle
An annual opportunity for people to join or change small groups. Shuffling is not mandated, but most groups shift in some way about every three years, with the goal of several new groups forming each fall. Small groups are an important part of the life of Assembly. Contact Karl Shelly via the Contact Form to learn more about joining a small group.

Supportive Communities Network or SCN
A network of churches and other groups who support and welcome Christians who are LGBTQ+ (see above). Assembly is a member of SCN, which is associated with BMC, the Brethren-Mennonite Council for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Interests.

“Third Hour” Facebook Group
An unofficial private group on Facebook where current & recent Assembly participants can share personal or important information that affects our lives. Think of it as a social media version of the “sharing time” that is often part of our worship services. “Third Hour” is moderated by volunteer admins, and is not monitored by the pastors or church staff. This private Facebook group is separate from the public Assembly Mennonite Church Facebook page. You can visit and request to join the group here:

“Worship nook”
This is a small “house” next to the entrance to the labyrinth. (It looks something like a little free library). This is a place where you are invited to come, read, and pray. You can expect to find weekly psalms, seasonal prayers and poems, and prayer rocks. We are just beginning to house worship resources here for the use of visitors to our labyrinth. View photos of the worship nook here.

Worship space
Often called a “sanctuary” in other church buildings.

An online platform we have used for online worship, congregational meetings, small group meetings, etc. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we have been gathering regularly in person once again since February 2022, some of us continue to join worship and other meetings via Zoom. We continue to experiment with how we can use technology to enhance and support a participatory style of worship, and to connect with one another in meaningful ways while respecting the needs of those most at-risk in the current pandemic. You can join our regular Zoom meetings using this link:

(Updated by Scott Coulter, Pastor of Congregational Life & Hospitality, November 2022).