Mennonite Health Journal

Articles on the intersection of faith and health








President’s Column: Changing the Light Bulb

Joe Longacher

from Mennonite Health Journal, Volume 14, No. 3, October 2012

How well do you remember your grade school days?  For most of us, those memories include a favorite teacher, special friends, and perhaps a class we were happy to finish.  Another important part of grade school for most of us was the humor we shared, perhaps more significant than we realized at the time, as we utilized increasingly more complex concepts to tell a joke.

A special form of grade school humor is the riddle, good examples of which can still make us smile (“What did the beach say when the tide came in?  Long time no sea!”) As we aged, our riddles aged with us, using humor to confirm a stereotype or make a point.  Some of our favorite riddles are the ubiquitous “Why did the chicken cross the road?” with its many variations, and “How many ____ does it take to change a light bulb?”  The latter can also be tweaked to make a point (“How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?  Only one, but the bulb needs to really want to change.”)

But enough of this foolishness.  What does this have to do with the Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship?  It’s a little bit of a stretch, but the question can be asked:  “How many members does it take to make the MHF successful?”  In a further stretch, we can even liken to changing a light bulb the process of reconfiguring and transforming the mission and activities of Mennonite Nurses Association and Mennonite Medical Association into a new and fresh organization (MHF), using new elements and a new shape to create new light and new vision.

And while we can try to think of clever or humorous answers, our question is actually a serious one, as are the answers.  Perhaps a better question than “How many members does it take to make the MHF successful?” is “What kind of member does it take?”  And for the purposes of this column, “What can you as an individual do to help?”   Let me suggest four ways.

  1. You can maintain your membership.  Your dues and contributions provide the funds we need to continue and expand the activities which allow us to carry out our mission.
  2. You can help us find new members.  As you may know, our goal is to add 100 new members this year.   You can contribute by sharing our brochures and website with your friends and peers, or by helping to plan and carry out a regional meeting.
  3. You can attend our annual meeting.  The next one will be held at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana on June 21-23, 2013.
  4. You can serve on our board or one of our interest groups or committees.  We need   persons to help plan next year’s meeting, to explore the best ways to communicate with our membership, and to attract new members.

Thanks for all you have done so far.  We hope to see you in Goshen next June.  And if you are ready to take a more active role in MHF (or suggest someone else to do so) please respond to the MHF Office.

About the author

Joe-Longacher-200WJoe Longacher, MD, is a past President of Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship and lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  He retired at the end of 2012 from a practice in gastroenterology in Richmond, Virginia and was part of the Implementation Team that gave leadership to the formation of MHF.  Joe has also served at the conference and denominational level and was a past president of Mennonite Medical Association (MMA).   He is married to Constance (Brenneman), originally from Hesston, Kansas, and they have four children and six grandchildren.


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