Leadership & Pastor
Priesthood of Believers
“… he has made us kings and priests, that we are to be a chosen and holy people; a people to serve him in love…” (Menno Simons, from The True Christian Faith, 1556)
We center the congregation on the belief that we come together as a priesthood of believers. This commitment grows from our Anabaptist roots in the Radical Reformation. Our modern understanding of this concept at CHMF becomes manifest in a number of ways.
-First, this has an impact on the organization and operation of our congregation. All members have the opportunity to participate in our bi-monthly Congregational Life Meetings meetings where we make decisions by consensus.
-Second, we hold that every person who comes through our doors may minister to our community in some way. We build our weekly worship and fellowship around valuing the wealth of gifts of the community as ways for each of us to see the spirit moving in our midst. Volunteers share the responsibilities of preaching, song leading, praying, service planning, and scripture reading. A high point of our worship is our time for response and sharing. Because we believe that anyone can offer an interpretation of the Bible, the work of proclamation is the work of the gathered body, not the preacher alone. We provide time in our worship for people to offer their own reflections on the Scriptures and the sermon. We also take time in our service to share our lives – our needs, concerns, and thanksgivings.
-Third, we employ a pastor and hold him simultaneously as a leader in our community and a brother in faith. Our pastor serves as an extension of the communal decision-making of the congregation.
Our Pastor—Isaac S. Villegas
“The people of Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship created space for me to discern my call as pastor. They continue to sustain me in ministry. Together, we discern God’s voice in one another. Together, we feel our way into the mission of God as the Holy Spirit reaches out to us through each other. Together, we are the movements of Christ’s body drawing us into communion with God.” (Isaac S. Villegas)
Isaac was ordained into ministry at CHMF in the spring of 2006 and has served here as our pastor since that time. He has a B.A. from Westmont College and an M.Div. from Duke Divinity School.
In addition to his pastoral duties, Isaac serves our larger communities through teaching, writing, and witnessing. He teaches classes in prisons with Project TURN. He has served on the executive committee of Mennonite Church USA and is a member of the governing board of the North Carolina Council of Churches. Some of the publications that have run Isaac’s work include: Sojourners, The Christian Century, Mennonite World Review, The Other Journal, The Mennonite, and Anabaptist Witness. He is also the co-author of the book “Presence: Giving and Receiving God.”
To find links to some of Pastor Isaac’s publications and follow his work, please visit his website here.
CHMF Leadership positions
Church Officers are volunteer positions that run 1-3 year terms in service to the church. Our current officers as of July 2016:
Church Moderator: Rebecca Rich
Secretary: Jason Nieuwsma
Treasurer: Steve Jolley
The Deacons form a committee of 4 people serve the church in rotating 3 year terms. Thier duties include care for the well-being of the pastor, helping to discern the church’s mission, take on new tasks as the congregation decides, sharing pastoral concerns and congregational prayer requests, being a resource for Anabaptist and Mennonite heritage and practices, dispersal of the benevolence fund, and leading communion. They also take up pastoral care needs and pastoral responsibilities in times of our pastor’s sabbatical. Our current deacons as of May 2016:
Zach Yordy, Sandra VanderLinde, Janna Carlson, Shenandoah Nieuwsma
Many members of our congregation make the day-to-day operation of the fellowship possible through generous volunteering of their time. In addition to the leadership positions listed above, CHMF gets things done via committee work including: Worship Committee, Children’s Committee, Visioning Committee, Hospitality Committee, Finance Committee, and our Representatives for Equality in Membership