WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
April 30, 2013
A weekly communication for:
WDC Churches and Pastors
WDC Executive Board, Commission, Committee and Task Force members
Any content may be used in bulletins and newsletters and
forwarded to congregational leaders and members.
WDC Sprouts is also available at: www.mennowdc.org (Publications)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Clarence’s Clarion Call
Clarence’s Clarion Call – Fear?
by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister
With the destruction of 9/11 still imbedded in our consciousness, the bombing at the Boston Marathon triggered latent feelings of fear. “Oh, no, here we go again!” Fear is permeating our social culture more that we realize. Four out of ten Americans are fearful of walking a mile from their home after dark. Fear has resulted in massive expenditures for home security systems in the past ten years – $28.2 billion in 2009. The budget for Homeland Security, a new cabinet position since 9/11, was $46.9 billion in 2012. Do all these expenditures make our world safer? Do they make us feel safer?
One of the most frequently repeated imperatives in Scripture is “Do not be afraid.” It appears some 80 times. The foundation for fearlessness is based in a deep security cemented in our relationship with God.
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
In the church we are also experiencing fear in the ethical and cultural turbulence around human sexuality. News in the past few weeks has included Supreme Court hearings, state votes regarding homosexual “marriage,” and a variety of prominent personal affirmations and pronouncements of homosexual relationships. The winds are strong, and our boat of Western District Conference is rocking and taking on water. For some it is the fear of being co-opted by the world’s values and being unfaithful to God and the instruction of Scripture. For others it is the fear of being irrelevant, unloving, inhospitable, and unfaithful in following Jesus. Other motivations are in the mix, but fear seems to have a powerful grip.
In the midst of the above news headlines, I came to Matthew 14 in my reading through the New Testament this year. The disciples experienced the fear of a vicious storm on the Sea of Galilee. They experienced the fear of a ghost-like appearance of Jesus walking on the water. In a moment of audacious faith, Peter stepped out of the boat, but then experienced the fear of wind and waves. He began to sink. I identify with Peter’s cry, “Lord, save me!”
“Lord, save us.” In all these storms I sense a deep need for the presence and intervention of Jesus. Is it possible to face into the storm when our faith is focused on Jesus? Might we even walk on water? What would that look like in our fellowship of churches?
I believe there is a way through the storms of life when Jesus is primary, the focus of our faith.
Jesus climbed into the boat and the wind died down. And the disciples worshiped him, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
May 5 – Thank God for Ryan Koch’s ordination at Peace Mennonite Church, Dallas, TX, on Sunday, April 21. Pray for God’s guidance as the church seeks new arrangements for meeting facilities.
May 12 – Thank God for the new meetinghouse for Mennonite Church of the Servant in Wichita, KS. Pray for God’s guidance as they connect with a new neighborhood and host city-wide seminars.
May 19 – Pray for Marlene Bogard and the Planning Team as they finalize arrangements for Assembly 2013, August 2-3 – “Shaped by God’s Story.”
May 26 – Thank God for the rich ministry of Bergthal Mennonite Church, Pawnee Rock, KS for 136 years since 1877. Pray for Pastor Lynn Schlosser and the members as they host a closing celebration service today and then seek new affiliations of worship and ministry.
July 1-6 – Mennonite Church USA Assembly, Phoenix, AZ
Aug 1-2 – Year of the Bible Launch, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
Aug 2-3 – WDC Assembly, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
Sept 15 – Year of the Bible training event with Michael Novelli (for youth leaders)
Oct 19 or 26 – Reference Council
Oct 31 – New Pastor Orientation
Nov 1 – Prevention of Pastoral Misconduct Training
The May issue of Parish paper entitled “Important Conversations: How To Avoid the Sand Traps” can be viewed at: http://mennowdc.org/resources/publications/parish-paper/
1. Hungry Things! Camp Mennoscah has 8 hungry summer staffers arriving for orientation on June 3rd. We’re wondering if anyone would like to offer the gift of a meal for our orientation week. This would allow the summer staffers and Olivia more time to focus on the different training sessions (and give them a bit of a respite). We’re not looking for a 7 course meal with fancy garnishes–just a simple, healthy-ish meal. Contact us at 620-297-3290 to become one of our orientation “chefs.”
2. Mental Health Spiritual Retreat–We know that our Mental Health Spiritual Retreat isn’t until Labor Day weekend, but here’s a little bit of information to start thinking about. Friends, family members, and those affected by mental illness are invited to Camp Mennoscah on September 1-2 to “Create Yourself Anew,” the theme for this year’s retreat. The retreat brochure is available online at www.campmennoscah.org under Retreats.
3. Where oh where has the kitchen staff gone? Camp Mennoscah wants to give away free tee shirts to kitchen helpers, but we’re missing the helpers! Camper discounts of up to full camp fees are offered for those who work in the kitchen. Dads and moms and all sorts of others are invited to join us for a week of the funnest work you’ve had in a long time. A cheerful, flexible attitude and basic knowledge of kitchen skills are all that one needs. Contact us at 620-297-3290 to be part of this fun crew of people.
4. Maybe you’ve already heard–we’re looking for nurses for 3 weeks of our summer youth camps at Camp Mennoscah. This “job” comes with a volunteer stipend or camper discount, your own air-conditioned room, any number of fun campers and staff people, and a beautiful free camp tee shirt. Camp nurses are a vital part of our camping ministry. Give it a try! If nothing else, you’ll have a story to tell. Contact us at 620-297-3290 to sign up for your free camp tee shirt!
Mennonite ChurchUSA Announcements
1. From the AMBS Church Leadership Center:
Advanced Spiritual Guidance Seminar–a yearlong supervised program in spiritual guidance for people engaged in the ministry of spiritual direction. Instructor: Dr. Daniel P. Schrock, AMBS Sessional Faculty Learn more
2. Attached are the prayer requests from the member schools of Mennonite Schools Council, and the colleges, universities, seminaries and educational programs of Mennonite Church USA for May. MEA also posts these prayer requests on its website. The prayer request of the day is displayed on our home page and the document is available at www.MennoniteEducation.org/PRAYERS.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117