WDC Sprouts, April 16, 2019

WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE

SPROUTS

April 16, 2019

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:

*It was shocking!

*Announcements

It was shocking!

by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)

As a first-generation immigrant, I find Cornelius’ experience shocking, intriguing, challenging and hopeful (Acts 10:44-46 NRSV).  It looked like a culturally and religiously shocking experience! This is how I will describe the events for the Jewish disciples, for Cornelius and his friends. What happened here, the sharing of the good news, could be described as a “Gentile Pentecostal Resurrection” experience.

In the book of Acts, Luke makes sure that every reader understands that God sent Jesus, who is Lord of all, anointed with the Spirit and power, to tell the good news of peace and to heal those who were under the dominance of the evil one.

This Jesus was crucified, and God raised him up on the third day. Then, the risen Christ gave to his disciples a succession ministry plan, with clear instructions to preach and announce the coming of the kingdom. This commission includes an eschatological component, the return of Christ as King to judge the living and the dead, and the restoration of all things.

I can only imagine Cornelius and his friends being amazed and puzzled, even as Peter was perplexed with this “intercultural inclusiveness” reality check, and all that God had in store for them.

In Peter’s conversation with Cornelius, we notice that a divine connection with earthly implications was established here. Little by little a relationship begun to emerge through the journey, the house visits and the conversation which included key elements about the gospel, the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus. This interaction also alludes to the demonstrations of God’s power, repentance and forgiveness of sins which in turn set the path for a new relationship with God.

Cultural barriers were torn down by the living God even while Peter was still immersed in his mono cultural reality. For the most part, this is still true today.  Society and Church want to be interculturally and multiculturally competent, while maintaining a mono-cultural approach and practice. Yet, it seems wrong to expect and demand other cultures to understand and practice the North American understandings of culture.  That is dominance and forced assimilation.

Without transformation, multicultural-intercultural competence becomes just another ideal.  Intercultural transformation implies openness and willingness to see and embrace others who are different as equals, just as God does. It means to learn, to live and wrestle with realities other than just what is relevant to the dominant North American culture and theology.  Intercultural immigrant theology is more broadening and challenging; it does not center in just one aspect of the life of the church, rather it seeks to be holistic, in action and reflection, in all and for all.

Cornelius’ experience challenged the first generation of disciples and it still does today.  He and his friends seemed to be able to integrate their new faith reality within their culture. In a way, I see them as part of the ‘first generation of immigrants’ into the Christian faith.

Multicultural-intercultural competence demands openness to truly engage to what matters to ‘other’ cultures and what’s important for them as well. This reality will challenge a ‘multicultural attempts with a mono-cultural mentality and practice.’  Unless Church and society are open and willing to experience transformation and its struggles, then attempts at multicultural-intercultural competence will be just a conversation and a dream.

Just as Christ breathed the Spirit into his disciples, may His Spirit continue giving us the gift of friendship, fellowship and intercultural transformational competence.

——

¡Fue impactante!
By Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)

Como parte de la primera generación de inmigrantes, encuentro que la experiencia de Cornelio es impactante, intrigante, desafiante y llena de esperanza (Hechos 10: 44-46 NRSV).

¡Parecía una experiencia cultural y religiosa impactante! Así es como describiré lo que sucedió con los discípulos judíos, con Cornelio y con sus amigos. Lo que sucedió aquí, el compartir las buenas nuevas, también podría describirse como una experiencia de la Resurrección al estilo Pentecostal y Gentil.

En los relatos del libro de Hechos, Lucas se asegura de que cada lector, aparte de Teófilo, comprenda que Dios envió a Jesús, ungido con el Espíritu y con poder, quien es el Señor de todos, para contar las buenas nuevas de la paz y para sanar a quienes estaban bajo el dominio del maligno.

Este Jesús fue crucificado, y Dios lo resucitó al tercer día. Después, el Cristo resucitado le dio a sus discípulos un plan de sucesión para el ministerio, constituida por instrucciones claras para predicar y anunciar la venida del reino. Sin embargo, esta comisión incluye un componente escatológico, el regreso de Cristo como Rey para juzgar a los vivos y los muertos, y que también incluye la restauración de todas las cosas.

Solo me puedo imaginar a Cornelio y sus amigos asombrados o desconcertados, ya que Pedro estaba siendo desafiado con la realidad de una inclusión intercultural, con lo que Dios tenía reservado para ellos. Esta narrativa debe verse como una realidad más “global” e intercultural.

Si uno sigue de cerca la conversación de Pedro con Corneli, notará que aquí se estableció una conexión divina con implicaciones terrenales. Poco a poco comenzó a surgir una relación a través de la jornada, la visita a la casa y la conversación que incluía elementos clave sobre el evangelio, la crucifixión, la muerte y la resurrección de Jesús.

Esta interacción también alude a las demostraciones del poder de Dios, el arrepentimiento y el perdón de los pecados, que a su vez establecen el camino para una nueva relación con Dios.

Las barreras culturales fueron derribadas por el Dios vivo y, sin embargo, este discípulo estaba aún tan inmerso en su realidad mono cultural. En su mayoría, esto sigue siendo cierto hoy en día.

La sociedad y la Iglesia quieren ser competentes intercultural-multiculturalmente con un enfoque y práctica mono cultural. Es simplemente incorrecto esperar y exigir, ya sea explícitamente o siendo pasivo-agresivo, que otras culturas comprendan y practiquen los entendimientos norteamericanos solamente; Eso se le conoce como dominio y asimilación forzada.

Sin transformación, lo multicultural-intercultural se convierte en un ideal más; u otra cosa agradable para soñar.

La transformación intercultural implica apertura y disposición para ver y abrazar a otros quienes son y se ven diferentes, como lo hace Dios. Significa aprender, vivir y luchar con realidades distintas de lo que es relevante para la cultura y la teología norteamericanas dominantes.

La teología intercultural de los inmigrantes es más amplia y desafiante; no se centra en un aspecto de la vida de la iglesia, sino que busca ser integral, en acción y reflexión, en todos y para todos.

La experiencia de Cornelio desafió a la primera generación de discípulos y todavía lo hace hoy. Él y sus amigos parecían poder integrar su nueva realidad de fe dentro de su cultura. En cierto modo, los veo como parte de la “primera generación de inmigrantes” en la fe cristiana.

La competencia multicultural-intercultural exige apertura para comprometerse verdaderamente con lo que es importante para “otras” culturas y lo que también es importante para ellas. Esta realidad cuestionará y desafiará ese “intento multicultural con una mentalidad y práctica monocultural”.

A menos que la Iglesia y la sociedad estén abiertas y dispuestas a experimentar la transformación y los dolores que conlleva, los intentos de competencia multicultural e intercultural serán solo una conversación y un sueño.

De la misma manera en que Cristo insufló el Espíritu en sus discípulos, que el Espíritu continúe dándonos el don de la amistad, el compañerismo y la competencia transformadora intercultural.

WDC announcements

  1. Holy Week Stress?  If leading your congregation in remembering the last week of Jesus’ life is adding stress because of increased expectations, attached is a list of ideas for clergy self-care.  It’s available in both Spanish and English.  Try some out next week and beyond.
  1. Leadership Lunches continue on the fourth Thursday of each month. These lunch discussions are based on Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) principles, competencies, and behaviors, but please come even if you haven’t attended a KLC training. Case studies will be used to guide our time together. Come join us on Thursday, April 25 at the WDC offices from 12-1:30pm (bring your own lunch).  We will apply leadership concepts to a case-study growing out of the recent retreat on pastoral responses to climate change.  If you want to join via Zoom video conference, let us know (wdc@mennowdc.org), and you will be sent a link. We hope to see you there!
  1. Attention all VBS leaders and planners! The Conference Resource Library has books suggested by MennoMedia’s “Are You My Neighbor?” and SpringsForth’s “Detectives of Divinity” VBS curriculum available to supplement your week of VBS!  All churches are welcome to contact the library to reserve these books for their week of VBS.  Contact Jennie at 316-283-6300 or crlib@mennowdc.org.
  1. The Spring 2019 issue of Leadermagazine focuses on “Pastoral Care for Pastors.”  The Conference Resource Library has a copy available for checkout, as well as many of the print resources mentioned in specific articles including:
  • Faithful and Fractured: Responding to the Clergy Health Crisis by Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell and Jason Byassee
  • Uproar: Calm Leadership in Anxious Times by peter L. Steinke
  1. Thank you to First Mennonite Church of Christian (Moundridge, KS) and Bethel College Mennonite Church (North Newton, KS) for loaning artwork created by church members to the WDC office, where it is on display for the next six months.  Come and see it – and consider loaning an art piece from your congregation.  For more information, contact WDC office at:  wdc@mennowdc.org.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. We’re looking for you!  Camp Mennoscah is peeking around corners and checking our mail to find nurses for our camp weeks of June 9-15 and June 23-29 and kitchen staff for June 23-29.  We also have a few single openings for kitchen staff on some weeks.  Nurses can receive a stipend or a camper discount.  Kitchen staff can receive a camper discount up to full fees.  Free tee shirts for all nurses and kitchen staffers!  Emailolivia.bartel@campmennoscah.orgor call 620-297-3290.  Willing hearts and happy hands are all that are needed!
  1. Retirees Retreat Last Chance!  The Retirees Retreat is next week and we’re down to the last few days to register.  We’d be thrilled to have you join us for these days to relax and refresh.  There are times for Bible Study, singing, presenters, and coffee breaks.  Take a few moments and go for a walk, if the weather is good, or spend the evening playing games with others.  Call us at 620-297-3290 or register online at www.campmennoscah.org!
  1. Service Projects?  Fun?  Free meal?  Whatever catches your eye, Camp Mennoscah’s Work and Play Day on April 27 from 8:30am-2:30pm likely maybe has it.  We definitely have the service projects and the meal and the fun!  Additional bunks for summer camp use (Senior High) will be built–as well as many other possible projects!  Let us know you’re coming so we have a meal for you.  Call us at 620-297-3290 or email office@campmennoscah.org.
  1. The Camp Mennoscah 2019 summer staffers are Addie Regier, music plus; Anna Lubbers, lifeguard; Ellie Bradley, crafts; Hannah Unruh, lifeguard plus; Jeff Kauffman, grounds/maintenance; Karina Brandt, office; Kendrick Weaver, office plus; Kyle Flickinger, lifeguard plus; and Seth Rudeen, naturalist.  Plus indicates the staffer will have responsibilities beyond just what their title states or they may share in bits of another position.  We love these folks who are multi-talented and want to use their awesome skills!
  1. Summer Youth Camps at Camp Mennoscah still have openings!  Gather your friends and tell them about the great things we do–campfire, river play, crafts, singing, nature, friendship bracelets, and more fun stuff!  Camp is the sort of thing to share with everyone.  Our summer theme is Peace Works: Empowering Peacemakers.  Register online at campmennoscah.org!

Mennonite church announcements

Prairie View Pastoral Luncheon, April 23, noon, at the Prairie View Chapel, 1901 E 1st St, Newton, KS. The topic will be suicide prevention and response.  Brent Ide, LSCSW, will be the presenter. Free lunch will be available for those who RSVP (please email schragej@pvi.org with any dietary restrictions).  Donations are always welcome to support the Prairie View Chaplaincy and Pastoral Resourcing programs.

WDC Sprouts announcement guidelines:  Announcements pertain to Western District Conference (WDC) ministries and churches, institutions with which WDC has formal relationships, and Mennonite Church USA agencies and ministries.    

Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS  67117
316-283-6300; FAX:  316-283-0620
Email:  wdc@mennowdc.org
Website:  www.mennowdc.org

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