WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
April 30, 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:
*Worshipping the God of Creation
Worshipping the God of Creation
by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister
What is a loss or change that you or a loved one has experienced due to climate change?
“I seem to struggle more with allergies.” “Rainfall seems to be more erratic and unpredictable, and the growing season for crops is longer that it used to be. “We used to go ice-skating on the pond in the winter; but now it rarely is cold enough long enough to freeze the ice.” “Our family farm was destroyed by a tornado in November – since when did tornadoes come in November?” “I’ve been seeing armadillos further and further north… “I saw the receding glaciers in Alaska, and have heard that the Iditarod Dog Sled race is getting re-routed due to lack of adequate snow.”
These were some of the responses from participants at the retreat “Who cares about climate change? Pastoral responses to denial and despair,” April 8-10 at Camp Mennoscah. The retreat was facilitated by Doug Kaufman, Director of Pastoral Ecology at the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions, and Jennifer Schrock, Director of Mennonite Creation Care Network. 18 pastors and church members attended from WDC, South Central Conference and Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference, as well as several regional presenters.
Beyond allergies, armadillos and Alaska, retreat participants also recognized deeper emotional and spiritual concerns related to climate change: Anxiety about their grandchildren’s future on this earth; guilt and grief at how the lifestyles of current and previous generations have damaged the environment; frustration with political divisions and personal conflicts that arise in conversations about environmental issues; anger at the disproportionate impact of climate change on the poor, people of color, and children – those who have the least responsibility for causing climate change; and feeling paralyzed and overwhelmed by all these issues…
As a participant at the retreat, I found it helpful to acknowledge and confront these deeper levels of denial and despair, while also receiving information and inspiration to respond constructively. Retreat presentations included scientific information about climate change and its impact in areas such as medical and health concerns, food insecurity, political conflicts, weather extremes, and economic and agricultural factors. We practiced ways to listen and learn across differences in viewpoints on climate change, and we heard about opportunities for advocacy and education. We heard stories of communities working constructively for climate justice, as they integrate environmental conservation with social/racial justice. We considered theological and scriptural foundations of creation care. And – most importantly – we spent time worshiping the God of Creation – the One who calls us to be faithful stewards of creation and to live in justice and peace with our fellow human beings.
Together with others in WDC, I look forward to further discernment about our role in caring for God’s creation as a conference, as congregations and in our local communities.
May 5 – Pray for leaders and participants in the South Texas Borderlands Learning Tour sponsored jointly by WDC and Mennonite Central Committee May 6-11.
May 12 – As the school year ends, give thanks for WDC members who serve as teachers, faculty and staff in schools, colleges, and graduate institutions as they support and shape the lives of students of all ages.
May 19 – Pray for Camp Mennoscah staff and board, as they plan for the summer camping season, as well as ongoing projects and priorities for the future.
May 26 – Pray for chaplains in WDC who offer ministry in hospitals, health care and retirement communities, hospice programs and educational institutions in our local communities.
May 2 – WDC Resource Commission meeting
May 6-11 – MCC South Texas Borderlands Learning Tour
May 14 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
May 16 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting
June 21 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
July 2-6 – MennoCon19, Kansas City, MO
July 26-27 – WDC Annual Assembly, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
Sept 14 – WDC Reference Council
July 31-Aug 2, 2020 – WDC Annual Assembly, Texas location to be determined
- Pray for those on the Borderlands Leaning Tour: Some of the truths that the people on the May 6-11 MCC South Texas Borderlands Learning Tour will hear will likely be quite sobering. Please pray for those who are listening and learning, as well as those who seek safety in the midst of a very complex situation.
- April is ending, but there’s still time to check out these book favorites from Kathy Neufeld Dunn (Associate Conference Minister-KS Based). Check out the display in the Conference Resource Library or contact us to mail resources to you! Here’s the link to Kathy’s List: Kathy Neufeld Dunn (Associate Conference Minister-KS Based)
- Now on display at the Conference Resource Library: Pentecost/Holy Spirit, Earth Day/Creation Care and Spring resources. To explore the online catalog, go to: www.mennowdc.org/
- Thank you to First Mennonite Church, Halstead, KS, for loaning a beautiful wood carving created by John Gaeddert, who was pastor there in the 1980’s. This piece is now on display in the WDC office in North Newton, KS for the next six months. You are invited to come and see it – and consider loaning an art piece from your congregation!
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Nurses and kitchen helpers needed at Camp Mennoscah! We need nurses for our summer youth camp weeks of June 9-15 and June 23-29. Kitchen helpers are needed for June 23-29. We also have a few single openings for kitchen staff on some weeks. Nurses can receive a stipend or a full camper discount. Kitchen staff can receive a camper discount up to full fees. Free tee shirts for all nurses and kitchen staffers! Email firstname.lastname@example.org call 620-297-3290.
- Thank you to all our Work & Play Day volunteers who helped build bunk beds and put sealant on the boardwalk! Spread the word! Our next Work & Play Day is May 25!
- 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
I was a stranger and you took me in.” Matthew 25:35. The International Guest House in Washington DC (under the auspices of Allegheny Mennonite Conference) seeks to put these words into action through its mission of Christian hospitality. Volunteers are needed for short stints of four to six weeks this summer and beginning in January to help the hosts in cleaning, cooking, gardening, and interacting with guests who may come from all parts of the world. Room and board provided with two days off each week. The house is located near bus routes, bike paths, and there are ample parking spaces. For inquiries or an application, please call IGH (202-726-5808) or email@example.com.
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.