WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
August 21, 2018
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:
by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
Through practice and experience, I have learned that every church plant is completely different. My church planting work in South Florida, in Virginia and in Kansas were completely different, from geography, the most obvious, to demographics and culture.
Each one of these church planting ministries was missionary work. People’s culture, values, political views, religions, as well as how people live, work, study and play, are some of the key components that help a church planter to understand the landscape of the intended region to be reached with God’s redemptive Good News.
Missiologist Ed Stetzer affirms that “The missional church planter is performing an ‘exegesis’ of the target culture.” Which means to show the way or to guide, to interpret or explain. For him, “to exegete the culture is to study the setting in such a way that one receives guidance for understanding the meanings of cultural patterns, systems and behaviors.” These and other realities might explain why every established or emerging church is totally different.
On the other hand, every one of these realities will enrich the life of the church plant initiative and later, it will shape its vision. These contexts serve as entry points to connect and build relationships with the community.
Case in point, a week ago, Iglesia Menonita Aposento Alto, our WDC Wichita church plant, reached out to its neighbors to join them in celebrating their first anniversary since Pastor Jaime Cazares began serving as church planter. Congregants went door by door greeting, connecting and inviting their neighbors to celebrate and feast together. Aposento Alto became aware that the day after their celebration was “back to school” day as well. Consequently, they talked, planned and prayed together for Christ’s Spirit to bless those who will be invited and for those that will respond to the invitation.
Furthermore, they also invited and requested assistance from current and former sister churches. God was glorified amongst them, around 71 people attended this gathering.
What makes this experience more interesting is that at least 42 attendees were people from the neighborhood who are not attending a church yet.
In addition, new friendships were established like Crescencio who loves to play the accordion. In the words of Pastor Jaime “He is the first person who I met at a garage sale; it turns out that he plays the accordion. The goal was to reach him and his family with God’s redemptive love.” Out of this new friendship, Crescencio’s family began to attend Aposento Alto’s worship celebration.
Crescencio also attended the outdoor anniversary celebration and played the accordion and sang hymns with Pastor Jaime.
Unless we live incarnated lives in our communities by establishing a relationship with them, it would be almost impossible to “understand the meanings of cultural patterns, systems and behaviors” of our society.
by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
A través de la práctica y de la experiencia, aprendí que cada iglesia que se planta es completamente diferente. El trabajo ministerial de plantación de iglesias en el sur de la Florida, en Virginia y en Kansas fue completamente diferente en geografía -por mencionar lo obvio- diferentes en su demografía y en cultura.
Cada uno de estos ministerios de plantación de iglesias fue una obra misionera. La cultura, los valores, las opiniones políticas, las religiones y dónde vivían, trabajaban, estudiaban y jugaban las personas fueron algunos de los componentes claves que ayudan al plantador de iglesias a comprender el panorama de una región donde se desea compartir el evangelio redentor de Cristo.
Por un lado, Stetzer afirma que “el plantador misional de iglesias debe hacer una ‘exégesis’ de la cultura a la cual quiere alcanzar.” Lo que significa mostrar el camino o guiar, interpretar o explicar. Para él, “Interpretar o entender la cultura es estudiar el entorno de tal manera que uno recibe orientación para comprender los significados de los patrones, sistemas y comportamientos culturales”. Estas y otras realidades podrían explicar el por qué cada iglesia establecida o emergente es totalmente diferente.
Por otro lado, cada una de estas realidades enriquecerá la vida de la iglesia emergente y más tarde, moldeará su visión. Estos contextos sirven como puntos de entrada para conectarse y construir relaciones con la comunidad.
Por ejemplo, hace una semana la Iglesia Menonita Aposento Alto una iglesia emergente de la Conferencia de Western District en la ciudad de Wichita se acercó a sus vecinos para invitarlos a la celebración de su primer aniversario. Los congregantes fueron puerta por puerta saludando, conectando e invitando a sus vecinos a celebrar y festejar juntos. Aposento Alto se dio cuenta de que el día después de su celebración es el día “inicio del año escolar”. En consecuencia, hablaron, planificaron y oraron juntos para que el Espíritu de Cristo derramara Su bendición sobre aquellos quienes serían invitados y por aquellos que responderían a la invitación.
También invitaron y solicitaron ayuda de las iglesias hermanas actuales y de las anteriores. Dios fue glorificado entre ellos, alrededor de 71 personas asistieron a esta reunión.
Lo que hace que esta experiencia sea aún más interesante es el hecho de que por lo menos 42 asistentes eran personas del vecindario y que todavía no asisten a la iglesia.
Además, se establecieron nuevas amistades como el caso de Crescencio, a quien le encanta tocar el acordeón. En palabras del pastor Jaime Cazares “Él es la primera persona que conocí en una venta de garaje; y descubrí que le gusta tocar el acordeón. El objetivo era llegar a él y a su familia con el amor redentor de Dios”. De esta nueva amistad, la familia de Crescencio comenzó a asistir a la celebración de júbilo de Aposento Alto. “El Chino” asistió a la celebración del aniversario al aire libre donde tocó el acordeón mientras cantaban himnos con el pastor Jaime.
A menos que vivamos vidas encarnadas en nuestras comunidades a través del establecimiento de relaciones amistosas, sería casi imposible “comprender los significados de los patrones culturales, sistemas y comportamientos” de nuestra sociedad.
- The next Leadership Lunch will be on Thursday (August 23) from 12-1:30 pm at the WDC office. The topic is: “Get used to uncertainty and conflict”. All are welcome to attend this conversation on Kansas Leadership Center concepts, even if you haven’t attended a KLC training. Bring your own lunch. (To join this meeting by Zoom video conference: Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/737297330, Or iPhone one-tap: US: +16468769923, 737297330# or +16699006833, 737297330#, Or Telephone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833, Meeting ID: 737 297 330
- The SCC/WDC Sponsor Appreciation Evening is fast approaching, and you are encouraged to get the folks who work with youth in your congregation lined up to attend. This is a chance for the conferences to express appreciation to these volunteers as well as to equip and encourage them in their roles working with youth and young adults. So…
When: Saturday, September 22 from 4-7:00 pm
Where: Journey Mennonite Church, Yoder Campus
What: Equipping: from 4-6 pm: Good News/Bad News: Sharing our journeys
Appreciating: from 6-7:00, enjoying a meal catered by Carriage Crossing
Who: This event is for the adult volunteers who work with youth and young adults in your congregation. If you appreciate the time, energy, and love they give, and want to equip them for deeper ministry, send them!
Cost: We are asking congregations to pay $10/participant to help offset the cost of the meal, but we will turn no one away. We do not want the adult volunteers to pay their own way!
So line up your adult volunteers, and let us know how many we need to prepare for. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, September 10
- Be Brave, Be Bold, Be You! Women & Girls Retreat 2018 – The schedule and registration forms for the 2018 Retreat, Sept 7-9 at Camp Mennoscah, are available (insert where they are available at your church). Rachel Ringenberg Miller, pastor of Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton, KS, will be the featured speaker. Many interesting and fun seminars are planned, along with plenty of time to relax and connect with nature and friends. This retreat is open to all women and girls grade 3 and older. Registration forms are due August 27.
- MennoGrass 2018: Come join us at Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, KS, on Sunday evening, August 26 from 5:30-8pm for MennoGrass! This is a free event that includes supper and live music. Supper will be served beginning at 5:30 pm. Our bands this year are Hopeful Bluesand the Smoky Valley Bluegrass Band. Bring lawn chairs if you have them. We hope to see you there!
- Calling all West Zion alumni and former pastors! Join us for worship (10:30 AM) and a free fried chicken meal (11:45 AM) on September 23 as we celebrate 130 years of God’s faithfulness and look forward to what comes next.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- The slides and cable climber for the Whale playground at Camp Mennoscah are here! We will be looking for volunteers to help add the play components as soon as work dates are set. The Whale will be dedicated on September 23 at 5pm as part of our annual meeting and Work & Play Camp. You are invited! Woo-hoo!
- Come one and all to Work & Play Camp! From Sept. 21-25, we will be working and playing and having a grand time working on projects. This is our service-oriented retreat with tasks for all skill levels and ability. All ages are invited to come for a full or partial retreat. No fees but donations are welcome. Register online at campmennoscah.orgor call us at 620-297-3290!
- What a celebration we had! The annual Camp Sing for Camp Mennoscah was August 12th. Approximately 220 people celebrated a successful youth camp season with us in song, laughter, and popcorn. It was so much fun! $2313.90 was raised to help cover the $63 per camper gap between camp fees and the actual cost of camp. Want to help out? Go online to campmennoscah.orgor call us at 620-297-3290 to donate!
- Mental Health Spiritual Retreat at Camp Mennoscah, Sept. 2-3! This retreat is for individuals affected by mental illness, including family members and friends. Come support each other, have fun and enjoy being at camp. Register online at campmennoscah.orgor call us at 620-297-3290 for a brochure.
- Camp Mennoscah is 70 years old–and thriving! Come out to camp on Sunday, September 23, as we dedicate The Whale playground and celebrate Camp Mennoscah’s 70th Anniversary at the Annual Meeting! All are welcome to attend. Events are part of the Work & Play Camp starting on Sept. 21. Annual Meeting events begin with worship at 10amon Sunday with the Whale playground dedication at 5pm and annual meeting following. Register online at campmennoscah.org to let us know you’re coming to celebrate with us!
- Camp Mennoscah Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats coming up soon! The Fall Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats are October 26-28 and November 2-4. Register online at campmennoscah.org!
Mennonite church announcements
1. Seminary and Theology Graduate School Virtual Fair: Thursday, Sept 13, 11 am – 6 pm EDT. Want to learn more about Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary but can’t make it to our Elkhart, IN campus? At this free online event, you can get answers to your questions about AMBS from faculty, students and Admissions staff. Register today! ambs.edu/visit
- Develop skills for holistic leadership! AMBS’s Master of Arts in Christian Formation program equips students for congregational leadership in faith formation, spiritual direction, long-term visitation and spiritual companionship and congregational teaching and training. Need-based financial aid is available! ambs.edu/academics/ma-christian-formation
- Safe Church Grant – Everence offers a non-matching $350 grant for churches who are updating their safety policies. If you plan to do trainings, offer a lecture series or do smaller church renovations to keep children, youth and vulnerable adults safe from potential abuse, please go to this link for more information and to apply. www.everence.com/living-the-values/grants-and-scholarships-and-awards.
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