WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
February 26, 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:
*Feasting and Fasting
Feasting and Fasting
by Olivia Bartel, Camp Director, Camp Mennoscah
It is the Lenten season of fasting.
Fasting, in some ways, is a foreign concept at Camp Mennoscah. We are feasters. We eat copious amounts of homemade bread, verenike casserole, and taco salad. The roof of the shelter is pushed skyward with the joyous noise of our singing, and we are spiritually filled to the fullest with campfire worship. Pictures show proof of conversations under the shelter and at the pool or laughing and playing in the river. We are feasting on all things camp—food, the Spirit, relationships, faith, and fun.
Through the eyes of Isaiah, however, we aim to be the ultimate fasters at Camp Mennoscah, although we do not think of it as such. Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6)
We have a rip-roaring time at camp, but many of us are dealing with brokenness and suffering. There are the emotional lows, anxiety and lack of self-confidence. We experience spiritual loss and feel deserted by God and friends; we are squashed by sin, hate, and anger. Some of us may not know what is keeping us down, but something just isn’t right. We need to be freed from metaphorical yokes and break loose from those things preventing us from being who God wants us to be.
Is this not the fast we choose? To seek God’s peace for all, to live as a people of healing and hope, to heal brokenness, and to follow Jesus Christ?
This is the mission statement of Camp Mennoscah, home of experienced feasters: To encourage all to follow Jesus Christ, to live as a people of healing and hope, to seek God’s peace, to practice love, forgiveness, and hospitality, to affirm diversity and heal brokenness, and to experience God’s creation.
Our mission makes us experienced fasters, too, though our fasting is significantly less noticeable than sackcloth and ashes. It comes in the building and re-building of relationships and in strengthening our faith in God, who will be there to guide and remake us. We “fast” at Camp Mennoscah as we care for each other, struggle together to heal and seek to be filled with light. We do this every day regardless of whether we have campers or church groups, families or individuals.
It is now the Lenten season of fasting. All are invited to join us at Camp Mennoscah, whatever the time of year, for fasting and feasting. Is not this the fast (and feast) that we choose? To care for each other, to love each other, to feast on fun, and to give of ourselves so that all may see the light of God?
Mar 3 – Pray for Hispanic pastors in WDC as they gather for a retreat next weekend in Texas.
Mar 10 – Pray for WDC congregations experiencing pastoral transition, as they determine next steps in congregational discernment and pastoral search processes.
Mar 17 – Give thanks for Western District Women in Mission (WDWM), as they resource women by promoting spiritual growth, nurture women’s gifts and leadership, build relationships and support the mission of WDC.
Mar 24 – Pray for students and tutors in WDC congregations participating in IBA (Instituto Bíblico Anabautista) and SeBAH (Seminario Bíblico Anabautista Hispano), grassroots theological education programs sponsored by Hispanic Ministries of Mennonite Education Agency.
Mar 31 – Pray for WDC members attending adaptive leadership training at Kansas Leadership Center (Wichita, KS) in 2019, as they apply this learning to a variety of different ministry contexts and leadership challenges.
Mar 5 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
Apr 1-2 – WDC Healthy Boundaries Training
April 8-10 – “Who Care About Climate Change?”, Camp Mennoscah
Apr 27 – WDC Executive Board meeting
May 6-11 – MCC South Texas Borderlands Learning Tour
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
- 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 February 28 at the WDC offices from 12-1:30pm (bring your own lunch). If you want to join via Zoom video conference, let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org), and you will be sent a link. We hope to see you there!
- Pastors’ Financial Assistance grant:Everence has been awarded a second $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment to address financial needs of pastors. Similar to a previous grant, this program will provide direct financial assistance through matching grants to pastors to help alleviate debt burdens such as education, medical and credit card debt. (Grants are available to pastors who have not previously received direct financial assistance grants as part of the program). Financial assistance grants must be matched by congregations, the conference, or other sources. WDC encourages congregations to provide matching funds for pastors who are eligible for a grant. The WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission also has made a limited number of matching grants available to assist eligible pastors who are approved by Everence for a grant. For more information, please contact WDC. March 1 is the first due-date for grant applications, with subsequent due-dates on June 1, Sept 1 and Nov 1. The grant will also assist pastors with financial planning subsidies toward the cost of a first-year Everence comprehensive financial plan, and support educational events on topics such as retirement planning, debt reduction, financial planning, clergy taxes, etc. For more information and application forms go to https://www.everence.com/financial-services/for-churches/pastoral-financial-wellness-program.
- Now on display at the Conference Resource Library: Lent & Easter resources. From devotionals to worship resources, stories to poems, DVDs to family resources—we’ve got something for everyone. Lent starts Wednesday, March 6.
- All women are invited to the Western District Women in Mission (WDWM) Spring Supper on Thursday, March 21 at First Mennonite Church in McPherson. Speaker: Sheryl Wilson, Executive Director of KIPCOR. See flyer for more information including how to RSVP. (Church offices, please forward this information to the women’s group(s) in your congregation as well as printing and posting the attached poster, and sharing via bulletin etc as appropriate in your congregation.)
- Join MCC Central States May 6-11 for a South Texas Borderlands Learning Tour focused on education related to a range of matters surrounding immigration. Cost is $650. Contact Ana Alicia Hinojosafor more information: https://mcc.org/get-involved/events/learning-tour-south-texas-borderlands
- Transitional Ministry training: Amigo Centre, Sturgis, MI, will host a Transitional Ministry Training retreat April 1-4 for individuals interested in pursuing this type of ministry. Transitional ministry has a unique place in the mission of the church. While “interim pastors” have provided preaching and pastoral care for many years, “transitional ministry” involves training to lead congregations through a process of preparation for entering a new chapter of leadership. Attached is a brochure with basic information regarding this upcoming training. Note that deadline for registering is March 1. Visit http://tmt.amigocentre.org/ for additional information, or contact Amigo Centre at 269.651.2811. Also, Scholarships are available from the WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission to assist with the expenses of this training – for more information, contact Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister (email@example.com, 316-283-6300).
- Thank you to everyone who attended the recent “How Firm A Foundation” fund raising concert at Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, KS. The amazing musical gifts of the Bethel College Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr. William Eash, and the Hesston College Bel Canto Singers, under the direction of Dr. Russell Adrian were joyously offered and received by over 400 people in attendance. The Spirit-filled concert inspired those in attendance to give more than $15,000 to support the construction costs of the new Fellowship Hall. We hope everyone experienced some aspect of Tabor’s vision for “Hospitality, Healing, and Hope” through this event. –Tabor Church Finance Task Force
- The Gospelaires, a quartet from Hopedale, Illinois, is singing at Salina (KS) Mennonite Church, on March 9 at 5 pm. The event will include Southern Gospel music and congregational hymn singing, followed by a soup supper. Concert and meal are free, donations will be accepted.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Hey, Youth Volunteers! Sign up now for Youth Volunteer Weekend, March 15-16! Rachel Miller and Isaac Entz will lead the weekend fun with the help of counselors. There will be singing, service projects, smores, and such a grand time! All youth in grades 7-12 should come to renew their faith, be at camp, and take a short break from everything at home. Register online at campmennoscah.orgor call us at 620-297-3290!
- Thank you, thank you for everyone who took part in the Hymn Sing and Dessert Auction! The desserts were amazing (coming soon to Camp Mennoscah’s Facebook page), your singing was delightful, the musicians were wonderful, and those who helped with setup and cleanup were invaluable. Your generosity raised $1663.00 for our summer staffers! Thank you! We’ll see you at the Camp Sing on August 11 for more singing and shenanigans.
- Work and Play Day at Camp Mennoscah coming soon! Our first Work & Play Day of the year is April 27. We’ll start work projects at 8:30am and end at 2:30pm, just in time for you to spend the rest of the afternoon playing. A simple lunch will be served. Please register online at campmennoscah.orgor call us at 620-297-3290 to let us know you’re coming! All ages invited; those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
- Be ready! We will soon be putting in the dam at Camp Mennoscah. The date has not yet been determined. Keep looking for more information!
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.