WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
June 20, 2017
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:
*Feature article: The Community of the Spirit – by Byron Pellecer
Feature article: The Community of the Spirit
by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister
Throughout time, I realized that the Church is a guest in the community that it seeks to reach. It is also challenged to know this community and its reality to proclaim in a compassionate way the kingdom of God and divine grace – to witness Christ, that is.
Whether I am working on church planting, church revitalization or church growth, the fact that the Church is a guest in its community does not change.
As I read the book of Acts, I notice how the Jesus’ movement was concentrated mainly in Jerusalem. But as the early believers experienced and received the Holy Spirit’s power, the movement began to expand across the land. So far, they were confined to the so-called holy land but after this supernatural intervention they experienced revitalization, growth, and multiplication.
As the Early Community of believers continued experiencing the leadership and empowerment of the Holy Spirit they were challenged by circumstances and context such as persecution to engage in a continuous dialogue not only among themselves but with their respective community.
On the one hand, the monocultural Early Community found itself tested with a multicultural reality as well. The Jesus movement was no longer concentrated in Jerusalem, it became the movement of the Spirit throughout the land. They were called and empowered to be witness to all people.
On the other hand, the Early Community of the Spirit was portrayed as a faith group with power to transform individuals and societies to make them loving and upstanding citizens. This movement was a transformational and revolutionary group at its core. It challenged the status quo, especially the existing social and political issues. The slogan and the driving force of this peaceful and prophetic revolutionary movement was Jesus is LORD of all, not Caesar.
Acts suggests a commissioning and witnessing approach to nonbelievers and the creation of a new Spirit filled community – a new humanity, that is. It is not only about saving souls, it is about transformation and wholeness. It is not one or the other either, it is the whole ‘package.’
Nowadays, I continue to wrestle with this question: What does a Spirit filled community looks like? Perhaps, a Spirit filled community is to confront groups, individuals and systems that create separations and divisions in our civilized society with Jesus’ life and teachings.
For example, today we confront Texas law SB 4 and other types of xenophobia, racial profiling, and discrimination. In contrast, a Spirit-filled community is a loving and welcoming community.
A Spirit filled community is a Jesus community because this Jesus is the one who died, was raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, and was crowned as a king above all Caesars, including the contemporary ones. This Spirit filled community has been sent out to proclaim the same revolutionary and transforming gospel without violence of any kind and under the lordship of Jesus. They risked everything for the sake of the kingdom of God!
Friends, let us be reminded that the Church is commissioned to speak to the reality of its community and to allow that community to speak back. It is through the Church that God also speaks and hears back from the community. We have been invited to enter, live, and share God’s kingdom.
- WDC Annual Assemblywill be August 4-6 in Arlington, TX Schedule and registration information has been distributed to churches and posted online. Registrations have begun to arrive! Read all about Assembly and register by July 19 at: http://mennowdc.org/annual-assembly/#2017annualAssembly
- A bus has been charteredfrom North Newton, KS to Arlington, TX for the WDC Annual Assembly August 4-6. Bus departs from Kauffman Museum in North Newton on the morning of August 4, and can also pick up riders at the Best Western in Park City, KS. Anticipated return to North Newton is 8 pm on August 6. Complete information about Annual Assembly, the chartered bus option, and online registration is at: http://mennowdc.org/annual-assembly/#2017annualAssembly. Register early to secure your seat on the deluxe motorcoach! Seats available until filled.
- WDC delegates to the Mennonite Church USA convention in Orlando are: Norma Duerksen, Rosie Epp, Anita Kehr, Heidi Regier Kreider, Byron Pellecer, Terry Rediger, Ray Reimer and Kristen Swartley. Three persons from WDC have also been appointed to participate in the Step Up program for senior high youth attending delegate sessions: Erick J. Martinez, Magdalena Ramer Wenger and Andrew Moore. Please pray for these folks as they represent Western District Conference at the delegate assembly and Future Church Summit.
- A message for congregational delegates attending Orlando 2017:Thank you for joining others from WDC who will be attending the Mennonite Church USA delegate assembly and Future Church Summit. We encourage your support for the resolution “Seeking Peace in Israel-Palestine” prepared for consideration by delegates. Together with several others from WDC, we participated in April 2016 on a Come and See tour to Israel/Palestine, sponsored by Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Central Committee. We gained deeper understanding of the historical, political, economic and religious dynamics of conflict in the region, and were moved by the witness of people who are most deeply impacted by the systemic injustices and violence of that conflict. Based on these experiences and perspectives, We believe the resolution is a faithful response to God’s will for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine. Blessings on your travels and participation at Orlando 2017.
– Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister, and Anita Kehr, Moderator
- Follow up to the April 29 WDC event: “Congregational Ministry in the Face of Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence” – Has your congregation held any discussions, or drafted a new congregational policy regarding how to respond in the event of sexual abuse charges, whether by credentialed or uncredentialed people? If you would be willing to share any resources you have created for the benefit of other congregations, please forward them to Kathy Neufeld Dunn, Associate Conference Minister (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you.
- Summer Reading Program–for all ages in all places!Children AND adults, sign up for the WDC Resource Library’s summer reading program at www.mennowdc.org/library or contact the library (email@example.com or 316-283-6300). Fun prizes for all ages and we mail books to those at a distance.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
Be part of the fun at Camp Mennoscah! Camp is a place where we are reminded that being a Christian is fun. Our summer youth camps run through the last week of July and we have openings for those going into grade 3 through senior high. Some of the age groups only have one camp week left–don’t miss out! Give us a call at 620-297-3290 or register online at campmennoscah.org Limited scholarship funds are available.
Family Weekend at Camp Mennoscah! Everyone is invited to join us on July 29-30 for a weekend of worship, swimming, crafts, campfire, and fun with others. We will provide meals, lifeguards, craft materials, and music–all for you! Unplug and spend some time in creation creating memories with your family and friends. Register online at campmennoscah.org or call 620-297-3290.
Young Adult Weekend, August 4-6! Put it on your calendar, friends! We’ve a weekend of time for you to be unstructured and relaxed. There will be worship, swimming, time to play games or go for walks, be in solitude or with friends. Register online or call 620-297-3290. It doesn’t get much better than having a chance to do what you want (mostly)!
Thank you to everyone who supports our summer staff, counselors, and program staff who spend time at Camp Mennoscah! The letters and packages you send are special treats during a week that is rewarding and fun but often exhausting. Thank you also to all the parents, friends and relatives who send letters to our campers! We all love to get mail and these notes are a good pick-me-up and a hug through words. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the camper’s name in the subject line.
Mennonite church announcements
- Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine Resolution Webinarput on by Mennonite Church USA, in coordination with MCC, will be todayJune 20, 8 pm eastern / 7 pm central/ 6 pm mountain / 5 pm pacific – Join us for a 1-hour webinar to learn more about the “Seeking Peace in Israel-Palestine” resolution that will be considered by delegates at Orlando 2017. Andre Gingerich Stoner who helped lead the writing process will offer a short overview of the resolution. The webinar will have extensive question and answer time. Whether you read the resolution beforehand and come with questions, or use this as an introduction to the resolution, you are welcome to join the conversation. Please RSVP.
- Kairos Palestine with Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac: video
- A Rabbi and a Pastor walk through a checkpoint: Relating to Jewish neighbors while working for justice in Palestine: video
- The BDS Movement: What it is, what it isn’t, and how it relates to Mennonites video
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117