WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
June 26, 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 Michael Unruh, Camp Mennoscah Executive Director
It rained this past weekend.
As I drove out to Camp Mennoscah Monday morning, no trail of dust could be seen in my rearview mirror as I made my way along the township road near camp. The grasses and the trees seemed noticeably greener and seemed to radiate pure positivity, especially when paired with the blue sky overhead. After a healthy rain, the natural world seems as close as it can be to the way God designed it.
But what about when that rain doesn’t come?
When a drought arrives, blades of grass begin to curl, while leaves on other plants begin to wilt and even fall off. Shades of brown slowly take over the landscape. Taproots push ever farther down into the earth in search of any available water. A plant with the capability of producing beautiful wildflowers and fruits will instead conserve that energy for its ultimate survival. Drought is a scary time for plants, animals, and anything that depends on these to live. During a period of drought the natural world doesn’t seem to be very close to the way God designed it.
Over the past several months, I have found myself experiencing a spiritual dryness. Balancing several matters has caused me to conserve the energy ordinarily dedicated to spiritual needs, instead focusing on physical, relational, and occupational responsibilities to survive. I haven’t felt like I’m seeing God move, nor has God felt especially close. This does not feel like the way my relationship with God should be. My spirit is wilty, brown, fruitless, and waiting for the water to come.
Have you felt this way before? It can be an unnerving time! Jesus tells the Samaritan woman in John 4:14, “those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty.” This is not an especially helpful verse for someone who feels as though their spirit is thirsting for the living water Jesus describes. But, a helpful practice for me in the past months has been to intentionally look outside myself for signs of Christ’s living water. These past three weeks of Camp Mennoscah’s summer youth camps, I have watched for signs of God’s spirit on the move in the lives of the campers and staff. And I have seen movement through new friendships made during the camp week, fellowship around the lunch table, and counselors showing great care for their campers.
If your spirit is in a similar condition of dryness, I encourage to action by taking an investigative look around you. What life-giving things are happening in your congregation? In your family? In your community? In creation? All of these life-giving activities are signs of the living water. And if we can begin to see how Christ’s living water is moving around us, then maybe we can trust that the same life is working inside of us, even when it feels like we’re in a spiritual drought.
July 1 – Pray for WDC congregations and pastors making transitions this summer, that God’s wisdom and peace would surround them as they discern future leadership and ministry.
July 8 – Pray for members of the WDC Resource Commission as they meet this week to encourage congregations in faith formation, evangelism, justice, peacemaking, and youth ministry.
July 15 – Pray for Bible teacher and singer Bryan Moyer Suderman, as he prepares to lead WDC participants in “reading the Bible with Jesus” at the annual assembly, July 27-28.
July 22 – Pray for the fellowship, wisdom and joy of the Spirit to be with all who gather for WDC’s annual assembly next weekend.
July 29 – Give thanks for persons elected to new leadership roles in WDC at the annual assembly this weekend, and pray for God’s guidance for them in the year ahead.
July 12 – WDC Resource Commission meeting
July 13-15 – WDC Church Planting Commission Retreat, Dallas, TX
July 20 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
July 27 – Ministers’ Afternoon Apart, Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
July 27 – WDC Annual Assembly, Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
July 28 – WDC Annual Assembly, Eden Mennonite Church, Moundridge, KS
August 21 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
September 8 – WDC Executive Board meeting
October 26-27 – Year of Evangelism: Testimony Seminar, Iglesia Luz del Evangelio, Dallas, TX
- Pastors and other church leaders–The Conference Resource Library has several new titles on responding to and preventing sexual abuse now available.
–The long journey home : understanding and ministering to the sexually abused : a collaborative address from psychology, theology, and pastoral care / edited by Andrew J. Schmutzer
–The child safeguarding policy guide for churches and ministries / by Basyle Tchividjian, Shira M. Berkovits.
–The spiritual impact of sexual abuse / by Diane Langberg.
–Caring for survivors of abuse /by Basyle Tchividjian and Justin S. Holcomb.
–What the Bible says to abuse survivors and those who hurt them / by Victor Vieth.
For more information on these and many other resources on this topic visit our online catalog at mennowdc.org/library.
- Mark your calendars for the 2018 Women’s and Girl’s Retreatat Camp Mennoscah September 7-9. Rachel Ringenberg Miller, Pastor at Shalom Mennonite in Newton, will be our featured speaker. Many fun and meaningful activities and seminars are being planned for women and girls 3rd grade and older. Program details along with registration materials will be sent out in Mid-July. (Churches, please print copies of the attached flyer, or email to women in your church, and run the announcement July 1 and 8 if possible.)
- Bryan Moyer Suderman, our preacher at the WDC Annual Assembly(July 27-28), will lead interactive Bible studies that will engage youth and adults. Kids’ activities are also available. Bring your whole family to WDC Annual Assembly! For information and to register, go to: http://mennowdc.org/annual-assembly/#2018annualAssembly.
- Ministers’ Afternoon Apart – Scripture, Stranger, Neighbour: Encountering the “Other” in – and with – the Bible:
As part of WDC’s “Year of Evangelism,” ministers are invited to an Afternoon Apart on Friday July 27 with Bryan Moyer Suderman, 2:30 – 5:00 pm at Tabor Mennonite Church. We will “search the scriptures” and our own experience to explore examples of encountering the “other” in – and with – Scripture. How might Scripture inform and transform our encounters and relationships with others, inviting people to become disciples of Jesus? How might our encounters and relationships with others inform and transform our engagement with Scripture and life of discipleship? Through story, conversation, film, and song, Bryan Moyer Suderman will lead us in a dynamic and uplifting time of exploration and reflection together. The event is free, but participants are requested to RSVP to WDC: email@example.com or 316-283-6300.
- The next Leadership Lunch will be on Thursday (June 28) from 12-1:30 pm at the WDC office. The topic is: “Act Experimentally (Intervene Skillfully)”. 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 meting by Zoom video conference: Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/126502259, Or iPhone one-tap: US: +16699006833,,126502259# or +16468769923, 126502259# Or Telephone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 876 9923, Meeting ID: 126 502 259
- Thank you for your financial contributions to Western District Conference. Generous gifts from congregations and individuals allow WDC to support church planting initiatives, assist during pastoral transitions, provide resources for faith formation and youth ministry, network congregations responding to immigration concerns, and much, much more! To help WDC continue this work, please send contributions to PO Box 306, North Newton, KS 67117; or give online at http://mennowdc.org
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- The Whale Playground at Camp Mennoscah is complete! Thanks to Jordan Miller of Miller Construction, lots of volunteers, and your support, campers are currently playing on the new structure. It’s amazing! A generous donation is allowing us to add the slides and climbing net much sooner that we expected. We’ll get those in as soon as possible!
- Camp Mennoscah is looking for a nurse for July 15-21. Please contact us at 620-297-3290 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to have a nurse for the full week, but let us know if you’d be able to do a partial week, too. Being camp nurse is a great job! Stipend, wonderful camp meals, and lots of amazing campers and staff to be with!
- To our Senior High Wait List campers: We are working diligently to get as many of you as possible (and hopefully all) to Camp Mennoscah. We’ll notify campers as spaces are found. We have great hope and faith that everything will fall into place, but cannot yet guarantee this. Email us with any questions at email@example.com
Mennonite church announcements
1. Registration is open for the fourth Rooted and Grounded Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship, which will be held Sept. 27–29 at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. Conference organizers are inviting proposals for papers and workshops until July 1. Proposals may address themes such as biblical and/or theological perspectives on creation care, climate change, watershed discipleship, agriculture and care for the land, and land restoration. The event is being planned for practitioners of creation care from scholars and food justice activists to urban gardeners and environmental justice practitioners to farmers and church members. “Building on the conversations of the Rooted and Grounded conferences in 2014, 2015 and 2017, we are very excited to continue bringing together people from across North America who care deeply about the well-being of God’s creation,” says Janeen Bertsche Johnson, coordinator of the conference planning committee. See more information at: https://www.ambs.edu/news-events/rooted-and-grounded
- The Mennonite, Inc, invites your original submissions for their September 2018 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on PILGRIMAGE: https://themennonite.org/september-2018-call-submissions-pilgrimage/. Submissions are due to Editor@TheMennonite.org no later than July 27.
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