WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
June 27, 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
orwarded to congregational leaders and members.
WDC Sprouts is also available at: www.mennowdc.org (Publications)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Camp is a Family
Camp is a Family
by Michael Unruh, Camp Mennoscah Executive Director
Whoa! It’s difficult to believe we are already in our third full week of summer youth camps out at Camp Mennoscah. Leading up to the busy eight weeks, our ten summer staffers worked very diligently to prepare for their responsibilities leading up to the first week of camp, and the sign above the door of our new boys’ cabin, “Sandbar,” was attached just in time to host its inaugural cabin group. With the summer flying by, it can be easy to focus on the list of tasks to be completed and miss out on all of the signs pointing to the relationships our campers and staff are forming at Camp Mennoscah.
Last week, I had the joy of watching a closing circle for the Junior 1 camp from the outside, for the very first time. Campers and staff gather together, pray, sing a closing song, and then begin a line of firm hugs, handshakes, fist bumps, or high fives. While these goodbye gestures last for just a moment, contained within them is a week’s worth of friendship, shared experiences, joy, and love. I could even see this from where I was standing on the outside! As the circle moved along, quite a few parents had also begun gathering on the outside waiting for their campers to complete the goodbye circle. Expressions on their faces indicated they could also see these displays of genuine emotion.
Eventually the time comes for campers to leave, many times much to their dismay. Why is it so hard to leave a place like camp?
In Mark 3, Jesus is called outside by his mother and brothers to leave a crowd with whom he is speaking. “And he replied, ‘who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother’” (Mark 3:33-35). Jesus didn’t need to go outside to see his family; his family was already present around him! At camp, we are seeking to do God’s will and teach the campers and staff who spend time with us to do the same. And when we seek God’s will for our lives and for the lives of those around us, Jesus counts us as a member of his family, and of God’s family.
And that’s why it’s so hard to leave camp at the end of the week! Because we are not just leaving the people with whom we have shared a week of experiences; we are leaving our family! What begins as sometimes awkward first introductions at the beginning of the week often turn into relationships that last for many years to come. So, we invite you out to Camp Mennoscah so that you can spend time with your fellow siblings in the family of God. We would be thrilled to welcome you as one of our brothers or sisters as well!
July 2 – Pray for WDC congregations to witness faithfully to God’s justice, salvation and peace in the face of political, economic and cultural divisions in our nation.
July 9 – Pray for the WDC Executive Board as they meet this week to finalize delegate assembly agenda, and give leadership to the vision and mission of WDC.
July 16 – Pray for our sister conference, South Central Mennonite Conference, meeting next weekend for annual assembly at Hesston (KS) Mennonite Church.
July 23 – Pray for the WDC Church Planting Commission as they support church planters, emerging congregations and sister-church relationships within WDC.
July 30 – Pray for all who will travel to WDC Annual Assembly in Arlington, TX, next weekend, and for all who are planning and leading assembly activities.
July 4-5 – WDC Office closed
July 11 – WDC Executive Board meeting
July 19 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting
Aug 4-6 – WDC Annual Assembly, Arlington, TX
Aug 22 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
Aug 25 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
Sept 21 – WDC Resource Commission meeting
Oct 10 – WDC Healthy Boundaries Training 101
Oct 28 – WDC Reference Council
- WDC Annual Assembly will be August 4-6 in Arlington, TX. Annual Assembly is a time to gather as disciples of Jesus from diverse communities, to celebrate God’s faithfulness, strengthen fellowship in Christ, and share stories of how the Spirit is moving among us. This year’s assembly theme highlights that we are brought together by our common purpose of joining God’s mission in the world. For more information and to register by July 19, see: http://mennowdc.org/annual-assembly/#2017annualAssembly
- The WDC Houston congregations will host an Immigration Forum: Knowing your Rights on Saturday, August 26 from 9 am-12 noon at Iglesia Menonita Casa del Alfarero, 922 Strawberry Rd, Pasadena, TX. We will have a panel of presenters: Ana Hinojosa from MCC, a local immigration attorney and a IT person explaining a new immigration app “AssurOnce.”
- Did your kids “dig for treasure” this summer at VBS? Continue the learning and fun by reading books that on thetheme of parables revealed. Come check one out from the library or have us mail one to you! Contact the Conference Resource Library at email@example.com 316-283-6300.
- Opportunities for adaptive leadership training: WDC’s 2017 grant from Kansas Leadership Center still has several training spots for the Aug, Sept, Oct or Nov 2017 sessions of You.Lead.Nowintroductory leadership training or Equip to Lead for those who have had previous KLC training offered by KLC in Wichita, KS. Training sessions are filling up, so persons interested in applying for a training spot should contact WDC soon! Any minister or member of a WDC congregation is eligible to apply. For more information about KLC, see http://kansasleadershipcenter.org
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Summer Youth Camps at Camp Mennoscah! We’re Branching Out this summer for our theme and connecting with Christ in many ways. Grab a friend and register if you haven’t! Already been to camp? You’re always welcome for a second week. Give us a call at 620-297-3290and we’ll answer any questions you have. Limited scholarship funds available. Register online at campmennoscah.org! We love having campers at camp!
- Family Camp at Camp Mennoscah, July 29-30! We invite families and friends of all ages and sizes to join us for a weekend of relaxation and fun in God’s creation. There will be time for swimming and crafts, canoeing, relaxing, and campfire, but the weekend is all yours to do what you would like. There are limited rooms with air-conditioning–don’t delay! Register online at campmennoscah.orgor call us at 620-297-3290for more information. It’s going to be a weekend of fun!
- Hey, you guys! We practically demand that young adults come to Camp Mennoscah on August 4-6 for the Young Adult Weekend. It’s going to be an absolute blast and we don’t want you to miss it. Tammy Duvanel Unruh will join us for worship and the weekend is all yours. You decide if you want to play board games or nap, splash through the river or gently canoe–it’s all up to you! Register online at campmennoscah.orgor call us at 620-297-3290. Scholarships are available and can be requested as part of the registration process.
Mennonite church announcements
- Prairie View Chaplaincy program invites you to join us for a “Pastoral Luncheon and Education Opportunity.” Cecil Lilliston presents, “Social Media and the Church: Where did the boundaries go? Are boundaries become more and more blurred with each new social media ap? Is it really necessary for your church to be active in social media? Where are the confidentiality and professionalism guidelines for pastors using social media? Is social media healthy? We will explore these issues and more. Free lunch will be available for those who RSVP (please email firstname.lastname@example.org any dietary restrictions). Additionally, Misty will highlight some social media best practices and tips learned through Prairie View’s own experiences in the digital space. Free will donations will be accepted to support the Prairie View Chaplaincy and Pastoral Resourcing program.
Where: Prairie View Auditorium, 1901 E. First St., Newton
When: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 Lunch and networking begin at 12:00, presentations from 12:15-1:15.
2. Towels & Cloth Diapers Needed!The MCC Material Resources Center in North Newton, Kansas is currently running very low on towels for MCC relief kits and hygiene kits. Dark colored bath towels, dark colored hand towels and cloth diapers for infant care kits (flat fold preferred) are needed at this time. Donations can be brought to 121 E. 30th in North Newton, or you can purchase items from Amazon Smileor elsewhere online and have them shipped directly to MCC. Please contact Kate Mast with questions, email@example.com, 316.283.2720.
3. The Mennonite, Inc. welcomes your original submissions and contributions for our October 2017 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on Scripture: Texts that move and shape you. Submissions are due no later than August 1, 2017. We welcome written reflections—personal stories, biblical or theological reflections, poetry and more (800-1200 words), as well as original photography, multimedia products (including, but not limited to, original song or music recordings, music playlists, videos and vlogs) and artwork on the theme. For more info: https://themennonite.org/october-call-submissions-scripture/
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117