WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
March 5, 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:
*Move Toward the Light!
Move Toward the Light!
by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)
“Live as children of light…and find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5.8a, 10).
David Anderson Hooker, a pastor-mediator-attorney-and sometime biology lab assistant, told a parable about sea slugs during AMBS Pastors and Leaders 2019 conference. Sea slugs were created by God to move toward the light. They gently bump up against each other in their eagerness to get to the light (kind of like a high five) and thereby motivate each other to keep going.
Sea slugs may love the light, but they do not like turbulence. If these sea creatures are exposed to too much turbulence too often on their way to the light, they will turn away from the rough waters and the light in search of calm. After a while, if sea slugs see the light, even when they are in calm waters, they will turn away from the light, afraid of what is to come. Generations of sea slugs learn this behavior, to move away from the light, quicker and quicker.
We are too often like sea slugs. Remembering the stories of the turbulence and terror that our 16th C forebears experienced, we would just as soon be “the quiet in the land.” In this day and age, we experience another kind of turbulence that makes us afraid. There is no longer even a veneer of civility on most social media platforms, so we may “lurk” on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, but we do not respond when someone posts a diatribe of vitriol, intended to stir up the waters. We may not even speak out with words of gentle challenge or peace or hope when a friend is being “flamed,” let alone someone we do not know. We just turn off the feed for a while and seek the comfort of Ben & Jerry’s or Netflix or some other “calming” alternative.
There is hope for the sea slugs and for us. Even sea slugs who have been avoiding both turbulence and light for generations can experience transformation. If sea slugs from another group who still move toward the light are introduced to the scared, light-avoidant ones, things can change. As they move through the turbulence, the light-seeking sea slugs bump up gently against the ones who are afraid, encouraging them to turn around, and turn back toward the light, and many do.
Tomorrow will be Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The simplest definition of repentance is to turn around. Let us be like the sea slugs and turn back toward the Light. Then, as we are buoyed up by our brother and sisters nearby, may we find the courage to move again toward the Light, and encourage others to do the same, even as we swim in troubled waters.
MennoCon19 (Mennonite Church USA convention), is coming up July 2-6, 2019! WDC congregational delegates, youth groups, and other attenders are encouraged to register by the early registration due-date of March 19, after which registration cost increases. (Regular registration rates take effect March 20, and late registration begins May 1.) Also, note that congregations may each appoint one youth representative, age 16-21, to participate in the delegate sessions through the Step Up program. For more information, see https://convention.mennoniteusa.org/step-up-2019/. Let’s plan for a great turnout from WDC at MennoCon19!
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Retirees Retreat at Camp Mennoscah, April 22-24! We can’t wait to see retirees of all ages for a time of renewal with sessions on everything from trips to Central America and Ukraine to Reader’s Theater and a steel drum concert. There is time to take a break or go for a walk or have coffee and conversation. Singing and Bible studies included! Email firstname.lastname@example.org call 620-297-3290 for a brochure. Register online at campmennoscah.org! Bring friends!
- Full scholarships available! Sign up now for Youth Volunteer Weekend, March 15-16! Isaac Entz and Rachel Miller 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 are invited 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!
- 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 be putting in the dam at Camp Mennoscah no later than March 30. The date has not yet been determined. Keep looking for more information!
Mennonite church announcements
Returning Citizen Care Kits Needed: MCC Central States is seeking items for Returning Citizen Care kits. The full list of contents can be found on the Material Resources page of our website or by visiting our wish list on Amazon (although not all items for all kits are available on Amazon), making shipping items directly to our Material Resource Center easier. Returning Citizen Care kits are distributed to MCC partner organization Working Men of Christ in Wichita, Kansas where the kits help men and women feel supported and loved as they transition to life outside of prison. Items for kits should be sent to MCC Central States, 121 E. 30th St. North Newton, KS 67117. Questions? Please contact email@example.com or 316.283.270. Thank you for your generous support!
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.