WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
May 29, 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:
*A Missional Legacy
A Missional Legacy
by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister
I was surprised last January when I received an invitation to speak in a panel presentation at this year’s SENT conference, an annual church planting consultation sponsored by Mennonite Mission Network. I do not consider myself a church planter. What would I have to say on the topic? But I understood better when I heard the theme of the conference – Scattered: From Jerusalem to Antioch, exploring how the “legacy” church (shaped by rituals, traditions and values of the past) relates to the “missional” church (a church that is thriving, growing, reaching out and planting new churches). I was asked to speak on “Assets of the Legacy Church,” while another member of the panel spoke on “Perils of the Legacy Church.” As we conferred with each other in advance, we realized that assets and perils are often two sides of the same coin. The legacy church can be missional, but it can just as easily become stuck in maintenance and self-preservation.
Before becoming WDC conference minister, I served as the pastor of a “legacy” church – a congregation over 100 years old with strong historical connections to Mennonite higher education, mission and denominational agencies. Many of the members of the congregation were in their 70s, 80s, and 90s – legacy members themselves! But I learned that a Sunday school class with some of the oldest members of the congregation had originally been formed 50 years earlier when young adults wanted to start a new group of their own! – a class that would be relevant to their lives and changing world. In a congregation that was already a “legacy” church at that time, these young adults had a vision for something new – something “missional! When I arrived at the church, decades later, this same group had evolved to become a “legacy” Sunday school class, yet they were still learning and growing in their faith.
I offer this illustration to note that “legacy” and “missional” are not mutually exclusive. I believe legacy often has its roots in a missional initiative, and missional movements can give rise to legacy. While a legacy church can become stagnant and focused on maintenance, it can also choose to be missional if it is in touch with the movement of the Holy Spirit, participating in God’s mission in the world. With this in mind, I identified four assets of the legacy church, which I believe can be exercised in missional ways:
- The legacy church has strong foundations and has stood the test of time. It recognizes that its identity is shaped by history and memory, and that it is part of a cloud of witnesses and community of faith larger than itself. To be missional, the legacy church needs to celebrate its heritage and also to honestly confess and confront the sins of its past, such as abuses of power and privilege, racism, sexual abuse, nationalism and colonialism. Only then can it truly become a life-giving witness to God’s healing, peace and justice.
- The legacy church embodies wisdom within an intergenerational community. It includes elders who have valuable life experience and faith journeys from which to mentor younger generations and new believers. The legacy church is missional when it provides opportunity for multiple generations to wrestle together with questions of life and death, change and loss, vocation, faith and discipleship.
- The legacy church has developed rituals, traditions and practices that shape community, identity and faith in powerful ways. A legacy church that is missional will intentionally incorporate children and new believers into the faith community by inviting and teaching them to participate in these practices, and explaining the meaning of the practices. To be missional, the legacy church will also discern when to refresh or interrupt a tradition, and when to begin a new tradition!
- The legacy church has multiple resources: Leadership skills, financial base, staff members, social capital, networks of relationships and knowledge which has developed from many years of experience. It has the capacity to serve not only its own members, but also the wider community through service, mission, offering its facility for activities, and more. The legacy church is missional when it uses its resources to further God’s mission and priorities, rather than simply to maintain itself.
Western District Conference has many legacy congregations, and we are a “legacy” conference, richly endowed with historical foundations, wisdom, traditions and resources of many kinds. We are also a missional conference when we use these gifts to help the church thrive and grow, to encourage young and emerging congregations, and to plant new missional congregations.
June 3 – Give thanks for God’s faithfulness with Manhattan (KS) Mennonite Church, as they celebrate their 40th anniversary today.
June 10 – Pray today for Iglesia Menonita Casa Betania in Newton, KS, today as they celebrate their 10th anniversary, and for First Mennonite Church in McPherson, KS as they install Rose Marie Zook Barber as their new pastor.
June 17 – Pray for Southern Hills Mennonite Church today as they celebrate Roger and Cynthia Neufeld Smith’s 30 years of pastoral ministry there.
June 24 – Pray for the WDC Church Planting Commission as they encourage new church initiatives and for Associate Conference Minister Byron Pellecer as he coaches church planters in their ministry.
June 7 – WDC Executive Board meeting
June 19 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting
July 12 – WDC Resource Commission meeting
July 27 (2:30-5 pm) – Ministers’ Afternoon Apart / (5:30 pm) Ministers’ Appreciation Dinner, Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
July 27 (evening) – WDC Annual Assembly worship – Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton KS
July 28 – WDC Annual Assembly – Eden Mennonite Church, Moundridge KS
July 29 – Worship at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, Goessel KS (In conjunction with the WDC Annual Assembl, everyone is invited!)
Aug 21 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
Oct. 26-27 – Year of Evangelism Testimony Seminar, Luz del Evangelio, Dallas, TX
- The 2018 WDC Annual Assembly will be held on July 27-28 in Kansas. Detailed information, including an online registration form, is now posted at: http://mennowdc.org/annual-assembly/#2018annualAssembly.
- Summer Reading for All Ages in All Places! The Conference Resource Library invites everyone to participate in the summer reading challenge! Grow in faith this summer as you read. Summer reading programs for children and adults with prizes. If you live at a distance, we will mail books to you, or start the Box of Books program at your church! Kids (ages 0-12) sign up at: https://goo.gl/forms/uDbWczCjQqZ1Mo6t1. Adults (ages 12 and up) sign up and download your reading challenge at: https://goo.gl/forms/uUVW6calQ1s7sN632.
- Sunday, June 17, Southern Hills Mennonite Church of Topeka (511 SE 37th St) will host a celebration of 30 years of joint ministry by Cynthia and Roger Neufeld Smith, who began ministry at SHMC September 1988 and will take new positions summer of 2018 with Mennonite Mission Network as Service Adventure leaders in Jackson, Mississippi. Both Roger and Cynthia have been denominational leaders: Roger as moderator of WDC and Cynthia as instructor of worship courses for Great Plains Seminary and currently as a member of MC USA’s hymnal planning committee. All are welcome to attend the special worship service at 9:30 am, photos and reminiscing at 11 am, noon meal, and 1 pm program by representatives of community and WDC. Friends from a distance are encouraged to send notes of appreciation for the Neufeld Smiths’ ministry to: SHMC, POB 5067, Topeka KS 66605, Attn: Lila Bartel.
- Mennonite Church of the Servant will show the video, “Hawo’s Dinner Party: The New Face of Southern Hospitality” on Friday, June 22, at 7 pm (postponed from an earlier date due to stormy weather). “Hawo’s Dinner Party” tells the story of Hawo, a Somali refugee and former nurse –who now works at a poultry processing plant in a small Tennessee town– and the handful of local residents who come together to help create a more integrated and thriving community. The story puts a human face on the complex issues we face in this time of increasing globalization and changing demographics. Speakers from the International Rescue Committee and discussion will follow the video. The church is located at 2401 N. Woodland (23rd and Woodland) in Wichita.
- The West Zion Mennonite Church, Moundridge, KS will continue their Concert Series with an event on Sunday evening, June 10 at 7 pm Performers will include Christopher Shaw, Organ; Joey Menninger, Viola; RoJean Loucks, Celtic Harp; the Flannelbacks, a men’s vocal ensemble; and Donna Stucky, Piano. During the free concert a free-will offering will be received. After the concert, there will be a time of fellowship, with refreshments served.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Come volunteer to help rebuild The Whale! Construction on the Camp Mennoscah playground is continuing, and we need your help! June 1-2 will be playground assembly at camp, and the week of June 3 will continue the work. If you’d like to be a part of the action, contact camp at email@example.com 620-297-3290, let us know which days you can be there, and we’ll get back to you with more details. We’re really excited to have this up by the time summer youth camps begin on June 10 and hope you are, too!
- Camp Mennoscah families and supporters! I am in search of tin cans for one of the crafts this summer!! Any empty can (only one lid removed) from canned foods would work! Preferably the “normal” sized cans (~14-20oz) would be best. Little cans from items like tuna and chicken are too small, but other than that most cans should work great! I will need approximately 60 by the first week of camp, and about 120 plus total for the summer. Any help collecting these cans would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks a bunch, Carley Sullivan (Camp Mennoscah Crafts Leader)
- Still room at the camp! Camp Mennoscah has both room and scholarships for more campers. Grab your friendly neighborhood friend, a cousin, or someone who would benefit from a week of worship and fun! Register online at campmennoscah.org! Contact us at 620-297-3290 or firstname.lastname@example.org questions.
- Enjoy the new kitchen at Camp Mennoscah! We have two weeks of camp that need kitchen helpers to break in the new equipment and enjoy the fun of camp. June 24-30 and July 15-21, two of our biggest weeks of camp, need 2-3 more people each week. You do not need to be a professional chef or more than a basic understanding of cooking/baking. Our fearless head cooks will be there to help you create great meals! Call us at 620-297-3290 or email email@example.com
Mennonite church announcements
Join the upcoming MCC Haiti learning tour from September 22-29. Learn from Haitian farmers, artisans, community organizers and human rights advocates about how they – with your support – are building a brighter future for their communities. Limited spots are available, registration closes June 20. Contact Jordan Penner firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-727-6837 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.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117