WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
May 30, 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:
*From the Conference Minister’s Heart
From the Conference Minister’s Heart
by Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister
This is the final of three articles on WDC’s mission statement: “WDC empowers Anabaptist/Mennonite congregations to Witness and invite others to faith in Jesus Christ, Dwell in just and loving relationships, and Connect to God’s mission in the world.”
Today’s article is on the theme “Connect to God’s mission in the world.”
“Identify who needs to do the work” is one of the leadership principles taught at the Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita, KS. It is important to know what we are called to do – and what we are not called to do.
This principle was the topic of discussion at a recent Leadership Lunch at WDC, where participants explored Biblical, theological and Anabaptist/Mennonite themes that connected to this principle. It was noted that with our Anabaptist emphasis on believers’ baptism and discipleship, combined with a strong Mennonite work and service ethic, we have a tendency to over-function, assuming that it is up to us as church leaders and members to do all the church’s work!
In fact, the work of the church is primarily God’s work. The church belongs to God – not to us. As followers of Jesus we are called not simply to work hard to carry out the church’s mission, but rather to participate in God’s work of shalom within and beyond the church. God began this work at creation, continued it in the calling of a covenant people, became incarnate in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and equips us to participate in this work through the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit.
As others have said: It is not that the church has a mission, but that God’s mission has a church.
To connect to God’s mission in the world requires that we look outward beyond our congregation, to ask questions about our context: Who are the people of our community? What do we know about their socio-economic status, age, ethnicity, education, employment, religious identity, and other factors? What needs and opportunities exist in the community? What is the physical and social landscape around our church? What current issues, local or world events cause us to lament or to rejoice? Where is God present in the midst of all this? How is God calling us to respond?
To connect to God’s mission in the world also requires that we look inward to discern the resources and callings within the congregation: What spiritual gifts, skills and experiences do church members have? How do we affirm those gifts, and how might God use them in ministry? What additional training or support might be necessary to put those gifts to use? How does worship, faith formation, leadership and decision-making equip our congregation for ministry? How do we invite and welcome others to join the community of faith? What experiments or changes are we willing to make in order to connect to God’s mission in the world?
As part of its mission, WDC seeks to empower each of our congregations to connect to God’s mission in the world. The result may look slightly different for each congregation: It may mean establishing a day-care for community children, or inviting neighbors to a Bible study; working with an ecumenical group to provide safe housing and mental health care in the community, or exploring the connection between faith and farming; building relationships with undocumented families seeking safety and a livelihood or mentoring local youth; participating in public demonstrations and prayer vigils, or writing legislators about current issues.
Whatever God’s calling is, I pray for wisdom, joy and a sense of purpose for each WDC congregation as we discern the work to which God calls us, by connecting to God’s mission in the world.
June 4 – Pray for God’s guidance as preparations are made for WDC Assembly, August 4-6 in Arlington, TX.
June 11 – Pray for God’s strength and travel safety for WDC conference ministers as they visit congregations and pastors across WDC.
June 18 – Pray for Marshall Anderson who is being installed today as Associate Pastor at Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS.
June 25 – Pray for delegates, youth, and others from WDC traveling to Orlando, FL, for Mennonite Church USA convention in early July.
June 2 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
June 8 – WDC Resource Commission meeting
June 15 – Kansas Leadership Center grant lunch discussion
July 11 – WDC Executive Board meeting
July 20 – Kansas Leadership Center grant lunch discussion
August 4-6 – WDC Annual Assembly, Arlington, TX
August 22 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
October 28 – WDC Reference Council, location to be determined
- Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, KS, is hosting a Community Conversation on Immigration on Saturday, June 3. This conversation will take place at Shalom Mennonite (800 East 1st) from 10-11:30 am. It is a moderated panel conversation concluding with a Q and A. The participants include Barth Hague (Newton City Mayor), Bob Myers (Newton City Manager), Carolyn McGinn (State Senator) along with a member of the Harvey County Sheriff Department. Ron Flaming is moderating the conversation. All are welcome. If you have questions you may contact Shalom at email@example.com.
- The next West Zion Mennonite Church Concert will be on Sunday evening, June 11 at 7 pm at the church, located at 101 South Washington Avenue in Moundridge, KS. Performers will include Gabriel’s Trumpets, a trumpet choir whose members include Kyle Unruh, Eric Schrag, Tim Regier, Evan Koch, Pat Flaming, Paul Epp, Connor Born and Arlin Buller; Christopher Shaw, Organ; Ellen Neufeld, Oboe; Louisa Nickel, Vocalist; and Donna Stucky, Piano. No admission will be charged, but a free-will offering will be received during the concert. After the concert, there will be a time of fellowship, with refreshments being served. (West Zion requests that churches place this announcement in their June 4 and 11 bulletins.)
- You are invited to a forum on PEACE IS POSSIBLE – June 17, 7 pm at Mennonite Church of the Servant, 23rd & Woodland, Wichita, KS. Presenters: Mel Lehman– in 2009, he founded Common Humanity to build better understanding about the people of the Middle East. Common Humanity has organized some 20 exhibits of Iraqi refugee art to help Iraqi artists by selling their paintings and to help Americans better understand the beauty and humanity of the Arab and Muslim world. Ranya Tahawas born and raised in Damascus, Syria. In recent years she has lived in Wichita, KS, where she owns the Byblos and Petra restaurants. Shafiq Hasan was born in historic Palestine and was forced to flee his home as a boy in 1948 when the State of Israel was established. He now lives in Newton, KS and works as a medical lab specialist. For more information, call 316-371-8274.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Sandbar Cabin Dedication! Camp Mennoscah will dedicate the new cabin (Sandbar) on June 4 at 2:30pm. You are invited to come for a short and simplededication at the cabin (next to the new boys bath house). You can “tour” the building, baptize it with sand from your feet, and join with us as we offer prayer for the cabin and those who will enjoy it.
- Camp Scholarships available! Do you know someone who needs a week of camp? Maybe they’ve never been to Camp Mennoscah before or maybe this would be a great way for them to grow in God’s Kingdom. We absolutely know that a week of camp is life-changing. (It’s also gobs of fun!) Give someone a nudge or invite a friend or send a grandkid to camp! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org 620-297-3290for scholarship information. We love making new friends!
- Join the fun! Camp Mennoscah now has more space for kitchen volunteers for July 30-Aug. 4 and for a nurse for July 16-22. You may have thought you missed out this summer, but that’s not the case! We can’t wait to have you here to peel potatoes or metaphorically kiss the hurts away. It’s a great time with wonderful people. Contact us at 620-297-3290or email@example.com to be part of our camping ministry!
Mennonite church announcements
Do you enjoy mentoring young adults and living in community? Service Adventure is looking for unit leaders for the Jackson, Miss., unit. The term begins late July with orientation and participants begin their service term in August. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Susan Nisly at SusanN@MennoniteMission.net or visit us at www.MennoniteMission.net
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117