WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
November 20, 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:
*Inviting Jesus to the Table!
Inviting Jesus to the Table!
by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
While reading and reflecting on Mark 6, the missionary discourse of the sending of the twelve, it took me back in time to revisit a church planting experience.
As I recall it, we were getting ready to enjoy at potluck / picnic meal at one of the local Wichita parks. All the sudden, Michelle looked at me and said: “Pastor Byron, can we invite Jesus to join us at the table?” Right on the spot, my mind went in many directions thinking. I remember saying to myself: “These people are new believers; how could I have forgotten to say grace?” “Being grateful is basic Christianity.” After a few seconds, I decided to reply and said: please do.
What happened next blew me away! She stood up and at the top her lung she begun to screen: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus and at the same time she was waving her hand and then she added; would you like to come and join us at the table?
Then, she looked at me and said: Jesus is my neighbor and he is playing basketball…
Of course! Within my Latino culture, Jesus is a beautiful and common name.
Indeed, Jesus came and joined us at the table that day. I guess this experience qualifies for me to say that I have met Jesus face to face now! Through the face of my neighbor that is.
From time to time, this experience makes me reflect on the fact that I have found myself so immersed in the busyness of missional ministry, work or just minding my own business, that I tend to forget to include Jesus in the equation of life!
In the same fashion, it seems to be that individually or collectively and unintentionally, we don’t invite Jesus to be part of our affairs. And yet, he continues tending the invitation for us to join his redemptive missional work.
It seems to be that today’s society thinks that humanity is at the center of the universe. Personal experience, faith convictions and personal views informs me that God is at the center of the universe and not humanity. In addition, he wants to be at the center of our personal and congregational lives and activities as well.
Lamar Williamson, a New Testament scholar on the gospel of Mark, asserts that “The Kingdom of God grows in hidden and mysterious ways, and independently of human effort.”
That is to say, the kingdom of God came to our community even before us and probably it was not in a “conventional or traditional” way. Consequently, the challenge at hand is to continue proclaiming the kingdom of God in whatever ways the Spirit leads us to or to simply invite “Jesus” to our tables.
¡Invitando a Jesús a la Mesa!
Mientras leía y reflexionaba sobre Marcos 6, el discurso misionero sobre el envío de los doce, me hizo retroceder en el tiempo para revivir una experiencia de plantación de iglesias.
Recuerdo que nos estábamos preparando para disfrutar de una comida / picnic en uno de los parques locales de Wichita. De repente, Michelle me miró y dijo: “Pastor Byron, ¿podemos invitar a Jesús a que se una a nosotros en la mesa?” En ese momento, vinieron a mi mente un sinfín de pensamientos. Recuerdo decirme a mí mismo: “Estas personas son nuevos creyentes; ¿Cómo pudiste olvidar orar por los alimentos?” “Ser agradecido es un principio básico de la fe cristiana”. Después de unos segundos, decidí responder y dije: por favor, hágalo.
¡Lo que sucedió después me impactó! Se puso de pie y empezó a decir con una voz super alta: Jesús, Jesús, Jesús y mientras agitaba la mano añadió. ¿Te gustaría venir y acompañarnos en la mesa?
Entonces, ella me miró y dijo: Jesús es mi vecino y él está jugando al baloncesto …
¡Por supuesto! Dentro de mi cultura latina, Jesús es un nombre hermoso y común.
De hecho, Jesús vino y se unió a nosotros en la mesa ese día. ¡Supongo que esta experiencia me permite decir que me he encontrado cara a cara con Jesús ahora! Por supuesto, a través de la cara de mi prójimo.
De vez en cuando, esta experiencia me hace reflexionar sobre el hecho de que me he encontrado tan inmerso en el ajetreo del ministerio misional, el trabajo o simplemente ocupándome de mis asuntos, ¡que tiendo a olvidar incluir a Jesús en la ecuación de la vida!
De la misma manera, parece ser que individual o colectivamente y sin intención, no invitamos a Jesús a ser parte de nuestros asuntos. Sin embargo, Jesús continúa invitándonos para que nos unamos a su obra misional y redentora.
Pareciera ser que la sociedad de hoy en día piensa que la humanidad está en el centro del universo. La experiencia personal, las convicciones de fe y los puntos de vista personales me informan que Dios está en el centro del universo y no la humanidad. Además, él quiere estar en el centro de nuestras vidas, actividades personales y congregacionales también.
Lamar Williamson, un erudito del Nuevo Testamento, en su libro sobre el evangelio de Marcos dice que “El Reino de Dios crece de manera oculta y misteriosa, independientemente del esfuerzo humano”.
Es decir, el reino de Dios vino a nuestra comunidad incluso antes que nosotros y, probablemente, no fue de una manera “convencional o tradicional”. En consecuencia, el desafío que nos ocupa es continuar proclamando el reino de Dios en cualquier forma en que el Espíritu nos guíe o simplemente, necesitamos invitar a “Jesús” a nuestras mesas.
- The next Leadership Lunch will be on Thursday, November 29 from 12-1:30 pm at the WDC office. The topic is: “Inspire a collective purpose (Energize Others). 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. This is our last scheduled leadership lunch. If you are interested in the possibility of continuing leadership lunches in 2019, please come on November 29 to share your ideas of what that might look like. To join this meeting using Zoom video conferencing from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/760454180.
- Virtual author “visit” at the Conference Resource Library on December 4. Hear from author Jacqueline Woodsonas she shares her about new picture book “The Day You Begin” at 10:00 am and her novel “Harbor Me” at 12:00 pm. These presentations are geared for children and youth but everyone is welcome! 2517 N. Main in North Newton. (Newton area churches, please consider running this announcement on 11/25 and 12/2.)
- Night in the Barn: Everyone is invited to attend and experience Night in the Barn, presented by Tabor Mennonite Church from 5 – 8 pm during the first two weekends in December (Dec. 1 & 2 and Dec. 8 & 9). Please note the new location of Papa’s Pumpkin Patch (372 E 70th, Newton, KS – just off of K-15 between Newton and Goessel). Come and interact with the characters, animals, sights and sounds of this timeless tale. Enjoy this walking tour of the Nativity with family and friends. The suggested donation of $5 per person includes a hot drink and snack. Come and share in the wonder of the Christmas Story! If you have any questions, call (620) 367-2721.
- You are invited to begin your Christmas season with us… Hopeful Blues Christmas Concert – Sunday, December 9 at 4 pm at Hope Mennonite Church, 868 N. Maize Rd, in Wichita. Refreshments served.
- The 17-piece McPherson Community Brass Choir under the direction of Jerry Toews will be performing great Brass Christmas Music in the Historic Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church on Sunday, Dec 9 at 7 pm. Also performing will be the Goessel High School Elbiata Singers under the direction of Braden Unruh. During the service, a free will offering for the Goessel Ministerial Alliance will be received with proceeds to help local needs. Everyone is invited for this Festive Event! (GPS address is: 1304 K-15, Goessel) (Area churches, please run this announcement in Nov 25, Dec 2 and 9 bulletins.)
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Christmas Gathering for Volunteers of All Years! Volunteers of all sorts from all years are invited to come to Camp Mennoscah on December 15 at 2:30pm-ish for a time to have conversation and cookies! If you have been a summer staffer, a cook, a nurse, counselor, program staff, part of Work and Play Camp or a service day, this is you! In fact, if you think you might have volunteered, it’s you! We’ll provide cookies and hot drinks. Bring a gift for a white elephant exchange or watch the crazy unwrapping of who knows what. It’s both a celebration and a time of relaxation. Join us!
- Coming to the Volunteer Christmas at Camp Mennoscah on December 15? You are invited to arrive the evening of December 14 (and stay overnight) for whatever reasonable fun you can come up with in exchange for four hours of work the morning of December 15. Get a jump start on your game playing and conversations in the evening and work off your sleepies in the morning! We’ll have continental breakfast and a simple lunch for you. You must register for this in advance! Call us at 620-297-3290 or email at email@example.com later than December 10. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Mennonite church announcements
- Looking to serve in a mentoring role to young adults? Service Adventure is seeking leaders for its unit location in beautiful Anchorage, Alaska. This is a unique opportunity to serve as a mentor and to foster community with a household of young adults through faith formation, daily living, and house activities. For more information, contact Susan Nisly at Mennonite Mission Network: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Bethel College Women’s Association (BCWA) invites you to enjoy Five Places of Christmas to be held December 1, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Located at Bethel College (North Newton, KS), Luyken Fine Art Center, BCWA’s theme is “Star of Bethlehem “. Children (and those young at heart) can make their own star ornaments. All can find homemade candies, peppernuts, baked goods, and handcrafted gifts. Other locations this year are Warkentine House, Carriage Factory Gallery, Kaufman Museum and the Harvey County Historical Society Museum and Archives. Please help with your presence and donations of baked goods, including peppernuts and candies. Donations can be delivered to Luyken Fine Art Center Friday November 30 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Or Saturday, December 1 from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620