WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
November 21, 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:
by Byron Pellecer, Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
As a church planter and pastor, I have found inspiration, challenge, and direction in the book of Acts, especially in Paul’s missionary trips and the Upper Room as the ‘headquarters’ for equipping and missions.
Thus, the words of Paul to the Romans confronted me in a greater way: “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? (Romans 10:14 NLT).
I find the calling and commissioning church business quite challenging and life giving. The Church, whether established or emergent, more than ever before, needs to work intentionally on building a close relationship with its community. We ought to continue prioritizing our missional approach. Perhaps a good slogan or driving force for the church could be “come and see, then go and tell.”
It has been said that God is at work in our communities. However, can we pinpoint exactly where and how he is at work? What is he up to in our neighborhoods? Formulating and wrestling with these kind of questions, around God and not the church, will allow us to see him and to join his mission. Such an approach will allow us to experience conversion and transformation in both our personal and communal lives.
We need to engage in formal and informal conversations with our neighbors to learn about the realities they are facing including their spiritual condition. Could you imagine the gathered Body of Christ worshiping twice a year in the nearest shopping plaza to their church building? Perhaps church life and corporate worship should be mobilized from a building setting to a more organic public witnessing practice. Please understand this, I am not dismissing corporate worship, after all our ecclesiology informs our mission and vice versa.
Every time that I am presented with an opportunity to engage in conversation with a ‘stranger,’ I have discovered that these individuals have dreams and they too are seeking opportunities to be productive and successful. However, some of them lack skills or higher education, even some of them were undocumented hindering such goals and dreams. In many instances and despite having the skills and education, structural systems will refrain such opportunities to be available to some of this people. Despite these misfortunes, some of them have been able to see God working in their lives.
If we want to be a church for the 21st century – relevant to its context and as agents of God’s shalom – then the church should learn to listen the sounds of change, pay close attention to the movement of the Spirit, and then plan and act accordingly. Mission, the Great Commission, is part of the DNA of the church and not just another program.
- Year of Evangelism Kick Off: Anabaptist Witness has two terrific speakers planned for January 19-20, 2018. Friday evening missional author, Heidi Roland Unruh, will share insights and Saturday morning Mennonite Mission Network Director of Discipleship Initiatives, Marvin Lorenzana, offers challenge and encouragement. Learn more and register now at: http://mennowdc.org/year-of-evangelism/ (Spanish information is posted here as well!) (¡La información en español también se publica aquí!)
- Prepare your heart and mind for Christmas with an Advent devotional from the Resource Library! Books for adults and families are still available! Stop by or contact the library at firstname.lastname@example.org 316-283-6300.
- On November 26 Iglesia Menonita Aposento Alto (WDC church plant in Wichita, KS) will host a Potluck Thanksgiving Celebration at Evergreen Recreational Center located at 2700 Woodland N. The Thanksgiving Celebration will reflect a Latino-Hispanic cultural and culinary approach to connect and build relationship with the community. This celebration will be sponsored by Aposento Alto, Iglesia Menonita Casa Betania (Newton, KS) and Mennonite Church of the Servant (Wichita, KS). For more information contact Pastor Jaime Cazares at (316) 212-1824or email@example.com.
- Brass Christmas: Come join us at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church on Sunday, December 10 at 6:30 pm for an evening filled with Christmas music! The evening will feature the McPherson Brass Choir under the direction of Jerry Toews along with the Elbiata Singers from Goessel High School under the direction of Andrew Voth. A freewill offering will be received to support the ministries of the Goessel Ministerial Alliance. We hope to see you there! (A poster is attached. Goessel area churches, please feel free to run this as a bulletin announcement and post the poster for the next couple of weeks.) ~Goessel Ministerial Alliance
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Volunteer Christmas Gathering! All Camp Mennoscah volunteers from any and all years are invited to celebrate another year of sharing God’s love with others through service. We’ll gather at the Retreat Center on December 16 at 2:30pm-ish for conversation, games (indoor or outdoor), and cookies! There will also be an optional white elephant gift exchange. Wrap up that oddity you found in the attic or at the back of your closet. We love to see weird and bizarre (and appropriate) stuff. Call us at 620-297-3290or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Families are welcome!
- We need your help! Camp Mennoscah is seeking volunteers to help prepare the kitchen for renovations beginning Saturday, December 2, and continuing Monday-Saturday December 4-9 until the kitchen is completely gutted. Both women and men are welcome to come out and help, and we will have a variety of tasks to complete. All work will be inside, so don’t worry about cold temperatures! If you wish to volunteer multiple days, that’s great! We can arrange lodging and meals for you. Carpooling to camp may be available on some or all of the days. If you have questions or are interested in volunteering, please contact Jim Yoder at 316-284-3890 (call or text), email@example.com, or Camp Mennoscah at (620)297-3290, firstname.lastname@example.org. Bring a friend, or bring multiple friends! Thank you for considering this opportunity!
- Looking for fun and caring staffers filled with God’s love for others! Online applications for Camp Mennoscah summer staff positions will be accepted beginning December 1. The positions are naturalist, crafts leader, lifeguard, grounds/maintenance, music leader, office, and all-round/media. These positions receive a stipend, as well as meals and lodging. We also are looking for someone to catalogue the species of snakes at Camp Mennoscah. This summer-long position receives meals and lodging and requires the same paperwork and background check as all camp staff. Apply online at campmennoscah.org/application!
Mennonite church announcements
1. Spread cozy, colorful warmth around the world! All you have to do is tie knots! Mennonite Central Committee has a generous number of comforter tops, and nowwe need your help tying them! MCC has paired tops and backs that are ready to be tied, and we are inviting you or your church group to pick some up (or we can ship them to you)! If you are interested, please either stop by the MCC Material Resources Center in North Newton, or contact Kate Mast at email@example.com, or 316-283-2720. We ask that you provide the batting and the crochet tying thread if possible. Thank you in advance for helping to spread warmth and love to our brothers and sisters around the world!
- Families with children: Next week is the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of “Yes, Let It Be!” a free downloadable guide for family worship from December 3 – January 6. Pick and choose the activities that work best for your family. Find it at www.anabaptistfaithformation.org.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117