WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
November 29, 2016
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
As we mark the beginning of the season of Advent and the approach of Christmas, I celebrate the variety of ways that congregations around WDC observe this special time of year.
Last Sunday I attended Salina (KS) Mennonite Church, where the first Advent candle was lit, and we were invited to bring forward small twigs to lay in a crèche as a sign of fire that offers warmth and light in anticipation of Christ’s coming. After worship, church members told me with delight about their Christmas Eve tradition of gathering to sing, share reflections, read scripture, and of course eat holiday goodies.
In a visit to Hanston (KS) Mennonite Church the previous Sunday, I heard how church members are preparing to memorize lines and attend rehearsals for the Journey to Bethlehem, a community living-nativity program presented annually in nearby Jetmore
Meanwhile, Trinity Mennonite Church has been doing its own “walk to Bethlehem,” fostering healthy exercise habits by marking the distance between its hometown of Hillsboro, KS and Jesus’ birthplace. Each month this year, church members have recorded the number of steps they walked, minutes they swam, or miles they ran, and a nurse in the church converts this into equivalent miles to calculate the updated total for the congregation. Even the oldest member, at age 94, is walking the halls of her health-care center with her walker. As of this writing, the congregation is “in” Libya; they hope to be in Egypt next week, and all the way to Bethlehem by Christmas (or the New Year)!
Aside from traveling, a quick tour of church websites reveals additional ways that congregations are creatively observing this season: With artistic banners and visual symbols, family devotional guides, children’s coloring booklets, assembly of hygiene kits and infant kits for Mennonite Central Committee, sharing tamales or peppernuts, collecting food for the hungry, hosting a performance of Handel’s Messiah, and other special musical programs.
However your congregation is observing this season, may it renew your sense of hope and wonder at the profound gift of God’s love and peace in a broken and hurting world. Now and in the coming year, may our congregations be visible signs of Emmanuel, God-With-Us!
Dec 4 – Pray for the WDC Church Planting Commission meeting this week, as they seek God’s leading in supporting new and emerging congregations in WDC.
Dec 11 – Pray for the WDC Resource Commission as they meet this week to support congregations in witness, mission and faith formation.
Dec 18 – Pray for WDC pastors and chaplains as they lead worship and offer pastoral care during the holiday season.
Dec 25 – As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, give thanks for the congregations of WDC as local communities of faith where God’s Word becomes flesh.
December 8 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting
December 13 – Pastors’ Brown Bag lunch, WDC Office
December 15 – WDC Resource Commission meeting
December 23 – January 2, 2017 – Christmas and New Year’s Break (office closed)
January 10-11 – WDC Staff Retreat (office closed)
January 12 – Chaplains’ Brown Bag lunch, WDC Office
January 16 – Martin Luther King Jr Holiday (office closed)
January 27 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
January 28-29 – Know Jesus (Jr. High youth event), Hesston College
February 7 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
August 4-6 – WDC Annual Assembly, Dallas, TX
- Ministers’ Brown Bag Lunch: Want to continue the conversation about Anabaptist evangelism? Join us Tuesday, December 13, 12-1 pm, WDC Office. We’ll discuss the two articles we did not have time to discuss when James Krabill was with us. Please review “Tongue Screws and Testimony” by Alan Kreider and “Keeping Good News and Good Works Together” by Ron Sider and Heidi Rolland Unruh. Both can be found in the book “Fully Engaged: Missional Church in an Anabaptist Voice” by Stanley W. Green and James R. Krabill, (available in the Conference Resource Library) as well as by free download. Bring your own lunch. Drinks provided. For more information, contact Kathy: firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-283-6300.
- Chaplains’ Brown Bag Lunch – Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12-1 pm, WDC Office, discussion with other WDC chaplains, “What Is an Anabaptist Chaplain?” Come to discuss with and support one another in your unique ministry. Bring your lunch. Drinks provided. For more information, contact Kathy at 316-283-6300 or email@example.com.
- Anyone going to AMBS Pastors’ Week January 23-26 in Elkhart, IN and want to carpool? Let us know at WDC and we can help to make those connections.
Mennonite Church Announcements
- Join the #MennoLove fun! Participate in the “Love is a Verb” storytelling project by submitting a Love Your Selfie! Send us a photo of yourself practicing self-care and a brief explanation, and we will share it across the church online. Send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A revised version of the Israel-Palestine resolution first brought to delegates at the Mennonite Church USA assembly in 2015 is now available for review. Visit www.mennoniteusa.org/menno-snapshots/seeking-peace-israel-palestine to view the document and provide feedback by Dec. 20.
- Bethlehem Today is a simple Advent resource related to Israel/Palestine, sent by Jonathan Brenneman, Coordinator, Israel/Palestine Partners in Peacemaking, Mennonite Church USA. See attached flier for use in your congregation.
- Mennonite World Conference connections: Arli Klassen, Chief Development Officer of Mennonite World Conference, is planning a trip to Kansas, March 12-19, 2017. Arli is looking to speak in area congregations about the ministries of MWC. She is available for weekday evening gatherings, Sunday school, or a sermon in worship. Contact local coordinator Lois Friesen at email@example.com if you are interested in having Arli share with your congregation.
- Each year, the Intercollegiate Peace Fellowship, or ICPF, holds its annual conference at one of the Mennonite or affiliated colleges or universities in North America. This year, the conference will be at Bethel College, Feb. 10-12, 2017. Since 1953, ICPF has aimed to “promote the cause of biblical nonresistance by providing various channels for sharing ideas among college peace groups,” according to its constitution. ICPF conference participants will work in small groups and through plenary discussions with several leaders in racial, environmental and LGBT justice to examine how these affect our church institutions. Bethel senior Jacob Miller has the following request: “I am the food planning coordinator for the ICPF conference that will meet at Bethel . Would members of your congregation be willing to donate snacks or breakfast items to supplement our conference’s food needs? Anyone interested should contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-477-1820), or the conference coordinator, Sharon Kniss (email@example.com), at any time with questions or for more information.”
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620