WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
November 5, 2019
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)
To support WDC ministries, contributions may be made HERE.
IN THIS ISSUE:
Go Beyond the Headlines. Go Beyond the Blockade.
Go Beyond the Headlines. Go Beyond the Blockade.
by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)
We are hungry for real stories, news that goes beyond the sound-byte. As followers of Jesus, we are called to live our lives in love for God and our neighbors. Sometimes we ask with the lawyer long ago, “But who is my neighbor?”
My neighbors are those whom Jesus would have associated with when he walked this earth. My neighbors are those whom others despise. My neighbors are those without a voice, living on the margins, or those who experience great injustice. My neighbors are those who long to be drawn into the circle of God’s love and justice, but who may not believe that is possible.
The WDC Israel-Palestine Relations Task Force believes that the people of Gaza, in between Israel and Egypt, are our neighbors. Since 2007, the people of Gaza have experienced great turmoil and loss because of the blockade around their land. Between the land and naval blockades, Amnesty International calls Gaza an “open air prison.” Because of the blockade, Gazans cannot travel to tell others their stories and only a handful of international people are allowed into Gaza to learn what’s really going on there. The WDC Israel-Palestine Task Force wants to help our Gazan neighbors to share stories of their everyday lives, both their joys and trauma. We encourage your congregation to do what other Mennonite Church USA churches have already done: Join the Gaza Twinning Initiative. The first step is as simple as expressing interest in this project to our task force and receiving the name and contact information of a Gaza church, hospital, school, or mosque. This is not a request for funds. This is a request for friendship, a long-distance, digital relationship including stories, pictures, and videos from your church and from your Gazan (digital) pen pals. If you would like more information about this, please contact our chair, Bob Atchison (email@example.com) or contact The Mennonite Palestine Israel Network (MennoPIN) directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). Other members of the Israel-Palestine Relations Task Force are Tom Harder, Esther Koontz, Katie Mitchell-Koch, Elizabeth Raid, and Jakob Whitson.
The task force and I pray that this will increase compassion and curiosity for these neighbors across the globe and their plight. As more hearts and minds are opened to our neighbors’ pain, we may be moved to share their stories with those who have the power to affect change. May it be so.
- WDC staff announcement: Byron Pellecer has submitted his resignation as WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas)effective January 31, 2020, so that he and his wife can move to live closer to family in Virginia. “During my years of ministry and service to the church and to WDC, I experienced God’s blessings and joy,” Byron wrote, “I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve the conference.” Byron has served as an Associate Conference Minister for WDC since May 2016, following three years as a church planter in Wichita, Kansas. WDC has been enriched by Byron’s missional vision as he has nurtured connections across ethnic and cultural differences, supported pastors and congregations in Texas, and promoted church planting. We pray for God’s guidance and blessing for Byron as he prepares for this transition. In the coming weeks, I will be working with other conference leaders to plan for Byron’s farewell and to determine future staffing. – Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister
WDC Anuncio: Byron Pellecer ha presentado su renuncia como Ministro Asociado de la Conferencia WDC (Texas) a partir del 31 de enero de 2020, para que él y su esposa puedan mudarse a vivir más cerca de su familia en Virginia. “Durante mis años de ministerio y servicio a la iglesia y a WDC, experimenté las bendiciones y la alegría de Dios”, escribió Byron, “Estoy muy agradecido por la oportunidad de servir en la conferencia”. Byron ha servido como Ministro Asociado de Conferencia para WDC desde mayo de 2016, esto después de tres años como plantador de iglesias en Wichita, Kansas. WDC se ha enriquecido con la visión misional de Byron, ya que ha fomentado las conexiones a través de las diferencias étnicas y culturales, a apoyó a pastores y congregaciones en Texas y promovió la plantación de iglesias. Oramos por la guía y bendición de Dios para Byron mientras se prepara para esta transición. En las próximas semanas, trabajaré con otros líderes de la conferencia para planificar la despedida de Byron y determinar la contratación del nuevo personal. – Heidi Regier Kreider, Ministra de la Conferencia WDC
- Thank you for your financial contributions for Western District Conference’s ministries of supporting ministerial leaders, resourcing congregations, and nurturing church planting. Current projections suggest that WDC income will fall short of expenses for the current year, so your generous gifts are invited to help close the gap towards WDC’s 2019 budget goal! Please make donations HERE or send to WDC at PO Box 306, North Newton, KS 67117.
- The Youth Ministry Committee of Western District and South Central conferences presents… Youth Lead Now, a one-day workshop designed for high school youth to enrich their leadership skills and deepen faith. Using the adaptive leadership framework from the Kansas Leadership Center and well known spiritual practices, we will equip youth with skills to be leaders among their peers, in their churches, and in their communities. Our hope is that congregations would partner with us by sending youth who have been affirmed for their leadership gifts or potential.
Date: January 11, 2020
Time: 9am to 4pm
Location: Faith Mennonite Church, Newton KS
Registration Fee: $50 (scholarships available upon request). High School Youth can register through the link: https://forms.gle/fWQ2BVjybMVtzKsC8
- Everyone is invited to Peter Emery’s ordination service during the 9:30 am worship service on November 17 at Southern Hills Mennonite Church, in Topeka, KS.
- Circle of Grace Updates: Is your congregation planning to teach Circle of Grace, a children’s safe environment training program, soon? Did you know that Dove’s Nest has updates? If you have questions about how to access these resources or want more information about Circle of Grace, please contact Kathy Neufeld Dunn at email@example.com or 316-283-6300.
- Western District Women in Mission will host the event “Let’s Talk…Women, Money & Faith” on January 24 and 25 at Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, KS, featuring speakers from Everence who will address money and faith topics for women of all ages and stages of life.. Look for more information soon on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WesternDistrictWomen/?modal=admin_todo_tour or at our web page https://communicationswdwm.wixsite.com/wdwm. (Church offices, please run this announcement in your bulletins. Thank you!)
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Tap some shoulders and spread the news! Camp Mennoscah is recruiting at Goshen (Nov. 8) and Hesston, Tabor, Bethel, and McPherson Colleges on Nov. 11-14 respectively. Stop by, pick up information, and say hi! A pizza gathering for all interested in summer staff positions will be Nov. 7 at 6pm in the Connector at Goshen College and on Nov. 13 at 6:15pm at Papa John’s in Newton. Response needed! Please let us know you plan to come at firstname.lastname@example.org 620-297-3290. (No responses = no pizza gathering.)
- Christmas for Volunteers! Camp Mennoscah is hosting a gathering for all who have volunteered–this year, last year, or many years ago–on December 14 at 2:30pm. We’ll have cookies and snacky items, hot drinks, games, and whatever reasonable activity you can think of–it’s a time to enjoy camp and other camp folks.
Mennonite church announcements
- The Mennonite, Inc., invites your original submissions for our January 2020 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on Education: Restorative justice. See: https://themennonite.org/january-2020-call-submissions-education-restorative-justice/
- Eastern Mennonite Seminary’s annual School for Leadership Training will take place January 13-15, 2020. “Shalom in the Streets: Recapturing God’s Vision in Ordinary Places.” The biblical narratives beckon us to discover shalom in genuine relationships with the people in our neighborhoods, communities and cities. In the flourishing of the places where we live, we flourish as well (Jeremiah 29:7). For more information and to register https://emu.edu/seminary/slt/. Register before November 26, 2019 to take advantage of the early bird special of $190. (Scholarships are available for pastors to attend.)
- 20th Anniversary Celebration Dinner for Clinical Pastoral Education at Eastern Mennonite Seminary Tuesday, January 14, 2020. Join CPE faculty, students, alumni and friends as we celebrate the past 20 years and envision CPE at EMS in the future. This special event is taking place during the School for Leadership Training. Cost for the dinner is $25. Sara Wenger Shenk, former associate dean of EMS, will be our guest speaker. For more information and to register https://emu.edu/seminary/cpe/anniversary
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.