WDC Sprouts, September 17, 2019

WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE

SPROUTS

September 17, 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)

IN THIS ISSUE:

*There is a need for hope and community building

*Announcements

There is a need for hope and community building

by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-based)

After a couple of days of engaging in meetings, I just wanted to go home and rest. It was late at night when I landed at DFW airport when I contacted Uber services. A couple of minutes later, the driver arrived at the pickup area.

I guess I kind of expected another day-in-the office experience: Get in, greetings from both parties, a couple of minutes of conversation, arriving at the destination and show appreciation for the services rendered.

Well, this time I was wrong. Greetings took place, but I was not fully prepared for 47 minutes of conversation. It all began when the Uber driver asked about my line of work.

I shared with him a short ‘elevator talk’ description about it. Since we were in the middle of a traffic jammed, he looked at me and said: Thank you for what you do.

In fact, this is the very first time that a ‘total stranger’ used a ‘thank you’ for the line of work I do.

His response triggered my curiosity and I asked him if it was ok for me to inquire about his religious tradition. While displaying a cross in his hand, this gentleman said to me: More than ever before and giving the current events across the nation, this is a reminder for hope and community, you know, helping each other.

We both agreed that for the most part we know about the importance of serving other people, but we also acknowledged that it is hard to do it, especially when individuals look and think different from us. The conversation then moved to other topics like faith commitment and hope.

Certainly, the landscape for church ministry has and will continue changing in many ways. Doing the same thing in church and expecting different results just won’t work. Despite of the post Christianized era and the postmodern realities that we live in, the gospel of Christ is still relevant.

As we engage neighbors and communities, we will find individuals with the same expectations and hopes as the ones shown by this driver. There is a need for hope founded in Scripture and not just in philosophical discourse and humanistic nuances. There is a thirst for redemption and transformation in every aspect of human life, the environment, social injustice and so forth.

Jesus began his public ministry with two powerful truths. The first was the call to repentance and the second was the announcement that the Kingdom of God is near.

The gospel should not be about feeling good or escaping to a place of comfort in a galaxy afar. At least, it should continue addressing the current human situation, holistically, and it should entertain eschatological components.

For me, the conversation with the Uber driver was a perfect reminder about church connections, building relationships and being incarnated in the realities of our local communities. Knowing about it is not enough, I need to get up and go to fulfill the Great Commission holistically and responsibly.

———–

Hay una necesidad de esperanza y construir una comunidad.
 by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-based)

Después de un par de días de participar en reuniones, solo quería irme a casa y descansar. Era tarde en la noche cuando aterricé en el aeropuerto de DFW cuando contacté a los servicios de Uber. Un par de minutos después, el conductor llegó al área de abordaje.

Hasta este momento, yo suponía que este viaje sería como un día trabajo como cualquier otro: abordaría el autor, nos saludaríamos, una conversación de un par de minutos, llegaríamos a mi destino y daría muestras de aprecio por los servicios prestados.

Bueno, esta vez me equivoqué. Nos saludamos respetuosamente, sin embargo, yo no estaba completamente preparado para una conversación que habría de durar 47 minutos. Todo comenzó cuando el conductor de Uber, por respeto omitiré su nombre, preguntó qué tipo de trabajo ejercía.

Compartí con él una breve descripción como lo que dura una “charla de un ascensor”. Como estábamos en medio de un embotellamiento vehicular, me miró y dijo: Gracias por hacer lo que haces.

De hecho, esta es la primera vez que un “total desconocido” usa un “gracias” por el tipo de trabajo que ejerzo.

Su respuesta provocó mi curiosidad y le pregunté si estaba bien que le preguntara sobre su afiliación religiosa. Mientras mostraba una cruz en su mano, este caballero me dijo: más que nunca y dado los eventos actuales por todo el país, este es un recordatorio por la esperanza y la comunidad, ya sabes, ayudarse mutuamente.

Ambos acordamos que, en su mayor parte, sabemos sobre la importancia de atender a otras personas, pero también reconocimos que es difícil hacerlo, especialmente cuando las personas se ven y piensan de manera diferente a la nuestra. La conversación luego pasó a otros temas como el compromiso de fe y la esperanza.

Ciertamente, el panorama para el ministerio de la iglesia ha cambiado y seguirá cambiando de muchas maneras. Hacer lo mismo en la iglesia y esperar resultados diferentes simplemente no funcionará. A pesar de la era post cristianizada y las realidades posmodernas en las que vivimos, el evangelio de Cristo sigue siendo relevante.

A medida que nos involucramos con vecinos y comunidades, encontraremos individuos con las mismas expectativas y esperanzas que las que expuso este conductor. Hay una necesidad de esperanza fundada en la Escritura y no solo en un discurso filosófico y con matices humanísticos. Hay sed de redención y transformación en todos los aspectos de la vida humana, el medio ambiente, la injusticia social, etc.

Jesús comenzó su ministerio público con dos verdades poderosas. La primera fue el llamado al arrepentimiento y el segundo fue el anuncio de que el Reino de Dios está cerca.

El evangelio no se trata sobre sentirse bien o escabullirse a un lugar de comodidad en una galaxia lejana. Al menos, debe continuar abordando la situación humana actual, de manera integral, y debe entretener componentes escatológicos.

Para mí, la conversación con este conductor fue un recordatorio perfecto sobre las conexiones de la iglesia, la construcción de relaciones y la encarnación en las realidades de nuestras comunidades locales. Saberlo no es suficiente, necesito levantarme e ir a cumplir la gran comisión de manera integral y responsable.

WDC announcements

Leadership Lunches continue on the fourth Thursday of each month. These lunch discussions are based on Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) principles, competencies, and behaviors, but please come even if you haven’t attended a KLC training. Case studies are used to guide our time together. Come join us on Thursday, September 26 at the WDC offices from 12-1:30pm (bring your own lunch).  If you want to join via Zoom video conference, let us know (wdc@mennowdc.org), and you will be sent a link.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Come Celebrate Another Great Year at Camp Mennoscah! Mark your calendars for Sunday, September 22, for Camp Mennoscah’s Annual Meeting! All are welcome to attend. Self-guided camp activities available beginning at 2:00 p.m., with a BBQ chicken supper beginning at 5:30. After supper, staff will share about the past year, and campers will reflect on their camp experiences. Also, enter your name to win one of several Camp Mennoscah prizes! Please register online at campmennoscah.orgto let us know you’re coming!
  1. Canoeing ends October 6!  The annual removal of the dam at Camp Mennoscah will take place on October 6.  The activities typically start at 2pm often with some preparations before this time.  Everyone is welcome to help or watch the process. Dress appropriately for the weather and your choice of activity!
  1. Monster Cookies!  Camp Mennoscah will be at Bethel College’s Fall Fest on October 12 with monster cookies, tee shirts and who knows what else.  Stop by and see what’s going on!
  1. Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats at Camp Mennoscah happening soon!  The Fall Retreats are November 1-3 and November 15-17.  Register online at campmennoscah.organd bring a friend!

Mennonite church announcements

  1. You are invited to join a discussion on Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery – led by John Stoesz and Florence Schloneger at Whitestone Mennonite Church, Hesston, KS, starting on Wednesday, September 11 at 6:45 PM. This series is part of Whitestone’s Wednesday evening program called ‘Connect’, which begins with a meal (by donation) at 5:45 PM.  This eight-part series will continue on 9/18, 10/2, 10/9, 10/23, 10/30, 11/6, & 11/13 and will meet in the sanctuary.  The “Doctrine of Discovery” is a philosophical and legal framework dating to the 15th century that gave Christian governments moral and legal rights to invade and seize indigenous lands and dominate indigenous Peoples. This class will introduce us to the subtle, and not so subtle, ways that this framework has shaped our history in the United States and around the world. We will be encouraged to examine our own family stories, look at how this philosophy shapes our world today, and to consider how our faith in Jesus should shape our response to this philosophy.
  1. Lombard Mennonite Peace Center will offer Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders, at Epworth United Methodist Church in Arlington, TXon November 18-22, 2019. This workshop teaches clergy and other church leaders how to deal more effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict. For more information, see https://lmpeacecenter.org/events-page/msti/ or contact 630-627-0507 or admin@LMPeaceCenter.org.  Lombard Mennonite Peace Center is a partner of Illinois Mennonite Conference.
  1. Help support Bethel College Women’s Association by donating pies for their Pie-By-The-Slice booth at Fall Festival 2019. Bring your pies to Seminar A in Schultz Student Center from 3:30-6:30 pm on Friday, October 11 or 8-11 am on Saturday, October 12. (no custard pies please)   Also, your donations of baked goods, crafts, plants and vegetables are requested (pies, bierocks, zwieback, peppernuts and cinnamon rolls are always great sellers).  Bring these items to the Fine Arts Center Rm 140 beside Box Office on Friday October 11 from 1:30-4:30 pm or Saturday from 7-8:00 am.  All proceeds go to Bethel College.
  1. SAVE THE DATE—IBA BENEFIT DINNER:The annual Instituto Bíblico Anabautista (IBA) benefit dinner will take place Friday, October 18 at 6 pm at First Mennonite Church in Newton, Kansas. A smothered pork burrito dinner will be prepared and served by Chef Carlos Lujano. (Chicken and Meatless burritos available by request.)  A short program with some words and greetings from Marco Güete, Director.  Dinner is by donation. This is a great opportunity for a Sunday School class, small group or individuals to come to support IBA that equips Hispanic leaders in Mennonite Church USA for ministry.  IBA is a program of Mennonite Education Agency’s Hispanic Ministries for Leadership Development and Pastoral Education. For any inquires contact Violeta Ajquejay Suastegui at: VioletaA@MennoniteEducation.org or call 316-281-4342.
  1. This week,news and media outlets around the world are participating in “Covering Climate Now,” with focus on the climate crisis, as a lead-up to the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on September 23.  For more information see https://www.cjr.org/covering_climate_now/covering-climate-now-170-outlets.php.  To learn more about Anabaptist/Mennonite responses to the challenge of climate change, and resources for creation care, check out the Mennonite Creation Care Network at https://mennocreationcare.org, and the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions (a collaborative initiative of Goshen College, Eastern Mennonite University and Mennonite Central Committee) at https://www.sustainableclimatesolutions.org.

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.  

Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS  67117
316-283-6300; FAX:  316-283-0620
Email:  wdc@mennowdc.org
Website:  www.mennowdc.org

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