by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister

 “Praise be to you, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. You chose us before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in your sight. In your great love you adopted us as sons and daughters in the family of God. By your grace you redeemed us from the powers of evil and forgave us our sins through Christ’s death on the cross. And by the power of Christ’s resurrection you give us new life to do good, to pursue peace, to seek justice, and to love our neighbors and even our enemies.”

I begin my Sunday morning prayer for the pastors and churches of Western District Conference (WDC) with this exuberant outburst of worship from Ephesians 1. It has been a privilege to carry the churches and pastors of Western District Conference in my heart over the past five years.

I am retiring from this work and this role on June 30, 2015, at the end of my five-year call as Executive Conference Minister. I began as an Associate Conference Minister on May 1, 2009. It is with deep gratefulness that I reflect on this chapter of ministry even in the midst of significant ethical and relational turbulence in Western District and Mennonite Church USA.

I thank God for a deep sense of personal groundedness with these two pillars of truth. First of all, I am created (as are you) in the image of God, and “God don’t make no junk.” Secondly, I am redeemed by the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a beloved child of God, and “please be patient; God is not finished with me yet.”

I thank God for the dedicated servants of God that serve in and through our churches across WDC.

I thank God for committed, skillful pastors throughout WDC who love the Lord and are pursuing God’s restorative mission in the world.

I am thankful for the surprise of new churches that have come to us seeking fellowship with the wider Mennonite family. I am grateful for miracles of connection and provision experienced every week. If only I had journaled these blessings of God.

I am thankful for gifted colleagues in ministry (Gilberto, Marlene, Doug, Dwight) and an amazing supporting staff (Phyllis, Nancy) that have been companions in ministry. What a gift!

I am thankful for the dedicated servants who have and are serving with the Executive Board, the Commissions, the Committees, and the Task Forces of WDC. I am thankful for wise co-workers in the task forces who have guided the human sexuality conversation.

I thank God for new horizons of opportunity that have emerged in the Year of the Bible, the Youth Ministry Network, the Church Planting Commission, the Anabaptist Faith Formation: Growing in Christ launch in June 2015, and the Kansas Leadership Center grant for 2015.

In the next seven months of ministry with WDC, I will continue to pursue these essential Area Conference tasks:

  • To sustain transformative pastors
  • To resourceful healthy, missional churches
  • To network Anabaptist church planting partnerships.

Joy in Christ, Clarence Rempel