“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways… “  These words from a famous love poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning come to mind as I think about Western District Conference in this season of giving and gratitude!  Let me count some of the ways – and reasons  – to love WDC:

  1. As a network of congregations, WDC strengthens our faith and witness as we connect with one another in fellowship, learning, spiritual growth and mission. Encourage your congregation to reach out to other WDC congregations through shared projects, a sister-church relationship, addressing a common challenge, or visiting for worship. And as you look ahead to next year, plan to attend WDC annual assembly, July 26-27, 2019, at Bethel College in North Newton, KS.
  1. WDC provides resourcing and support for congregations and their leaders, such as training for congregational safety guidelines and prevention of sexual abuse, guidance during pastoral transitions or reviews, coaching for church planters, pastor peer groups and mentors, seminary scholarships and ministers’ continuing education grants, congregational resourcing events, grants to support mission initiatives, adaptive leadership training, and more. Contact WDC to let us know what kind of assistance would be most helpful to your congregation.
  1. WDC has a fabulous resource library! Check out materials for your Sunday school, children’s story, youth group, book club, sermon preparation or personal study.  For more information see https://mennowdc.org/library/
  1. WDC is enriched by a diversity of leadership gifts and voices, with congregations from Houston to Beatrice, from Turpin to Kansas City. Nominate someone from your congregation or another church to serve on a WDC board, commission or committee, or volunteer your time and skills for a WDC ministry or special event.
  1. WDC values a holistic approach to ministry that embraces both evangelism and justice, witness and worship, faith formation and prophetic peacemaking, Anabaptist history and ethnic diversity. Consider what strengths your congregation has to share, and also where God is calling you to change and grow towards greater vitality.
  1. WDC is a key link to our denomination, Mennonite Church USA, and has institutional relationships with a variety of other Mennonite-related organizations. See https://mennowdc.org/institutional-relationships/. Support and be involved in these organizations as partners in our witness as Anabaptist/Mennonite followers of Jesus in today’s world.
  1. God has blessed WDC with numerous resources to support our mission. Give thanks for congregations and individuals who generously offer their time, prayers, skills, wisdom and financial gifts as we empower congregations to Witness and invite others to faith in Jesus Christ, Dwell in just and loving relationships and Connect to God’s work in the world. —Heidi Regier Kreider