February 19, 2013

A weekly communication for:
Churches and Pastors
Executive Board, Commission, Committee and Task Force members
Any content may be used in bulletins and newsletters and
forwarded to congregational leaders and members.
Sprouts is also available at:  www.mennowdc.org


*Creation vs Our Lives

Creation vs Our Lives
by Olivia Bartel, Camp Mennoscah Director

I remember the first time I held a snake when a camper—who so desperately wanted to hold the snake—suddenly decided that she didn’t want to hold the snake.  I remember finding the jewel-like eyes of spiders with flashlights on the sandbar.  I have watched eagles soar over the river with the summer staffers at a winter gathering.

We spend our lives learning and growing with the intent of bettering our lives through what we learn.  We play sports to learn teamwork and to stay healthy.  We learn how to use all the latest technology so we can function in a wireless world.  Kids are given chores and taught about volunteering to gain a work ethic and learn about serving others.  Once we’re adults, we involve ourselves in continuing education, whether formal classes for our jobs or informally because something interests us.

The thing is that as society becomes more and more technologically dependent, fewer of our experiences put us in the midst of our natural world.  In fact, we tend to remove ourselves as much as possible from the unpredictable and messy creation that sustains us—sometimes both physically and spiritually.  We’re ensconced in our sterile, climate-controlled environments.  Creation has become that annoyance in our lives—the storm that takes out the electricity, the deer that runs in front of our speeding vehicle, or the bugs that ruin our day at the park.

There is no escaping creation at Camp Mennoscah.  How can you with the tallgrass prairie and the river at the center of our camp grounds?  It is part of our mission statement to experience God’s creation, and the camp grounds themselves are intentionally focused on our environment.  But sometimes just being surrounded by something isn’t enough to make us value it.  We need those learning experiences with nature like we have with sports, service, and technology.

We’re beefing up our nature experiences at Camp Mennoscah, mostly because of fortuitous circumstances.  New opportunities to learn about God’s creation are being created at Camp Mennoscah this spring.  Don Troyer, former Camp Mennoscah director and all-around nature guy, is building a self-guided nature center in part of the crafts building.  He’s also offered to lead nature hikes (day and night) and do some stargazing with groups, as schedules permit.  Don will be an amazing resource for us.

This won’t spontaneously make us creation gurus or even give us a new awareness of our surroundings.  It will, perhaps, remind us of the awesomeness of  creation, our dependence upon it, and that we have been charged with the caretaking of God’s creation, whether plant life, wildlife, or human life.  And may it be so.  Amen.

WDC Announcements

1.  Citizens of God’s Kingdom:  Immigration and Christian Faith, a Mennonite Church USA Regional Gathering, co-sponsored by WDC and MCC, will be March 1-2 at Hope Mennonite Church in Wichita, KS.  Please register by this Friday, February 22 – call 316-283-6300 or email wdc@mennowdc.org.  See complete information at www.mennowdc.org (Events).

2.  Please note the phone number for Gilberto Flores, WDC Associate Conference Minister,  has changed to:  316-772-7690.

3.  Howdy, all you folks out there!  We need you to do some shoulder tapping and persuasive speaking.  Camp Mennoscah is looking for stunning and energetic summer staff and counselors for the 2013 summer.  Counselors must be at least 17 (preferably 18) and are weekly volunteer positions.  Summer staff receive a stipend and those with 1 year of college or equivalent experience are given preference.  Those interested should contact Camp Mennoscah at campmno@mennowdc.org  Summer staff applications can be found at www.campmennoscah.org under Resources.

4.  Spring Break at Camp Mennoscah!  We know that most adults don’t get a Spring Break, but if you’ve got a few days off and a passion for camping, we’ve got something for you.   The Mennonite Camping Association Regional gathering will be at Camp Mennoscah, March 18-20, 2013.  Camping folks from the West & Midwest (including Canada!) will gather for a time of learning, fellowship, and fun.  More information can be found at www.campmennoscah.org under Retreats.

5.  We want to give you a free tee shirt!  But for you to get your Camp Mennoscah tee shirt, you’ll have to spend a week having fun as one of our nurses or kitchen helpers for our summer youth camps.  Kitchen staff is still needed for the weeks of June 16-20, June 23-29, July 7-11, July 21-27, and July 28-Aug. 2.  Nurses are needed for the weeks of June 16-20, July 7-11, and July 21-27.  Contact us at campmno@mennowdc.org or  620-297-3290.  We think it’s one of the best volunteer jobs ever!

Kansas Announcements

Feb. 21, 7 pm  – Staley Lectures with James Logan, associate professor of religion and director of African and African-American studies at Earlham College, on the topic of the prison industrial complex at  Bethel College Mennonite Church (note location), and Feb. 22, 11 a.m., at Krehbiel Auditorium (Bethel College convocation).

MC USA Announcements

1.  Development Associate – Mennonite Mission Network has an immediate opening for a  full time Development Associate whose primary responsibility is to strengthen relationships with constituents and solicit financial support.  Work will be based in one of the Mennonite Church USA offices in Elkhart, IN or Newton, KS with regular travel to other U.S. locations.  Candidates should bring a passion for God’s mission to the world, and the ability to build relationships, listen perceptively, and elicit participation.  Must be well organized and willing to take initiative.  Experience in fundraising is an asset.  Women and persons of color are encouraged to apply. The position description can be read online www.mennonitemission.net/About/Pages/StaffOpps.aspx. Interested persons should send a letter of interest and resume to Linda Krueger, Human Resources Coordinator,  Mennonite Mission Network, Box 370, Elkhart, IN  46515, or email staffrecruitment@Mennonitemission.net

2.  AMBS Church Leadership Center invites you to join them for:

Workshop: Business Leaders and Pastors: Partners in Leadership and Ministry? (Goshen, Indiana)

As followers of Christ, both business leaders and pastors want to work for God’s purposes in the world. Yet despite this common desire, business leaders and pastors sometimes encounter barriers to pursuing a shared vision. Join us for a conversation!

Presenter: David B. Miller
Location: Everence offices, Goshen, Indiana
Saturday, March 23, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; optional lunch following
Get details and register by March 8

Anabaptist Short Course: Understanding Anabaptist Approaches to Scripture:  What’s Different and Why?

Professor Loren Johns
April 8- May 17, 2013
Get details and register by March 18

See a complete listing of Church Leadership Center events.
Visit our website.
For more information contact:  churchleadership@ambs.edu, 574-296-6269.

3.  Sustainable Food & Farming Conference-It’s not too late to register for Laurelville Mennonite Church Center’s biannual sustainablility conference. This year we have dynamic speakers, including Maurice Small (founder of Cleveland Fresh Stop System) and freelance writer Kristi Bahrenberg-Janzen. Join us March 1-3 for hands-on workshops, time to network, and information packed plenaries. Visit Laurelville.org/sff for complete information and a registration form. Online registration is available.

4.  Grief Retreat-Join Rachel Nafziger Hartzler for a weekend of “Grief, Spirituality and Sexuality”: Life After Losing a Spouse, March 15-17 at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center.  What a blessing it would be to gift this retreat to a loved one who has suffered from an incredible loss. A detailed schedule and registration brochure can be found at Laurelville.org/grief-retreat.

5.  Great Whitewater Connection—Find out what over 200 youth experienced before and after the Mennonite Church USA convention last summer. Designed to connect youth across the Mennonite church, this whitewater rafting retreat is still available for an  incredible $50/person.  This year’s event is July 12-14 at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, Mt. Pleasant, Pa. Due to its popularity, the Great Whitewater Connection fills up fast; reserve your places today at Laurelville.org/whitewater or by calling 800.839.1021. NOTE: You can also watch highlights from last year at Laurelville.org/whitewater-video.

6.  Attached are the prayer requests from the member schools of Mennonite Schools Council, and the colleges, universities, seminaries and educational programs of Mennonite Church USA for March. MEA also posts these prayer requests on its website. The prayer request of the day is displayed on our home page and the document is available at www.MennoniteEducation.org/PRAYERS.  We encourage you to share Prayers for Faith and Learning with others. The document is set up so it can be a bulletin insert or distributed in church mail boxes. Some churches choose specific prayer requests to include in their weekly bulletins. Congregations or individuals who are interested in a free subscription to Prayers for Faith and Learning (or other MEA publications) may subscribe online at www.MennoniteEducation.org/Subscribe.  Thank you for the many ways you support Mennonite education!

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