April 1, 2014

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)


*Pick My Brain

Pick My Brain – A Lenten Confession

     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation

“I’m a fool for Jesus, Whose Fool are You?”   OK, so I am writing this on April Fools’ Day.  But please, take me seriously! 🙂

As a young Jesus Freak in the 1970’s, I wrote this quote on a sign and marched in parades, playing the outspoken odd-ball, the one who could speak extemporaneously about Jesus without fear.  Sure, I lost some friends, drew some criticism; but for me this behavior was evidence of my Christian faith.

This past week I was with thirty Mennonite Church leaders at the annual Resource Advocate Retreat.  We received amazing new ideas, resources, networked, prayed and ate together. These days were totally heartwarming and affirming of Mennonite Church USA denominational agencies who led our gathering and offer so much in print, DVD, and web.

I also had some heart-to-heart conversations with mothers, like me, who have young adult children who do not connect to a church.  Serendipitously and spontaneously, several of us opened up to each other with stories of heartache, disappointment and grief.  One shared how occasions like Christmas and Easter have lost their “faithy luster,” because these holidays are not to be celebrated as Christian with their children.  I understood. I have visited with Mennonite mothers who have children who are married to Muslims, to Wiccans, and to atheists.  Most are not well equipped to deal with these new relationships.  It’s not that we don’t love our children and their spouses.  But when Christ is the center of our lives, these relationships are very difficult to navigate. I personally often feel tongue-tied around my own children, not knowing how to express my Christian faith in their midst of their un-faith.  I try so hard not to offend, and so I say very little.  Once I was not afraid to be the fool; now I am not even sure how to pray.

I offer this bit of Lenten confession so that other parents may be able to speak more openly of their own yearnings, their sadness, their confusion with regard to their relationships with their grown children.  We can find strength and hope and, yes, even confidence as we become vulnerable with each other.  God is with us on this journey, and this journey is not yet over.

Some resources connecting to this topic:

Call Numbers: 259.24 Hen

Hungry souls, holy companions : mentoring a new generation of Christians

by Hendricks, Patricia. – 2006

Call Numbers: 259.24 Mer

Tribal church : ministering to the missing generation / Carol Howard Merritt.

by Merritt, Carol Howard. – 2007

Combines real-life stories, personal reflections as a thirty-something and current research to provide a clear view or what young adults view as their quest for faith, meaning, life and love.

Call Numbers: 277.3083 Kin

Unchristian : what a new generation really thinks about Christianity and why it matters

by Kinnaman, David – 2007

Research into the perceptions of sixteen to twenty-nine year olds reveal that Christians have taken several giant steps backward in connecting with youth and young adults. Find out why these negative perceptions exist and some ways of reversing them in a Christlike manner.

Call Numbers: 289.773 Tha

Thank you for asking : conversing with young adults about the future church


Young adults explain frankly what they think of God, the Bible, Jesus, church, sex and spirituality.

Call Numbers: DVD 277.308 Kim

They Like Jesus But Not the Church

by Kimball, Dan – 2008

Statistics reveal that if you ask someone if they like Jesus, you will get a yes, whereas if you ask them about the church, you will get a far less favorable response. There is a huge exodus of young adults from our churches who are “spiritual” but not “religious.” Here are first-hand thoughts from those who don’t care for organized religion but still long for a spiritual connection to a living God and an engaging community.

Call Numbers: 248.845 Mue

Opie doesn’t live here anymore : where faith, family, and culture collide

by Mueller, Walt, 1956- – 2007

Mueller offers essays to help us understand what it means to God’s people and the world’s culture to meet, and bring to this clash, the call of Jesus in our lives.

Call Numbers: 306.8743 Jen

Taking flight from the empty nest

by Jenson, Mary. – 2001

Speaks to the enormous changes that occur emotionally and practically as the nest empties and children take flight. Also talks about the growth that can happen in our spiritual lives and with our spouse.

WDC Announcements

1.  Pastor, Spouse & Family Retreat – Today is the early registration deadline for the Retreat, which will be at Camp Mennoscah on April 25-27.  Saturday play options include:  challenge course, comforter tying, massage appointments ($25/half hour massage, $15/15-minute chair massage), river play, basketball, and volleyball. Saturday evening: improvisational fun!  Sunday morning: Biblical storytelling in worship.  Sign up by April 11 for child care. Register today for lowest cost; registrations accepted until April 18.  See:  https://mennowdc.org/calendar/

2.  Tag-Team Preaching?  Yup – it’s in the plans for WDC Annual Assembly July 4-6 in Waxahachie, TX.  Make this gathering part of your summer.  Registration and more info available in May.
3.  Next Year of the Bible Event:  A Webinar will be hosted at the AMBS-Great Plains classroom (2500 Place, North Newton) on Wednesday, April 30 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.   The topic is “Understanding Anabaptist Approaches to Scripture:  What’s Different and Why?” with Loren Johns, Professor of New Testament at AMBS-Elkhart.  No pre-registration required but a fee of $25 must be paid in cash or check to “AMBS-GP”, memo line “Webinar – Scripture” at webinar.  Simply show up, listen, and join others in a follow-up discussion.  Contact Marlene Bogard (mbogard@mennowdc.org or 316-283-6300) for information.

4.  Church-given Camp Scholarships–It’s that time of year when churches and congregations start thinking about offering camp scholarships to Camp Mennoscah campers.  We think you’re the greatest to give the gift of this faith experience to your campers!  Information about how to make giving camp scholarships easier for us can be found at www.campmennoscah.org under Camps in the Scholarship Information section.  Thank you for taking a look!

5.  Retirees’ Relaxation Retreat–It’s coming soon, this retreat of relaxation for the retirees of any amount of busyness!  On April 21-23 at Camp Mennoscah, we’ll be gathering up all those little drops of water and grains of sand to create one great retreat about how the little things can have big results.  Come let these short days equal one big renewal for you!  Contact us at 620-297-3290 for more information or find the brochure at www.campmennoscah.org under Retreats!

6.  Men and Boys Retreat is April 4-6 at Camp Mennoscah!  Come on Friday for your own “scheduled” fun.  Meals will begin Saturday evening.  No preregistration needed, register at the sports shed upon arrival.

7.  Kitchen Staff Needed!  Camp Mennoscah is on the hunt for those folks who know the difference between apple and core, potato and peeling, peanut butter and jelly.  We are looking for kitchen helpers for most of our summer camp weeks except for First Camp.  The infamous free camp tee shirt is part of the deal, as well as jubilant campers, swimming, and great times with great folks.  Parents can receive a camper discount.  Contact us at campmno@mennowdc.org or 620-297-3290.

8.  Attention Youth Pastors – Youth Ministry Council will be held in Kansas City May 12-15 and is an opportunity to meet with folks from across the denomination to connect, hear some new ideas, and even give some input into the 2015 Convention.  To encourage participation, the SCC/WDC Youth Ministry Committee (don’t confuse that with the event, Youth Ministry Council) will reimburse $150 for each participant from WDC or SCC.  Just let Isaac (isaac@whitestonemc.com) know and the rest will happen!  Additionally, there will be opportunity to carpool, and at least one conference car will be headed to KC, so hopefully transportation costs will be a non-issue.   Register at:  YMC 2014 Kansas City Registration

9. Manhattan Mennonite Church (KS) has a new email address: office@manhattanmennonitechurch.org.

Mennonite Church USA Announcements
1.  GREAT PLAINS EXTENSION early registration deadline is April 14 for summer courses!  Sign up now online for credit option at AMBS: BIBLICAL SPIRITUALITY (GP:BIB509), meets six weeks, Tuesday evenings, May 27-July 1 or CONFLICT, COMMUNICATION AND CONCILIATION (GP:CHM633) which meets June 10-13, 8:30 – 5:00 each day.  For audit (non-credit), call the GP office at 316-283-7098 for information.

2.  MCC Central States is currently recruiting for a “Young Adult Program Coordinator” position.  This is a full-time position, working with the young adult programs for Central States, as well as leadership development.  The location is open within the Central States region, with a preference for an urban setting.  Persons who are interested can send a letter of intent and resume to Melissa Waltner (melissawaltner@mcc.org)  You can view the job description at http://serve.mcc.org/positions/young-adult-program-coordinator-cs

3.  In response to calls from across the church, Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, and Sara Wenger Shenk, president of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind., convened a discernment group to continue healing and reconciliation work in the wake of John Howard Yoder’s abuse of women and of ongoing questions about how the church responded to it. They said in an earlier release, “We hope this work will lead to churchwide resolve to enter into lament, repentance and restoration for victims of sexual abuse by other perpetrators as well.” Read more about the work of the discernment group, find answers to FAQs, and access a list of resources to help prevent sexual abuse in your own congregation at www.mennoniteusa.org/executive-board/transformative-peacemaking/a-way-forward/.

4. Registration for the thirteenth class of the Values-based Leadership Program is open. The program is comprised of two sessions which are scheduled for October 28-30, 2014, and February 24-26, 2015, both taking place at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, Mount Pleasant, Pa.   The Values-based Leadership Program helps individuals in leadership roles gain a fresh perspective, one that views leadership and organizational processes through a uniquely Anabaptist lens. This perspective guides participants in following Jesus’ servant leadership model while celebrating both community and diversity. A participant will come away grounded in leadership practice in faith, values and life experiences.  Registration is limited to forty-five participants for this five day program which is divided into two parts. Leaving a time gap between part one and two allows participants to reflect on and begin implementing what they are learning bringing real life experience back to the second session. Tuition for the two-part program costs $945 before August 31, 2014 ($1045 after August 31). Participants are also responsible for expenses associated with transportation, materials, and lodging and meals during the program.  Because of the Values-based Leadership Program’s outstanding reputation, businesses and organizations often provide some monetary support to enable their employees to attend. Scholarship money is also available for individuals demonstrating financial need.  The Values-based Leadership Program is co-sponsored by Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Everence, Laurelville, Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Education Agency, Mennonite Economic Development Associates, MHS and Schmucker Training & Consulting. You can register for the Values-based Leadership Program and learn more about scholarship opportunities at www.vblp.org or by calling 800.839.1021.

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