August 20, 2013

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)


*Know, Think, Believe

Know, Think, Believe

by Olivia Bartel, Camp Mennoscah Director

There are things I know, things I think to be true, and things I would like to believe.  I know that Camp Mennoscah is 65 years old and that society and society’s needs have changed since 1948.  I think it to be true that some change is inevitable and that Camp Mennoscah needs to change to keep up with the wants and needs of our constituents.  I would like to believe that we are all younger than we are and that the way things used to be at Camp Mennoscah are sufficient for what we need today.

I know that the board of directors is attempting to address the age of Camp Mennoscah and the changing needs of our constituents.  Our age is showing in many of our buildings, both in condition and in comfort and privacy.  The Master Plan (find it at www.campmennoscah.org) that was created in 2012 includes new bathhouses, kitchen renovations, and also has some fun additions that are meant to contribute to the great activities that Camp Mennoscah already has.  The bathhouses, the first project, are scheduled to be completed before the 2014 camping season.  (Get out your tools and workpants!  We’ll need your help this fall and winter to meet this goal.)

It’s an assumption, but I’m fairly certain that the age of most of those who will be reading this are very likely 40 years old or older.  And, if this assumption is correct, then you are the folks who have carried Camp Mennoscah through these 65 years.  You have given hours to camp as counselors, kitchen volunteers, and in numerous hours of cleaning, preparing, and repairing.  You have driven campers back and forth to summer camps.  You have contributed money to our camping program.  We are grateful for these things and for your dedication to our camp and to our campers and guests.  We can’t do it without you.

I think that our founding and first generations of Camp Mennoscah campers have already seen numerous changes in Camp Mennoscah over the years—some great and some maybe not so great.  The changes that were made—adding a swimming pool and the Retreat Center, for example—were intended to keep camp up to date and meet the needs of our constituents.  You may see changes that are needed now that we have not seen.

I believe that, just as you have been foundational to Camp Mennoscah for these past 65 years, you will also be the key to keeping this camping ministry going strong.  I believe that there will be some struggles with the changes the Master Plan will bring and that you, as leaders and mentors, are needed to eloquently help younger generations see why some traditions and buildings may need to be altered.  You are needed to help guide us through this next stage in the life of Camp Mennoscah, because we won’t always know exactly what we’re doing.

Regardless of how slowly or quickly we move with projects, it is vital that we keep the mission of Camp Mennoscah before us at all times.   We need to know that we are making changes because they will help us fulfill our mission and not because it looks good on paper.   I know that we can do this working together.  I think these projects will be great adventures.  I believe in the future of Camp Mennoscah.

WDC Announcements

1.  Hungry for the next Year of the Bible event?  Visit this site:
http://echo.wearesparkhouse.org/workshops/  to see what is coming next!  Then save Sept. 15, 3 – 6:30 pm for an interactive learning experience on Bible Storying at Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS.    Only $10 per person or $25 for a group of up to 10 persons.  Plus pizza, networking, and discounted books by Michael Novelli, our presenter.  Call Western District Conference at 316-283-6300 by Sept. 10 to reserve your spot.

2.  Engaging our Culture, October 25-26, is a two-part event being planned by the Western District Conference Human Sexuality Discernment Task Force. On Friday, October 25, Mennonite comedian, Ted Swartz, will be teaming up with Keith Graber Miller, Goshen College Bible professor, for a Christian exploration of human sexuality. The theme for Reference Council on Saturday, October 26, is The Church and Homosexuality: A Conversation That Can Hold Us Together. David Boshart, Central Plains Conference Minister, along with Keith Graber Miller will be the main presenters. Reference Council is for all the members of Western District Conference Executive Board, Commissions, Committees, and Pastors. This Reference Council like the one on Immigration in March 2013 will be open to any members of WDC congregations. Registration information will be forthcoming.

3.  Pastors, new to Western District Conference, please reserve Thursday, October 31, 3-8 PM, for an orientation to Western District history, ministry, and mission.

4.  Pastors, set aside Friday, November 1, for training in the Prevention of Clergy Misconduct.  Any pastors who are new to WDC in the last year, including those who are seeking licensing or ordination credentials, are required to receive this day-long training.  We are also encouraging any pastors who have not had the training in the last five years to register.  Marlene Bogard will be our presenter.  She has received a certified trainer through the FaithTrust Institute.  The training will be held from 8:30 – 4:40 at the Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton.  More details will be forthcoming.

5.  Pastors Day Apart is being planned for November 21 with James Krabill from Mennonite Mission Network.

6.  This Camp is for YOU!  Work & Play Camp at Camp Mennoscah is September 15-18 and is for everyone of all ages.  This is a service-oriented camp with lots of fellowship.  We’ll be painting and cleaning and sorting and working on vehicles and this and that and all sorts of other things.  No camp fees for this camp, but donations are welcome.  Brochures can be found at www.campmennoscah.org or by calling 620-297-3290.  Put on those workpants!

7.  Camp Mennoscah’s Mental Health Spiritual Retreat is practically here!  This retreat on September 1-2 is for those affected by mental illness, including friends, family, and caregivers.  We’ll be joining together in worship, music, and fellowship in all sorts of activities.  Registrations accepted until full.  Give us a call at 620-297-3290!

8.  Annual Meeting of the Camp Mennoscah Association.  It’s almost here.  It’s September 22 at 3 pm at Camp Mennoscah.  We’ll be looking for you there, so put it on your calendar and dust off your camp tee shirt.  More information coming soon!

MC USA Announcements

1.  Mennonite Education Agency (MEA), the education agency of Mennonite Church USA, invites proposals for grants from its Fund for Peoplehood Education, a donor-restricted term endowment. The fund supports initiatives that promote the distinctive features of church-sponsored education and encourage strong ties between Mennonite Church USA and its schools.

The fund achieves this purpose by supporting:

  • Interpretive projects that advocate church-sponsored schools
  • Innovative ways of calling and orienting gifted members to the teaching ministry
  • Orientation programs for teachers, administrators and trustees
  • Action-oriented research that enhances church-school relationships

Priority is given to projects that strengthen church-school ties and interpret the distinctive features of Anabaptist/Mennonite education and that cultivate educational leadership among younger members of Mennonite Church USA. The deadline for submission of proposals is Sept. 30, 2013. For fund policies and an application form, e-mail MEA at info@MennoniteEducation.org, or call 574-343-1312.  For additional information or questions, contact Timothy Burkholder, consultant, 574-361-3446, or TimB@MennoniteEducation.org.

2. September 22 has been designated as Peace Sunday by Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite World Conference. The theme of the Peace Sunday resources this year is “Do Not Conform”, taken from Romans 12. “The Peace Sunday materials reflect contributions from a number of Mennonite Church USA congregations and partners,” says Jason Boone, Coordinating Minister of the Peace and Justice Support Network. “We need the strength of community to live out the radical call of ‘Do not conform’. Together, we can follow Jesus’ path of peace.”  To find online worship resources, just click this link to the Peace & Justice Support Network resources for Peace Sunday which include prayers, sermon seeds, children’s stories, song suggestions, litanies and advocacy ideas. PeaceSunday2013.

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