August 27, 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)


*Clarence’s Clarion Call
*Prayer Requests
*Coming Events
*Parish Paper

Clarence’s Clarion Call – I Have A Dream

     by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I read Time magazine’s 50th anniversary issue of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech from cover to cover. I read trying to recover a lost memory that isn’t there. Growing up in rural Nebraska, a white Mennonite community, I was clueless about the ongoing suffering of our black brothers and sisters. I could not imagine the discrimination of segregation or the oppression of Jim Crow or the terror of the Klan. I did not know. The Mennonite became my initial window to the unfolding civil rights movement and the backlash of intimidation and violence it brought to light.

I confess with shame that the church in many places justified slavery, justified segregation, and justified a second class status to African Americans. I am forever grateful for the prophetic leadership of the black church in confronting racism, confronting bigotry, and confronting the evil of oppression with the truth-telling, non-violence of Jesus. It was African American Christians who led us out of the darkness of hatred and oppression towards a kingdom vision of valuing every person as created equal in the image of God.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream….right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

King invoked the prophetic future tense to call our nation to a new understanding of equality and freedom for all.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and every mountain shall be made low. The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. 

I am thankful that we aren’t where we were 50 years ago. There are now five black college graduates for every one in 1963. The percentage of African Americans living in poverty has fallen 23 points. On the other hand black American unemployment is unchanged in 50 years. It is still twice as high as the rest of the population. The subtle tentacles of personal and systemic racism still infect our relationships and institutions.

But God be praised, we aren’t what we were, and we are not yet what we will be. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:15-16).

(Statistical information from Time, August 26/September 2, 2013.)
Prayer Requests
Sept 1 – Praise God for the call of Byron Pellecer, recent graduate of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, to the planting of a Hispanic congregation in Wichita, KS. Pray God’s guidance for the supporting churches in Wichita – Lorraine Avenue Mennonite, Hope Mennonite, and Mennonite Church of the Servant.

Sept 8 – Pray for the Bible Storying event to be held next Sunday with presenter Michael Novelli at Faith Mennonite Church in Newton, KS.  Participants will be led in an interactive learning experience so they can more effectively teach the Bible in their congregations.

Sept 15 – Pray for Amanda Rempel as she represents Western District Conference at the ordination of three women in the Congo. She will be leaving September 19 for three weeks. Pray for spiritual and physical vigor and safety and support in travel.

Sept 22 – Praise God for all the campers and staff at Camp Mennoscah in 2013. Pray for Olivia Bartel, Camp Director, as she leads the camp in continued developments and new staffing and as she guides the annual meeting this afternoon.

Sept 29 – Pray for Ruth Harder who is being installed as the pastor of Rainbow Mennonite Church in Kansas City today.
Coming Events

Sep 6-7 Pastor’s Retreat, Waxahachie, TX
Sep 14:  Hispanic Women’s Ministry Gathering,  Iglesia Luz Del Evangelio, Dallas, TX
Sept 14: 
Choir Director’s Roundtable, WDC Office, North Newton, KS
Sept 15:  The Art of Bible Storying,  Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
Oct 25:  “Engaging our Sexual Culture”,  Bethel College, Krehbiel Auditorium, North Newton, KS
Oct 26:  WDC Reference Council – The Church and Homosexuality: A Conversation That Can Hold Us Together, Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
Oct 31:  New Pastor Orientation, WDC Office, North Newton, KS
Nov 1:  Pastor Misconduct Prevention Training, Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, KS
Nov 16:  Out of the Pew (youth event), Location TBD in Newton, KS
Nov 21:  Pastors’ Day Apart – “Never Changing Gospel: Ever Changing Church” with James Krabill, Location to be determined

Parish Paper

The September issue of Parish Paper, entitled “Disaster Relief:  Congregations in the Eye of the Storm” can be viewed at: https://mennowdc.org/resources/publications/parish-paper/

WDC Announcements

1.  Bible Storying is our next Year of the Bible event.  Attend if you enjoy an interactive learning experience on how to learn and teach the Bible.  Come to Faith Mennonite, Newton, KS from 3-6:30 pm on Sunday, September 15.  Call Western District Conference at 316-283-6300 by September 10 top reserve your spot.  Only $10 per person or $25 for a group of up to ten persons from your congregation.
2.  WDC Sprouts and WDC Seeds will take a break next week!  Two less e-mails from WDC!

3.  Help your youth get out of the pew!  Plan to bring them to the area conference youth event, Out of the Pew on Saturday, November 16, 9:00 am – 3:45 pm, at the Campus Activities Center at Hesston College!  Lunch is included.  Your teens will serve at various locations around Hesston and Newton, hear more about service opportunities and experiences, as well worship and fellowship together!  Please save Saturday, November 16th!  Registration information coming soon.

4.  Camp Mennoscah Annual Meeting–Camp Mennoscah Association will have its second annual meeting (wow!) on Sept. 22 at 3pm in the camp dining hall.  Entertainment will be provided by Tom, Lois, & Anna Harder and a pulled pork meal will be served.  Pulled pork and buns provided.  Please bring a side dish to share and table service.  Donations accepted.  We’ll see you there!
5.  Don’t Hide Under a Bushel!  We’re looking for skills great and small–from dusting to repairing, from willing spirits to helpful hands–to join us for our Work & Play Camp at Camp Mennoscah, September 15-18, 2013.  This is a service-oriented retreat for all ages.  We’ll be working hard and squeezing every ounce of fellowship and fun out of each day.  This year’s retreat is slightly shorter than previous years and we’d be happy to have folks stay longer.  Just let us know!  The brochure can be found at www.campmennoscah.org or give us a call at 620-297-3290.

6.  More Cropping at Camp Mennoscah!  This spring there was such a demand for our scrapbooking retreat that we’re considering adding a second retreat this fall.  Our primary scrapbooking retreat is November 1-3.  If we have enough interest, we’ll add a second retreat on November 15-17–this retreat is not guaranteed.  Brochures are not yet available, but send us an email at campmno@mennowdc.org or give us a call at 620-297-3290 to tell us you’re interested.  Fun times are ahead!

7.  If you’ve ever felt that today’s youth and families are stretched thin by the busyness of our culture and the demands of the sports that our kids play, or the activities that they are involved in, then please put September 22 on your calendar, as we will have the opportunity to hear from Dave King, Director of Athletics at Eastern Mennonite University.  He will describe the current state of youth sports and help us explore the impact on our children, family and church.  Together we will discover resources to help parents find their way through this challenging time!  Join us September 22, 6-7:30 p.m. at Whitestone church.  This is for all youth, parents, and youth workers.  Free will offering will be taken.  Refreshments provided!  Childcare available on site for infant through grade 3.  Please register your children by contacting the church office at 620-327-4123 or whitestone@whitestonemc.com.  A bulletin insert for this event is attached.

Mennonite Church USA Announcements
1.  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 September. 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.

2.  Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church in Harper, KS, will celebrate its 125th anniversary on August 31 and September 1. In the 1880s, settlers moved into the area from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Hesston, Kansas.  About 15 persons established the church in 1888, first meeting in a school building.  They constructed a wooden frame building where they met until 1915, when a larger building replaced it.  In 1965 the current building was constructed, with some additions and improvements since. All are invited to join the celebration, with the following schedule:
Saturday, Aug 31
Noon, Hamburger cook-off and community meal
Afternoon, Games for the Kids
1-7 pm, Silent Auction
4 pm, Worship Service with Weldon Martens, former PVMC pastor, giving the sermon
6 pm, Meal and sharing of stories
Sunday, September 1
9 am Breakfast
10:30 am, Worship service and bell dedication
Noon, catered dinner, advance reservation appreciated, contact:  620-896-2004 or busby.diana@gmail.com.

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