August 5, 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 – Down from the Mountaintop:  Sustaining the church camp experience at home

     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation

Ahhh, the camp “after-glow.”  There may be sand in the suitcase and bug-bites on the leg, but the glow your campers catch may be akin to what Moses experienced when he returned from the mountain top in Exodus 34, vs. 29. (And I am not talking about a sunburn).   Moses had an experience with God! The summer Christian camp experience invites children and youth to also experience God, it is a faith formation laboratory.

What is so amazing about the camp experience?  From dawn to dusk, campers are reminded that God is creator, that God is present and relational and that God is love.  From morning praise to campfire embers, they sing songs about Jesus and are invited to embrace and own the Christian life.  At camp, there is a saturation of intentional religious language, a pausing for prayer and day-long examples of a lived faith.  At camp, the staff is energetic, positive and lovingly goofy.   At camp, music can be both crazy and contemplative, there is often movement and lots of smiles.

It would serve us well as parents, grandparents, pastors, mentors of children and youth to remember and replicate that which happens so naturally at camp in our homes and congregations.  There are a myriad of reasons why camp feels like a mountain top experience.  But there are also reasons why the “after-camp glow” is hard to maintain.  With no additional nurture, “this little light of mine” may become a stubby candle with a faulty wick.

Here are some “campy” ideas to keep the fire burning and to continue faith formation in the home and community:

Build Community:

  • Host a campfire in your back yard or around your grill.  Toast marshmallows and ask your kids to lead you in “camp songs.”  Invite other family members and neighbors.
  • Host a neighborhood talent or skit night. Serve popcorn!
  • Take a risk and invite other families over for Bible Study or Prayer.  Since it is intergenerational, it will be relaxed and even fun!
  • Together, write a (real paper) letter to your kid’s camp director, cooks, bible study leader or counselors.  Express appreciation for the time they spent with your kids and fill them in on what is happening in your family today.
  • Invite friends from camp (from other churches / towns) to a get-together. Support these friendships – they may be life-long!

Simple Fun:

  • Cook a favorite meal from camp.
  • Have family announcements after a meal. (Crazy is optional).
  • Sleep in a camper, tent or under the stars!
  • Discover the wildlife in your yard or a nearby park.  Look up the critters in a book (think library!) or go to the web to read about what they need to thrive.
  • Have a backyard water fight!
  • Go fishing!
  • Find a river, lake or waterpark and play together!
  • Ask your child to teach you a craft they made at camp.
  • Ask your child to teach you some songs and actions they learned at camp.
  • Turn off your home air conditioning and live like they do at camp!
  • Wake them up with a crazy good mornin’ song!
  • Do a technology free day (no phone / internet / tv / computer / electronic games) – just like at camp!

Faith Builders:

  • Sing a “camp” grace before your meal.  The kids know the words! Have fun at your meals!  Invite kids to plan a meal-time activity.
  • Talk about the best thing that happened at camp and the worst thing that happened at camp.
  • Ask your child about their life with God.  Was their faith changed or challenged during camp?  How did they experience God’s love in a new way?  Was a significant decision made?
  • Continue or begin to do daily or weekly family devotions together.  Take turns with all members of the family leading, reading, praying. Use the scripture that was studied at camp.
  • Ask only a few questions every day.  Allow them to share experiences with you over time.
  • Pray together as a family, thanking God for the experience of Christian camp, the friendships and the challenges.
  • Share with your children your own Faith Story.  Be honest about your questions and challenges.
  • Attend a Family Camp together.
  • Have a quiet time outdoors before bed, star-gazing, listening to nature sounds or a short walk.

WDC Announcements

1.  Plan now for Fall Faith Formation!  The Conference Resource Library has what you need and at no cost!  Call, email, or stop in to check out a stack of options appropriate for your adult small group or Sunday School.  Find a brand new list of Adult Electives at:   https://mennowdc.org/library/check-it-out/.  Copy and distribute to your teachers, facilitators and leaders. crlib@mennowdc.org / 316-283-6300

2.  Shine on!  The new MennoMedia faith formation curriculum, Shine! has  videos that demonstrate various aspects of the curriculum. Perfect for teacher training or your own Shine Sunday Celebration.    Check them out at   https://shinecurriculum.com/for-teachers/shine-training/

3.  Meeting space available!  WDC has four rooms available for groups of 6 to 25.  Need a place for planning?  Spiritual formation? a class?  tutoring? personal retreat?  Free WiFi, restrooms and kitchenette.   Call 316-283-6300 to reserve.  Free to those with WDC connections, fee for others.

4.  17th annual Day on the Farm – August 16, starts at 10 am, at the Carol Duerksen/Maynard Knepp Farm, 1582 Falcon, Hillsboro, KS.  The WillowSpring Downs Derby will be back, featuring experienced jockeys from the last race, as well as newcomers. This stick horse race will probably be most appealing to children, but adult jockeys with an expertise in riding stick horses are welcome as well. Participants are encouraged to bring their own stick horses, and some additional ones will be available, although event organizers are not guaranteeing the speed or stamina of those steeds.

5.  Camp Sing!  Sunday, August 10, 6 pm at Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton.  Food.  Fellowship.  Friendship.  Singing. Snacks.  Awesome camp staff and volunteers.  A good time – BE THERE!  Support our next project – TWO NEW BATHHOUSES for next camping season!  SEE YOU SOON!

6.  Mental Health Spiritual Retreat–All are welcome to join us at Camp Mennoscah for the Mental Health Spiritual Retreat on Aug. 31-Sept. 1.  The retreat is for those affected by mental illness, including family and friends.  We’ll spend the weekend in fellowship with the theme of Finding Your True Self.  Activities include a hayrack ride, swimming, and sessions with Laurie Oswald Robinson, inspirational speaker.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 for more information.

7.  It’s time to pull out those work clothes!  Camp Mennoscah’s Work & Play Camp is Sept. 14-17 and we need all those busy hands to put the camp grounds to rights.  There’s no charge for this time of volunteering and fellowship–just a suggested donation of $4.00 per meal.  All ages are welcome.  Please contact us at 620-297-3290 to let us know you’re joining in the fun!

8. Hey, all you summer campers!  Thanks for coming to Camp Mennoscah and being part of our faith community!  Summer youth camps are now over, but there are plenty of folks in your congregations to share your experience with.  You don’t have to wait until next summer to visit Camp Mennoscah again, either.  Come volunteer or be part of one of our retreats.  Enjoy camp all year round!

9.  First Mennonite Church of Newton is taking applications for their administrative assistant position. The person hired will be one who is hospitable and helpful, is familiar with the entire Microsoft Office Suite, and has willingness to learn new software. This position has some flexibility in number of hours (no less than 75 percent). If interested, contact the Church Office at 316-283-0273 and ask for an application and more information.

Mennonite Church USA Announcements

1.  “Black Mennonite Women Rock” Retreat:  Sept. 12-14 at Camp Friedenswald, Cassopolis, Michigan, hosted by Central District Conference.  Women of all races and faith expressions are invited to be part of a weekend of upbeat worship, classic camp activities and exciting discussions of faith, race and identity – celebrating Anabaptist-Mennonite faith through an African-American cultural style.  See www.mennoniteusa.org/central-district-conference-hosts-black-mennonite-women-rock/.  Register now at www.friedenswald.org or 269-476-9744.  Financial aid is available, and women age 25 and under are invited to come at no cost.

2.  Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary – Pastors Week 2015: What is an Anabaptist Christian? That question will spark conversation during Pastors Week, January 26-29. Four speakers will answer from their perspectives, looking at  how we honor all ethnic and cultural heritages that are part of the Mennonite Church today:

  • Greg Boyd
  • Drew Hart
  • Janet Plenert
  • Elizabeth Soto Albrecht

Learn more about Pastors Week, and about Leadership Clinics during the day on January 26.

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