WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
December 2, 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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Clarence’s Clarion Call
Clarence’s Clarion Call – Thanksgivings and Transition
by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister
“Praise be to you, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. You chose us before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in your sight. In your great love you adopted us as sons and daughters in the family of God. By your grace you redeemed us from the powers of evil and forgave us our sins through Christ’s death on the cross. And by the power of Christ’s resurrection you give us new life to do good, to pursue peace, to seek justice, and to love our neighbors and even our enemies.”
I begin my Sunday morning prayer for the pastors and churches of Western District Conference (WDC) with this exuberant outburst of worship from Ephesians 1. It has been a privilege to carry the churches and pastors of Western District Conference in my heart over the past five years.
I am retiring from this work and this role on June 30, 2015, at the end of my five-year call as Executive Conference Minister. I began as an Associate Conference Minister on May 1, 2009. It is with deep gratefulness that I reflect on this chapter of ministry even in the midst of significant ethical and relational turbulence in Western District and Mennonite Church USA.
I thank God for a deep sense of personal groundedness with these two pillars of truth. First of all, I am created (as are you) in the image of God, and “God don’t make no junk.” Secondly, I am redeemed by the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a beloved child of God, and “please be patient; God is not finished with me yet.”
I thank God for the dedicated servants of God that serve in and through our churches across WDC.
I thank God for committed, skillful pastors throughout WDC who love the Lord and are pursuing God’s restorative mission in the world.
I am thankful for the surprise of new churches that have come to us seeking fellowship with the wider Mennonite family. I am grateful for miracles of connection and provision experienced every week. If only I had journaled these blessings of God.
I am thankful for gifted colleagues in ministry (Gilberto, Marlene, Doug, Dwight) and an amazing supporting staff (Phyllis, Nancy) that have been companions in ministry. What a gift!
I am thankful for the dedicated servants who have and are serving with the Executive Board, the Commissions, the Committees, and the Task Forces of WDC. I am thankful for wise co-workers in the task forces who have guided the human sexuality conversation.
I thank God for new horizons of opportunity that have emerged in the Year of the Bible, the Youth Ministry Network, the Church Planting Commission, the Anabaptist Faith Formation: Growing in Christ launch in June 2015, and the Kansas Leadership Center grant for 2015.
In the next seven months of ministry with WDC, I will continue to pursue these essential Area Conference tasks:
- To sustain transformative pastors
- To resourceful healthy, missional churches
- To network Anabaptist church planting partnerships.
Joy in Christ, Clarence Rempel
Dec 7 – Pray God’s blessing on the Western District Church Planters Retreat on Dec. 12 and the Church Planting Dreamers Advance on Dec 13.
Dec 14 – Pray for God’s guidance in the search for a new Western District Conference Minister led by the Executive Board appointed Search Committee.
Dec 21 – Praise God for the outpouring of his love in the sending of his Son Jesus Christ. Pray that each of our churches will be open channels of sharing that love in their communities.
Dec 28 – Thank God for each baptism and each new member that has joined the family of God in this past year. Pray for faithfulness and fruitfulness as these new disciples grow in Christ and join in God’s mission of redeeming, reconciling and restoring our world.
Dec 12 – Church Planter Retreat, Cross Wind Conference Center, Hesston, KS
Dec 13 – Church Planting Dreamers Advance, Cross Wind Conference Center, Hesston, KS
Jan 2-4, 2015 – Discipleship Now, Wichita, KS
Jan 13, 2015 – Pastors’ Table Talk, Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, KS
Jan 18, 2015 – Gilberto Flores Farewell, First Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
Jan 24, 2015 – Rural Ministry Seminar
Jan 31-Feb 1, 2015 – Know Jesus, Hesston College
April 11, 2015 – WDC Reference Council
April 26, 2015 – Children’s Choir Festival, Newton, KS
June 12-13, 2015 – Anabaptist Faith Formation – Growing in Christ – Launch, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
Oct 30-31, 2015 – WDC Annual Assembly, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
The December issue of Parish Paper, entitled “How to Make the Most of a Consulting Process” can now be viewed at: https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/.
- IMMIGRATION UPDATE – December 14, 3-5 pm at Mennonite Church of the Servant, 2401 N Woodland (23rd & Woodland), Wichita KS. Lupe Magdaleno from Sunflower Community Action will present an update on the current status of immigration policy in the U.S., Kansas, and Wichita. The afternoon will begin with a prayer service for immigrants and conclude with a light meal. Free and open to the public. Among the event sponsors are Mennonite Church of the Servant and Iglesia Menonita Aposento Alto, both in Wichita, KS
Mennonite Church Announcements
- Visit Mennonite Church USA’s Kansas City convention website: www.mennoniteusa.org/convention. As planning continues, this website will be the one-stop-shop for the many details you’ll need to know to start planning your participation in next year’s convention. Please bookmark it, forward the link to others and check back often to see the promo videos and find out the unique things we are planning for Kansas City 2015.
- MCC Washington Office created a resource page on President Obama’s executive action announcement. Many of these resources are available in both English and Spanish. The most helpful one is the very first one on the list, the USCIS page. http://washingtonmemo.org/immig/execaction/
- Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind., announces upcoming events, workshops and resources:
Lent worship planning
Explore resources for Lent worship, including scripture presentations, sermon ideas, children’s worship ideas, hymns and visuals.
Day-long workshop, Saturday, Jan. 17, at AMBS, led by Rebecca Slough, Rachel Miller Jacobs, Allan Rudy-Froese and Rosanna McFadden. (www.ambs.edu/lentplanner)
Webinar: Thursday, Feb. 5, 7:30-8:45 pm Eastern, led by Rachel Miller Jacobs. (www.ambs.edu/webinars)
Leadership Clinics, January 26
Lay leaders and pastors are invited to day-long Leadership Clinics at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary on January 26:
- Understanding Anabaptist Approaches to Scripture: What’s Different and Why?, with Loren Johns, AMBS professor of New Testament
- The Word Wore Red: A.K.A The Bible Doesn’t Have to be Boring; led by Meghan Good, pastor, Albany (Oregon) Mennonite Church
- Participation, Power and Process: Why Polity Matters, led by Willard Metzger, executive director, Mennonite Church Canada; and Janeen Bertsche Johnson, AMBS campus pastor
- The Lord’s Supper Liturgy: Creating a Safe Place for Abuse Survivors and the Wider Church, led by Hilary Scarsella, PhD student, Vanderbilt Divinity School; Eleanor Kreider, consultant and practitioner in worship and mission; David B. Miller, AMBS associate professor of missional leadership development
Pastors Week, January 26-29
Where Culture Blurs Theology: What is an Anabaptist Christian? is the theme for Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary Pastors Week. Speakers bring different points of view to how we honor all ethnic heritages that are part of the Mennonite Church. Greg Boyd, Drew Hart, Janet Plenert and Elizabeth Soto Albrecht explore what it means to be an Anabaptist today. Learn more: www.ambs.edu/pastorsweek
Anabaptist Short Course
“Understanding Anabaptist Approaches to Scripture: What’s Different and Why?” is a six-week online course, taught by Loren Johns, professor of New Testament at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary . The course is taught at a seminary level but for no credit. It is highly interactive, drawing on the wisdom among students. The course runs from Feb. 11–March 25, 2015. Learn more: www.ambs.edu/anabaptistshortcourses
Preview Seminary Days
AMBS has set two Seminary Preview Days for fall: March 27 and April 24. Encourage someone with gifts for ministry to join in classes and worship for a day and to meet professors. Learn more: www.ambs.edu/visitambs.cfm
Spring online course
An online course, History of Christianity in Africa, will be offered by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary from Feb. 3 to May 20. It examines the history, missionary dynamics and current changing demographics of the African church. The instructor is James Krabill, PhD, Mennonite mission worker in Ivory Coast for almost two decades and senior executive for global ministries with Mennonite Mission Network since 1996. Anyone not enrolled in a theological program who is taking a first AMBS online course, gets a 50 percent tuition discount. To learn more and to register: www.ambs.edu/christianityinafrica.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620