December 3, 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)


*Pick My Brain

Pick My Brain – Praying with an Heirloom this Christmas

     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation

Our home is fully stocked and decorated with family heirlooms and antiques.  A German Bible with hand-carved wooden type from the mid-1700’s is tucked away in a special box.   A woven scarf, a primitive iron, a wooden bowl from Russia, all over 140 years old are behind glass. My grandparents wedding clock from 1900 adorns our dining room.  My mother’s hymnal and my father’s catechism book rest in a bookcase.   Yes, these family objects are precious, but even more valuable is what they represent: a heritage of Christian faith and convictions, dating back several centuries.  A courageous people who left their homeland (many times) in order to find a safe sanctuary where they could practice their Anabaptist Christian faith without restrictions.  A family that maneuvered their way through the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, with it’s challenges of unexpected deaths, multiple wars, the depression, development of media, and a myriad of cultural pressures.  Now here I am in the 21st century, grateful for the centuries of prayer, Bible reading, church attendance, singing, all ways in which their faith was formed intentionally and unintentionally.  This year I thank God for the life of my dear mother, age 95, who passed away last spring, a woman of quiet strength and Christian faith.  I am also grateful for our new gurgling grandson (just two months old!) and his unfolding journey to discover the vast love of God.

This Christmas, as a prayer practice, I will hold on my lap the very old, very precious, very brittle Bible that was handed down to me.  I may not be able to read the German, but I will tenderly and carefully embrace the heavy book.  I will offer prayers of thanksgiving for the faithful who have walked this earthly road before me. I will utter prayers with a grateful heart for those who are my current companions.  I will express my hope and joy that with each new life, there is possibility, endless possibility that more lives, more generations, more families will be touched by the Love sent to earth.

I am happy that the WDC Resource Library has a wonderful selection of books on prayer, including this one, from which I got the idea, Praying with an Heirloom.  Prayer Practices for Terrifically Busy People by Daniel P. Schrock.  Simply search “Creative Prayer” on our on-line catalog at www.mennowdc.org  and you will find over 30 books for all ages.

P.S.  Use Google Chrome to access the on-line library catalog to avoid error messages.
WDC Announcements

1.  Camp Mennoscah Sweatshirts!  Did you know that Camp Mennoscah has sweatshirts that make great Christmas gifts?  These snazzy sweatshirts have the camp sign in white on black or dark brown.  The cost is $25 for youth sizes, $30 for adult sizes, and $35 for XXL.  What?!?  You already have a sweatshirt?  Well, we have mugs, tee shirts, and cookbooks, too!  Contact us at 620-297-3290 to make someone happy.

2.  Summer staff applications–Camp Mennoscah summer staff applications for 2014 are available on our website.  We won’t start filling positions until February, but early applications are welcome.  We’ve discovered that interviews done in person are better for everyone and that some folks are only in the Newton area for the holidays.  Questions?  Contact us at 620-297-3290.  We’ll do our best to help you out!
Mennonite ChurchUSA Announcements
1.  AMBS – Great Plains Extension invites you to informal “focus group” discussions about the future direction of the Extension.  These sessions will feature a short history of GPE, some program options and time to give counsel to the GPE Board in preparation for their January meeting.Choose one time:  Thursday, Dec. 12 (12 noon to 1:00 p.m. bring your lunch; 7;00 – 8:00 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 17, noon – 1:00 p.m. bring your lunch or 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.  All discussions are in the Seminary classrooom at 2505 N. Main in North Newton. For information, contact Dorothy Nickel Friesen, dnfriesen@ambs.edu or 316-283-7098, etc. 206.

2.  AMBS – Great Plains Extension announces four courses for spring semester with early registration deadline of January 6:  “Understanding the Church’s Contexts” with Lois Barrett, Tuesday evenings, 3 credit/audit hours; “Congregational Song” with Cynthia Neufeld Smith, four weekends, 3 credit/audit hours; “Christian Attitudes Toward War, Peace and Revolution” with Justin Heinzekehr, Thursday evenings, 3 credit/audit hours; “Managing Differences in Faith Communities, two days–Feb. 20-21, 8-5, one hour credit only or certificate of completion. All registration is online.  Contact Dorothy Nickel Friesen, dnfriesen@ambs.edu or 316-283-7098, etc. 206 for information.

3.  A learning experience like no other! This summer, Youth Venture invites young adults ages 14-22 to serve and learn together with churches in Philadelphia, Ft. Myers, Japan, Spain, and more! Info and applications at MennoniteMission.net/Serve.

4.  Pastors, are you interested in seeing more clearly?  In seeing Jesus more clearly?  If so, please consider attending Pastors Week at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana!  Check out www.ambs.edu/pastorsweek for more information on the speakers and preachers you’ll hear January 27-30, 2014.  Pastors Week is an opportunity to study, pray, worship and reflect on the church and your ministry.  If you’re interested in carpooling with other pastors (from Newton) to Elkhart, please contact Nancy Funk at the WDC office.

5.  Eastern Mennonite Seminary School for Leadership Training will offer “Discerning Together, Shaping the Future” January 20-22, 2014.  For church leaders and lay people.  See www.emu.edu/seminary/slt/.
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