February 17, 2015

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)




by Howard Garver, WDC Associate Conference Minister, Director of Church Planting, Director of Hispanic Ministry

Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen

Feeling of expectation.

Desire for things to happen.

Our shared human experience.

Our hopes energize our efforts and compound our disappointments (Proverbs 13:12). Hope is the muscle on the skeleton of our faith by which we see “His Kingdom come, His will be done” when in step with the Spirit. Hope rooted in the “desires of the flesh”, how Galatians 5 refers to it, results in unbecoming behavior like “hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy.”

Hope – with its inherent tensions – is precisely the word that expresses my state of mind as I join the work of the Western District Conference. Taking inventory of my expectations and listing the things I would like to see happen cause me to ask whether my hope is rooted in a Kingdom agenda or more honestly in selfish ambition.

As Anabaptists we do not have to discern these matters alone. We lean into the wisdom, counsel and accountability of community. I offer some of my hopes. I do so inviting you to be the community that will join me in prayer for the wisdom, courage and strength needed for the task. I ask that you engage me in conversation, speaking the truth in love where my hopes seem more ambitious than Spirit inspired. Finally, I encourage you to do your own inventory of hopes, adding your voice, your efforts, your resources to those on my list that align with the feelings and desires God has stirred in you.

“MY HOPES” Inventory in my role as Director of Church Planting

  • CHURCH PLANTS: I HOPE that WDC can double the number of church planting projects (currently, Aposento Alto, Camino de Santidad and Grace) in the next 18 months, by the Annual Assembly in 2016. Do we have vision to see a combination of African-American, Anglo, Hispanic, Native American and other ethnic/racial church plants?
  • FINANCIAL SUPPORT: I HOPE that WDC can triple the contributions designated for church planting. In 2014 the cumulative contributions totaled approximately $24k; the budget for 2015 calls for $72K. What is the capacity of WDC to support church planting in the coming years?
  • AWARENESS: I HOPE that every congregation this year will spotlight church planting, doing such things as inviting a church planter to visit and share, sharing quarterly updates from church planting projects and sponsoring a church planting fundraising project. What tools need to be developed for this to happen?
  • CHURCH-TO-CHURCH PARTNERSHIPS: I HOPE that WDC can foster partnership relationships between EVERY congregation in the conference, either between existing congregations that are geographically, socioeconomically, ethnically or racially distinct from itself or in active partnership with one of the church planting projects.
  • MISSIONAL TEAM: I HOPE that EVERY congregation will have a team of people (could include pastoral staff, missions committee members, administrators, youth workers, etc.) who have interest in developing both their personal and the congregation’s understanding of missional impact.

I look forward to discovering the ways congregations are already on their way toward these hopes … and finding ways that I can support them!

(Howard Garver can be contacted at:  941-330-3987; howardg@mennowdc.org)

WDC Announcements

  1. Eight Leadership Transformation scholarship applications have been received and granted for the leadership training seminars at the Kansas Leadership Center, Wichita, KS. Our purpose in making these three grants available is to enlarge leadership capacity and confidence for the sake of the church and God’s redemptive mission in the world. Go to https://mennowdc.org/grants/ for the application or contact Clarence Rempel (316-283-6300) for more information.
  1. Everyone’s invited to a come and go farewell reception for Marlene Bogard on Sunday, March 1 from 3-5 pm at the WDC office, 2517 N Main, North Newton, KS.  Marlene has served WDC for almost 25 years, and will leave her position at the end of February to become the Executive Director of Mennonite Women USA.
  1. Women, reserve Thursday, March 26, for an evening of fellowship and inspiration at Hesston (KS) Mennonite Church.  The annual SPRING SUPPER, for women of all ages of Western District Conference and South Central Conference and their guests, will feature Carolene Jackson, speaker. Carolene has been a public school educator in Oklahoma and now teaches university courses part-time and serves as a literacy coach. Her seven young grandchildren bring her much delight. A light supper will be served at 6:00 p.m. Cost is $6.00 per person.  The program will include music by the talented McKinney Sisters from Moundridge. An offering for Mennonite Women USA will be received.  Reservations are required by March 16. Contact __________(fill in name of your church contact person) from our church, or add your name to the signup sheet on the bulletin board. You may also contact Amanda Rempel, secretary of WDWM, directly: 316-284-0470 or carempel@sbcglobal.net. (Please run this announcement in your Feb. 22, March 1 and March 8 bulletins.)
  1. Spend your summer at Camp Mennoscah!  We’re looking for summer staff for our summer youth camps.  Buff up your resume with a job that helps you develop as a leader, communicate with others, learn group management, and totally have a blast!  Contact us at 620-297-3290 or find the application form online at www.campmennoscah.org in Resources.  We’re hoping to have positions filled by March 15, so send those forms in as soon as possible!
  1. Scrapbooking Retreats–Camp Mennoscah has two Scrapbooking Retreats on March 6-8 and 13-15.  We’re looking forward to full weekends of creative and busy folks, and there are still a few openings.  Join in the fun!  Contact us at 620-297-3290 or find the registration form online at www.campmennoscah.org in Retreats.  This is a retreat for all skill levels.  It’s a rollicking good time!
  1. Thank you, Valentine’s Day Volunteers!  Thirteen people volunteered at Camp Mennoscah on Feb. 14.  They painted the bunk rooms in Sunflower and replaced that horrible, shredding particle board on the bunk beds.  Woo-hoo!  Mike also made a bookshelf and planned for needed picnic tables and another carpetball table.  It was a hoot to have them at Camp Mennoscah.  We think these folks are great!

MC USA Announcements

  1. Begin Anew:  Christian discipleship resource available now!  Are there people in your congregation or community who are new to the Christian faith?  Or who have been in the church for a long time and would like to grow in discipleship?  Begin Anew is a 16-session series of studies to make disciples in small groups and congregations.  This discipleship resource is for anyone interested in growing in Christian faith from an Anabaptist perspective, regardless of their background or previous church experience.  Available online at  www.MennoniteUSA.org
  1. Internationally acclaimed New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman will speak in Bethel College convocation, on Friday, February 20 at 11 a.m., Krehbiel Auditorium, Luyken Fine Arts Center. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He is the author of more than 20 books, including four New York Times bestsellers. His most recent, from 2014, is How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee.
  1. From AMBS Church Leadership Center:  Please join us for these short, easy-to-use online seminars:

Understanding Anabaptist Approaches to Scripture: What’s Different and Why? (Webinar)

Loren Johns

Wednesday, February 18, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Examine how Anabaptists approached Scripture in ways that were both similar to and different from their fellow Catholics and other Protestants. Get details and register.

Living in the Belly of the Whale: What Jonah Teaches Us About Preaching (Webinar)

Allan Rudy-Froese

Tuesday, March 10, 2:00-3:30 p.m. EDT

The book of Jonah can teach the preacher about speech, prayer, telling stories, listening to God, humility, God’s sense of humor and more. Get details and register.

Funeral Planning: An Anabaptist Approach (Webinar)

Janice Yordy Sutter

Wednesday, April 22, 2:00-3:30 p.m.EDT

Consider the pastor’s role in helping shape a service that enables grief and remembering, while giving voice to the hope of our Christian faith. Get details and register.

  1. Graduate Students in Healthcare Professions:  Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) offers scholarship funding for Anabaptist students to learn and serve in cross-cultural mission/service settings in developing countries. Deadline for 2015-16 academic year is May 15, 2015.  For details and application form, see http://mennohealth.org/SET, email info@mennohealth.org, or call 1-888-406-3643.     Flyer/poster for use on bulletin boards.

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