WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
February 24, 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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Clarence’s Clarion Call
Clarence’s Clarion Call
by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister
Snow blanketed the cornfields and crowned the spruce trees surrounding the St. Benedict Center, Schuyler, Nebraska. The snow crunched under our feet as we braved the bitter cold of the quarter-mile walk to Christ the King Priory for prayers and meals. An enormous orange full moon graced our return walk to the Center after supper.
What a delight to eat sumptuous meals without conversation with six to eight robed monks! Their white cloth napkins were tucked in under the chin like giant neckties. This monastery was founded in the 1930s by an Abbey in Germany in order to raise funds for Benedictine mission work around the world. The Hitler regime was preventing the raising of funds at home.
My wife, Amanda, and I had marked out the first week in February for a time of spiritual retreat. It is something I highly recommend to pastors and have done too little myself. The morning was given to being with God in prayer, song, silence, and Scripture. The afternoon included a nap, a walk of fifteen prayer stations on a drifted hilltop, journaling, and reading. The evening was a time of sharing journal entries and reflections from our readings. We pretty much disconnected from the digital world and reconnected with God and each other.
“Joy in Christ” has been my closing greeting for most of my written communication in the six years as Conference Minister. I wanted to enter into its meaning, and so I chose the book of Philippians as one of my companions for the retreat. “Joy” is named at least thirteen times in this little four-chapter book. Six times it is the church’s joy and seven times it refers to the Apostle Paul’s joy.
I was reminded that this joy was not dependent on pleasant life circumstances. The Apostle Paul was under arrest, imprisoned, and not at all sure if he would live or die. Paul was also distressed by theological (3:2-4) and personal conflict (1:15-18; 4:2-3) in the church. As Conference Minister, I recognize these robbers of joy.
So where does abiding joy come from? With Paul I find joy in the confidence that God is going to complete God’s salvation work in every person and in every church (1:6). It is God’s work. I get to share in some elements of this work, but it is not dependent on my successful initiatives.
I find joy in Western District Conference (WDC) churches and pastors proclaiming Jesus Christ as the source and model of salvation. We may not all do it from the best motives or in the best ways, but it is happening. “The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (1:15-18).
I experience joy in praying for the churches and pastors of WDC. God is present; God hears prayer; God grants peace, so why not rejoice? “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (4:4).
Mar 1 – Praise God for Marlene Bogard’s 25 years as Resource Librarian and Minister of Christian Formation with Western District Conference. Pray for God’s wisdom and strength as she begins her work as Executive Director of Mennonite Women USA.
Mar 8 – Pray for wise discernment for the Search Committee and Chair Sondra Bandy Koontz as they seek a new Executive Conference Minister for Western District Conference.
Mar 15 – Pray for fruitful new outreach for Hanston Mennonite Church and their new pastor, Eugene Thieszen, who is being installed today.
Mar 22 – Pray for the Youth Ministry Network and Network Team Leader, Dwight Regier, as they support youth pastors and plan bi-conference youth events.
Mar 29 – Pray for Howard Garver, the new Associate Conference Minister for Texas and Director of Church Planting, as he gets acquainted, develops relationships, and enters into the Conference Minister work of Western District Conference.
March 16-21 – WDC Basketball Tournament, Bethel College gymnasiums, North Newton, KS
April 11 – WDC Reference Council, Hope Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS
June 12-13 – Anabaptist Faith Formation Growing in Christ Launch, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
June 30-July5 – Mennonite Church USA Convention, Kansas City, KS
October 30-31 – WDC Annual Assembly, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
The March issue of Parish Paper, entitled “What Churches Can Do to Increase Social Media Security” can now be viewed at: https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/.
- The Western District Conference Resource Library is here to serve you! If you are a pastor, lay leader, teacher, parent or seeking personal enrichment, we have 12,000 items for you! The Resource Library is open weekdays, 8-11:30 am and 12:30-5 pm. Beginning next week, Jeanette Roberts, Interim Librarian (part time), is in the library every Thursday, and WDC staff can assist you on other days. Email specific requests to Jeanette anytime at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ya’ll come! We’re saying goodbye to Marlene Bogard on Sunday, March 1, from 3-5 pm at the WDC office. Come and go, refreshments served.
- The WDC office will be closed for lunch everyday between 11:30 am – 12:30 pm, due to reduced staff.4. Camp Mennoscah catalogs are in the mail! This year only one catalog was sent per family. Online registration will be available shortly at www.campmennoscah.org. For additional catalogs, contact us at 620-297-3290 or email@example.com. We’re looking forward to summer!5. Want one of the last spaces? There are just a few spaces left in the March 13-15 Scrapbooking Retreat at Camp Mennoscah. To miss out on the chance to sort through those old pictures with funny hairdos, weird glasses. and retro clothing would be a sad, sad thing. Find and fill out a registration under Retreats at www.campmennoscah.org. We can’t wait to rehash memories with you!
Mennonite Church Announcements
1. How does your faith integrate with your studies and work in the healthcare field? Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) invites all healthcare workers, past, present, and future, and from medical, mental health, and chaplaincy professions, to come, along with their families, to its Annual Gathering 2015, July 19-21, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Come to learn, fellowship, worship, network, and be encouraged in your Christian faith! Annual Gathering is a family-friendly event with a children’s program for ages 0-18. The theme is “Walking Together for Healthy Communities.” Grants available for students, volunteers, and those outside U.S./Canada. For more information, go to www.mennohealth/gathering, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call toll-free to 1-888-406-3643.
2. Western District congregations are encouraged to name their delegates to the Mennonite Church USA Assembly in Kansas City, June 30-July 5. Each congregation is eligible to send one delegate per 100 members or fraction thereof. Then the delegates should register, because during February and March, registered delegates will be invited to participate in a survey, similar to that which credentialed pastors did a few months ago. Information from the survey will help the planners shape the agenda for the delegate sessions.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620