February 25, 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)


*Clarence’s Clarion Call
*Prayer Requests
*Coming Events
*Parish Paper

Clarence’s Clarion Call – You will have a song

     by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister

[Our guest columnist is Pastor David Stevens, Eden Mennonite Church. This is an adaptation of his sermon at Pastor Susan Jantzen’s ordination, First Mennonite Church-Hillsboro on February 23, 2014.]

You will have a song…and gladness of heart (Isaiah 30:29).

God’s song is not only music to the ears; it’s music to the heart. It’s a score that infuses deep joy; gladness at the core of our beings; a current that keeps flowing underneath the waves; joy that’s not situationally-determined but that determines situations. You will have a song…and gladness of heart.

Brothers and sisters, this heavenly canticle touches our hearts because it comes from God’s own heart. God is the composer. God has midwifed the music into life from God’s own core.  God has burned the midnight oil, sawed the legs off the piano, felt the vibration on the floorboards and scratched each note on the staves. God has given to us the gift of God’s own song from God’s own heart. As we hear in Zephaniah, God will rejoice over you with gladness. God will renew you in his love. God will be exuberant over you with loud singing (3:17). God births into our souls the music that has gestated in God’s own.

God is the composer, and God is the conductor of this life-giving ballad. All God’s critters have a place in the band. And God invites a few of us as pastors to be associate conductors; to find our own voice and to welcome other voices; to tune our own heart and other hearts to sing God’s grace, because God’s song is a sing-along.

Together, the choir and its leaders sing God’s melody in a most-challenging venue. Our call is to do music therapy in a cacophonic world. God’s song must serenade the world in all its wonder and in all its brokenness. God’s song must soar to the music of the spheres and descend to the dirges of the dirt. And so God’s song is a symphony with many movements; with lament as well as praise. God’s strains draw out our tears so that hope can embrace us.

Brothers and sisters, today let me encourage you. God has given you the gift of a song, the song from God’s own heart; a song you know by heart. Your part is to trust in God’s love among you. Your part is to welcome everyone to use the voice God has given them and blend them together. Your part is to let God’s love radiate from you. And most of all, your part is to let God sing over you. God will be exuberant over you with loud singing. And all of us together will have a song…and gladness of heart.
Prayer Requests

March 2 – Pray for Rachel Siemens, who will be installed as the pastor of Faith     Mennonite Church, Newton, KS today.

March 9 – Pray for the work of our Transitional and Interim Pastors currently serving –     Mike Bogard, Rob Burdette, Weldon Martens, and Lee Suderman. The Transition        Pastors group will be meeting for resourcing, support and prayer on March 11.

March 16 – Pray for the Western District Conference representatives to Constituency      Leaders Council (CLC) of Mennonite Church USA – Clarence Rempel, Diana                      Schunn, and Jaime Cazares. CLC will be meeting on the Bethel College campus,                      March 20-22.

March 23 – Pray that the WDC Basketball Tournament will be a time of fellowship and fun for those who participate this week.

March 30 – Pray for the flourishing of our church plants – Iglesia Camino de Santidad, Liberal KS, Grace Mennonite Fellowship, Gladewater TX, and Iglesia Menonita Aposento Alto, Wichita, KS.

Coming Events

March 1 – Circle of Grace training, 9:15-11:30 am, First Mennonite Church, Newton, KS

March 1 – Conference Resource Library Open 10 am-Noon (first Saturday each month)

March 13 – Pastor Mentor/Mentee Resourcing “Growing in Ministry Journey”, 3-5 pm, WDC Office

March 20 – Women’s Spring Supper, 6 pm, Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS

March 24-29 – WDC Basketball Tournament, Bethel College, North Newton, KS

April 10 – Pastor Mentor/Mentee Resourcing “Growing in Ministry Journey”, 8:30-10:30 am, WDC Office

April 25-27 – Pastor, Spouse & Family Retreat, Camp Mennoscah

July 4-6 – WDC Assembly 2014, Waxahachie, TX
Parish Paper

The March issue of Parish Paper, entitled “When Less is More:  The Consequences of Clergy Turnover” can be viewed at:  https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/
WDC Announcements

1.  The Western District Conference Pastor, Spouse & Family Retreat (“Restore and Relate”) will be April 25-27 at Camp Mennoscah.  There will be opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and getting to know other pastors and spouses.  Pastors may attend with or without a spouse and childcare will be available during some of the activities.   A schedule of activities and a registration form is attached, or you can read the information, register and pay online at www.mennowdc.org/calendar/ by April 1. –Pastor Spouse Retreat Planning Committee


2.  The 2014 WDC Basketball Tournament will be held March 24-29 at Bethel College.  See all information at:  www.mennowdc.org/calendar (click on Basketball Tournament).  Entry Form and $150 fee is due by next Wednesday, March 5, in order to determine if there are enough teams to have the tournament.  NEW THIS YEAR:  register and pay online!

3.  WDC Annual Assembly – Resolutions must be submitted by March 3 to the WDC Executive Board, PO Box 306, North Newton, KS  67117.  See the resolutions policy at https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/annual-assembly/.

4.  Would you be interested in riding a chartered bus to WDC Annual Assembly in Waxahachie, TX July 4-6?  Let us know by June 3!  Call or email:  316-283-6300, wdc@mennowdc.org or fill out online form at https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/annual-assembly/.  Costs would be from $58-$110 per person, depending on size of bus needed.

5.  Office Space Available:  There is a suite of commercial office space available for lease at the Western District Conference offices that includes a reception room, conference room and two small offices. Total space is 703 square feet.  Also available July 1 is an additional office space that includes two large offices, 410 square feet each.  If interested call 316-283-6300.

6.  Online Payments–Camp Mennoscah is now accepting online payments for summer youth camps.  Go to www.campmennoscah.org for instructions and to pay.  Registration forms must still be sent in separately.  We hope this makes signing up for Camp Mennoscah easier for you!

7.  Yoo-hoo!  Looking for You-hoo!  Camp Mennoscah is looking for nurses and kitchen helpers for our summer youth camps.  Nurses are needed for June 15-19 and July 6-10.  Kitchen helpers are needed for most weeks of camp.  Contact Camp Mennoscah at campmno@mennowdc.org or 620-297-3290 for more information or to sign up!  Free tee shirts for those who sign up!

8.  Small group or Sunday School class project needed?  Olivia was looking through the bed linens at the Retreat Center this past week and–yikes!  Camp Mennoscah is going to need new bed linens relatively soon.  Many of the linens are beginning to yellow and some are rather thin.  This isn’t an immediate need, and we think this would make a great project for a small to medium group of folks.  Approximately 40-50 sets (flat, fitted, pillowcase) of white linens are needed.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 to claim this project for your own!

9. Work on the Camp Mennoscah bath houses has begun!  Keep your eyes open.  We’ll be posting pictures of what’s been happening on the Camp Mennoscah facebook page.  Go to  www.campmennoscah.org and click on the Facebook page link.  A HUGE thank you goes to First Mennonite Church of Beatrice, NE, for getting this project going.  Thanks go out to Marv, Roger, Chris, John, Larry, and Kathleen!

10.  Coming Soon!  Shine: Living in God Light is a dynamic Sunday school curriculum for age 3 to grade 8 that engages Christian communities in their life together. Allow it to inspire your group too! It will be released for use beginning Fall, 2014 from MennoMedia.  For now, here is some information. See more at: http://shinecurriculum.com/about/what-is-shine/


  • calls children to experience the transforming power of God’s love.
  • nurtures trust in God and invites children to follow Jesus.
  • encourages imaginative, interactive biblical storytelling.
  • explores the meaning of the Bible within the gathered community.
  • cultivates the inner life of the Spirit through spiritual practices.
  • expresses faith through lives of compassionate peacemaking and service.
  • invites all ages to shine God’s light in the world.

Why choose Shine?  This curriculum will include Spiritual practices, a  Peacemaking emphasis,  Interesting, engaging activities,  Reflection and wondering times, and thoughtful Anabaptist theology.

Mennonite Church USA Announcements
1.  PRESIDENTIAL BRUNCH – You are invited to join Sara Wenger Shenk, president of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, for brunch and “The State and Update of AMBS” on Saturday, March 22, 9:00 – 11 am at Faith Mennonite Church, Newton.  Requires RSVP by March 8 to Marlene Faul at AMBS-Great Plains, mfaul@ambs.edu or 316-283-7098, ext. 215.

2.  SUMMER CLASSES at AMBS-Great Plains require early registration by April 13.  The final two courses for the KS extension will be “Conflict, Communication, and Conciliation” taught at KIPCOR for two hours credit (or certificate option) June 10-13, 8 am-5pm and “Biblical Spirituality” taught by Jerry Truex for two or 3 hours credit Tuesday evenings, May 27-July 1, 6-10 pm. You may audit Biblical Spirituality for $100–by registering directly with Great Plains Extension at mfaul@ambs.edu or 316-283-7098 or online at the Great Plains page at www.ambs.edu.
3.  If you live in Kansas, please come and help with the MCC Comforter Blitz March 10 and 11 at the Journey at Yoder Campus, one mile north of Yoder, KS. Comforters will be tied for MCC to send overseas to people in need, such as refuges and those displaced by disasters.  A few of the tied items will be sold at the MCC Sale in April.   The Blitz is sponsored by the Kansas Friends of Mennonite Central Committee.  Monday’s hours: Noon to 9 PM; Tuesday’s hours: 9 AM to 5 PM.   Tying comforters is easy, and the Blitz is a fun time which also helps others.  Hand quilting will be available also. Bring a sack lunch if you are staying through a meal; drinks will be provided.  Chili will be available Monday supper for a donation. Sloppy Joes will be available for a donation Tuesday noon.  You may bring your own clearly labeled supplies like a scissors, thimble and large needle, but some will be provided also.  You, or your church, are encouraged to bring untied comforter tops and backs to be completed those two days.  The 60”X 80” size is preferred.  The backs should be at least 4 inches bigger than the tops.  Financial donations are needed for batting, as the batting is purchased by the roll.   Babysitting can be provided by reservation.  Call Carol Peters at (316) 283-4232 or Lois Leinbach at (620–327-4119) for more information, or to reserve babysitting.  Bring your thimble, come have some fun, and meet new friends while working for a great cause!

4.  Is your work in the healthcare field?  Come and learn about Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) at a special Regional Meeting, Sunday evening, March 9, 4:00-6:00 pm at Shalom Mennonite Church, 800 E 1st St. Newton.  Matthew Schmidt, LSCSW, Executive Director of Health Ministries Clinic, will be the featured speaker on the subject of “Integrated Health Care: One Mind, One Body, One Patient.”  Paul Leichty, Executive Director will share briefly about MHF’s mission to be an interdisciplinary community of Anabaptist health professionals.  Healthcare professionals from the full spectrum of training and academia, health care services, and ministry are welcome.  Refreshments will be served following the presentation.  For more information, contact Sondra Leatherman, dslthrmn@embarqmail.com or the MHF Office, info@mennohealth.org.  (Flyer attached.)

5.  Mennonite Women’s Retreat—Join the conversation with women across the Mennonite Church at Women in Conversation, a biennial retreat sponsored by Mennonite Women USA and Laurelville Mennonite Church Center. Jennifer Davis Sensenig, pastor at Community Mennonite Church (Harrisonburg, VA), will serve as keynote speaker April 25-27, 2014 at Cross Wind (Hesston, KS). To register or for more information, visit Laurelville.org/women-in-conversation or call 724.423.2056.

6.  Shirley Hershey Showalter, former Goshen college president and author of “Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World” will be in Kansas March 7-10. Schedule is:  March 7, 3 pm – South Branch of Kansas City, Kansas Public Library. The topic will be “Why Your Own Life Story Matters and Five Tips for How to Tell It.”  March 9, 3:30pm – Kauffman Museum, North Newton, KS. Topic will be “Finding Gold in Our Attics and Basements: How to Find, Use, and Share the Artifacts that Prompt Our Stories”.  March 10, 11 am – Chapel at Bethel College; 3-5 pm – Faith and Life Bookstore; 7 pm – Schowalter Villa “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Memoir”

7.  Attached are the prayer requests from the member schools of Mennonite Schools Council, and the colleges, universities, seminaries and educational programs of Mennonite Church USA for March. MEA also posts these prayer requests on its website. The prayer request of the day is displayed on our home page and the document is available at www.MennoniteEducation.org/PRAYERS.

8. Webinar: What is Your Sermon Doing?

Thursday, March 20, 2:00-3:30 p.m. EDT

Dr. Allan Rudy-Froese

A common question asked of the preacher is, “What is your sermon about?” This webinar explores another important question for the preacher: “What is your sermon doing?” Sermons are more than educational; they do not simply convey information. Sermons do. This webinar explores the range of what sermons can do, and offers guidelines for preachers to consider.  Get details and register by March 16.

Online Short Course: 

Understanding and Managing Congregational Conflict

Non-credit, six weeks, $200

David B. Miller
March 26-May 13, 2014 (Spring break April 7-12)

This course seeks to equip participants for skillful, transformative leadership that can provide the insight and guidance essential to making situations of conflict opportunities for growth and learning rather than division and alienation.

See details and register by March 5.
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