February 3, 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)


*Pick My Brain

Pick My Brain

     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation

Greetings Friends of Western District Conference,

It is a bittersweet time for me, as I say farewell to this fantastic conference that has nurtured me, taught me and supported me for the last 25 years.  I have truly loved my job and the various assignments throughout the years.  I will take a little bit of all of you out to Oregon, with fond memories and a mighty dose of Kansas sunshine.  I thank God for the 30+ staff I have worked with and I am especially grateful for the current staff of Nancy Funk, Phyllis Regier, Clarence Rempel and Howard Garver.  Their commitment to being leaders in WDC is strong and inspiring, and I have been honored to serve with them.

I will also hold you as an area-conference in my heart and in my prayers in these coming months, as you face WDC staff transitions, on-going conversations that will effect the future and perhaps the sustainability of our conference and denomination, and share a general anxiety and ambiguity on Anabaptist Mennonite identity, theology and polity.

As part of my exit interview with Clarence Rempel, I offered some counsel for the well-being of WDC for the future, and I want to share that with you as well. As members and leaders of WDC, you are truly the identity-shapers of our area conference.

  1. Energize others and engage the stakeholders. Now more than ever, we need energetic, and compassionate voices that carefully pay attention and care for all the diversity of WDC.  I pray that many of you will step up to the plate, and support WDC with your offering of time, talents and monetary gifts. Please remember that “together, WE are WDC.”
  1. Teach and model careful discernment. Discernment is tricky and it is a gracious and timely process.  Discernment does not always end in agreement, but it does mean that intentionally, all have put forth energy into listening to each other and to the Holy Spirit.  All of our gatherings as a conference can model this process. At times we have stumbled through and at other times, sailed with grace.
  1. Inspire a collective purpose.  The WDC staff can carry part of this load, but not all of it.  In what ways will you, in your current role, become a positive voice and help dream new dreams and help shape the WDC identity?
  1. Engage in spiritual renewal.  The forthcoming focus on a year of Anabaptist Faith Formation can provide impetus for this, just as our Year of the Bible encouraged us to connect with the Scriptures in new and creative ways.  The Resource Library is well-stocked with resources on Anabaptist faith, Christian spirituality, creative prayer, devotional life.  As we draw near to God, we may find new ways of being the church together, of being salt and light in our communities across WDC. How about a Spiritual Renewal Task Force?  Of if that sounds a bit old-timey, how about calling it Heart and Soul?
  1. Invite and pay attention to unusual voices. Youth and young adults are not the future of the church, they are very much a part of it, and thank God many are still expressing hope and love for our congregations.  The Anabaptist Faith Formation Launch team includes FIVE young adults under the age of 30, all of whom are active participants in congregations.  These committed Christians will help shape a major resourcing event in WDC to be held on June 12-13 on the campus of Bethel College.
  1. Use the WDC Resource Library. It is an amazing collection of over 10,000 items curated by me, an Anabaptist Mennonite Christian.  About 75% of our resources are less than 20 years old.  I have added 350-400 NEW items every year.  Other area-conferences can only dream of such a rich resource. It is indeed a diamond on the prairie, but accessible to everyone in the Conference by a phone call, email or walk-in.

With love, joy and hope, Marlene Bogard

WDC Announcements

1.  Applications for the Kansas Leadership Center Seminars are now being received. Our $33,000 grant will make it possible for 34 Western District Conference pastors and lay leaders to participate in one of the seminars in 2015. For more information go to https://mennowdc.org/grants/ for the application and the link to a description of the seminars. Around 30 Western District and South Central Conference pastors and lay leaders participated in the “Leadership for Adaptive Times” with Thane Chastain on January 29 that introduced the leadership concepts and the grant process. A free participant handbook is the prize for the first successful applicant.


2.  Pastor’s Table Talk at noon on Feb. 10, at the WDC offices. Bring your own lunch, drinks provided.  Conversation will center around the January, 2015 issue of Mennonite Quarterly Review, which includes the main article: “Defanging the Beast”: Mennonite Responses to John Howard Yoder’s Sexual Abuse by Rachel Waltner Goossen You may order a print copy of the entire issue  for $10 at:  https://www.goshen.edu/mqr/pastissues/Jan15.html or you may order the issue in downloadable form for Kindle, Nook or Ibooks here:  http://store.mennomedia.org/The-Mennonite-Quarterly-Review-January-2015-P4475.aspx.  Pastor Renee Kanagy of New Creation Fellowship will facilitate the discussion. RSVP to wdc@mennowdc.org or 316-283-6300.

3.  The WDC Children’s Choir Festival which had been scheduled for April 26 has been cancelled.


4.  The “Year of the Bible” website no longer exists.  Key documents from that site are now available on the WDC website:  https://mennowdc.org/year-of-the-bible/


5.  Share the love with Camp Mennoscah!  You are invited to join our Valentine’s Day Volunteering Extravaganza on Feb. 14.  The day will begin around 9-9:30am and run through the afternoon.  Your day will include a simple sandwich meal and a free old-style camp tee shirt.  Please let us know you are coming!  Call us at 620-297-3290 or email olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org.


6.  Camp Mennoscah will be recruiting at Goshen, Hesston, Tabor, and Bethel Colleges respectively on Feb. 6, and Feb. 9-11.  This is a chance for us to meet with prospective summer staffers and for these folks to ask us questions.  Stop by and take a look at the display, pick up an application form–or drop one off!

7.  Registration forms for Camp Mennoscah’s Scrapbooking Retreats are now available at www.campmennoscah.org or by request at office@campmennoscah.org.  These retreats are for scrapbookers of any skill level and are a real hoot!  Get out those pictures from last year (or 10 years ago) and spend some time putting those memories down on the page.

8.  Burrton (KS) Mennonite Church has a Baldwin Electric organ, a Baldwin upright piano, around 40 red Mennonite hymnaries in excellent condition, and a few Sing and Rejoice that they would like to share with any Western District Conference Church. Contact Ron Dick at 620-463-7131 or cell 620-200-4320. If churches aren’t interested, individuals would be given opportunity.

Mennonite Church Announcements
1.  Convention registration is open!   These winter temps may make summer seem far away, but the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City, June 30-July 5 will be here before you know it.  The Executive Board is encouraging congregations to identify and register delegates early, so that they can participate in a survey of all delegates which will be sent out in February.  For more information on the delegate role, visit the convention website:  http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/delegate/.  You can also register online:  www.MennoniteUSA.org/convention.

2.  Service doesn’t have to wait. Join Youth Venture this summer to serve and learn with Mennonite youth from Japan, Lithuania, Ecuador, France and Philadelphia! Apply by April 1 for international locations or by June 1 for Philadelphia. Ages 14-22 can apply at MennoniteMission.net/Serve. (Must be at least 16 for international locations.)

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