February 4, 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)


*Pick My Brain

Pick My Brain – The power of raising the bar

     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation

Thirteen (and growing) WDC churches are “Reading through the Bible in 90 Days.”  Some are doing it in multiple classes, on multiple days of the week and multiple times during this Year of the Bible.  I stand amazed.

When we first provided an energetic overview of this curriculum at our Year of the Bible Launch in August 2013, (thanks to Laurie Regehr and Brenda Glanzer Lilliston from  Hope Mennonite Church!) we had NO idea that other congregations would take on this rigorous and personally demanding assignment.  But each day (yes, really) I hear comments about how powerful this experience has been for individuals and for whole congregations.  Everything from “I can’t believe that is in the Old Testament,” to “Thank goodness the New Testament is on the horizon,” to “I have never experienced God in this way.”

And now I wonder….is this what it feels like to have the Holy Spirit move through our churches?

I have also wondered…is this what happens when we “raise the bar?”

What if we challenge folks to be more, to do more for their own faith formation?  What if the very challenge of “Reading the Bible in 90 Days” is the ticket to success?  What if all along, folks just really wanted to be challenged, and not pampered?

Can we take some clues from the wildly successful Bible Reading programs for other aspects of Christian life?  What if all pastors challenged each household in each congregation to attend worship each Sunday of Lent?  Might we challenge the parents in our congregations to daily pray for their children?  Might we challenge our youth groups to memorize Matthew 5?

The bar is raised, the Spirit is moving!  Thanks be to God!

WDC Announcements

1.  Watch a Resource Library Movie at https://mennowdc.org/library/.  Settle in and enjoy this introduction to life in the Western District Conference Resource Library.  You will get glimpses of children and adults studying, reading, searching and networking.  When you are done, two tasks remain:  visit the on-line catalog at mennowdc.org and call Library Director Marlene Bogard to visit with her about what kind of resources will be most helpful to you and your congregation.

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 March 5, in order to determine if there are enough teams to have the tournament.  NEW THIS YEAR – register and pay online!

3.  “Circle of Grace” is a Christian safe environment curriculum that helps to educate children and youth about the value of positive relationships with God and others.  Your congregation has received this program, and we invite you to send several people to the training at 9:15 to 11:30 on Sat. March 1 at the Western District Conference Center.  Call 316-283-6300 to sign up by Feb. 25.  It’s free, but you may be required to eat a cinnamon roll!

4.  Rest & Relate Pastor Spouse & Family Retreat at Camp Mennoscah, Friday evening, April 25 through Sunday brunch, April 27. The retreat is a balance of free time and relaxed planned group time. Blocks of childcare will be offered. Watch for a brochure to come soon with more detail.  It’s been 10 years since the last pastor spouse retreat. In the past three years, WDC has welcomed more than 30 pastors new to the conference. Camp Mennoscah offers walking trails, birding, a basketball court, fishing, and more. Sleeping accommodations will be at the retreat center and Blue stem House.  – Leadership Commission retreat planning group
5.  You are invited to the installation of Byron Pellecer as church planter at 7 pm, Sunday, February 23, at Hope Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS.
6.  You are invited to First Mennonite Church, 427 West 4th, Halstead, KS, for a verenike supper on February 15 from 5-7 pm.  Cost by donation, proceeds go to church missions.

7.  Rainbow Mennonite Church, Kansas City, KS, is seeking a youth ministry coordinator.  A job description is posted at:  https://mennowdc.org/rainbow-mennonite-church-kansas-city-ks/

8.  (Please use this announcement February 9, 16, and 23):  Women, mark your calendars for an evening of fellowship and inspiration on Thursday, March 20 at Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, Kansas. This annual Spring Supper features Karen Dalke, pastor from Des Moines, Iowa, as guest speaker. A light supper will be at 6:00 pm. Cost is $6.00 per person at the door. An offering will be taken for Mennonite Women. This event is for women of all ages of Western District Conference and South Central Conference and their guests. Reservations are required by March 1. To reserve a place, contact the head of your women’s group or add your name to a signup sheet posted at your church. If neither of those is available, please reserve with Amanda Rempel at carempel@sbcglobal.net.

9.  Not Happening–We regret and bemoan that Camp Mennoscah is not yet able to offer online payment options for our summer youth camps.  That which we thought was figured out became cumbersome and complicated when we started to factor in all the possible discounts and tee shirts and other changes in camp fees.  We hope to have something figured out as soon as possible, but we don’t exactly know what “soon” means in this case.  Thank you for your undeniable patience!

10.  Something Happening!–Camp Mennoscah is thrilled to report that something may soon be happening with our bathhouses!  We’re not saying they are going to miraculously appear overnight, but we may have something to show you, even if it’s just a paint outline on the ground.  Regardless, we are overjoyed to announce that stuff is happening.

11.  Spring Retreats at Camp Mennoscah–We’d like to interrupt your humdrum, everyday existence by offering two break-in-your-routine retreats.  In March, we still have spaces available at our second Scrapbooking Retreat, March 14-16, followed in April with our Retirees’ Relaxation Retreat, April 21-23.  The theme for the Retirees’ Retreat is Little Drops of Water, Little Grains of Sand.  More information about both retreats can be found online at www.campmennoscah.org under Retreats or by calling 620-297-3290.

12.  Sign here!  Camp Mennoscah will be recruiting for summer staff, counselors, and other summer positions at Hesston, Tabor, and Bethel Colleges on February 10, 11, and 12, respectively.  Summer staff applications are available on the Camp Mennoscah website (www.campmennoscah.org under Resources).  A pizza meal for those interested in more information about being a summer staffer will be held February 12 at 6:15ish pm at Papa John’s in Newton.

Mennonite Church USA Announcements
1.  Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary–Great Plains Extension announces that it will close on June 30, 2014, a decision based on the growing availability of online and hybrid courses from the AMBS campus in Elkhart. Spring and summer classes will run as announced, and future offerings of occasional courses and continuing education resources are still to be determined. For further information, visit www.ambs.edu/GreatPlains or contact the AMBS–Great Plains office, 316.283.7098 or dnfriesen@ambs.edu. A closing Celebration will be held on Sunday, June 1, from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at the Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, KS.  Give thanks to God for this valuable resource and pray that God will continue to bless all who studied and taught in this program over the last 34 years.

2.  Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary – Great Plains Extension is sponsoring a visit by Dr. J. Denny Weaver, Professor Emeritus of Religion from Bluffton (OH) University.  He will present lectures on his new book “The Nonviolent God”, which will be on sale at the following events:

  • Wednesday, April 2 – 10:35 am – Life Enrichment, Bethel College, Krehbiel Auditorium, North Newton, KS
  • Thursday, April 3 – 12-1:15 pm – “Lunch with Pastors”, Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, KS (bring your own lunch, drinks provided)
  • Thursday, April 3 – 7 pm – Lecture/discussion, First Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
  • Friday, April 4 – 11 am – Convocation, Bethel College, Krehbiel Auditorium, North Newton, KS
  • Sunday, April 6 – 9:25 am – Sermon, First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson, KS

For additional information, contact Dorothy Nickel Friesen, interim director of AMBS-GP at 316-283-7098, ext. 206 or dnfriesen@ambs.edu.

3.  Hesston College and Bluestem Communities will host a Music of Four Loves catered dinner and concert February 13 at Hesston Mennonite Church.  Catered dinner at 6 pm followed by a concert performed by the Hesston College Bel Canto Singers and Hesston College Chorale at 7:30 pm.  Cost is $25 for the evening (no cost for concert only).  Reservations required by Feb. 7 by calling 620-327-8109 or toll-free 866-437-7866.

4.  High school youth groups are invited to join Campus Worship at Hesston College!

  • Why: vital spiritual growth for HC students this year has been through Campus Worship
  • When: Sunday, Feb 23, 9-10 pm
  • Where: Hesston Mennonite Church Community Center (not the sanctuary) on the edge of the HC campus
  • Who: worship will be led that night by Jeremy Kempf, Menno Youth Convention worship leader

If you are interested in bringing your youth, please respond to Todd Lehman, Campus Pastor (toddl@hesston.edu) by Thurs, Feb 13.

5.  Former WDC Pastor, James Voth, now serving at Bethesda Mennonite Church in Henderson, NE, has extended an invitation to interested persons to hear Shane Claiborne February 8-9.  See www.bethesdamc.org for more information and schedule of events.

6.  Registration is open for Ride for Water for projects in Zambia  – MCC Bike Ride in Panhandle of ID August 3 – 8, 2014 on 225 miles of beautiful rails to trails including the Route of the Hiawatha with tunnels and trestles.  More information at http://westcoast.mcc.org/bikeidaho.

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