January 21, 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)


*Everyday Disciples

Everyday Disciples

by Olivia Bartel

Jesus had twelve disciples.  They caught fish, broke bread, listened to stories, asked questions, and spread the word of God.  They weren’t perfect and they weren’t superhuman, though that might make a good comic book.  The disciples were simply human.

I mention that they were human because sometimes it’s easy for me to get wrapped up in the significant things that they did and experienced, and forget that they were just that.  Everyday people.  It’s fairly ridiculous that I forget.  I see everyday disciples at Camp Mennoscah in the volunteers building the bathhouses, the staff who volunteer extra time because they want to, and in great multitudes over the summer in those who spend weeks with us caring for our youth campers.

We aren’t documenting every story of a counselor who influences a camper with their witty banter and wise counsel.  We’re not creating a written canon of the things done to create a Christian community at Camp Mennoscah.  We know that the story can be as small as sharing the last chocolate crinkle cookie, helping with a friendship bracelet, and secret conversations after lights out.  It can be getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning to bake fresh cinnamon rolls or digging trenches for pipes.

These are our stories, and how different are they really from the stories we read in the Bible?  People caring for one another, learning, making mistakes, doubting, praying, and being human.  Everyday sort of stuff.  But these stories of dedicated camp people are incredibly important to Camp Mennoscah’s vision of creating a space where God, nature, and people come together.

We share our camp stories, our stories of discipleship and God.  Almost everyone who comes to Camp Mennoscah has a story to tell—an experience in the river, a funny thing, something meaningful, a staff person who was there for you or offered words of wisdom.  We tell these stories when we gather as people who love Camp Mennoscah or when we talk about our faith journeys, and, when we doubt, we remember those people who have mentored us and their stories.

You will not find these disciples or their stories in the Bible, but the impact of one camp disciple, one experience, one camp story, can be great.  Just ask the folks who have been to camp.

WDC Announcements

  1. Western District Conference (WDC) of Mennonite Church USA seeks a full time Conference Minister to provide leadership to the mission, ministry and well-being of WDC churches. M.Div. and pastoral ministry experience required.  Individuals who bring diversity are encouraged to apply.  Full job description appears at mennowdc.org/wdc-conference-minister/. Please send cover letter and Ministerial Leadership Information form to Sondra B. Koontz, Search Chair, 820 E 7th, Newton, KS 67114 or skoontz@bethelks.edu.  Applications will be accepted until position is filled.
  2. “Leadership for Adaptive Times,” with Thane Chastain, Kansas Leadership Center will introduce key leadership concepts for pursuing what pastors and churches deeply care about. You will also find out about grants available to pastors and church leaders in 2015. First Mennonite Church, Halstead, KS will host the gathering on Thursday, January 29, 3:30-6:00 pm. Registration is $10 and includes the meal. Register by Friday, January 23, at mennowdc.org/missional-leadership-for-adaptive-challenges-kansas-leadership-center-scholarships-launch/.  Lay leaders and WDC leaders are invited to join pastors for the 7:00 PM evening meeting (registration is not required for the evening meeting.)

    3.  Pastors, remember to register by January 29 for the Prevention of Clergy Misconduct training which will be on February 5, 8:15-5, at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church,Goessel, KS.  All WDC credentialed ministers are required to have this training every five years.  All ministers new to WDC in the last 12 months are also required to attend.  The cost is $50 and includes all training materials, lunch, snacks.  Pastors may use their Continuing Education Grant money towards this event.  See form at:  https://mennowdc.org/grants/ .  On-line registration at https://mennowdc.org/prevention-of-clergy-misconduct-training/.

  1. StoryTime at the Western District Conference Resource Library begins on Wed. Feb. 4 at 10 am.  Join in the fun and stories with Alisha Baughman.  Call 316-283-6300 to sign up your preschooler or for more information.

    5.  The Mennonite Agri-Urban Banquet and annual meeting will be held Saturday, February 7, at 6 pm at Eden Mennonite Church. Everyone involved or interested in the Agri-Urban program is invited.  No signup is required.

  1. 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.
  2. The 2015 WDC Basketball Tournament will be held March 16-17 and 19-21 at Bethel College.  The entry fee for the tournament is $150 per team. See all information and register/pay online at:  mennowdc.org/wdc-basketball-tournament/
  1. Hooray!  The weather has warmed up and work on the new bath houses at Camp Mennoscah continues.  Volunteers are working on plumbing and electrical stuff, we think, but we’re not construction site geniuses, so it may be something else.  We’ll keep updating pictures on the Camp Mennoscah Facebook page–go to www.campmennoscah.org and click on the Facebook link.  No account needed!
  2. Camp Days in Kansas (and Indiana)!  Camp Mennoscah and many other Mennonite camps will be recruiting for summer staff, counselors, and marvelous volunteers in February.  We’ll be at Goshen College on Feb. 6, and Hesston, Tabor, and Bethel Colleges on February 9, 10, & 11, respectively.  We’re typically around from mid-morning to early afternoon.  Stop by, say hi, drop off your summer staff application!

10.  Camp Mennoscah Scrapbooking Retreats are sneaking up on us!  We’ll have a “formal” registration form soon for our March 6-8 and March 13-15 retreats–don’t worry!  Feel free to contact us at 620-297-3290 or office@campmennoscah.org if you have questions.
Mennonite Church Announcements

  1. To member congregations of Mennonite  Church USA:  Here is a link to an information sheet that outlines the process for selecting delegates for the Kansas City 2015 convention.   http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Delegate_Info_2015Jan9.pdf Please encourage your delegates to register early, so they can participate in a survey of delegates sponsored by the Executive Board, starting early February.
  1. AMBS-Kansas Center will host a Lent Planning Webinar on Thursday, February 5 from 6:30 – 7:45 pm. This webinar is presented by Rachel Miller Jacobs, AMBS Assistant Professor of Congregational Formation. Pastors, worship planners, worship leaders, and musicians are invited to explore creative ideas for scripture, visual, sermons, children’s worship, and music for resources published in the Leader magazine with the theme, “Upside down and inside out.” A brief discussion will follow to provide space for participants to share ideas on how they plan to use the Lenten material in their own congregations. This webinar will be hosted at the AMBS-Kansas Center classroom at 2517 N Main in North Newton. Cost is $10 per participant. Please register by January 28 by emailing Katherine Goerzen at kccoordinator@ambs.edu
  2. Sat., Jan. 24 – An introduction to Centering Prayer, 3-5:30 p.m., Agape Center in the Richert House on the Bethel College campus. Leader is Laurinda Wade, Wichita, spiritual director and Centering Prayer retreat leader. Centering Prayer is drawn from an ancient form of Christian prayer that involves silence and contemplation. The workshop is free but organizers would appreciate some idea of numbers. Please contact Nathan Koontz, 2nathankoontz@gmail.com;  Melanie Zuercher, mzuercher@bethelks.edu; or Karen Andres, davidkaren@powwwer.net. (For help locating Agape Center at Richert House, see www.bethelks.edu/why-bethel/location/campus-map/)

    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