January 28, 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 – God is a Missionary God

     by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister

God who created the world in shalom is fully engaged in restoring the world to shalom. God deeply desires that each person be at peace with God’s self and that every people group find their peace in relationship with God. The Apostle Paul describes God’s missionary work this  way –

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth….From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. (Acts 17:24-28).

From where I sit in the middle of Kansas and the center of the United States, it is hard to see that God’s shalom restoration project is going well. I tend to be much more aware of the “isms” that seem to be dominating our lives – consumerism, individualism, militarism. We have been captivated by sex and sports. “I just can’t wait for Super Bowl Sunday!” As we descend into the deepening darkness of secularism and cynicism, it is hard to see the expanding light of the kingdom of God.

James Krabill, Mennonite Mission Network Executive, informed Perspectives, the global mission class currently meeting in Hesston on Monday nights, that in 1909 there were approximately 2000 Mennonite churches world-wide with an estimated 230,000 members. Today there are 1.7 million Mennonite Christians in the world. The overall growth of the Christian church in Africa has been similar:

Date                Christians                    % of Population

1900                10 million                     9

1950                34 million                     15

1975                75 million                     25

2000                360 million                   50

The chart for China would be similar. It’s hard for us to see or even imagine this from a Western District Conference perspective where many of our missionary-sending churches of an earlier time are experiencing the discouragement of gradual diminishment.

That often maligned mission movement of the 19th and 20th century has brought God’s redeeming, reconciling, restorative work to the world in ways now quantified by fourteen years of exhaustive research by Robert Woodberry. Woodberry found that the stereotype of missions as a religious form of colonialism did not hold up. Protestant missionaries, not funded by the state, were typically very critical of colonialism and often at the forefront of exposing the cruelties of colonial domination.

He also found:

Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations. (Christianity Today, Jan/Feb 2014, p.39).

God’s shalom is expanding. The kingdom of Jesus Christ is growing. The light of goodness is growing brighter; the river of life is saturating the world. I may just be a drop of water in Kansas in God’s redemptive stream, but it is great to be a drop in God’s life-giving river.

Prayer Requests

Feb 2 – Pray for Clarence Rempel, Conference Minister, as he provides guidance for pastoral transitions, resources WDC leadership groups, and works with longer range strategic initiatives.

Feb 9 – Pray for Derek King, who will be installed as an Associate Pastor at Eden Mennonite Church, rural Moundridge, KS, today.

Feb 16 – Pray for Susan Jantzen who will be ordained as pastor at First Mennonite Church, Hillsboro, KS next Sunday, February 23.

Feb 23 – Pray for Byron Pellecer, who will be installed as church planter for Iglesia, Menonita Aposento Alto (Upper Room) in Wichita, KS.
Coming Events
February 1 (First Saturday of each month), 10:00 am-12:00 pm – Conference Resource Library open
February 1, 6:00pm – Agri-Urban Banquet, Eden Mennonite Church, Moundridge, KS

March 1, 9:00 am – Circle of Grace training, WDC Office
March 13, 3:00-5:00 pm – Pastor Mentor/Mentee Resourcing Gathering “Growing in Ministry Journey”, WDC Office
April 10, 8:30-10:30 pm – Pastor Mentor/Mentee Resourcing Gathering “Growing in Ministry Journey”, WDC Office
April 25-27 – Pastor/Spouse Retreat, Camp Mennoscah
July 4-6 – WDC Annual Assembly, Lakeview Camp and Retreat Center, Waxahachie, TX

Parish Paper
The February issue of Parish Paper, entitled “A Parable about Pastoral Leadership” can be viewed at:  https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/
WDC Announcements

1.  This year’s WDC Annual Assembly will be in Waxahachie, TX July 4-6.  If you are going and have interest in riding on a chartered bus from Newton, KS to Waxahachie, let us know.  Based on the level of interest (to be determined by June 3), WDC may offer this charter bus trip at a cost of $58 – $110 per person, depending on the size of bus needed.  Indicate your interest and number of seats needed online (https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/annual-assembly/) or call 316-283-6300 or email wdc@mennowdc.org.

2.  Resolutions for WDC Annual Assembly must be submitted by March 3 to the Executive Board.  The resolution policy can be seen at:  https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/annual-assembly/.
3. Fun, Energetic (and Responsible) Summer Staff Needed!  Camp Mennoscah will be recruiting for summer staff, counselors, and all other summer positions February 10-12 at Hesston, Tabor, and Bethel Colleges.  There is a Pizza Meeting at Papa John’s in Newton on Feb. 12 at 6:15-ish pm for those interested in learning more about being on summer staff.  Give us a call at 620-297-3290 for more information!  We’ll see you soon!

4.  Full to the Gills!  It’s oddly fishy, but Camp Mennoscah’s March 7-9 Scrapbooking Retreat is full.  We’d love to register folks for our March 14-16 retreat–the same stunning retreat one week later–or to add you to our wait list for the March 7-9 retreat.  A pre-registration form can be found on our home page at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290 for more information.

5.  How’s Your Summer Looking?  We bet it’s empty and dull and needs some spicing up.  We can help you!  Camp Mennoscah is looking for kitchen helpers, head cooks, and nurses to make the camp experience great for our many campers.  It’s a hootin’ fun way of being part of our camping ministry.  Clanging camp bell, joyous shrieks, and free tee shirt included!  Parents receive a camper discount.  Contact us at 620-297-3290.

6.  Storytime at the Resource Library begins!  Bring your children age 3-5 to Storytime at the Western District Conference Resource Library in North Newton beginning Feb. 12, 10 am.  Enjoy stories, movement, fun! Call 316-283-6300 to sign up.
Mennonite Church USA Announcements
1.  NEW AUDIT RATE AVAILABLE!  AMBS-Great Plains Extension announces a financial aid award that reduces the AUDIT fee from $110 per credit hour to $50 per credit hour for the spring class, “Understanding the Church’s Contexts” GP:CHM569, with Lois Barrett, professor. (Credit fees remain the same.)  The class meets Tuesday evenings, beginning Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m – 9:30 p.m. for 14 weeks. Register IMMEDIATELY online at www.ambs.edu/forms/one-course-registration.cfm to enroll.  This practical course examines assessment of a congregation’s mission and vision and then develops a Christian engagement in the larger environment.

2.  Kauffman Museum invites applications for director/curator (open to alternate configurations) who is interdisciplinary, hands-on and entrepreneurial. Will lead a resourceful professional staff, committed board of directors and a robust corps of volunteers at the Bethel College-affiliated museum that presents the Mennonite immigrant story in the context of the land and people of the central Great Plains.   Nonprofit or teaching experience preferred. Start date negotiable–June 2014-June 2015.  Details and application information at:
3.  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 February. 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.

4.  Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, IN, will host three Seminary Preview Days this spring for people wishing to explore study on February 21, March 14 and April 25. Each provides opportunities to meet faculty and students and to sit in on classes and community gatherings or a chapel service. Admissions staff are available to answer questions about study programs, financial aid and the admission process.  People interested in attending should register at www.ambs.edu/admissions/visit-ambs.cfm.  AMBS also welcomes visitors at any time if these dates are not convenient. Contact the admissions department to schedule a visit: admissions@ambs.edu or 800.964.2627.

5.  AMBS Church Leadership Center – Please join us for these events…

Pastoral Care Case Colloquy

Feb. 4, Mar. 6, Mar. 27, Apr. 24, 3-5 p.m.

Facilitator: Daniel Schipani

Pastoral caregivers are invited to participate in this monthly colloquy at AMBS. The Colloquy offers a collegial, safe, and supportive space for pastoral ministers and pastoral care students to consider ongoing challenges in pastoral care and to receive helpful orientation. Participants will contribute brief case studies for the group’s consideration. Get details and register by February 1.

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.

See all of our upcoming Church Leadership Center events

Visit our website

For more information contact:  churchleadership@ambs.edu
6.  Spring Retreats for Spiritual Directors:  “Tending the Fire” is the theme of upcoming regional retreats for the Mennonite Spiritual Directors Network. The Great Lakes retreat will take place May 5-7, 2014 at Lindenwood Retreat Center in Donaldson, Indiana; the East Coast retreat will be June 4-6 at Richmond Hill Retreat Center in Richmond, Virginia.  Come join other Mennonite spiritual directors and our ecumenical friends as we tend the fire that God has kindled in us. The Emmaus story from Luke will be our companion as we worship, rest, connect with others, and ponder our experiences as individual directors and as a growing network of directors regionally and nationally. Check the Christian Formation tab at MC USA website’s Resource Center, http://www.mennoniteusa.org/resource-center/, for links to more information and to register.

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