July 1, 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 – Child Dedication Surprise

     by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister

“Do you promise to gladly surrender your children to the ministry God has in mind for them, even if it might involve going to the ends of the earth?” The question in the Minister’s Manual surprised me, but I liked it and used it in the child dedication service of Caden and Keira, children of Pastor Brian and Jessica Harmon, at First Mennonite Church, Halstead, on Sunday June 29.

Seven-year-old Caden was smartly dressed in a blue dress shirt and tie. His stage presence was proper and polite. Infant Keira was sound asleep in her mother’s arms dressed in a pink frilly dress and head band. They couldn’t have been sweeter. Yet all the cuteness was trumped by this solid missional call, “Will you surrender your children to the ministry God has for them regardless?”

“Yes.” As Christian parents we deeply desire that our children would follow Jesus and be fully engaged in the redemptive mission of God.

Pastor Brian upped the challenge by preaching from Matthew 10:24-29 which includes these disquieting words to parents, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword….Anyone who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” He focused on the life of Tom Fox who left a wife and three children in the United States to serve with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Baghdad, Iraq, advocating for the just treatment of detainees by the coalition forces. Tom was kidnapped on November 26, 2005, by the Swords of Righteousness Brigade, and found shot to death on a garbage heap on March 10, 2006. Brian reflected on what this might have been like for the parents of Tom and his immediate family.

Pastor Brian challenged us, “What is your commitment to the shalom-creating mission of God? When the safety of your children is at stake, where does Jesus stack up?”

Earlier Sunday morning in my reading through the New Testament, I had encountered a similar challenge. Joseph and Mary presented Jesus for dedication at the Temple in Jerusalem. The elderly man Simeon proclaimed baby Jesus as God’s “salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all nations” (Luke 2:30-31), but then ended his part in Jesus’ unplanned dedication service with this surprising word to Mary – “And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35).

God created families, not only to populate the earth, but to advance God’s global redeeming, reconciling and restoring mission. From Abraham and Sarah to the present we have been blessed with children so that “all peoples on earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). “Will you surrender your children to the ministry God has for them regardless the cost?”

(Pastor Brian’s sermon of June 29, 2014, may be seen at http://firstmennonitehalstead.org/video.htm.)
Prayer Requests

July 6 – Pray God’s blessing on Iglesia Luz del Evangelio, Dallas, Texas, and Pastor Juan Limones. They are hosting the closing worship gathering this morning of Western District Conference Assembly 2014.

July 13 – Pray for the newly formed Church Planting Commission of Western District Conference as they network Anabaptist church planting partnerships.

July 20 – Pray for the Discernment Task Force of Western District Conference as they guide the conference-wide conversation and decisions in response to the Rainbow Mennonite Church resolution asking for greater latitude for churches and pastors to determine their pastoral response to persons of same sex attraction.

July 27 – Pray for Richard Gehring, moderator, and Anita Kehr, moderator elect, as they assume their new responsibilities in Western District Conference.
Coming Events

July 4-6 – WDC Annual Assembly, Waxahachie, TX

August 16 – Day on the Farm, rural Hillsboro, KS
Parish Paper
The July issue of Parish Paper, entitled “What Type of Follower Attends Our Church” can be viewed at:  https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/.

WDC Announcements

1.  The WDC office will be closed July 4 through 7 for Annual Assembly.

2.  Save the Date – Women and Girls Retreat – September 5-7 at Camp Mennoscah.  Registration forms available early July. (Flyer attached.)

3.  Scripture Sing: First Mennonite Church, Newton, invites you to an evening of song and scripture on Sunday, July 20, 7:00 p.m. Musicians will come with some pre-selected songs, connecting them with specific scripture texts, but there will also be opportunity for suggestions from the floor. The only requirement? Connect the song with the text. If you have instruments bring them along. If you want us to sing a new song, bring the music along to help us learn.

4.  Campers Welcome!  We still have room for more campers for the second half of our summer here at Camp Mennoscah.  Invite that neighborhood kid or new friend at church!  Scholarships are available.  Send in your registrations, call in your questions, grab your friends, and pack your bags!  Contact us at 620-297-3290.

5.  Camp Mennoscah at WDC Assembly!  For all you folks headed to Waxahachie, TX for the annual Western District Conference Assembly, be sure to stop by the Camp Mennoscah booth and say howdy to John Stoesz, the new executive director.  Not only that, but check out the pictures and have a look-see all Camp Mennoscah offers!

6.  Family Camp!  Camp Mennoscah’s Family Camp for all ages is July 26-27 and we’re waiting to see all the grandparents and grandkids, moms and dads, as well as all you other randomly aged camp fans.  It’s a weekend of treasure hunting, contra dancing, and camp delights!  Check out the brochure at www.campmennoscah.org under Retreats!

Mennonite Church USA Announcements

1.  Announcements from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary:

Rooted and Grounded: A Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship

September 18-20

More than 50 presentations and workshops are planned, along with worship, immersion experiences and time to work in the AMBS gardens. See more information and register online.

Pastors Week: Jan 26-29, 2015

Where culture blurs theology: What is an Anabaptist Christian?

Four speakers will explore what it means to be a Mennonite or Anabaptist when ethnicity is no longer what identifies us:

Greg Boyd

Drew Hart

Janet Plenert

Elizabeth Soto Albrecht

Visit the website for more details.

Anabaptist Short Course

Anabaptist History and Theology

Learn from AMBS professor Jamie Pitts and students across the continent in this six-week online course.

Oct 22-Dec 3

Register online.

2.  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 July. 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.

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