July 9, 2013

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 – Working the Web, Opening the Book, Growing in Christ OR Social Media, Bible Study and Christian Formation

     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation

Fresh off the plane from the MCUSA Convention in Phoenix, it soon becomes clear to me that two of the seminars I attended have real staying power, real potential for sticky faith, real practical application.  I pass on the torch to you!

1.  Social Media and the Church with Angela Williams was among the finest resourcing I have ever received!  Angela serves as Director of Children and Youth Ministries at Pasadena Mennonite Church. She is also a PhD student in Practical Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.  Angela highlighted Spectacular Benefits of Social Media:  multitasking, efficient, fast-paced problem solving, contributes to brain sharpness, it’s a bi-directional tool.  She also noted the Enormous Costs of Social Media:  fragmentation, less comprehension, impedes long-term memory, seizes our attention, then scatters it; pre-occupation with what is “out there” and less attentiveness to the here and now.  Social Media is here to stay.  So..how can churches engage in Christian Faith Formation so that it has staying power?  Here is what she suggests:  Attentiveness; Repetition; Meaningful Association, Brain Rest.  Aha!  I can see all these things happen in a well-orchestrated worship service OR a Sunday School Class OR a small group – can you?  Let me know if you want more conversation on this – I think we can do it, and do it well, and do it well during our WDC Year of the Bible emphasis.

A related article by Angela can be found at:  http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/articles/presence-hospitality-and-facebook

2.  Reading the Bible Like Our Lives Depend on it – Leading Formational Bible Studies with Rachel Miller Jacobs, Associate Professor of Christian Formation at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.  This approach to Bible study starts with the people who are gathered around the text, the things they know and don’t know, the places they are in their life of faith and the relationship within which they are imbedded.  It focuses on paying attention to God’s word, the Holy Spirit, and involves sharing at all levels.  It is characterized by the following actions, attitudes and practices:

  • Focus on the quality of our reading rather than the quantity
  • Sink into the text rather than skimming
  • Enter into a relationship with the text, as if it is the subject rather than an object
  • Approach the text lovingly and receptively
  • Read the text with openness to mystery rather than problem-solving mentality

This great stuff (a complete 27 page doc on this topic, with lots of instructions) can be found at http://www.yearofthebiblenetwork.org/adult1.html

So much to learn, so much to absorb, so much to be grateful for!
See you at Year of the Bible Launch and WDC Annual Assembly.  Bring your Bibles!

WDC Announcements

1.  40 Ways to Study the Bible; Reading the Bible in 90 Days; Scripture Memory for All Ages; The Lectionary Lens; Acting out in Church:  the Bible and Drama.  These are just a few of the Learning Centers available at the Year of the Bible Launch that runs 2 pm Aug 1 through noon Aug 2, at Bethel College.  Deadline for early registration and meal signup is July 19.  Brochures and registration info at www.mennowdc.org.

2.  Soon and very soon… Western District Conference folks will gather for the Annual Assembly.  Fellowship, worship, learning, and more are on the agenda for Aug 2-3 at Bethel College, North Newton, KS.  Deadline for early registration and meal signup is July 19.  Brochures and registration info at www.mennowdc.org.
3.  Attention Pastors:  Please make sure your church has completed and sent in the WDC Delegate List Form (sent to you in early June, and attached to this email).  This form is where you list the delegates coming from your church to the WDC Annual Assembly Aug 2-3. (Remember, churches may send 1 delegate for every 30 members or fraction thereof.) Also be sure to note your church membership number as of January 1, 2013 on this form.   It will be so-o-o-o helpful to have all forms returned by July 19.  If you prefer to send the information by email, that’s fine!  Send it to:  wdc@mennowdc.org.  THANK YOU.

4.  We have a Pool!  You may be wondering what to do as a family at the end of the summer.  Well, we have an answer for you.  Family Camp at Camp Mennoscah!  This camp for all ages (from grandchild to parents to grandparents to young adult and all in between) is July 27-28–the perfect almost end to summer.  The brochure is at www.campmennoscah.org under Retreats.  It’s a weekend chock-full of river play, swimming, worship, and family/friend time!  Call us at 620-297-3290 with any questions.

5.  Needed: Senior High Counselors!  Female counselors for our Senior High Camp, July 28-August 2, at Camp Mennoscah are still needed.  We need folks who are seniors in college or older.  Mentors and pastors welcome!  Call us at 620-297-3290 to sign up for the week of a lifetime or for more information.  It’s a week of high-octane fun!

6.  Thank you, Delon and Tammy!  Delon Martens has directed a week of camp at Camp Mennoscah for 40 years and Tammy Duvanel Unruh has directed with Delon for 21 years.  We celebrate these wonderful years of dedication to our youth at Camp Mennoscah!  This is their last year of directing.  We’re sure we’ll see them around Camp Mennoscah in other roles in the future–as a relaxing guest, for example.  Thank you for the many blessings that you have given us, Delon and Tammy!

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