March 25, 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 – Prayers Predominate

     by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister

Gracious Lord, we acknowledge your greatness, your power, and your love for us. We come with confidence as we ask for your leading and blessing on our conference. We come knowing that we need your wisdom as decisions and choices are made. Give us love, tolerance and sensitivity toward each other during this time of coming together. We want to do your will. Show us very clearly what that is, so that our actions may glorify your name. May your Spirit rest on us all! Amen.

Lucinda Goossen, a college student, penned this prayer on Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church’s blue prayer cloth that was knitted into the St. Louis River of Prayer in 1999. This was the national convention that began the formation of Mennonite Church USA. Brian Stucky from Alexanderwohl brought that cloth with its prayers to me for the Constituency Leaders Council (CLC) meeting in North Newton, Kansas, March 20-22.

The union of Mennonite Church USA begun in St. Louis seems threatened with Mountain States Mennonite Conference credentialing a pastor living in a same-sex relationship and a number of other conferences reconsidering their relationship with Mennonite Church USA. Prayer was needed for this gathering of 70 elders of Mennonite Church USA. The prayer cloth graced the center of my table for the three-day gathering of discernment.

Reports of the meeting will emerge elsewhere. I want to note the importance of prayer in guiding us through difficult conversation including all the prayers in the book of Philippians. Particularly noteworthy was an hour of listening-to-God prayer after which persons shared their reflections including very personal confessions. In times of difficult congregational decisions or conference discussions we often feel rushed for enough time. Could it be that listening-to-God prayer might save us considerable time? It certainly shaped the spirit of our CLC meeting to being more kind, more loving, and more thoughtful though no less convictional in our statements.

Helpful to myself and many others were prayers of relinquishment like this one:

Lord, we all come to this table with our own agendas, our own desires, our egos and personal likes and dislikes. In this moment we lay down our wills to seek nothing more, nothing less, nothing else than your will to be revealed among us. Help us to do this very hard thing. Let us know in the moment when we are pushing our own agendas. May each of us die to self so that you might rise and be seen among us in this time of discernment.

I invite you to share in these prayers for yourself, Western District Conference and Mennonite Church USA.

Recommendations from CLC table groups will be collated by a Task Group which in turn will bring recommendations to the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA in regard to next steps.
Prayer Requests

April 6 – Pray for the flourishing of our Texas churches and church plants. Pray for Conference Minister Clarence Rempel as he meets with pastors and churches in Texas, April 4-9.

April 13 – Pray for Brett Klingenberg, pastor of First Mennonite Church, Beatrice, NE, who will be ordained to pastoral ministry today.

April 20 – Pray for the personal and spiritual well-being of our pastors and their families. Pray for the Pastor-Family Retreat that will be meeting next weekend at Camp Mennoscah.

April 27 – Pray for our church planters: Byron Pellecer in Wichita, KS, Moises Romero in Liberal, KS and Karen and Steve Mascho in Gladewater, TX. Pray for the gathering of Mennonites at the national church planting event Exponential in Orlando, FL, April 28-May 1. Clarence Rempel, Conference Minister, will be attending.
Coming Events

April 10, 8:30-10:30 am – Pastor Mentor/Mentee Resourcing Gathering, WDC Office

April 25-27 – Pastor, Spouse & Family Retreat, Camp Mennoscah

July 4-6 – WDC Annual Assembly, Lakeview Camp & Retreat Center, Waxahachie, TX
Parish Paper
The April issue of Parish Paper, entitled “eGiving:  It’s about More than Money” can be viewed at:  https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/.

WDC Announcements

1.  The WDC Annual Assembly will be July 4-6 in Waxahachie, TX.  Please let us know if you have interest in riding a chartered bus from Newton, KS.  We need to hear from you by June 3, at which time a determination will be made if there is enough interest.  God to:  https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/annual-assembly/, and fill out the online form, or simply reply to this email.

2.  There’s an app for that!  New – an APP for your smart phone (Apple or Android)  or tablet is now available for the Conference Resource Library Catalog.

1) Go to the App Store (iDevices) or go to the Play Store (Android) and search for the ‘Atriuum on the go’ application.

2) Download the App and add this information in appropriate spaces:

Server: mennowdc.booksys.net

Port: 80 (this can also be left blank as it defaults to 80)

Library: crl

3) Voila!


3.  Pastors Mentors and Mentees are invited to a two-hour resourcing event introducing a guide for engaging the six pastoral competencies, “Growing in Ministry Journey,” on Thursday, April 10 at 8:30 am  Register your attendance to wdc@mennowdc.org or call 316-283-6300.

4. Bethel College Mennonite Church invites the community to a celebration of its newly renovated 26-rank Mӧeller pipe organ.  On Saturday, April 19 at 3:00 p.m. organist Christopher Shaw will present Raised to new life:  An organ and hymn festival celebrating the Lent and Easter Season.  Shaw will perform works by Bach, Barber, Handel, Howells,  and hymn- singing filled with organ introductions, interludes, and harmonizations.  Shaw will be joined by Eleanor Kaufman, organ, Verlene Garber and Nancy Hilty, piano, Matthew Schloneger, tenor, and Rebecca Schloneger, violin.   A freewill offering will be received to support the organ renovation.  A reception will follow.   Bethel College Mennonite Church is located at 2600 College Avenue, North Newton, KS.  For more information, call 316-283-3667 or see bethelcollegemennonitechurch.org.

5.  Rainbow Mennonite Church, Kansas City, KS, invites you to join them on March 30-31 for several Lenten conversations about atonement, sin, forgiveness and resurrection with Dr. J. Denny Weaver, author of the new book The Nonviolent God.  See attached flyer for more information.

6.  Next Year of the Bible Event:  A Webinar will be hosted at the AMBS-Great Plains classroom (2500 Place, North Newton)  on Wednesday, April 30 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.   The topic is “Understanding Anabaptist Approaches to Scripture:  What’s Different and Why?” with Loren Johns, Professor of New Testament at AMBS-Elkhart.  No pre-registration required but a fee of $25 must be paid in cash or check to “AMBS-GP”, memo line “Webinar – Scripture” at webinar.  Simply show up, listen, and join others in a follow-up discussion.  Contact Marlene Bogard (mbogard@mennowdc.org or 316-283-6300) for information.
7.  You are the one we are looking for!  You are the person we are looking for to work in the Camp Mennoscah kitchen this summer.  We’re looking for all sorts of someones to be part of our more than PB & J kitchen staff.  Most, but not all weeks, are still open.  Give us a call at 620-297-3290 for more information!

8.  Retirees’ Relaxation Retreat (April 21-23)–This retreat isn’t for just anyone.  This retreat is only for retirees of all ages.  The theme is Little Drops of Water, Little Grains of Sand and will focus on the little things we do that have a great impact.  Bring a friend or two and enjoy a few days on the prairie!  Contact us at 620-297-3290 for more information!

9.  Men and Boys Retreat at Camp Mennoscah is April 4-6.  Come whenever you want over those three days, but meals will only be provided from Saturday supper through Sunday lunch.  Peter Goerzen will be our speaker for the weekend.  No pre-registration is necessary.  You’ll be able to sleep in the staff houses or cabins, or bring your own tent or RV.  It’s a great weekend to fellowship, go fishing, or just hang out and do nothing.  We’re still looking for church groups or individuals to help with meal preparation.  For an optional work project, we might be sandbagging to combat erosion on the river bank.  If you have any questions, or if you want to help with meals, call Kevin Neufeld at 316-284-0450.

Mennonite Church USA Announcements

1.  “Managing Differences Within Faith Communities” is still open for “certificate” option–non credit.  Kansas Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) offers a two-day intensive for individuals for $300 per person–or $250 for 2 people or $200 for 3 or more from a congregation.  The course meets Thursday and Friday, May 8-9, 8:30 a.m.  – 5:00 p.m. each day.  Call Kirsten Zerger, 316-284-5217, or register online at www.kipcor.org at calendar.

2.  The Lombard Mennonite Peace Center will lead a Conflict Transformation Skills for Churches workshop at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday May 10. This is a one day training, which is useful for clergy and lay leaders interested in advancing their knowledge and skills for dealing with conflict in more healthy ways.   A brochure with full information about the training and a registration form is attached, and can be found on our website:  http://lmpeacecenter.org/events/cts/cts-brochure.html.  Additionally, coupons for group rates are also available at request.

3. DOOR San Antonio is again investing in local youth and young adults in San Antonio through our Discern program. With this program we hire youth and young adults for the summer to help lead the week-long service/learning teams that come to San Antonio through the DOOR program. These individuals are able to develop leadership skills by guiding groups to different non-profit agencies around the city, communicating the strengths of their city, and leading reflection and devotional times. It costs around $2000.00 to hire a Discern participant for the summer. Would you as an individual or as a congregation be willing to help make it possible to invest in local youth and young adults in San Antonio? Please contact Danielle Miller, DOOR San Antonio city director, at 210.534.2064 or via email at Danielle@DoorNetwork.org for additional information.

4.  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 April. 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.

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

Spiritual Guidance Seminar 2014-2015, Dr. Daniel P. Schrock
Congregational ministry provides many opportunities for accompanying people on their spiritual journeys and guiding them to deeper faith in God. In this seminar, participants will learn the art of spiritual guidance both through theoretical study and developing practical ministry skills. See dates and other details.

Six week, online course: Mennonite Polity
Non-credit, $200 before April 16
May 7-June 17
Dr. David Boshart and Janeen Bertsche Johnson, M.Div.
Study the structure, organizations, governances, foundational documents, vision and goals, decision-making processes, leadership and identity markers of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.  Get details and register by April 16.

For more information contact:  churchleadership@ambs.edu, 574-296-6269

6.  In February, the Women in Leadership Project hosted, All Your Need is Love:  Honoring the Diversity of Women’s Voices in Theology, a conference attended by over 190 women from across the church.  The weekend was full of worship, paper presentations, workshops, good conversations, and more.  To read reports from the weekend, and download papers, worship resources and more from the weekend, visit www.MennoniteUSA.org/women.

7.  The 16th Assembly of Mennonite World Conference will be held in North America in July 2015. The three primary events of the assembly, which we are calling Pennsylvania 2015, will be the Assembly Gathered (July 21-26, 2015), the Global Youth Summit (July 17-19, 2015) and Assembly Scattered (before and/or after the Assembly Gathered at various locations across North America).  The churches of North America will have the opportunity to host members of the global Anabaptist church as part of Assembly Scattered and the attached information is a first step in communicating this opportunity to those churches. Attached are materials that we are asking you to forward to your local congregations so that members become aware of plans that are taking shape, consider hosting an Assembly Scattered event and begin to prepare for attendance at Pennsylvania 2015. We will send additional materials to your offices for congregational distribution as the registration process begins in August 2014 and as we approach the Assembly in July 2015.

8.  Mission Focus (new name forthcoming) is a journal going through a time of transition, with a relaunch due this October. I am interested in offering Mission Focus as a platform for you to share your stories, sermons, articles, and artwork.  The relaunch issue will explore Anabaptist identities and missiologies, and attached to this email you will find a copy of the formal call for papers, with submissions due to me by May 1. 2015 issues will address religious pluralism, as well as hospitality, food, and mission.  If you are interested in receiving updates, contributing to the global conversation, or in subscribing to this resource (will be available freely online), please email Co-Editor Jamie Ross at JamieR@MMNWorld.net.  Please see the attached call for papers, and learn more here:

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