May 6, 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)


*Pick My Brain

Pick My Brain – Shine, Let it Shine!

     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation

Biblical, essential, updated, colorful, Anabaptist, media-savvy, peace orientation, spiritual practices.  There.  That’s the basics of the new Shine! faith formation curriculum for preschool through grade 8 that our very own MennoMedia is releasing for use in Fall, 2014.  I am excited and grateful for the wisdom and care the curriculum developers have lavished on this new tool for faith development.  And here is why:

* Biblical – three texts have inspired Shine:

  • God’s light shines amidst the darkness in our world.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in the land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.

—Isaiah 9:2

  • We are a reflection of God’s light, called to shine that light at home and beyond.

You are the light of the world. A city built upon a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

—Matthew 5:14–16

  • The light of Christ transforms us and gives us wisdom to do God’s will. We cooperate with God to bring healing and hope to our world.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.

—Romans 12:2

* Essential – even through we say the home is the best place to nurture Christian faith, in reality, most efforts happen through the local congregation.  Shine is the essential tool.

* Anabaptist – the writers of Shine are people like you and me, committed and trained in Christian education, and fully Anabaptist.  They offer us embedded Anabaptist theology in the curriculum.  Want more Mennonite Christians?  Quality curriculum is the first step.

* Media-savvy – no longer just book lists….the Media Connections suggests web-links!

* Peace-Notes – a paragraph devoted to connecting peace theology for every lesson.  I think this means….we are no longer the quiet in the land…perhaps we are ready to be more overt about what we believe as the Jesus Way of Peace.

* Spiritual Practices – drum roll here! This is the one I am most excited about! Each spiritual practice invites the child to the presence of God.  It might be through an exploration of various prayer practices, or another interactive or contemplative way. Faith Formation at it’s best.

Attend the Shine Launch on Sunday, June 22 from 3 – 6 pm at Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita, KS.  Sing, Worship, Explore, Learn and eat together as we celebrate this new faith formation tool!

May you invest in Shine! May you invest in the Faith Formation of the children in your congregation!  May you invite God’s presence and the Spirit’s nudging as you make plans to begin this new chapter in congregational life.

Visit the site for all kinds of great information:  shinecurriculum.com

WDC Announcements

1.  Be a good steward and RIDE THE BUS (from Newton, KS) to the 2014 Western District Conference Assembly on July 4-6 in Waxahachie, TX.  The six-hour trip will fly by when surrounded by good company plus you will experience zero driving stress!  This year’s theme:  God with Us – Patient and Persistent.  Go to mennowdc.org to register or contact your church office so that you are not left behind!

2.  Teachers, parents, Christian education committees – Discover the key biblical texts foundational to Shine, network with others at the Shine Launch!, Sunday June 22, 3 pm.  Send three from your church, call 316-283-6300 to reserve your space.  shinecurriculum.com for more info.

3.  One Month!  There’s one month before Camp Mennoscah’s summer youth camps explode onto the scene.  We’ve got camps for those going into 3rd grade through High School–and we want them filled to the brim with energetic, witty, and brilliant campers.  (That means YOU!)  Activities include worship, crafts, swimming, river play, and just about a bazillion more things.  Registration forms can be found at www.campmennoscah.org under Camps.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 with questions.  It’s a summer of adventures!

4.  Planning for the future!  Camp Mennoscah is looking ahead to August 10 when we are going to be jamming and jiving at our annual Camp Sing!  Join us for a hootin’ good evening of singing, popcorn, generic pop and good Camp Mennoscah camaraderie!  Start time is 6pm at a place yet to be determined.  Put it on your calendar and start practicing actions to all those camp songs!

5.  Dish It Up!  Camp Mennoscah is looking for a few cooks to provide a main course, casserole-type dish for meals during our summer staff orientation week (June 1-8).  This will make preparing meals easier for the staff, allowing us more time together in training.  We’ll provide side dishes and whatnot.  Contact us at campmno@mennowdc.org or 620-297-3290.  Thanks for helping us provide a great experience for all our summer guests!

6.  Chairs for sale!  Several dozen sturdy metal and wood folding chairs for sale at 50 cents each.  Great for backyard, barn and party seating.  Call WDC at 316-283-6300.

Mennonite Church USA Announcements
1.  Geri Tyrell, Assistant Professor of Nursing, will be the featured speaker June 5 at the annual Public Faculty Lecture sponsored by the Bethel College Women’s Association.  Her presentation will illustrate the experiences that Bethel College students have had in travel to Haiti over the last three years, and will focus on the opportunities for student to develop critical thinking skills, resource management, and an appreciation for Haitian culture. The meeting begins at 7:00 pm in Bethel College Krehbiel Auditorium. The public is cordially invited to the meeting and the reception which follows.

2.  Mennonite Church USA Convention in Kansas City – Are you getting ready for the 2015 convention in Kansas City, from June 30-July 5?  If you’ve got questions about what convention is all about, and how it will interface with the Mennonite World Conference Assembly Gathered, check out this helpful list of frequently-asked questions and answers:  http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/convention-411/faqs/

3.  Mennonite Church USA – KC2015 Convention – June 30-July 5, 2015:   Programming for the children is an important aspect of the whole convention week experience.  This experience at convention helps children connect to the broader church at an early age while at the same time making it possible for parents/guardians to participate in worship, seminars, delegate sessions, etc. The parents can drop off their children at the designated children’s program area knowing that their children will receive excellent care while playing and learning about God.   To make this important program a success we need your help in finding someone to coordinate or assist the coordinator for the Infant/Toddler program.  If you know of someone in your congregation who would be interested in this role, please contact Carol Epp at Carole@mennoniteusa.org or by calling 574-523-3048 (direct), 1-866-866-2872 ext. 23048 (toll free). She would be happy to give you more details and a job description.

4.  Join Youth Venture in South Philadelphia! Together with a diverse group of Mennonite youth, you can make a difference by serving in local ministries. Young adults ages 14-20 can apply by June 1 at MennoniteMission.net/Serve.

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