WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
November 18, 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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Camp, Fun and Religious Truth
Camp, Fun and Religious Truth
by John Stoesz, Camp Mennoscah Executive Director
I wish to start by acknowledging that sometimes religious truth emerges out of suffering. And sometimes we find it very difficult – if not impossible – to reconcile the reality of suffering with the reality of God’s love. Difficult issues, indeed!
But today I am pondering a different set of questions. We know that many young people love Camp Mennoscah because – in their words – “Camp is fun.” We also know that they find Camp spiritually meaningful because so many talk glowingly about their Camp experiences before they are baptized. Some even choose to be baptized in the Ninnescah River.
Camp Mennoscah is about nurturing right relationships – with God and nature, with self and others. Camp lies at the intersection of these relationships. Campers experience right relationship with God through song and campfire. They experience right relationship with nature through riverplay and nature walks. It can be helpful to get away from video games, computers and cellphones to experience the image of God within themselves. And they experience right relationships with others through crafts and swimming in the pool.
I have been asking myself, “what does all this have to do with religious truth?” Pardon me for a short philosophical detour. In general, truth means “worthy of belief.” The theologian Paul Tillich defined religion as “ultimate commitment.” Then, religious truth may be defined as “that which is worthy of ultimate commitment.”
Now, I would argue that an excellent answer to the question, “what is worthy of ultimate commitment?” – is right relationships with God and nature, with self and others. And that is what people (of all ages) experience at Camp. And that’s “fun.” The Bible has a word for such right relationships – “shalom.”
I want to be clear that I am not arguing that Camp Mennoscah has a corner on religious truth. I don’t believe that for a minute. But I do believe that Camp has a handle on religious truth, and that’s worth sharing. Camp is about experiencing shalom. And Camp is fun!
- Discipleship Now, for sophomore through senior high youth, has been rescheduled for January 2-4, 2015. See: https://mennowdc.org/discipleship-now/ for information.
- The WDC Music and Worship Task Force invite all children’s choirs to participate in the Children’s Choir Festival to be held on Sunday afternoon, April 26. A music packet is available for directors to peruse in the Music Resource Library at the WDC offices along with ordering information. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
McPherson (KS) First Mennonite Church will have a German Supper Dec 6, 5-7 pm. Cost is by donation. Menu items include German Sausage, Verenike, Bohne Beroggi, Borscht, Cherry Moos and other good things. Peppernuts and Ten Thousand Villages Fair Trade items will be for sale. Come have a good meal and start your Christmas shopping!
4. WEST AFRICA MINISTRY: Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, KS, will celebrate on Wed., Nov. 19 the work of BCMC member Janet Stucky serving with Mennonite Mission Network in Benin. A meal of West African stew will be served at 6:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall, followed at 6:45-7:15 p.m. with an update on Janet’s work presented by her Ministry Support Team. Janet Stucky, a nutritionist and educator, is living in the capital city of Cotonou and developing flours to aid in nutrition for mothers, young children and people living with HIV/AIDS at the Bethesda Hospital. The Nov. 19 event is also a fundraiser to support her ministry. Financial gifts may be made to Bethel College Mennonite Church, designated to “Mennonite Mission Network/Janet Stucky” and brought to BCMC; or written and sent directly to MMN, 718 N. Main St., Newton, KS 67114-1703. To make reservations for the meal (free of charge, donations welcome) contact the church office at 316-283-3667 or email@example.com. For more information, see bethelcollegemennonitechurch.org.
Mennonite Church Announcements
1. Five Places of Christmas will be held Saturday, Dec. 6, 10 am – 4 pm at the Luyken’s Fine Arts Center on the Bethel College campus. The Bethel College Women’s Association will present a variety of Christmas collections from 25 local contributors. Come and enjoy Santa’s, angels, stars, bells, books, villages, trees and other symbols of the season. A candy and bake sale as well as a gift shop of BCWA memorabilia will be available. No admission is charged and the event is handicapped accessible. (It is requested that this announcement be placed in bulletins for Nov. 23 and 30.)
- Put your life where your faith is: Serve with Mennonite Central Committee. Needed… peacemakers, teachers, engineers, administrators, agriculturalists, leaders, support staff, nutritionists, community workers and more… Find current opportunities at: serve.mcc.org (See attached ad.)
- Identify delegates now! Although the Mennonite Church USA convention may seem far away, June 30-July 15, 2015 will be here before you know it. The Executive Board is encouraging congregations to identify and register delegates early, so that they can participate in a survey of all delegates, and receive important information on prayer and discernment prior to their arrival in Kansas City. For more information on who can be a delegate, visit the convention website: http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/delegate/.
- Ten Thousand Villages will have a Festival Sale in the back of the Prairie Harvest store in Newton, Kansas, with proceeds going to: Mennonite Central Committee. Dates of sale are: Thursday, Nov. 20 (9 am – 8 pm); Friday, Nov. 21 (9 am – 6 pm); Saturday, Nov. 22 (9 am – 5 pm); Friday, Nov. 28 (9 am – 6 pm); Saturday, Nov. 29 (9 am – 5 pm); Thursday, Dec. 4 (9 am – 8 pm); Friday, Dec. 5 (9 am – 6 pm); Saturday, Dec. 6 (9 am- 5 pm); Sunday, Dec. 7 (1 – 4 pm).
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620