November 26, 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)



*Clarence’s Clarion Call
*Prayer Requests
*Coming Events
*Parish Paper

Clarence’s Clarion Call – “Who am I, Sovereign Lord?”

     by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister

Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?

The breakfast II Samuel 7 Scripture reading from Rejoice was perfect for preparing my spirit for Thanksgiving and Advent. “Who am I that you have brought me this far?”

The prophet Nathan had just reminded King David of his humble beginnings – “This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock.” I identify with those rural beginnings which for me were tending chickens and cattle, not sheep and goats. I am amazed at the rich educational opportunities I have had in Christian formation experiences in Bible college, in theological development in seminary, and in exposure to flourishing churches all across the United States in D. Min. studies. I am amazed at the beautiful partnership in life and ministry with Amanda that God has granted. I am delighted with my four children, two inlaws, and two grandchildren with whom I will feast this Thanksgiving. I am exceedingly grateful for the most meaningful life vocation of shepherding God’s flock (I Peter 5:2). I am amazed at having a role in God’s cosmic redemption plan of reconciling all peoples to God’s self and to each other and of restoring all of culture and creation to God’s shalom. “Who am I?”

Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?

King David’s question was evoked by what we now recognize as a Messianic promise. “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (II Samuel 7:16). That promise seemed hopelessly lost in 400 years of kingless survival in exile and back in Palestine until the angel surprised Mary of Nazareth. “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David….his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:31-33).

Mary also seemed to wonder, “Who am I? How can this be that I would be the mother of Messiah?” She quickly recovered her voice of thanksgiving. “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant….the Mighty One has done great things for me….His mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:47-50).

May you know God’s saving mercy and restorative blessing this Thanksgiving and Advent as you reflect on this question:

Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?
Prayer Requests
Dec. 1
– This week, area Conference Ministers meet in Denver, Colorado.  Pray that this time of networking, listening and planning may be encouraging and life-giving to our leaders. Clarence Rempel, WDC Executive Conference Minister and Gilberto Flores, Associate Conference Minister will be in attendance.
Dec. 8 – Byron and Hilde Pellecer have arrived in Wichita, KS to lead the Hispanic church plant supported by the three WDC congregations in Wichita. Uphold them in prayer as they make connections, survey neighborhoods and begin to share God’s good news with all they meet.
Dec. 15 –  In the midst of this busy season, attend one of the many special programs that celebrate the arrival of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Celebrate in song, art, drama and worship! Thank God for church staff and volunteers who have dreamed and planned and offered their gifts to make these celebrations come alive.
Dec. 22 – Praise God for his indescribable salvation gift – Jesus Emmanuel, God saves and God is with us. Merry Christmas from the Western District Conference Staff!  Together with you, we celebrate the coming of Jesus, the one who gives us joy, love and hope! We wish you many blessings during this holy season.  –Clarence, Gilberto, Marlene, Nancy, Phyllis, Sandra, Dwight
Dec. 29 –  Many Western District Conference congregations have been immersed in a Year of the Bible, and some are just beginning.  Pray that God will guide in the planning and doing of Bible studies, preaching, worship, singing and art.  May we approach the Scriptures with awe and thanksgiving in the New Year.

Coming Events

Nov. 28-29 – WDC Office closed for Thanksgiving

Dec. 7 (10 am – noon) – WDC Conference Resource Library OPEN (10:30-10:40 children’s story time)

Dec. 24-Jan. 1, 2014 – WDC Office closed for Christmas and New Year’s break

Jan. 4, 2014 – WDC Conference Resource Library OPEN (10:30-10:40 children’s story time)

Jan. 18, 2014 – Lent Planner, Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, KS

July 4-6, 2014 – WDC Annual Assembly, Waxahachie, TX
Parish Paper

The December issue of Parish Paper, entitled “Why a Sense of Belonging Matters” can be viewed at:  https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/
WDC Announcements

1.  Christmas Open House at the Resource Library!  We are celebrating the season with dozens of resources picked just for you!  Stop in as we kick off our newly expanded hours – 10 am – to noon on the first Saturday of the month.  Christmas stories for the children, hot cider and cookies for all.  See you Sat. Dec. 7 from 10 – noon at 2517 N. Main Street, North Newton.

2.  Featured Resource: Share this link http://resources.mennonitechurch.ca/ResourceView/23/6521 in your newsletters and bulletins or BETTER YET – print out a copy for each family in your congregation.  At-Home Advent-Epiphany Resource Series, by Elsie Rempel, Mennonite Church Canada:  A family, at-home resource for the weeks of Advent through Epiphany. Includes worship ideas, pondering questions, prayers, activities all suitable for the home. Follows the texts and themes of the worship materials in Leader magazine.

3.  You are invited to join First Mennonite Church (Newton, KS) Choir to perform Handel’s Messiah or to come hear the concert. The concert will be Sunday, December 15 at 7 p.m. Rehearsals are Sundays from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. in the church sanctuary. The concert includes a 60 plus voice choir, orchestra and the following soloists: Amy Schroeder, Kay Schroeder, Christopher Kliewer, and Matthew Schloneger. A free will offering will be taken.

4.  The Tabor Mennonite Youth Fellowship (rural Newton, KS) will share their annual living nativity, Night in the Barn, on December 21 and 22 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The llama that gives kisses, the big cow with her little calf, the sheep wearing bells, and the donkeys that share their love of people—these are a few of the critters who will assemble in the barn of Maynard Knepp and Carol Duerksen between Goessel and Hillsboro. The come-and-go event will feature unique perspectives from the innkeeper and a shepherd, and Christmas carols. Visitors are welcome to gather around a bonfire and enjoy hot drinks as part of the evening’s activities. Admission is free and donations to the youth group will be accepted.  Directions to Night in the Barn:  From Goessel: 3 miles north on Hwy 15, 4 miles east on 150th, ¾ north on Falcon. From Hillsboro, 4 miles south on Indigo, 3 west on 150th, ¾ north on Falcon. From McPherson, Hwy 56 to Hwy 15 south, 5 miles on Hwy 15 to 150th, 4 miles east on 150th and ¾ north on Falcon. (Follow these directions and not GPS directions.) For more information, call 620-367-8432 or 620-386-0709.

Mennonite ChurchUSA Announcements
1.  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 December. 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.

2.  “Managing Differences in Faith Communities” is a short course (credit or CEU) offered by Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) next February 20 and 21, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Plan now to send two representatives from your congregation for practical techniques.  Register soon by contacting KIPCOR, 316-284-5217 or Dorothy Nickel Friesen, 316-283-7098, dnfriesen@ambs.edu.  See attached flyer.

3.  Give Hope on Giving Tuesday, December 3! Not sure what Giving Tuesday is? It’s a day dedicated to kicking off the Christmas giving season, a reminder that Christmas is about more than buying gifts. Give a gift of hope by supporting the work of MCC this Christmas season. Want to double your money? All gifts from first time donors will be matched dollar for dollar on Giving Tuesday. Donate online at mcc.org/giving-tuesday or send checks to MCC PO Box 500 Akron, PA 17501 with Giving Tuesday on the memo line.

4.  Learn outside of the box. Service Adventure is a one-year opportunity to learn about God, life, and yourself, while serving others. Info and applications 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