November 4, 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 – Revisiting the Alternative Holiday Approach

     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation

Got Christmas on your mind?  Most of us don’t…yet….but we are about to be overwhelmed with commercials, singing elves and decorations.  Now that the Halloween candy has been discounted, the shelves are being re-stocked with more candy canes and ornaments than ever. And yet, Advent has not yet begun. And neither has Thanksgiving for that matter. Whew!

Take some time to discern how you, your family and your congregation will celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Will it be about wrapped presents and twinkling lights?  About straw in the manger and holy carols?  About roasted turkey and pumpkin pie?  Maybe, maybe not.  I encourage you to pay attention to the margins in your days, or seek to find them.  Is there space to sip hot chocolate and listen deeply to a friend? Will we pause sufficiently to plan for the authentic meaning of Christmas?  What does it mean to be counter-cultural and faithful in the midst of holiday frenzy?

Here are some great resource links with a nod towards alternative, generous approaches to the next round of holidays:

  1. Whose Birthday is it Anyway? http://simpleliving.startlogic.com/indexoth.php?place=archives/XB/XB2014index.php
  1. 10 Tips for Simpler, more Meaningful Celebrations: http://simpleliving.startlogic.com/indexoth.php?place=archives/MR/10tipCeleb.php
  1. Started by Canadian Mennonites – this idea of Buy Nothing Christmas has mushroomed into a huge movement: http://www.buynothingchristmas.org/
  1. In 2006 five pastors imagined a better Christmas practice for their own communities. Today, Advent Conspiracy is a global movement of people and churches resisting the cultural Christmas narrative of consumption by choosing a revolutionary Christmas through Worshiping Fully, Spending Less, Giving More and Loving All:  http://www.adventconspiracy.org/
  1. Engineer a gratitude campaign in your church:  http://www.unstuck.com/gratitude.html OR http://www.gratefulness.org/p/
  1. Remember – we have amazing stuff right here at the Resource Library:  search these subjects on our on-line catalog: mennowdc.org/library/  gratitude; thankful; generous; generosity; Thanksgiving; Advent; Christmas;

WDC Announcements

  1. Discipleship Now is an intense experience-based retreat where youth (sophomore through senior high youth are invited) will be led to encounter God through dynamic individual and group prayer practices, Bible study, worship, and reflection. The retreat will also include in-depth teaching on discipleship and outreach experiences to apply and reflect on what it means to call oneself Christian.  Registration deadline – tomorrow – November 6!  Register at:  https://mennowdc.org/discipleship-now/
  1. WDC Reference Council will be held on Saturday, November 15, from 9 am to 3 pm at Eden Mennonite Church, 401 18th Ave, Moundridge, KS.  Agenda includes the release of the full report of the 20 question Discernment Task Force survey.  Advance materials will be posted online and will be available only to persons who register prior to the meeting. Register by Monday, November 10: online form at https://mennowdc.org/wdc-reference-council/ or call 316-283-6300.
  1. Church Planting Retreat AdvanceDecember 13 at Cross Wind Conference Center, Hesston KS.  See website for details and to register:  https://mennowdc.org/church-planting-advance-december-13-2014/
  1. Conference Resource Library App!  Access our catalog 24 / 7 on your smart phone, browse, renew, reserve and enjoy!  Also scan ANY barcode from a book anywhere and if we have it in the library – you will be directed immediately to that record in our catalog.  The APP is:  ‘Atriuum On The Go’ for Android devices and for Apple Iphones. Use this link to get connected to the Conference Resource Library on your smartphone:  http://booksys.com/mobile-apps. 1. You will go the app store for Apple and download the App you are looking for: Atriuum On The Go.  2. Once downloaded you will need to enter the server settings as follows:

Server: mennowdc.booksys.net

Port: no input needed, it automatically defaults to the correct port.

Library: crl, this is your library prefix

  1. We’re Stuffed!  Thank you to everyone who has donated and offered couches, loveseats, and chairs to Camp Mennoscah!  We have now replaced the dilapidated furniture in the Buffalo Room, though a couple are waiting for a ride to Murdock.  Still have a couch?  Never fear!  The Buffalo Room gets hard use and we’ll have to replace them again sometime down the road.
  1. It’s not your last chance, but it’s a good time to make reservations at Camp Mennoscah for the upcoming year!  Check your calendars, give us a call, and we’ll check our calendars.  Don’t forget the Bluestem house for all your not-quite-so-wild family gatherings and small group needs!  Your friendly Camp Mennoscah staff can be reached at 620-297-3290 or office@campmennoscah.org.
  1. In last week’s Sprouts was an announcement about a PET Recipient Reception on Nov 11 at First Mennonite Church in McPherson.  It has been CANCELLED.

Mennonite Church USA Announcements

  1. Rural Ministry Seminar: The Mission of a Rural Congregation:  AMBS-Kansas Center, in conjunction with Central Plains Mennonite Conference and Western District Conference, will host a Rural Ministry Seminar on Saturday, January 24, 2015 from 8 – noon at Whitestone Mennonite Church in Hesston, KS. This seminar is presented by expert S. Roy Kaufman and will explore the unique mission of the church in a rural context. This seminar will include lecture, case studies, discussion groups, and a catered lunch. Cost is $39 per individual and $100 per congregation to bring an unlimited number of congregation members. For more information, please see www.ambs.edu/ruralministry
  1. Rural Ministry Course:  AMBS-Kansas Center will host a Rural Ministry Course January 20-24 at Whitestone Mennonite Church in Hesston, KS. This course will be taught by S. Roy Kaufman, author of Healing God’s Earth: Rural Community in the Context of Urban Civilization. This course will explore preaching and pastoral care in a rural setting, the mission of a rural congregation, and the prophetic calling of rural ministry in the face of some of the systemic issues that arise in a rural context.  This one-credit hour course is available for both credit and audit. Early registration is due Nov. 14 for a $100 discount. More information is available at http://www.ambs.edu/academics/Interterm-courses.cfm Or you can contact registrar@ambs.edu to register for the course.
  1. Mennonite Church USA Convention registration opens January 15, 2015.  Next summer may seem far away, but the Convention in Kansas City, June 30-July 5, 2015, will be here before you know it.  Visit the convention website for all the latest news and to register beginning January 15, 2015:  www.MennoniteUSA.org/convention.
  1. Combine faith with your career!  Serve for a year with Mennonite Voluntary Service and join a team of talented people making a positive impact in communities across the U.S.  MennoniteMission.net/Serve
  1. Begin Anew:  Christian discipleship resource available now! Are there people in your congregation or community who are new to the Christian faith?  Or who have been in the church for a long time and would like to grow in discipleship?  Begin Anew is a 16-session series of studies to make disciples in small groups and congregations.  This discipleship resource is for anyone interested in growing in Christian faith from an Anabaptist perspective, regardless of their background or previous church experience.  Available online at www.MennoniteUSA.org
  1. SAVE THE DATE—BENEFIT DINNER: Please join us in supporting the training of Anabaptist Hispanic leaders by participating in a fundraising dinner for Mennonite Education Agency’s Hispanic Pastoral and Leadership Education (HPLE) programs: IBA (Instituto Bíblico Anabautista/Anabaptist Biblical Institute) and SeBAH (Seminario Bíblico Anabautista Hispano/Hispanic Anabaptist Biblical Seminary). The dinner will be on Friday, Nov. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at First Mennonite Church, 429 E. 1st, Newton, Kan. The dinner will include smothered pork burritos by Chef Carlos Lujano. This is a BENEFIT dinner. Your generous gift will help ensure the future of this vital ministry, but most importantly we want you to come and hear the testimonies of two IBA students and learn more about the program. (Donations beyond the cost of the dinner will be tax deductible.)

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