October 1, 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 – WDC Connects with Congo Church

     by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister

There was an outburst of joyous praise at the ordinations of the first women in the Mennonite Church of Congo in Kinshasa on Sunday, September 22, according to Amanda Rempel*. Women joined in a parade of exuberance using mops, brooms, kitchen utensils, and even a small refrigerator as rhythm instruments. The five-hour worship service was held in a large, rented pavilion to accommodate guests from across Kinchasa and Congo plus six representatives from the United States. Amanda is serving as an ambassador from the Western District Conference (WDC) to the church in Congo in support of these women pastors and as encouragement to the church. She was commissioned by the Leadership Commission and Executive Board of Western District Conference. Five choirs sang, six offerings were received, and numerous persons spoke before the ordinations of both men and women according to Amanda’s report.

The C of WDC’s vision stands for “Connect to God’s mission in the world.” This is a very tangible connect that began with two Congolese businessmen and church leaders visiting Western District Conference on April 29. Macaire Kilambo Kabanga and Roussel Kumakamba invited Amanda as an ordained pastor to come and stand in solidarity with those women who would be ordained in Congo. What seemed an impossibility gradually became a call from God and the church to which Amanda said “yes.”

On Sunday, September 29, Amanda preached at the Bondeko Mennonite Church in Kinshasa. Singing was already underway when she arrived at 9:30 AM. There were multiple singing groups, multiple offerings, multiple prayers of confession, intercession, and praise before she began to preach at 12:00 PM on “Pentecost, the Early Church, and Women.” The church building had a corrugated roof overhead with walls and floor partially completed.

Amanda is currently in Tshikapa for more ordinations of men and one woman on Sunday, October 6. She appreciates your prayers and the support of WDC.

God’s unfolding vision of redemption and restoration in the Old Testament moved out from the particular of calling one person, Abraham, to encompassing all peoples on the earth. “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). Mennonites in the first half of the 20th century had a small part in sharing God’s restorative blessing in the Congo at great personal sacrifice. Medical, agricultural, and educational development accompanied proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and planting new churches. In spite of great political turmoil, oppressive poverty, and church conflicts, the three Mennonite church bodies in the Congo have grown to a membership of 235,000, the second largest national Mennonite church in the world.

Let’s join in an exuberant outburst of praise to God.

Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
Proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
His marvelous needs among all peoples. (Psalm 96:2-3)

*Amanda is my wife

Prayer Requests
Oct 6 – Pray for Nathan Koontz, who is being installed today as an Associate Pastor with a focus on pastoral care at First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson, KS.
Oct 13 – Pray for Richard Gehring, Moderator-Elect, Jaimie Cazares, pastor of Iglesia Menonita Casa Betania, and Clarence Rempel, Conference Minister, as they represent Western District Conference at the Constituency Leaders Council of Mennonite Church USA at Sturgis, Michigan, October 13-16.
Oct 20 – Pray for the spiritual vigor and leadership vision of our Western District Conference ministry staff: Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation; Gilberto Flores, Associate Conference Minister; Dwight Regier, Youth Ministry Network Team Leader; and Clarence Rempel, Conference Minister.
Oct 27 – Pray for Moises Romero, pastor of Iglesia Camino de Santidad, Liberal, KS, who is being licensed towards ordination today. Pray for Mennonite Church of the Servant, Wichita, KS, as they dedicate their new meetinghouse this afternoon.

Coming Events

Oct 25 – “Engaging our Sexual Culture”, Bethel College Krehbiel Auditorium, North Newton, KS (11 am – BC convocation: “Toward an Ethic of Sexuality”; 7 pm – Premier Performance:  “A Peek into the Church’s Journey with Sexuality”)
Oct 26 – WDC Reference Council (“The Church and Homosexuality:  A Conversation That Can Hold Us Together”), Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
Oct 31 – New Pastor orientation, WDC Office, North Newton, KS
Nov 1 – Pastor Misconduct Prevention Training, Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, KS
Nov 16 – Out of the Pew (youth event), Newton, KS
Nov. 21 – Pastors’ Day Apart, “Journeys with Scripture”, with James Krabill, Location TBA
Nov 28-29 – WDC Office closed for Thanksgiving
Dec 24-Jan 1, 2014 – WDC Office closed for Christmas & New Year’s break
Parish Paper

The October issue of Parish Paper, entitled “Growth or Decline? 10 Key Questions about Worship Attendance” can be viewed at:  https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/

WDC Announcements

1.  Camp Mennoscah’s benefit, Pastor Love, has been cancelled for this Sunday, October 6.  Please look for a reschedule date after the new year.

2.  Two Options for Cropping and Fellowship–It’s happening, folks.  There will be two absolutely great Scrapbooking Retreats at Camp Mennoscah this fall!  The first retreat will be November 1-3 and the second retreat will be November 15-17.  Come for one or both retreats for hours of uninterrupted cropping, workshops, and fun times with others.  A brochure for the retreats can be found at www.campmennoscah.org under Retreats.  Call us at 620-297-3290 with questions.  Bring your photos, bring your friends, and be ready for a fun weekend!

3.  It’s An Annual Event–We will be taking out the dam at Camp Mennoscah on October 13, 2013, somewhere around 2pm in the afternoon.  There may be some preparation done earlier and it may be that we start a bit later, depending on all sorts of known and unknown things.  Folks are welcome to watch or to help out.  Wear river clothes and dress for the weather!  Please let us know if you are planning to come so we can alert you to any last minute changes.  Contact us at campmno@mennowdc.org or 620-297-3290.

4.  Mennonite Church of the Servant, Wichita, KS, will dedicate their new meetinghouse at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, October 27.  The building is located at 2401 N. Woodland in northcentral Wichita.

5.   The Church and Homosexuality: A conversation that can hold us together is the theme of the upcoming Western District Conference Reference Council on Saturday, October 26, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm at Faith Mennonite Church, 2100 N. Anderson, Newton, KS.  This is a gathering of WDC executive board, commissions, committees, staff and pastors.  Others with a special interest in this topic are also encouraged to attend. Register online (www.mennowdc.org, Events) or call 316-283-6300 or email wdc@mennowdc.org by October 18.  Keith Graber Miller, professor of Bible, Religion and Philosophy at Goshen College (IN), and David Boshart, Executive Conference Minister for Central Plains Conference of Mennonite Church USA, will speak about the church’s response to persons of same-sex orientation. This will be followed by several respondents and discussion on maintaining relationships in the midst of conflicting convictions over matters of sexuality.  Lunch will be provided, with a free-will offering received.  This event is sponsored by the WDC Human Sexuality Discernment Task Force. 

6.   Humorist, Actor and Theologian Ted Swartz of Ted and Co. Theaterworks will present an all-new show!  “A Peek into the Church’s Journey with Sexuality” – Friday, October 25, 7 pm at Krehbiel Auditorium, Bethel College, North Newton, KS.  Ted will share the stage with Keith Graber Miller, Professor of Bible, Religion and Philosophy at Goshen College, who will speak on the topic of “Toward an Ethic of Sexuality”.  Purchase tickets ($10) at Bethel College ticket office, 316-283-2500.  All seats reserved. This event is co-sponsored by the Western District Conference Human Sexuality Discernment Task Force and Bethel College Campus Ministries.

Mennonite Church USA Announcements

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary – Great Plains Extension is hosting a Mental Health First Aid course on Thursday, November 7, 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. and November 14, 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Bethel College Mennonite Church for eight hours of continuing education.  Cost is $50 and includes a light supper.  Participants will learn to recognize the warning signs for a range of mental health problems including depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis, eating disorders, substance use disorders and self-injury.  Who should attend?  youth pastors, college students and staff, youth sponsors, educational professions, greeters, ushers–everyone!  Register by October 15 by sending $50 (payable to “AMBS – GP” with “mental health” in memo line) to AMBS – Great Plains, P.O. Box 306, North Newton, KS  67117.  Call 316-283-7098, ext. 206 or dorothynf@ambs.edu for information.

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