WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
October 29, 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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Clarence’s Clarion Call
Clarence’s Clarion Call – Accept One Another
by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister
One hundred thirty people boldly signed up for the Western District Conference Reference Council with the theme of “The Church and Homosexuality” held on October 26 at Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS. The audaciously hopeful subtitle was “A conversation that can hold us together.” Worship for the day began and ended with reflections from Romans 14-15. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted, in order to bring praise to God.” This was written to the church in Rome that was deeply divided over significant ethical matters. “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you.”
The modest goal of this symposium, planned and led by the Human Sexuality Discernment Task Force of Western District Conference, was that Christians with profound ethical disagreement would engage each other in respectful conversation and theological reflection. Evaluations indicated that this was indeed the experience for most participants. One described the symposium as modeling vigorous discussion in an atmosphere of deep listening and mutual respect while representing a variety of opposing viewpoints.
There were two insights mentioned repeatedly by the participants. The first one was “the grace of uncertainty” offered by Keith Graber Miller, Goshen College professor. He encouraged us to remember that we all see through a glass darkly in this life. Therefore it is best to offer our certainties with a good measure of humility.
A second often noted insight was offered by David Boshart, Central Plains Conference minister. “Jesus demonstrated special concern for those rejected in society or who were living in a state of alienation. So should the church. But Jesus did not practice radical inclusion. He practiced radical hospitality.”
Participants were grateful for the open, honest conversation. Many hoped for this kind of conversation in their congregations. Many noted that there are other sexual matters that also need the church’s attention including pornography, the exploitation of sex, premarital sex, rape, and healing ministries for those wounded by sexual violence.
I remind us all of some of the key phrases I underlined in Romans 14-15 in the closing worship. “Accept those whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.” “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister?” “We will all give an account of ourselves to God.” “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” “Accept one another, then, as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
Nov 3 – Praise God for the new pastors in Western District Conference, eleven of whom participated in a New Pastor Orientation on Thursday. Pray that all our pastors will “preach the word….correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction (II Timothy 4:2).
Nov 10 – Pray for our Western District Conference churches that our love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that we may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ (Philippians 1:9-10).
Nov 17 – Pray for Pastor Brian Pellecer who will be leading the Hispanic church plant in Wichita, KS. Pray that God will open a door for the gospel message. Pray that he might proclaim the good news clearly, be wise in new contacts, and make the most of every opportunity (Colossians 4:4-5).
Nov 24 – Give thanks to God who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing – chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless, forgiven in accord with the riches of God’s grace, and sealed by the Holy Spirit for our eternal redemption (Ephesians 1:3-14).
Nov 1 – Pastor Misconduct Prevention Training, Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, KS
Nov 16 – Out of the Pew (youth event), Hesston College Campus Activities Center, KS
Nov. 21 – Pastors’ Day Apart, “Journeys with Scripture”, with James Krabill, Grace Hill Mennonite Church, Whitewater, KS
Nov 28-29 – WDC Office closed for Thanksgiving
Dec 24-Jan 1, 2014 – WDC Office closed for Christmas & New Year’s break
Jan18, 2014 – Lent Planner, Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
July 4-6, 2014 – WDC Annual Assembly, Waxahachie, TX
The November issue of Parish Paper, entitled “E-newsletters: Worth More Than You Know” can be viewed at: https://mennowdc.org/
1. Featured Resource from your Conference Resource Library: It’s a youtube video! A complete Safe Sanctuaries training (1 hour, 45 min.) is now available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
2. OUT OF THE PEW – November 16, 9 am – 3:45 pm – Get your high school youth out of the church pews and into service! Send your registration form to WDC by this Friday, November 1. See all information: www.mennowdc.org (Events).
3. Our next “Year of the Bible” event is Pastors’ Day Apart on November 21. James Krabill (Mennonite Mission Network) will lead on the theme “Journeys with Scripture”. Cost is $25. Register and see complete information at www.mennowdc.org (Events).
Mennonite ChurchUSA Announcements
1. WEBINAR option: Great Plains Extension at 2505 N. Main, North Newton will host the AMBS webinar: “Going All the Way: Love, Sex and Baptism” with Irma Fast Dueck, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Canadian Mennonite University, on Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. at the GP classroom. Cost is $25 (checks only made out to AMBS-GP with memo line “webinar”). No registration necessary. Just show up – promptly! Of course, you may register online and stay home for a higher fee–visit www.ambs.edu/webinars for discounts and registration.
2. 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 November. 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/
3. From AMBS – Church Leadership Center: Online Short Course: Understanding and Managing Congregational Conflict
Non-credit, six weeks, $200
David B. Miller
March 26-May 13, 2014 (Spring break April 7-12)
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620