October 8, 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)


*Pick My Brain

Pick My Brain – Read the Story
     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation (with content from Mike Bogard, from his article in Hope Headlines, October, 2013)

I have some very good news!  Many, many of our Western District Conference congregations are planning their worship services around Hearing the Story – the “big” story of the scriptures as pastors plan to preach through the Bible.  Listen, engage, discuss.  But…will you read? 

Michael Novelli, who presented Bible Storying to representatives from 14 of our churches on September 15 and author of Shaped by the Story and Enter the Story, encourages seeing the Bible as story and allowing that story to form us into the Christians God wishes us to become.  Although his method focuses on telling and hearing the story, his hope is that this method will motivate us to go back and read the story.

His research indicates that:

58 percent of the U.S. adult population never reads another book after high school.

42 percent of college graduates never read another book.

80 percent of graduating high school seniors say they’ll never again voluntarily read a book. (Shaped by the Story, p.43)

I would like to encourage you to consider reading the story again or for the first time.  In September, I began reading the entire Bible chronologically, using an app on my smart phone.  It has been 35 years (my confession) since I have read the bible entirely.  This reading journey is designed to be a one year experience and I am a little behind; but that’s okay.  There is nothing magical or legalistic about the time frame; it is just a goal.  As many of you know, reading the Bible completely can be a very transformational experience.

There are many designs for reading the Bible.  The Year of the Bible website can direct you to a number of options. Go to http://www.yearofthebiblenetwork.org/adult1.html and scroll down to Bible Reading Plans and start clicking the links.  With many of these plans you can read the Bible online on your computer or phone or tablet by clicking the links within the program.  You can also use the plans as a guide to read one of the several copies of the Bible you may have in your home.  If you click “The Bible App!” link you will find a downloadable version for your phone or tablet and a vast number of reading plans for all ages including some brief plans for children and youth around themes.

If you want a hard copy Bible reading plan, Mennonite Church USA offers guides for children, middlers, youth, and adults at http://store.mennomedia.org/Bible-Reading-Records-C1364.aspx for less than a dollar.  Bible reading plans can be for the whole Bible, or just one of the Testaments, or the Psalms, or just the Gospel of Matthew, or some other section of the Bible that interests you. 

One aspect of our Mennonite inheritance is the central role that the Bible played in the formation of our Anabaptist/Mennonite understanding of Christian faith and life.  The early Anabaptists voraciously read the Bible both personally and in small groups.  They memorized Scripture and used it generously in defending their understanding of Christian faith, especially after arrest and in the face of torture and death as recorded in the Martyrs Mirror.  Even if reading hasn’t been a part of your life, consider, at least during this Year of the Bible, a new immersion in the book that informs and shapes our Christian faith.  You probably won’t be arrested, but you just might be transformed!

WDC Announcements

1.  Register by October 18 for the WDC Reference Council – The Church and Homosexuality:  A Conversation That Can Hold Us Together, to be held at Faith Mennonite Church on Saturday, October 26 from 8:30 am – 5 pm.  Register online mennowdc.org (Events), or call 316-283-6300, or email wdc@mennowdc.org.  Pastors, you are invited to use this YouTube video as a way of promoting the Western District Conference Reference Council on “The Church and Homosexuality” on October 26. You can show it Sunday morning or Wednesday night or simply email the address to appropriate church leaders or church members.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QH0PagvIsM
2.  Don’t miss “A Peek into the Church’s Journey with Sexuality”, with Ted Swartz of Ted and Co. Theaterworks on Friday, October 25 at 7 pm at Bethel College.  Ted will be joined by Keith Graber Miller, Professor of Bible, Religion and Philosophy at Goshen College.  Purchase tickets ($10) at Bethel College ticket office, 316-283-2500, all seats reserved.
3.  Get your high school youth out of the church pews, and into service!  On Saturday, November 16, bring your youth group to Out of the Pew!  Registration will begin at 9 am at the Hesston College CAC, followed by service, food, worship, and fun!  The event will be finished by 3:45pm. Service locations will be around Hesston and Newton, with registration and worship at the CAC.  Cost is $10/person attending (includes lunch).  Make sure to send in your registration form to WDC offices by November 1. More info attached and at mennowdc.org (Events).

4.  Save the date!  Pastors Day Apart on November 21 is sponsored by Leadership Commission and will give pastors an opportunity to reflect on and share their “Journeys with Scripture” as our next Year of the Bible event. James Krabill, Mennonite Mission Network, will be our guide. James was part of such an event documented in the book Telling Our Stories: Personal Accounts of Engagements with Scripture. Two copies are available in the library. Information will be posted online SOON about preparing your short “Journey with Scripture” and seeing some examples. The purpose of the event is to build relationship and trust with one another as pastors by sharing our journeys with Scripture and identifying perspectives we bring to Scripture. Cost:  $25.  Watch for complete information and registration materials to be posted soon at www.mennowdc.org (Events).
5.  Lent Planner – Mark  your calendars and plan to bring your Lent Worship Planning team (or just yourself) to a 2 hour inspirational overview of the materials from Leader magazine (not released yet).  Saturday morning Jan. 18, 2014, at Tabor Mennonite Church, rural Newton, from 9:30 – 11:30 am.  Norma Peters Duerksen, a former Ohio pastor, now relocated to Marion, KS was involved with the creation of these materials and will lead this Year of the Bible event.

6.  Weekly updates on Year of the Bible – found on Facebook.  Join the group:  Year of the Bible Network to see photos, ideas, and more.

7.  12 Scripture Project Panels – ready for you!  If you want to participate in this project – reserve these panels to use in your congregation.  All you need to add is post-it notes!  Contact WDC office.

8.  Pastors – in the next few weeks, members of the Year of the Bible Planning team may be calling you to offer encouragement and resources for the Year of the Bible initiative in your congregation.  Be ready to share a “good news” story of what is happening in your church.  We would love to post your ideas, links, photos,documents  and plans on our website:  yearofthebiblenetwork.org   Let the momentum keep building!

9.  Featured Resource from the WDC Resource Library: Thomas Long books!  Dr. Thomas Long will be a featured speaker at the Worship and the Arts weekend at Bethel College on Nov. 16.  You may find these books at your WDC Library:
The Good Funeral: death, grief and community of Grace by Long and Thomas Lynch.  WJK, 2013.
Accompany Them With Singing: the Christian funeral, by Long.  WJK, 2009.
Testimony: talking ourselves into being Christian by Long, Jossey-Bass, 2004.

10.  Last Days of Canoeing!  We’re down to our last week of canoeing for this year at Camp Mennoscah.  The dam will be taken on out Sunday, October 13th, at approximately 2pm and anyone trying to canoe after that point will be stranded on sandbars.  Folks are invited to come out to watch or participate in this annual event.  (Wear river clothes/shoes.)  Most tasks are not suited for young children, but families are welcome to observe and help out as possible.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 or campmno@mennowdc.org to let us know you’re coming so we can alert you to any last minute changes.

11.  Closer to Cropping!  The days of our Scrapbooking Retreats are getting nearer and nearer.  The first retreat is November 1-3 and the second is November 15-17.  You are invited to join us for never-ending scrapbooking delights, including workshops!  Find the brochure at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290.  It’s going to be loads of cropping fun!

12.  Weekly Chores at Camp Mennoscah–We know that folks are looking for the slightest excuse to come out to camp.  So…we’re offering you the chance to help us out with our weekly chores.  We’ll have a chore every week that families or college students or any small group of folks can do for us.  Spend part of your day doing this chore and the rest of the day frolicking at camp.  It’s a great way to do service and have fun.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 to grab this chore before someone else does!  This week’s chore:  scouring our grimy-looking sinks.

13.  Peace Historian Rosalie Riegle to speak in OKC:  The Oklahoma Center of Conscience is hosting a talk and book signing with oral historian/activist Rosalie Riegle, author of Crossing the Line: Nonviolent Resisters Speak Out for Peace and Doing Time for Peace: Resistance, Family, and Community. The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Thursday Oct. 10 at 7pm at Joy Mennonite Church, 504 NE 16th Street. Light refreshments will be served.  Crossing the Line (Wipf and Stock, 2013) and Doing Time (Vanderbilt UP, November, 2012) are oral histories of nonviolent resisters and their communities and the families that support them.  The evening promises to provide a good overview of the peace movement over the past few decades, and the most committed activists within it who have dedicated their lives, and in some cases their freedom, to make a positive difference in US foreign policy. To learn more about Rosalie Riegle and her books, see the OCC website at centerforconscience.org.  For more information, contact Rena Guay at (405)598-7362 (leave a message) or email peacearena(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

14.  The West Zion Mennonite Church Concert Series continues with an event on Sunday evening, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m.  Featured performers include Kenneth Rodgers, organ; the Sunflower Trio, comprised of Matthew Schloneger, tenor, Rebecca Schloneger, violin, and Kenneth Rodgers, keyboard; Open Road, a men’s acapella vocal group from Bethel College; and Donna Stucky, piano.  A free-will offering will be received during the concert and after the concert there will be a time of fellowship, with refreshments served.  West Zion Mennonite Church is located at 101 S. Washington Avenue, Moundridge, KS

Mennonite Church USA Announcements

1.  Pastors, are you interested in seeing more clearly? In seeing Jesus more clearly? If so, please consider attending Pastors Week at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana! Check out www.ambs.edu/pastorsweek for more information on the speakers and preachers you’ll hear January 27-30, 2014. Pastors Week is a opportunity to study, pray, worship and reflect on the church and your ministry. If you’re interested in carpooling with other pastors and me to Elkhart, please contact Nancy Funk at the WDC office to add your name to the list.     – Sara Dick, pastor at Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton, Kansas

2.  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.

3.  Save the Date – Benefit Dinner for Hispanic Leadership Education:  Help celebrate IBA’s 25th anniversary (Instituto Bíblico Anabautista) and support MEA’s Hispanic pastoral education programs. Friday, November 22, 6:30 pm at the First Mennonite Church of Newton fellowship hall. Featured guests are Marco Güete and Gilberto Flores former IBA directors. For reservation information contact VioletaA@MennoniteEducation.org  Watch for more details.

4. The Everence video contest “Money Talks: What Are You Hearing?” is now accepting entries until the deadline of Nov. 15.  The contest is open to anyone ages 15 to 25 and features cash prizes to the top three winners – who will be selected during an online voting campaign, Dec. 16 to Jan. 13, 2014. The winners will be announced Jan. 14.  Entry details are available at Everence.com/moneytalks. Everence is sponsoring three awards. The top prize is $1,000 to the winner plus $1,000 to a charity chosen by the winner. Second prize is $500 to the entrant and $500 to the chosen charity and third prize is $250 for the entrant and $250 to the chosen charity.  Everence helps individuals, organizations and congregations integrate finances with faith through a national team of advisors and representatives. Everence offers banking, insurance and financial services with community benefits and stewardship education. Everence is a ministry of Mennonite Church USA and other churches. To learn more, visit www.everence.com or call (800) 348-7468For more information, contact Steve Bowers, Vice President of Marketing, steve.bowers@everence.com, (574) 533-9511.

5.  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 October. 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.

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