If you have ever attended a professional convention, you come home with a load of “swag,” free stuff that advertises other stuff.  You also attend a bunch of workshops and network with colleagues who have similar interests.  This year’s Western District Conference Annual Assembly was like that.

Delegates and friends got to hear gifted bible scholar and musician Bryan Moyer Suderman talk, sing, and teach about “Reading the Bible with Jesus” and how Jesus interpreted and reframed scripture for kingdom purposes.  There were also eight wonderful one-hour workshops to choose from.

The gift of God’s presence was received through worship that spanned cultural and language differences.

Participants also had opportunity to talk with our ministry partners from local, regional, and denominational agencies and schools.

And, yes, there was even some free swag.  But, more importantly, there were so many good ideas, information, rich worship of God and dialogue, that it was a weekend packed with lots of “take-homes”.

In addition to the regular delegate business of approving next year’s budget and new elected leaders, we had a chance to practice and receive hospitality from three different churches in their facilities.  Thanks to Tabor and Eden Mennonite Churches for offering their facilities for Assembly on July 27 and 28, respectively.  Though it was not an official part of Assembly, Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church also hosted Bryan Moyer Suderman as their Sunday morning preacher and invited any WDC friends to join them.  The “take -home” was an incredible gift of welcome by these congregations.

There were also opportunities for fun and service for kids and youth.  Children shared creative craft ideas, stories and games with wonderful adult volunteers.  The small group of WDC youth tied comforters for refugees through Mennonite Central Committee.  They also listened to Bryan Moyer Suderman, then pelted each other with water balloons!  They took home memories of new friends and doing good in the name of Christ.

It was a wonderful weekend packed full of things to learn, experience, and take home.  Join us again next year for Assembly, July 26-27, 2019 (location in Kansas to be confirmed).