April 18, 2017

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)


*Led by the Spirit


Led by the Spirit

     by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)

Whether an area conference or an established congregation is planning to start new churches, or working on church revitalization or church growth, I believe that either approach requires us to be led by the Spirit; human effort alone is not enough.  Every single congregation experiences conception, development, birth, growth and reproduction or multiplication.  In all those stages, the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit is key.

To be led by the Holy Spirit implies at least prayer, faith, and trust. After all, attempting to respond to key questions like how, when, and where to do church planting, church growth and revitalization is hard to answer sometimes.

Therefore, I argue that prayer is an important and key component in either approach. It is through prayer that one will find direction, will know when, and see where God is already at work and then join him. Our challenge is to trust God and acknowledge him in every way possible; then, he will show the way, the time, and the place. Our job is to be alert to God’s activity in our local communities.

In church planting especially, prayer is the one thing that sustains this ministry. Church planting is not only exhausting but an exciting ministry. It is through it that faith and trust can be anchored. As one reads Scripture, one finds out that nothing spiritually significant has emerged without faith (Hebrew 11). One is also encouraged to “trust in the Lord with all the heart and do not rely on your own insight” (Proverbs 3:5 NRSV).

Church planting is a new ministry that was not in existence in a specific location. As it builds rapport with the community, it proclaims the kingdom of God – a kingdom that brings peace and justice and transformation to both the individual and to the local society.

When reading the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 and when reading Acts 1:8; I am inspired to adopt a hands-on approach on promoting church reproduction and multiplication. But I am also challenged to consider evangelism and discipleship as a key component of the Great Commission.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NRSV).

Friends, the promise of the Holy Spirit has been fulfilled… the next step is up to us!

WDC announcements

  1. Jeanette Roberts is filling in for Jennie Wintermote, WDC Library Director, while she is on maternity leave. Jeanette was Interim Resource Librarian after long-time Library Director, Marlene Bogard, left that position in 2015.  Jeanette is in the library on Mondays and Fridays from 8 am-12 pm, and Wednesdays from 12-1 pm; other WDC staff can assist you when she is not here.  Jeanette may be contacted at crlib@mennowdc.org.
  1. Jewish and Palestinian Voices for Peace KS Tour – In preparation for this summer’s Israel-Palestine resolution in Orlando, join in conversation exploring diverse views on Israel-Palestine and prospects for peace in the current political climate. Laura Tillem, a local representative of Jewish Voice for Peace, will dialogue with Jonathan Kuttab, a Mennonite Palestinian human rights lawyer.  This tour is sponsored by Mennonite Church USA and Western District, along with local funding.  Freewill offerings will be received at each public event:

Ap 18  – 7 pm, Bethel College Chapel, Administration Bldg, North Newton, KS

Ap 19  – 11 am, Bethel College Chapel

–   7 pm, Ecumenical Campus Ministry, 904 Sunset, Manhattan, KS

  1. Pastors and other credentialed leaders: WDC encourages you to participate in Flourishing in Ministry, a national research study in which Mennonite Church USA is participating, to explore what motivates, sustains or disrupts pastors’ wellbeing in ministry.  You should have already received an introductory e-mail about this from Terry Shue, Director of Leadership Development for Mennonite Church USA.  Next week on April 25 you will receive an email from the Lilly Wellbeing Study, inviting you to take the survey between April 25 and May 5.  If you have qustions, contact Terry Shue at TerryS@mennoniteusa.org
  1. Congregational Ministry in the Face of Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence – On April 29, congregational leaders and pastors are invited to First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson, KS for a day-long workshop on how congregational leaders can respond when abuse takes place that affects the broader congregation. Sponsored by WDC, Kathryn Goering Reid, a credentialed minister and Executive Director of Family Abuse Center, Waco, TX, will be our seminar leader.  We will explore scenarios where the abuse takes place beyond or within the context of your congregation. We will consider how to respond when both the perpetrator and victim are members of the same congregation, and neither is a credentialed pastoral leader.  There will be other scenarios when only the victim or perpetrator is a church member, but the ministry implications are still complicated for all involved.  For example, what can a deacon do when he or she learns that a church member is abusing another adult? How can the church board respond if a board member’s spouse suddenly goes to a domestic violence shelter?   What can or can’t we say publicly in times of crisis?  How do we balance the needs of victims and survivors of abuse, and still be a place for sinners in need of repentance and restoration?  What if the abuser is not repentant?  We will look at theological responses and explore possible models and appropriate actions. Together we will look at models that have worked in some congregations and suggest actions that will help a congregation work through these complex situations.  Congregations can register your attendees together for the group rate of $100.  You may also register individually for $30 per person.  Online registration is available at:  www.mennowdc.org/congregational-ministry-in-the-face-of-sexual-abuse-and-domestic-violence/Please register by April 20.
  1. Digging for Treasure: Parables Revealed is the summer 2017 Vacation Bible School curriculum (available at mennomedia.org).  The WDC Resource Library has most of the books suggested to go along with the curriculum.  Contact the library (crlib@mennowdc.org; 316-283-6300) to reserve books for your week of VBS.
  1. Shalom Mennonite Church (800 E First, Newton, KS) will host a Community Conversation on Immigration on Saturday, June 3 at 10-11:30 am (note that this is a new date & time from previous announcements). It will be a moderated panel discussion with a question and answer time to follow. The discussion will focus on the panelists’ general perspectives on issues that affect refugees and immigrants in Kansas and Harvey County. The confirmed panel participants are Bob Myers (Newton City Manager) and Tim Hodge (State Representative). If you have questions about the event, contact Shalom at office@shalomnewton.org

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. The calendar says “Go to Camp Mennoscah!” Well, okay.  It may actually tell you the date, but what it really means is that our summer staffers are bouncing in their boots and clamoring for the fun times to begin.  Youth camps are open for all in grades three through high school.  The theme this summer is Branching Out: Connecting with Christ.  Scholarships available and the early registration discount ends May 1!  Contact us at 620-297-3290 or register online at campmennoscah.org.  Fun times ahead!
  1. This is the year! You’ve been planning and hoping for that opportunity to spend time in the Camp Mennoscah kitchen and now is your chance.  There are still openings for kitchen staff for the weeks of June 11-17, July 9-13, and July 30-Aug. 4.  Meet new folks, smile at campers, play (gentle) pranks on the summer staff, and cool off in the swimming pool.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 or olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org.
  1. Men & Boys Retreat is at Camp Mennoscah on April 28-30! Gather together as friends and family for a weekend of spending time with friends, worshiping, fishing, sitting by the fire, or canoeing.  Registration begins on Saturday, but many arrive on Friday.  The first meal provided is Saturday supper.  Saturday evening will feature a performance by the Flannelbacks, a bluegrass band from the Bethel College area.  Michael Unruh will be our speaker for the weekend.  No pre-registration is necessary, but if you have questions contact Kevin Neufeld at kevinneufeld2@gmail.com or 316-322-5515.
  1. Stories of courage, stories of faith, stories of fun! Retirees of all ages are invited to join us for Retirees Relaxation Retreat at Camp Mennoscah from April 24-26.  We’ll hear stories from a number of different people, have Bible study, do some singing, and have coffee breaks.  Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290.  We’ll see you there!

Mennonite church announcements

  1. The Future Church Summit will add a new dimension to this summer’s Mennonite Church USA Convention, inviting participants to envision an Anabaptist future for the church. You can learn more at:  http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/future-church-summit/.
  1. Call for singers – Bethel College choirs, Philharmonia Orchestra and community chorus will perform Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis (Mass for Troubled Times) Sun., May 7. You are still welcome to join the chorus – come to the first rehearsal Mon., April 24, 6:30 p.m. in Luyken Fine Arts Center on campus. Time commitment: eight 3-hour rehearsals (April 24-25, April 27, May 1-2, May 4-6) and the May 7 performance. Contact William Eash, weash@bethelks.edu or 316-284-5316, for more information.
  1. AMBS course: Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations:  June 12-30.  With an eye on challenges facing the Muslim community today, this three-credit-hour Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary course examines foundational Islamic narratives and texts and how Muslims have interpreted these in law, doctrine and spirituality through the Centuries.  Instructor:  Jacqueline Hoover, a teaching affiliate in Islamic Studies and Muslim-Christian Relations at the University of Nottingham (U.K.) and a minister in the Mennonite Church.  This course can be taken for credit or audit.  ambs.edu/academics/islam-and-christian-muslim-relations
  1. Bethel College seeks a full-time administrative assistant to the director of development and the Annual Fund director, providing support services to the development office, including database management, processing donor gifts and office management. For a full job description and application, see www.bethelks.edu/why-bethel/people/career-opportunities/
  1. Volunteer staff needed at The International Guest House in Washington, D.C. with flexibility of two months to a full year (currently scheduling 2018-19) for the ministry of Christian hospitality. The Guest House (a ministry of Allegheny Conference) serves both international and US travelers.  Volunteers are provided full room and board in the Guest House and a monthly stipend of $140.  Health insurance is paid for full year volunteers if needed.  Rotating hospitality duties include cleaning, laundry, maintenance, baking, gardening, and hosting breakfast & the evening tea. The service emphasis is on hospitality to guests and being a community to one another. The house is located in an established neighborhood with access to buses for exploring this historic city.  For inquiries and an application contact: Sara Fretz-Goering  (sarafretzgoering@gmail.com) or current staff at the International Guest House (igh.dc.us@gmail.com) (202-726-5808)

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