April 26, 2016

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)


*From the Conference Minister’s Heart

*Prayer Requests

*Coming Events


From the Conference Minister’s Heart

     by Heidi Regier Kreider

Earlier this month I joined 12 other people from Western District Conference, South Central Conference and around the Mennonite Church (USA and Canada) on a Come and See learning tour to Palestine/Israel co-sponsored by MC USA, WDC, and SCC. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) coordinated the tour, to help us learn about the experience of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, understand perspectives that shape Jewish/Israeli attitudes and policies, meet people working for justice and peace, and visit sites important to the Biblical story and today’s religious communities.  Mennonites have built long-standing relationships through more than 65 years of service and witness in Israel/Palestine.  Come and See tours are one current way that MC USA is responding to recent appeals from Palestinian Christian leaders in Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth (to read the document, see http://www.kairospalestine.ps/index.php/about-us/kairos-palestine-document).

Our tour included a rich variety of encounters with organizations, people and places.  Some visits presented the realities and perspectives of Palestinians: Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, Bedouin villages south of Hebron where demolition is always a threat, ruins of the Palestinian village of Lifta destroyed in 1948, presentations on Palestinian liberation theology, statistics on home demolitions and detentions, and tours showing the devastating effect of the separation wall.  Other experiences highlighted Jewish perspectives and experiences: A visit to Yad Vashem holocaust museum in Jerusalem, and presentations by Orthodox Rabbi Ian Pear and Jewish settler Ary’el Tsion on their views of the history and purpose of the state of Israel.  Some of our encounters demonstrated the “co-resistance” of Israelis, Palestinians and international partners working together to educate and raise awareness about different historical perspectives, share common pain at losing loved ones in the violence, work toward reconciliation as an alternative to revenge and hate, accompany those who are threatened, and further political diplomacy.  Visits to holy sites and worship services with local congregations reminded us of the historical and contemporary presence of the Christian church and other religious traditions.

Of course, this summary of activities merely skims the surface of all that we experienced and learned! I will continue to read, ponder, pray, speak and write about the complex realities we observed, and hope to partner with others acting for justice and peace.   Come and See participants from WDC and SCC (Anita Kehr, Jonathan Wenger, Bill Zuercher, Ron Moyo, Del Schroeder, Lupe Aguilar and I) welcome invitations to share our reflections and photographs, and those of us from central Kansas are planning for a joint presentation at some point in the future.  Watch for more information, or let us know if you are interested in hosting a presentation.

Prayer Requests

May 1 – Today is Eastern Orthodox Easter!  Pray for WDC congregations as they foster relationships of grace and peace with other communities of faith, in the spirit of the Risen Christ..

May 8 – Pray for new WDC Associate Conference Minister (TX-based) Byron Pellecer as he and his wife Hilda move this week to Dallas,TX, where he will begin his work May 15.

May 15 – Pray for the WDC Church Planting Commission meeting this week, as they work to support the growth and vitality of the church.

May 22 – Give thanks for all in WDC who lead, teach or mentor in ministries of faith formation with children, youth and young adults, as the conclusion of the school year approaches.

May 29 – Give thanks to God for Trinity Mennonite Church in Hillsboro, celebrating its 50th anniversary today.

Coming Events

May 7 – WDC Executive Board meeting

May 15 – Byron Pellecer begins as WDC Associate Conference Minister for Texas

May 17 – Church Planting Commission meeting

June 24 – Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting

July 1 – Kathy Neufeld Dunn begins as WDC Associate Conference Minister for Kansas

Jul 29-30 – WDC Annual Assembly 2016, Bethel College, North Newton KS

Oct 22 – Fall Reference Council: “Held Together in Mission: Being Church in the Urban Context”,Dallas, TX (Location to be announced)

WDC announcements

  1. Sabbatical scholarships available:  The WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission recently allocated remaining Vision 2012 funds for sabbatical scholarships for persons with active ministerial credentials in WDC.  Credentialed persons may apply for up to $500.  For more information and application directions, see:  https://mennowdc.org/grants/
  1. Early registration discount ending!  The early registration discount for summer youth camps at Camp Mennoscah will end on May 1.  With online registration, you can wait even longer to register–just make sure your form and payment are submitted before 11:59pm on May 1.  That discount will disappear!  Paper forms with full payment should be postmarked by May 1.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 with any questions.
  1. Thank you to all who attended the Kitchen/Dining Hall Renovation Fundraiser at Camp Mennoscah!  Book of JEBB graced us with wonderful music and their own camp memories, and the meal was superb!  Your generous gifts bring us $9331 closer to reaching the estimated $200,000 needed.  A painting of the camp drive by Virgil Penner is up for grabs, too.  Be the first to donate $25,000 or more, and it’s yours!
  1. Camp Mennoscah has all sorts of space for you to Bring a Friend!  Both you as a returning camper and your first-time friend attending the same camp get a free camp tee shirt.  It’s a great way to share Camp Mennoscah with your friends–a bit of the river, a bit of singing, a few friendship bracelets, and a whole lot of faith and fun!  Our summer theme is Fearless Faith: Courage in Community.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 or register online.  Scholarships still available!

Mennonite church announcements

  1. MCC Workroom Update! Thank you for your generous response to our recent request for kits supplies.  We still have a number of school and infant kits to complete.  We welcome your time to come and fellowship and assemble the kits along with donated items to complete them.  As of now, we need gowns/sleepers (flannel or similar warm, soft material) size 3-9 months for the Infant Care Kits and colored pencils (pack of 12) for the School Kits.  A friendly reminder we do not need toothpaste for any of the relief kits.  Please come on your own or bring a group.  You can let us know of your attendance by calling 316.283.2720.  See you soon!
  1. Mennonite Voluntary Service is accepting applications for the 2016-2017 year! Opportunities to serve and live in community with others are still open in a variety of placements and locations, including teaching in Puerto Rico. Ages 20+ can apply at  MennoniteMission.net/Serve, or contact NeilR@MennoniteMission.net for inquiries.
  1. Mennonite Central Committee and WillowSpring Downs are hosting two events the weekend of June 11-12.

June 11, 1-5 p.m. Fun on the Farm:  In the tradition of Day on the Farm, but different, Fun on the Farm features interaction with animals,  relays, snacks, games, nature scavenger hunt, obstacle course, stick horse race, rides, and crafts for children of all ages.  Come at 1:00 for all the fun, and you just might learn a little bit about MCC’s work around the world in the process!  Admission is free.  In case of rain, call 620-386-0709 or 620-367-8432 for updates.

June 12, 5-8 p.m. Song on the Law:  This year’s mini-music festival features the Book of JEBB, Cottonwood River Band, Newton Men’s Quarter, Senior Jammers, and Elaine Unruh/Emil Schmidt and Friends. Meal catered by Keith Banman. Bring your lawn chairs, table service, friends and family. Admission is free, donations accepted for MCC.  In case of rain, event will be at Goessel Elementary School. Call 620-386-0709 or 620-367-8432 for updates.  Directions to WillowSpring Downs for both events: From Goessel: 3 miles north on Hwy K-15, 4 miles east on 150th, ¾ north on Falcon.  From Hillsboro: 4 miles south on Indigo, 3 miles west on 150th, ¾ north on Falcon.

  1. Presentations from Women Doing Theology Conference now available.  Twenty of the papers presented at All Your Need is Love:  Honoring the Diversity of Women’s Voices in Theology, the first Women Doing Theology Conference hosted by the Women in Leadership Project of Mennonite Church USA (February 2014), are included in a book that is available online (as of March 31).  Download a free PDF or purchase a printed copy through Amazon for $10.  See.  www.mennoniteusa.org/aynl.

 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