WDC Sprouts, April 27, 2021

WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE

SPROUTS

April 27, 2021

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)

We invite your continuing support for WDC! Contributions may be made HERE.

IN THIS ISSUE:

*A pause – and a pathway toward peace

*Prayer Requests

*Coming Events

*Announcements

*WDC Ministerial and Credential Announcements

A pause – and a pathway toward peace

by Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister

Last Tuesday afternoon (April 20), as an announcement of the Derek Chauvin trial verdict was imminent, I was participating in a zoom meeting of conference ministers in Mennonite Church USA.  In the midst of our discussion, a member of our group put a note in the Chat reporting the verdict. Someone else unmuted their mic and interrupted the meeting to give a verbal report.  Then there was a collective pause. Perhaps some tears? And heavy, silent questions: What to say? How to feel? What does the verdict mean? What impact will it have? What has changed? What has not changed?

That zoom meeting eventually resumed and then ended, but the heaviness of that pause persists.  Yes, in this moment I feel a sense of relief and rightness, grateful that white supremacy and police brutality have – for once – been confronted with accountability.  But with that also comes the realization that this is notable because it is such an exception. It is dramatic because of its stark contrast with the persistence of racial injustice, because it departs from the dominant pattern in our nation of ignoring and justifying violence against Black, Brown and Indigenous people.

So, this brief moment of legal justice is not a conclusion to racial injustice or a resolution to the problem of police violence.  This pause is not a stopping place. Instead, it is another call to interrupt the status quo, to change the pattern.  It is a call to solidarity with those who bear the brunt of this legacy of pain and violence. It is a call to imagine alternatives to what currently passes as “normal,” and to join the work of sustained equity and true justice.

In the zoom meeting on April 20, conference ministers also received an announcement that Mennonite Church USA has released Defund the Police? An Abolition Curriculum,” – https://www.mennoniteusa.org/abolition-curriculum/.  The MC USA news release states that “This is a new, multimedia, online curriculum to help congregations and individuals understand and address issues of systemic police brutality.  The free, nine-week study program challenges participants to think creatively about personal and community safety in a Biblical context. According to MC USA Executive Director Glen Guyton, the curriculum was developed in response to calls from clergy and congregations for an Anabaptist-oriented response to the continued brutalization of Black, Brown and Indigenous people, as witnessed by continued high profile police shootings across the United States.”

A webinar panel discussion about this curriculum will take place April 29, 6 pm Central Time (7 pm EDT) with Sue Park-Hur, denominational minister for Transformative Peacemaking, and the authors of the curriculum. Webinar planners say, “Whether you’re a seasoned peacemaker or just curious to know more, this curriculum and webinar are for you!” Register here.

To engage this curriculum will not be a comfortable process for many of us. The difficult truths and perspectives shared in this curriculum will probably disturb, provoke, anger or disorient some of us. And, this curriculum will also provide new insights and articulate the realities and experience the church needs to hear.  As we seek to be faithful followers of Jesus, I am hopeful that this resource may offer one path forward from the pause of paralysis toward possibilities for true peace.

——————

Una pausa y un camino hacia la paz

El martes pasado por la tarde (20 de abril), el anuncio del veredicto del juicio de Derek Chauvin era inminente, estaba participando en una reunión de ministros de conferencias de la Iglesia Menonita USA via Zoom. En medio de nuestra discusión, un miembro de nuestro grupo puso una nota en el chat informando el veredicto. Alguien más desactivó el micrófono e interrumpió la reunión para dar un informe verbal. Luego hubo una pausa colectiva. ¿Quizás algunas lágrimas? Y preguntas pesadas y silenciosas: ¿Qué decir? ¿Como sentir? ¿Qué significa el veredicto? ¿Qué impacto tendrá? ¿Qué ha cambiado? ¿Qué no ha cambiado?

La reunión de Zoom finalmente se reanudó y luego terminó, pero la pesadez de esa pausa persiste. Sí, en este momento siento una sensación de alivio y justicia, agradecida de que la supremacía blanca y la brutalidad policial se hayan enfrentado, por una vez, con la responsabilidad. Pero con eso también viene la comprensión de que esto es notable porque es una excepción. Es dramático por su marcado contraste con la persistencia de la injusticia racial, porque se aparta del patrón dominante en nuestra nación de ignorar y justificar la violencia contra los pueblos negros, morenos e indígenas. 

Entonces, este breve momento de justicia legal no es una conclusión de la injusticia racial o una resolución del problema de la violencia policial. Esta pausa no es un lugar para detenerse. En cambio, es otro llamado a interrumpir el statu quo, a cambiar el patrón. Es un llamado a la solidaridad con quienes llevan la peor parte de este legado de dolor y violencia. Es un llamado a imaginar alternativas a lo que actualmente se considera “normal”, y a sumarse al trabajo de equidad sostenida y justicia verdadera.

En la reunión de Zoom del 20 de abril, los ministros de la conferencia también recibieron un anuncio de que la Iglesia Menonita USA. Ha publicado ¿Retirar Fondos a la Policía? Un plan de estudios de abolición, Defund the Police? An Abolition Curriculum,” – https://www.mennoniteusa.org/abolition-curriculum/. El comunicado de prensa de MC USA afirma que “Este es un nuevo plan de estudios multimedia en línea para ayudar a las congregaciones y las personas a comprender y abordar los problemas de la brutalidad policial sistémica. El programa de estudio gratuito de nueve semanas desafía a los participantes a pensar de manera creativa sobre la seguridad personal y comunitaria en un contexto bíblico. Según el director ejecutivo de MC USA, Glen Guyton, el plan de estudios se desarrolló en respuesta a las llamadas del clero y las congregaciones para una respuesta de orientación anabautista a la continua brutalización de los negros, morenos e indígenas, como lo demuestran los continuos tiroteos policiales de alto perfil en todo Estados Unidos”.

El 29 de abril, a las 6 pm hora central (7 pm EDT), se llevará a cabo un panel de discusión en un seminario web sobre este plan de estudios con Sue Park-Hur, ministra denominacional para la construcción de la paz transformadora, y los autores del plan de estudios. Los planificadores de seminarios web dicen: “Ya sea que sea un pacificador experimentado o simplemente tenga curiosidad por saber más, este plan de estudios y seminario web son para usted”.  Register here.

Participar en este plan de estudios no será un proceso cómodo para muchos de nosotros. Las difíciles verdades y perspectivas compartidas en este plan de estudios probablemente perturbarán, provocarán, enojarán o desorientarán a algunos de nosotros. Y este plan de estudios también proporcionará nuevos conocimientos y articulará las realidades y experiencias que la iglesia necesita escuchar. Mientras buscamos ser fieles seguidores de Jesús, tengo la esperanza de que este recurso pueda ofrecer un camino a seguir desde la pausa de la parálisis hacia las posibilidades de la verdadera paz.

Prayer Requests

May 2 – Pray for the WDC Gifts Discernment Committee as they seek the Spirit’s leading in selecting nominees for positions on the Executive Board and Commissions.

May 9 – Pray for God’s guidance for WDC congregations, pastors and leaders as they determine priorities and focus vision in the midst of the ongoing challenges and changes of the pandemic.

May 16 – Pray for WDC’s Stewardship Commission, meeting this week to discern faithful use of resources, and give thanks for generous contributions that support conference ministry.

May 23 – Give thanks for the WDC Resource Library, as congregations and individuals use its materials for spiritual growth, sermon preparation, leadership development, Bible study, children’s stories, and many other forms of learning and faith formation.

May 30 – Pray for WDC congregations in pastoral transition, and potential candidates considering ministry opportunities in WDC.

Coming Events

Due to COVID-19 concerns, all meetings are being held via Zoom video conference until further notice.

April 28 – WDC Gifts Discernment Committee meeting

April 29 – Third Thursday WDC Book Discussion

May 3 – WDC Staff Relations Commission meeting

May 5 – WDC Farm Worker Task Force meeting

May 11 & 13 – WDC Healthy Boundaries training

May 13 – WDC Resource Commission meeting

May 18 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting

May 20 – WDC/SCC Youth Leaders meeting

May 21 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting

May 27 – WDC KLC lunch meeting

May 27 – Third Thursday WDC Book Discussion

June 3 – WDC Executive Board meeting

June 18 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting

July 30-Aug 1 – WDC Annual Assembly

WDC announcements

  1. Church Replanting: Discerning God’s Call to Change: Thank you to everyone who joined us for this discussion last week (April 21) on zoom! The WDC Church Planting Commission was greatly encouraged by your participation. For those who were unable to join us, here’s a video of what we discussed about discerning and considering changes as church communities: Video: Church Replanting: Discerning God’s Call to Change
  1. Grants are still available through the Everence Pastor Financial Assistance Program to help pastors address immediate financial needs such as medical debt, credit card debt, educational loan assistance, or other financial concerns.  For guidelines and application, see:  https://www.everence.com/financial-services/for-churches/pastoral-financial-wellness-programor contact Beryl Jantzi, Everence Director of Stewardship Education (beryl.jantzi@everence.com).  WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission also has limited funds available to assist with matching grants as part of the Everence program.  Contact Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister.

Las subvenciones todavía están disponibles a través del Programa de Asistencia Financiera de Everence Pastor para ayudar a los pastores a abordar las necesidades financieras inmediatas, como deudas médicas, deudas de tarjetas de crédito, asistencia de préstamos educativos u otras preocupaciones financieras. Para conocer las pautas y la aplicación, consulte: https://www.everence.com/financial-services/for-churches/pastoral-financial-wellness-program o comuníquese con Beryl Jantzi, directora de educación en mayordomía de Everence (beryl.jantzi@everence.com ). La Comisión de Liderazgo Ministerial de WDC también tiene fondos limitados disponibles para ayudar con las subvenciones de contrapartida como parte del programa Everence. Comuníquese con Heidi Regier Kreider, Ministra de la Conferencia de WDC.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. There are openings for youth at Camp Mennoscah’s summer youth camps!  Several of the camp weeks still have space for more campers.  Register at www.campmennoscah.organd find further information in the camp blog!
  1. Help set up camp!  Volunteers are needed to help set up the HUGE tents used for this summer’s youth camps at Camp Mennoscah.  Setup will happen May 28 and 29.  Sign up by May 15 by contacting 620-297-3290 or olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org.
  1. Camp Mennoscah is seeking to fill a part-time custodian/housekeeper position.  Hours average 10 per week and are flexible, dependent upon the camp schedule.  For more information, contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 or olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org.
  1. Nurses needed for summer youth camps!  Camp Mennoscah needs nurses for June 17-19 (First Camp), June 20-26 (Junior I) and July 25-30 (Senior High).  Nurses receive a stipend or a discount up to full camp fees for their camper (camper does not have to attend the same camp week).  Contact us at 620-297-3290 or olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org for more information.

Mennonite church announcements

  1. For Corinthian Plan (TCP) CEP Health Coverage participants. TCP is providing specific COVID-19 health coverage for its participants. Many of these benefits are covered without further cost to the participant during the Public Health Emergency (PHE). For specific information regarding coverages below go to the TCP webpageregarding the following:
  • Vaccinations
  • Testing, Diagnosis and Inpatient hospitalization
  • Telemedicine
  • Temporary eligibility exceptions for furloughed staff or staff with reduced hours.

The Corinthian Plan also has grants available for congregations experiencing economic stress during the COVID-19 Outbreak. The COVID Premium Assistance fund has been made possible by the donations of TCP participating congregations. Click on Guidelines  or Application or go to the TCP webpage.

  1. Seeking a Chaplain:  Bethesda Home, in Goessel, KS, is looking for a part-time chaplain. Interested parties may apply on the Bethesda website: www.bethesdahome.org. Please contact Marci Heidebrecht in Human Resources for additional information at 620-367-2291 x 229 or mheidebrecht@bethesdahome.org.

WDC Sprouts announcement guidelines:  Announcements pertain to Western District Conference (WDC) ministries and churches, institutions with which WDC has formal relationships, and Mennonite Church USA agencies and ministries.  

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

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