April 4, 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)


*Self Care


Self Care

     by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)

A classic devotional by Frances Roberts is entitled Come Away, My Beloved.  It’s the invitation to take time away to grow in intimacy with God.  We read the gospels and see that Jesus regularly took time away from the crowds and even his closest friends to spend time in prayer with the One he called Abba.  Ministering people need time set aside for renewal, quiet and refreshment.  Thursday, April 20, whether or not your pastor, chaplain, or other leader has ever been to a Kansas Leadership Center training, he or she is invited to a catered lunch, discussion about self care (a KLC competency), and a mini, self-guided retreat that afternoon at the lovely Dyck Arboretum Pavilion and grounds.  (Read more about this opportunity in a separate announcement.)

Camp Mennoscah also offers one retreat a year for pastors (donations welcome).  Olivia Bartel would be happy to schedule a day of self care just for you.

A spiritual retreat is a wonderful way to take care of yourself and ask God to nurture your spirit.  There are other ways to recognize God around us and within us.  In our culture of over-commitment, we need to find space to let our minds and our feet wander to be renewed.  Not everything we do has to amount to anything.  It can simply be time to “be,” then God has space to work within us.  Read a good book, drink a cup of tea, or go for a quiet walk.  For introverts, time apart is particularly important.  Extroverted self-care might include a game of pick-up basketball or Ultimate Frisbee with friends or an evening of good food and conversation.  Try something creative: sew or paint or get out the router and make something out of wood.  Pet your cat, play with your dog or take a horseback ride.  Thank God for all creatures.  Call a friend you haven’t talked with in a while.  Write a letter or email and tell the person why she or he is dear to you.  Plant a small garden.  Try something new you’ve always wanted to do.   Fix a favorite food or go out to a restaurant you love.  Do something you love.

Self care is about taking time to care for yourself, and often along the way, you have created the space to recognize that God is right there with you loving you and helping you to do the same for yourself.

WDC Announcements

  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 17  – 7 pm, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, 655 S Lorraine Ave, Wichita, KS

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. Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) Competencies Self Care Lunch and Mini Retreat: Please RSVP by April 12 if you plan to participate in this unique opportunity on Thursday, April 20 at the Dyck Arboretum Pavilion. Bierrock or vegan meals available. Please bring your lunch if you require gluten-free.  Thank you.
  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. Immigration and Refugee Ministries: On March 30, WDC hosted a meeting for congregations responding to immigration and refugee concerns.  Persons from 11 congregations in our conference gathered to share about their congregation’s involvement with these issues, their questions and concerns, and helpful resources.  Areas of interest and potential collaboration include:  providing financial donations for “starter kits” for refugees, becoming a Sanctuary Church, supporting sister church members who are undocumented, practical support for immigrants (e.g., providing rides for immigrants without transportation, English tutoring, help filling out job applications), being part of Emergency Response Team in event of ICE raid, getting legal representation training from MCC, connecting with local law enforcement and addressing “sanctuary city” issues, state and national advocacy work, form a WDC Immigration Task Force.  We encourage congregations to network with and continue to resource each other.  If you would like to get involved or would like more information, please contact Kathy Neufeld Dunn (kathynd@mennowdc.org).
  1. Preparing for Service-Learning Trips: It’s more than just getting the place picked out and the bus rented!  Hear about preparation and follow-up after a youth service-learning trip in the interview between Krista Dutt, author of MERGE, and WDC Associate Conference Minister, Kathy Neufeld Dunn, along with Rachel Gerber of The Gathering Place, a youth ministry resource site.  Find the interview at The Gathering Place at this link:  http://thegatheringplace.us/2017/02/28/2673/
  1. The April/May 2017 issue of WDC Garden is available online at: https://mennowdc.org/wdc-garden-aprilmay-2017/.
  1. Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita, KS will host the Canadian troupe Theater of the Beat on Saturday, May 6, 7:00 pm to perform This Will Lead to Dancing, a drama about wholeness, belonging and LGBTQ inclusion. Theater of the Beat uses drama to engage communities on difficult issues like this one. For more information contact Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church at http://www.lorraineavenue.org or 316-682-4555.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Putting in the Dam! Camp Mennoscah is putting the dam back in on April 9 at approx. 2:30pm.  All are invited to help or watch the process.  Regardless of the weather, we will be in the river unless it is determined to be unsafe.  Wear clothing to fit the weather and your choice of activity.  Come for whatever amount of time you’d like!  Contact us at 620-297-3290 with questions.
  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!
  1. Men and Boys Retreat is at Camp Mennoscah, April 28-30. The first meal provided is Saturday supper, so if you come sooner than that, bring your own food.  Saturday evening will feature a performance by the Flannelbacks, a bluegrass band from the Bethel 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. Early Registration Discount for Camp Mennoscah ends May 1! Hey, summer youth campers, check with your parents, guardians, aunts & uncles, and grandparents to make sure you’re registered for camp at Camp Mennoscah.  Remind them that it’s a whopping $10 cheaper if they register and pay in full by May 1.  Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or contact us at 620-297-3290.
  1. Cinnamon rolls, bierocks, iced tea, and fun! Camp Mennoscah is looking for helpful hands and cheerful hearts to help in our kitchen for our summer youth camps.  No particular skill is needed, just the ability to follow directions and a willingness to be part of our camping ministry.  Kitchen helpers are needed for June 11-17, July 9-13, and July 30-August 4.  Bring your friends with you!  One or two places are also open for the weeks of July 23-29, June 25-29, and June 18-24.  Contact us at olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org or 620-297-3290.

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Is the Mennonite Church USA Convention 2017 on your calendar? Registration remains open.  Come to Orlando July 4-8 to celebrate “Love is a Verb” with fellowship, worship and activities with Mennonites from around the country.  Learn more at:  http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/registration/.
  1. Thinking about deepening your faith and developing your leadership skills through seminary study? Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, offers generous need-based financial aid for its master’s programs – whether you’re studying on-campus or at a distance.  Financial aid applications are due April 15 for the 2017-18 academic year.  ambs.edu/financialaid
  1. The Trail of Death: A Pilgrimage of Remembrance, Lament and Transformation:  June 1-9.  This nine-day pilgrimage traces the route of the 1838 forced removal of Potawatomi people by the U.S. military from their ancestral homeland in northern Indiana to present-day Osawatomie, Kansas.  This Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary course can be taken for credit or audit.  SIgn up by May 1.  ambs.edu/academics/trail-of-death
  1. Rooted and Grounded: A Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship:  April 20-22 at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana.  This three-day event will weave together worship, theology, biblical study and praxis.  Speakers Sarah Augustine, Stanley Saunders and Todd Wynward will focus on ecology in the Sermon on the Mount, the land struggles of Indigenous peoples, and what Christians can learn from Standing Rock.  The event includes workshops, paper presentations and off-site immersion experiences.  Cost:  $100/regular, $35/day, $25 students.  ambs.edu/rootedandgrounded
  2. For Pastors, Chaplains, Clergy – Prairie View Chaplaincy program invites you to join us for a “Pastoral Luncheon and Education Opportunity.” Orlyn Zehr presents, “Spot the Caregiver; Care for the Caregiver (and that means you too)”.  Free lunch will be available for those who RSVP (please email beerbj@pvi.org with any dietary restrictions).   Additionally, we will highlight some of the Addiction Treatment services at Prairie View and how to access services when needed.  Where: Pine Street Health Services, Community Meeting Room 215 S Pine St., Newton KS.  When: Tuesday, April 25, Lunch and networking begin at 12:00, presentations from 12:15-1:15.  Please RSVP to Misty Elder-Serene @ eldermd@pvi.org or 316-284-6385.  Free will donations will be accepted for lunch.
  1. The International Guest House in Washington D.C. will celebrate its 50 year anniversary on May 6 – 7. For reservations or additional information, call IGH at 202.726.5808 or email igh.dc.us@gmail.com.  Contact Person:  Lawrence Ressler,  202.726.5808, igh.dc.us@gmail.com

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