April 7, 2020

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.    


*A Different Holy Week


A Different Holy Week

     by Jennie Wintermote, WDC Library Director

Maundy Thursday has been one of the most impactful worship experiences for me.  I knew from an early age that what I was experiencing was different.  At my home church (Hope Mennonite in Wichita) we often began with some sort of meal–sometimes including elements of a traditional Seder meal, other times sandwiches and fruit before moving into the service which told the story of (or reenacted scenes from) the Last Supper, praying in the Garden, Good Friday and all the events in between.  We departed the church in silence and often darkness–with Jesus in the tomb.

The passion story became real as we tasted and touched, prayed and sang–bearing witness to the story.

What I experienced in those services was different from other worship services–and for me was Holy in a different way.  Oh how different is this Maundy Thursday.  We won’t gather to see, smell, taste, or touch the story, and in fact, we are already in the darkness.  The darkness of this virus, the darkness of fear, the darkness of anxiety, the darkness of the unknown.  I talk with friends who face the darkness of failure–as a parent, as the one now responsible for their child’s education, as one trying to work and parent, or simply to provide food for their children.  We face the darkness of a mounting death count and concern for those sick, alone, and those fighting this virus without proper equipment.   This year it may not be quite as hard for us to imagine the despair of the disciples who lost their hope (Jesus) on Good Friday.  How many have lost their hope though this pandemic?

But we know that Easter is coming.  As Jesus  “arose a Victor from the dark domain,”  so too will he be the victor in our present darkness.  He WILL be the light shining in the darkness of our despair, the darkness of uncertainty, the darkness of our loneliness and pain.  May we join together this Sunday in proclaiming Christ the Lord as victor, as we tell our friends and neighbors, our communities and our world:  I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night time of your fear.  I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.”    May it be so.

WDC announcements

  1. WDC Hope Fund: Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic:  Western District Conference has established a Hope Fund to support congregations and ministers in direct response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We are seeking to raise funds to respond to the most vulnerable by empowering local congregations to meet needs with Christ’s love and generosity in a time of fear and anxiety.

Who will be helped by the Hope Fund? Resources will be shared with WDC congregations that demonstrate need as they seek to meet immediate financial commitments such as church rent and utilities, support for pastors, and assistance for congregation members and neighbors.   Congregations may also use this assistance to match Everence Sharing Funds according to Everence guidelines.

Who can give to the Hope Fund? Everyone! Whether you are an individual or family with resources to share, a business owner, a youth group, someone who likes to run fundraisers, or a congregation with special or endowed funds, your contributions are vital. Make contributions to Western District Conference designated “Hope Fund” online at https://mennowdc.org (Click on “Donate to WDC”) or by sending a check to PO Box 306, North Newton, KS 67117.  Gifts to the Hope Fund are tax deductible.  Please consider such contributions as above and beyond your regular giving to WDC, which supports ongoing staff and resourcing for congregations and leaders during this crucial time.

How do congregations apply for grants from the Hope Fund?  Submit the application online at  https://mennowdc.org/coronavirus/, or use the attached form to complete and return by e-mail to wdc@mennowdc.org or to PO Box 306, North Newton, KS 67117.

How will grants from the Hope Fund be distributed?  A designated team of representatives from the WDC Executive Board, Stewardship Commission and Ministerial Leadership Commission will process applications in consultation with the Conference Minister, to assess needs and approve grants to be sent to congregations. Grant amounts will be subject to availability of funds.

Fondo de esperanza de WDC: Respuesta a la pandemia de coronavirus

Western District Conference ha establecido un Fondo de Esperanza para apoyar a las congregaciones y ministros en respuesta directa al impacto de la pandemia de coronavirus. Estamos tratando de recaudar fondos para responder a los más vulnerables mediante el empoderamiento de las congregaciones locales para satisfacer las necesidades con el amor y la generosidad de Cristo en un momento de miedo y ansiedad.
¿A quién le ayudará el Fondo de Esperanza? Los recursos se compartirán con las congregaciones de WDC que demuestren la necesidad mientras buscan cumplir con los compromisos financieros inmediatos, como el alquiler de la iglesia y los servicios públicos, el apoyo a los pastores y la asistencia para los miembros y vecinos de la congregación. Las congregaciones también pueden usar esta asistencia para igualar los fondos de Everence Sharing según las pautas de Everence. ¿Quién puede donar al Fondo de Esperanza? Todos! Si usted es un individuo o una familia con recursos para compartir, el dueño de un negocio, un grupo de jóvenes, alguien a quien le gusta organizar eventos para recaudar fondos o una congregación con fondos especiales o dotados, sus contribuciones son vitales. Haga contribuciones en línea a la Western District Conference designada “Hope Fund” en línea a https://mennowdc.org (Click en “Donate to WDC”) o mandar por cheque a PO Box 306, North Newton, KS 67117. Las donaciones al Fondo de Esperanza son deducibles de impuestos. Tenga en cuenta que dichas contribuciones están por encima de sus donaciones regulares a WDC, que apoya al personal y los recursos continuos para congregaciones y líderes durante este momento crucial. ¿Como pueden aplicar las congregaciones a los Fondos de Esperanza? Envíe la solicitud en línea a https://mennowdc.org/coronavirus/, imprimir (forma adjunta), o bajar forma completar y mandar por correo electrónico a wdc@mennowdc.org o por correo a PO Box 306, North Newton, KS 67117. ¿Cómo se distribuirán los fondos del Fondo de Esperanza? Un equipo designado de representantes del Comité Ejecutivo de WDC, Comisión de Mayordomía y Comisión de Liderazgo Congregacional procesarán aplicaciones en consulta con el Ministro de Conferencia, para evaluar las necesidades y aprobar los fondos que se enviarán a las congregaciones. Los montos aprobados estarán sujetos a la disponibilidad de fondos.
Otros recursos financieros:  Recursos de Everence: https://www.everence.com/resources/supporting-you-during-the-covid-19-outbreak
Información en CARES por sus siglas en Inglés (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act y cómo aplica a las Iglesias: https://www.everence.com/resources/the-cares-act-and-your-nonprofit-or-church

  1. Virtual Good Friday:  You are invited to join with other Mennonites across the conference as we observe Good Friday. Pastors from Salina, Manhattan, Joy, Southern Hills, Peace, and Rainbow Mennonite Churches have worked together to create a worship video. You are invited to click on the link:  https://youtu.be/e9P9yohEeFY and participate in the service.
  1. Good news from the Resource Library! We now have a subscription to the Paraclete Video Streaming service. While not explicitly Anabaptist, many of these videos are great faith-building options (preview before you view as a group). Email Jennie at crlib@mennowdc.org (no spaces) for login information. (You can see what’s available with the subscription at http://paracletevideostreaming.com/.)
  1. Former WDC staff member, Marlene Bogard, is hosting a Zoom Story Hour at 11:30am (central time) on Mondays and Thursdays for the next several weeks. Children are invited! Stories will be geared to ages 3-8. In order to get the Zoom meeting link, please email Marlene at harderbogard@gmail.com

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Keep in touch on the Camp Mennoscah Facebook page!  Camp Mennoscah facilities and camp grounds will be closed at least until April 30with respect to your health and the statewide Stay Home order.  Camp staff will be working from home and at a distance.  You can also reach us at 620-297-3290 or olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org.  We send you many prayers.  Stay healthy!
  1. You can still sign up for summer youth camps!  Camp Mennoscah is planning to have summer youth camps, but recognizing the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 situation, a final decision will be made closer to the start of camps.  Your camp fees, including the non-refundable, non-transferable deposit, will be refunded if camp is canceled.  Further information can be found at www.campmennoscah.orgor by calling 620-297-3290.
  1. Send words!  Camp Mennoscah will create the 2020 tee shirt from three pairs of words representing important parts of Camp Mennoscah, serious or playful.  An example would be Gaga Ball, Verenike Casserole, Campfire Songs.   Send your ideas to olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.orgor send a message to the Camp Mennoscah Facebook page.
  1. Men and Boys Retreat (previously scheduled for April 3-5) at Camp Mennoscah has been rescheduled to September 4-6, 2020!

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Reflecting on Faith and Fear:  “Time Such As This” is a FREE edition of the Rejoicedevotional in the midst of a pandemic.  These are wonderful, thoughtful reflections by some gifted Anabaptist writers.  Find a copy of this at https://mennowdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020-Time-Such-As-This-sm.pdf
  1. Dove’s Nest has resources for protecting and engaging children and teens while families are sheltering at home.  There are some creative ideas, as well as internet safety tips available at: https://dovesnest.net/Are-the-Kids-OK
  1. Want to serve with your family?  Only have time for a short service term?  Then SOOP is perfect for you!  Age:  25+ and families; flexible term length.  Learn more atwww.MennoniteMission.net/Serve.

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