WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
August 16, 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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
by Byron Pellecer, Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
While visiting and worshiping at a local Mennonite church in the Houston area, I was deeply moved by a young boy’s attitude and service, who I will call Carlitos.
At first glance, while he was clearing the tables and disposing any waste inside of big trash can, he seemed to be “just another kid” playing and trying to be nice and attentive. I was so wrong! He really meant to do it, and he was doing it with “passion” too. Did I mention that he is also part of the worship and dance team of his church?
His smile and attitude resembles that one kid who has everything that a kid can ask of in life time! However, this is not Carlitos’ reality. From a socio-economical view, his is poor and a victim of our broken immigration system, his parents were deported back to Mexico.
Nowadays, he lives in Houston without his parents and the only person caring and looking after him is his aunt. Well, the lady whom he calls “aunt” is not his real aunt, she is a friend of his parents. Now, they both attend and worship at a Hispanic Mennonite church in Houston.
Carlitos did not have even one piece of any electronic device on him, or any other toy for that matter. Yet, I saw him playing and running with other kids, just as any other kid.
But when we were ready to vacate the premises, the fellowship hall, after a very delicious meal, Carlitos began to clear the tables.
In the meantime, Carlitos’ service -ministry- reminded me of Mark 9:33-37. The way I see it, the highlighted theme that emerges from the text places discipleship, leadership and ministry anchored to servanthood. It also highlights how Jesus’ care for his own flock takes precedence. Here, it is also emphasized, a lesson on what it really means to be Christ’s community. In addition, it describes how the disciples were concerned about who is going to be the greatest among them. It seems that for them, the kingdom of God was only of an earthly nature!
In light of the text, I am challenged to ponder the following question: Who is the greatest -first- among us versus who is the servant among us?
Overtime, I have learned so many good, deep and meaningful lessons in and for life, but probably one that impacted my life the most is that assumptions are dangerous. Another one is this: one must be intentional and thoughtful, as much as one is able, in life. I guess doing and being church is not any different, it has been and it is, to be intentional. If the church loses its intentionality, then it loses its “north”, its mission, God’s mission, that is.
However, I think that church leaders are a key component when it comes to being the church, at least the kind of church that God intends, missional in every expression, that is. Consequently, the greatest leader is one who learns to serve and one who develops greater leaders than the leader himself. What I have in mind is servant leader life style. Maybe, this is why Carlitos’ attentiveness -ministry- impacted me so much. After all, discipleship, leadership and ministry-mission are not to be separated from servanthood.
- WDC’s Fall Reference Council gathering will be Sat., Oct 22 from 9 am – 3 pm with lunch provided, at Iglesia Luz del Evangelio in Dallas, TX, on the theme Held Together in Mission: Being Church in the Urban Context. Following last Spring’s Reference Council gathering focused on the rural church, the Oct 22 event will include story-telling and table conversation about urban opportunities and challenges, and how urban and rural congregations in WDC can learn from each other as partners in God’s mission. All WDC congregation members, commission/board members, and staff are invited! Plan now to attend. If you are interested in car-pooling, contact the WDC office.
- It’s time to register for Women/Girls Retreat at Camp Mennoscah on September 9-11. Registration forms are available from your church office, or you can download and print them at this link: https://mennowdc.org/women-girls-retreat/. To avoid a $10 late fee, register before August 29!
- Palestinian Christian leader, Alex Awad, will visit central Kansas September 2-6, sponsored by WDC. See https://mennowdc.org/rev-alex-awad-palestinian-speaker-september-2-6-2016/ for a schedule of his presentations.
- Ted and Co. will be making presentations in Kansas City, KS and Buhler, KS during September 3 and 4, READ ON FOR DETAILS… Ted and Co. will perform at Rainbow Mennonite in Kansas City, KS on Saturday, September 3 at 7:00 pm. There is no admission charge but we do ask for a $10 donation. Ted will be preaching during worship and leading a talk-back session during Sunday School on Sunday, September 4. Laughter is Sacred Space is on tour and coming to Buhler, KS during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month on Sunday, September 4 at 7:00 pm at Buhler High School, 611 N Main St, Buhler, KS 67522. $2 admission, open to the public. Sponsored by Buhler Mennonite Church and NAMI Reno County. Call 620.543.2733 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. In this gritty and dramatic talk, Ted Swartz walks you through his relationship with friend and business partner, Lee Eshleman, who took his own life in 2007. Ted explores the paradox of working with a comedic partner struggling with bipolar disorder, as well as the challenge of writing and performing stories about God while experiencing the absence of God after Lee’s death. Using multi-media and his twenty years of storytelling experience, Laughter is Sacred Space is honest, funny and vulnerable, and reveals the unique journey of working as a comedic actor under the shadow of a mental illness, and offers hope and humor in a way that only Ted could deliver.
- Festival de la Fraternidad Familiar (Family Fellowship Festival) will be held on September 24 at Luz del Evangelio in Dallas, TX. This time of fellowship and local outreach is for all WDC congregations, especially those from Texas. There will be games, food, music, and open spaces for those with talents to share. For more information, contact Sandra Martinez, email@example.com, 214-907-6309.
- YOU ARE INVITED! Come to the Grace Hill Mennonite Church (Whitewater, KS) HOG ROAST – Sunday, September 25, 5-8pm. Come for Food, Yard Games, Fellowship, & Music. Free will donation for area food banks. See you there!
- The Aposento Alto church plant in Wichita has the following items available to anyone who needs them: 6 study carrels, 50 upholstered chairs in relatively good shape (donated from Hesston College), two large speakers, two large wooden crosses, 8 small chairs for kids, 1 bookshelf, 1 office desk, several children’s books. If interested, contact Marcus Loganbill at 316-721-8807; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Courage in Community–Camp Mennoscah’s Mental Health Spiritual Retreat, Sept. 4-5, will focus on having courage in and as a community. The retreat will include a hayrack ride, music and worship, swimming, crafts, and free time. All those affected by mental illness, including family, friends, and community members, are welcome to join us for a weekend of relaxing and fellowship. Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290.
- Work & Play Camp is over a weekend! This service-oriented retreat at Camp Mennoscah is scheduled this year to allow folks who are busy on weekdays to take part in the fun. The retreat runs September 16-20 and all ages are invited to come on out for whatever time you can squeeze into your schedule. (Those under 18 must be with an adult.) We’ll be working at nifty-fying the camp grounds and having a great time! Our annual meeting will be on Sept. 18. No cost for this retreat. Donations for meals appreciated.
- Renovation Information! Camp Mennoscah Association’s Annual Meeting on September 18 will include gobs of information about the kitchen and dining hall renovation, a tasty meal, words from the new executive director and a great opportunity to be at Camp Mennoscah. The meeting will start at 5:30pm in the Camp Mennoscah dining hall. Camp folks of all ages are welcome to arrive early and enjoy this beautiful and sacred space on the prairie.
- These retreats often fill up! The Fall Scrapbooking Retreats at Camp Mennoscah are Oct. 28-30 and Nov. 4-6. The retreats are a wonderful time to work on projects, get some new ideas, and be with some really cool people. Renetta Gooden is our leader for the retreats. Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290. It’s a lot of paper-cutting fun!
Mennonite Church Announcements
Mennonite Men, a binational organization working with Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada is seeking a halftime Coordinator to begin immediately. A detailed job description may be found at: http://www.mennonitemen.org/news/Pages/Coordinator-JobDescription.aspx. Interested parties should send a cover letter and resume to Lonnie Bartel at email@example.com.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620