WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
August 29, 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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*A Watching World
A Watching World
by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister
On the day before the recent solar eclipse, my family and I were on a trip driving home from Indiana to Kansas. Our goal was to find a good place to spend the night and watch the eclipse the next day. Of course, we weren’t the only ones with that plan! All the motels in the area were already full, and the highway between Chicago and Springfield, IL, was bumper-to-bumper with cars of people driving south to see the eclipse. We were relieved to finally turn west and head into the north-east corner of Kansas, right within the eclipse’s “path of totality,” where we found a campground at a small fishing lake. There we found a spot on the bank of the lake, which was already ringed with tents.
As we prepared to set up our tent, two little boys from the family camping next to us came scampering over, curious to see what was happening. We introduced ourselves, and learned that their names were Elijah and Ezra. As we began to set up the tent, the boys pulled up miniature lawn chairs, creating front row seats to observe us at work. Later, they sidled up to our picnic table to ask questions: What are you eating? Does it taste good?
The next day, we took down our tent and headed into the nearby town of Hiawatha, KS, to find breakfast. Closer to eclipse time we headed north onto a dirt road on the top of a hill in the midst of corn and bean fields – a perfect eclipse-viewing spot, except that cloud-cover obscured our view right at the moment of total eclipse! Even so, the feeling of the darkness that descended and the sight of the 360-degree sunset all around us was awesome and amazing!
Meanwhile, Elijah and Ezra and their parents remained at the campground. I imagined the two little boys sitting by the lake in their miniature lawn chairs, wearing their eclipse glasses and staring into the sky, asking their parents lots of questions about it. I wondered if the clouds had parted in time for them to see a total eclipse from the lakeshore?
My eclipse experience was a reminder to watch the world around us and to pay attention to the awesome beauty of creation, not only in the stunning view of an eclipse, but also in the face of a curious child, the blade of corn growing next to the road, and the sunrises and sunsets of each day. Nature also reminds us of how small we are as human beings, when its power and strength overwhelms us. As I write this, my heart goes out to those who are coping with the cruel and catastrophic effects of flooding in Texas.
Perhaps even more importantly, my eclipse experience was a reminder that the world is also watching us. Like my young friends Elijah and Ezra, others are always observing the actions and words we exhibit as Christians. Romans 8:19 says that “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” I pray that our lives may reveal God’s compassion, healing and hope. I hope that even when the dark clouds of suffering overshadow the earth, we may reflect the light that is Christ.
September 3 – Pray for WDC congregations in Texas, as they cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and for all who are responding with assistance and support for flood victims.
September 10 – Pray for a meeting hosted by WDC next weekend in Dallas, TX, to promote the Seminario Bíblico Anabautista Hispano (SeBAH) theological training program for accreditation purposes.
September 17 – Pray for WDC’s Resource Commission as they meet this week to discern ministry goals and direction for the coming year.
September 24 – Pray for WDC’s Executive Board meeting this week to further WDC’s mission of empowering congregations to witness and invite others to faith in Jesus Christ, dwell in just and loving relationships, and connect to God’s mission in the world.
Sept. 8-10 – Women & Girls Retreat, Camp Mennoscah
Sept. 21 – WDC Resource Commission meeting
Sept. 30 – WDC Executive Board meeting
Oct. 10 – WDC Healthy Boundaries Training, Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
Oct. 27 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
Oct. 28 – WDC Reference Council, WDC Office, North Newton, KS
Nov. 14 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting
Jan. 19-20, 2018 – WDC Year of Evangelism Kick Off
July 27-28, 2018 – WDC Annual Assembly, Location to be announced
- Responding to aftermath of Hurricane Harvey: Please pray for WDC’s 14 congregations and church plants in Texas, particularly for those most impacted by flooding in the Houston area. Associate Conference Minister Byron Pellecer is keeping in contact with WDC pastors and with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), as we continue to assess how WDC can best offer support. MDS is accepting financial donations for hurricane response at https://www.mds.mennonite.net. See also this article from The Mennonite at https://themennonite.org/daily-news/reports-houston-mennonites-path-tropical-storm-harvey/
- The Upside-Down King Bible Study – Several years ago The Upside-Down King musical by Doug and Jude Krehbiel and Carol Duerksen was presented in several locations in Western District and also the Mennonite Church USA convention in Columbus, Ohio. Carol Duerksen has now written a Bible study that continues to share Jesus’ message as found in Luke’s gospel. This online Bible study, written for high school age through adult, is a combination teacher/student package. The Upside-Down King songs are important elements in the sessions. The study is available for $10 and can be found on the Western District Conference website at: https://mennowdc.org/resources-for-congregations/
- Save the Date! Sponsor Appreciation Event! Do you appreciate your youth sponsors? We do! Send them to the South Central/Western District Sponsor Appreciation Event! Mark down Sunday, October 1 on your calendar (and theirs). From 4-6 pm we’ll work with resourcing youth workers to develop their own spiritual journeys so that they’ll be better prepared to walk with youth in their own spiritual journeys. From 6-7:30 we’ll serve them dinner and tell them that we appreciate the time, energy, and love they invest in the youth of their congregation. Watch for more details to follow, but Save the Date!
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Camp Mennoscah invites you and everyone you know to Work & Play Camp from September 29 to October 3! It’s a hootin’, rootin’ good time for folks of all ages. We’ll be working on projects and making camp shiny from head to toe. Interspersed with all that fun will be breaks, devotions, and friends to chat with and play games. On Sunday, October 1, we’ll break from our routine with worship and the annual meeting. Come for a day or for the full camp. NO COST for this retreat! Please let us know you’re coming by registering online at campmennoscah.orgor calling 620-297-3290. This is a fun time!
- Camp Mennoscah’s Annual Meeting is October 1 at 5:30pm in the Camp Mennoscah dining hall. Everyone is invited. Please RSVP by registering online at campmennoscah.orgor calling 620-297-3290. More information coming soon!
- It’s time to pull out your pictures and craft supplies! Camp Mennoscah offers two Scrapbook & Crafts Retreats this fall on Nov. 3-5and Nov. 15-17. These long weekends are great for taking a break from what you do and spending some time crafting, creating, and cropping. Be as productive as you want or spend some time meandering across the camp ground. Whatever you choose, know that you will have great company! Register online at campmennoscah.orgor call us at 620-297-3290 for a paper registration.
Mennonite church announcements
- MCC has heard a call from many churches and individuals to work at gun violence prevention, in all of its forms. Suicide is among other parts of this work, as 2/3 of all gun deaths in the US are suicide. MCC is anxious to hear from others as we begin to work at this. Please share your voice with us in this survey, about your experiences with and perspectives of gun violence, so that we can understand how best to work with churches and communities on this topic. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeDLP5IbrbeDKlisiSSCaq_DX_vWScnqZETGF-FtSUNOEhSPQ/viewformQuestions? Contact Mike Martin at email@example.com AND/OR Jessica Buller at firstname.lastname@example.org
- In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the “war to end all wars,” the National World War I museum in Kansas City is hosting a symposium on resistance and conscientious objection leading up to and during WWI. “Remembering Muted Voices” is Oct. 19-22 and explores the whole range of people who objected to and resisted WWI, from religious persons to socialists to suffragists. Registration is $125, with $99 early bird registration available through Sept. 8. Co-sponsors for the symposium include Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Historical Society, The Mennonite Quarterly Review, and Rainbow Mennonite Church. For more information, see https://www.theworldwar.org/learn/remembering-muted-voices
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620