August 30, 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)


*Why Go To Dallas on October 22?

*Prayer Requests

*Coming Events


From the Conference Minister’s Heart:  Why Go To Dallas on October 22?

     by Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister

I love the city! I love its diversity of communities and cultures, and am captivated by the sight of a city skyline, art museums and artistic graffiti.   I love the different tastes of food I have eaten in cities:  Thai, Ethiopian, Salvadoran, Indian, soul-food and sushi, BBQ and hummus. I love the sound of human voices speaking in different languages and accents.  I am intrigued by down-town bustle, mass-transit systems, open-air markets, store window displays, cathedrals and coffee-shops.

As a 3-year old, I lived in the city of Brussels, Belgium, where I experienced my earliest memory (the smell and taste of a hot waffle sold by a street vendor).  My parents were there to study French to prepare for mission work in Congo, where as a youth I spent several years in the city of Kinshasa, living in a boarding home and attending the American school.   Back then, Kinshasa was a city of around 2 million people; now its population has exploded to 11 million.  Later, during a pastoral sabbatical I stayed six weeks in the city of San Antonio, TX, attending Iglesia Menonita Comunidad de Vida, working to improve my Spanish, and learning to navigate the traffic!  But mostly I have lived in smaller towns; urban centers are primarily places I have visited: Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Calcutta, Nairobi, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Kansas City, Oklahoma City… These urban contexts are both fascinating and overwhelming to me.

What does “urban” mean to you?  The word “urban” may make you think of your favorite city, the beauty of human populations, amazing architecture, job possibilities and cultural enrichment.  It may offer invitations for church planting, mission and creative peace-making.  It may also bring to mind homelessness, sprawling development, a dizzying maze of buildings, traffic congestion, pollution, consumerism and anonymity.

Whatever your experience, assumptions or questions, you are invited to attend the WDC Fall Reference Council gathering on the theme Held Together in Mission: Being Church in the Urban Context, Saturday, October 22, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Iglesia Luz del Evangelio in Dallas, TX.   All WDC church members, pastors, board and commission members are invited to participate, because the realities facing urban churches and communities in Western District Conference impact our whole conference and the wider church.  Lois Barrett, Professor of Theology and Anabaptist Studies with Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and member of Church of the Servant in Wichita, KS, will offer theological, scriptural and missional reflections about the urban church.  Storytelling by people living and working in the urban context will consider how congregations are shaped by and impact their urban settings. Table conversation will explore the unique opportunities and challenges of the urban context, and what gifts urban and rural congregations have to share with each other as we partner in God’s mission.  The congregation at Luz del Evangelio will serve a delicious lunch!

God loves the city – and so does WDC!  Come to Dallas to explore more about what it means to be the church in the urban context, and how God is calling us all to be the church together.  To RSVP, contact WDC at wdc@mennowdc.org or call 316-283-6300.

(See https://mennowdc.org/wdc-sprouts-march-29-2016/ to read Heidi’s earlier column on why she loves the country, written prior to the WDC Reference Council in April at First Mennonite Church in Beatrice, NE, focused on being church in the rural context.)

Prayer Requests

Sept 4 – Pray for Alex Awad, Palestinian Christian leader hosted by WDC for a visit to central Kansas this weekend, speaking today at Zion Mennonite Church, Elbing, KS, and Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS.

Sept 11 – Give thanks for participants and leaders who have gathered this weekend for the WDC Women and Girls’ retreat at Camp Mennoscah.

Sept 18 – Pray for WDC’s Dallas-area congregations, hosting a Texas Family Fellowship Festival, this coming Saturday at Iglesia Luz del Evangelio.

Sept 25 – Pray for WDC pastor peer groups who meet regularly for sharing, counsel, encouragement and prayer together.

WDC Announcements

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.

2.  Register now for your fall camp adventure–Work & Play Camp!  This all-ages, service-oriented retreat at Camp Mennoscah is scheduled over a weekend 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 out for whatever time you can squeeze into your schedule.  (Those under 18 must be with an adult.)  See the brochure and register online at www.campmennoscah.org!  Our annual meeting will be on Sept. 18.  No cost for this retreat.  Donations for meals appreciated.

3.  Everyone Invited!  Camp Mennoscah’s Annual Meeting is September 18 at 5:30pm in the Dining Hall.  There will be a couple of videos from the summer, words from the new executive director, and information about the kitchen/dining hall renovations.  The meeting is part of our Work & Play Camp, so make a full day of it!  Join us for worship in the morning, lunch, and then enjoy an afternoon of free time before the annual meeting.  No cost.  Donations accepted for meals and, of course, the kitchen/dining hall renovations.  Please register if attending for the full day.  Call us at 620-297-3290 or email office@campmennoscah.org

4.  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, sandram@mennowdc.org214-907-6309.

5. The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence: On Sunday, September 25, Tabor Mennonite Church will be hosting a hymn sing and faspa at 4 p.m. Everyone is invited to come and sing songs of peace and lament together in memory of those who have died from senseless gun violence. The event is in cooperation with a national organization called Faiths United (http://concert.faithsunited.org/). This is a faith based group that is inviting all persons across America to sing/speak out against gun violence on that Sunday. Mark this date on your calendars and come join us. If your church is planning to do something in conjunction with the Concert Across America initiative on Sep. 25, please let WDC know. If you have questions about the hymn sing at Tabor, feel free to contact the church (620-367-2318, tabor@tabormennonite.org)

6. Reference Council will be held at Luz del Evangelio in Dallas Texas on October 22 from 9 am-3 pm, with storytelling, theological reflections and table conversations on the theme “Held Together in Mission:  Being Church in the Urban Context”.  Lunch will be provided; contributions will be invited to help cover expenses.  Interested in carpooling from Kansas?  Let us know!  Hotel suggestions attached.  Please RSVP to WDC by October 10.

7.  Volunteers needed!  Camp Mennoscah is looking for volunteers for various projects, including the kitchen/dining hall renovations.  If interested in volunteering, please send your name, email address, and information about skills you have to office@campmennoscah.org.  You will be added to a volunteer database and contacted as needs arise.  Thank you for being a volunteer!

8.  Need a break from your busy schedule?  Camp Mennoscah’s Fall Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats are Oct. 28-30 and Nov. 4-6.  These weekends offer time to work on those put-aside projects, visit with others, and relax!  Or be productive–whatever you want.  Renetta Gooden is our trusty and talented leader.  Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290 for more information.

9.  Missional Event Opportunity: Is your congregation planning a Harvest Mission Sunday November 20? Would you like to expand your celebration? Mennonite Mission Network’s Senior Executive for Global Ministries, James Krabill, is coming to Kansas November 13-20. He would be happy to provide creative input for a Saturday, November 19 workshop or Family Mission Day at your congregation or partnering with a sister congregation or two. First come, first served for this unique opportunity. Contact Kathy Neufeld Dunn soon at kathynd@mennowdc.org or 316-283-6300.
Mennonite Church Announcements
1.  AMBS-Kansas Center and Hesston College will join together to offer two events on trauma and resilience during the 2016-17 school year: a short course: “Communities in Trauma:  Responding Biblically, Theologically, and Ethically”, and “When the Unthinkable Happens” (Hesston College’s Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series).  Because of WDC’s generous support in the past, a $100 discount is offered to members of WDC. Register for both events and will receive an additional $60 discount off the cost of AVDS.  See more information at:  https://www.ambs.edu/academics/communities-in-trauma.cfm or attached document.

2.  Urgent Need – Come to the MCC Kit Bag Assembly Party on Friday, Sept. 9, 9am-3pm at MCC in North Newton (121 E. 30th), lunch will be provided. Cutting, ironing and sewing stations will be set up to help meet the need. Call 316-283-2720 to RSVP. Please indicate if you can bring a sewing machine or serger that day. Donations of medium weight cotton fabric at least one yard in length and neutral thread are needed. Please no heavy denim or double knit. Bring your friends and come join in the fun!

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