WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
December 17, 2019
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)
To support WDC ministries, contributions may be made HERE.
IN THIS ISSUE:
by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
While reading Luke 1:26-38, I noticed several key components to strengthen my spirituality.
At the forefront is the interaction between Mary and the archangel Gabriel and the willingness and availability of both Mary and Joseph. (After struggling with that revelation for a while, of course.)
Since I was a little boy, Advent became my favorite season. It was not only because of the presents and the sweets; it was because my parents told Christmas stories their own way.
Their creativity was out of this world; they found ways for me and my siblings to get the teaching of the gospel narratives. This was one of many ways for me to get interested in the gospel of Christ, which by the way, this was their goal.
Now that I am a grandfather, I have begun to test the waters and tell biblical and Advent stories in the same way as my parents did. To my surprise, both of my granddaughters are beginning to like them.
For me, it is of the utmost importance to pass on these narratives with a biblical foundation. When telling biblical stories, God should be at the center and not humanity.
As part of Christian faith expressions, there are three practices that should be considered:
1) Everything that Christians do and say must bring glory to God and not to self.
2) Everything we do and say must contribute to build the church and not one’s own kingdom.
3) Everything that we do and say must inspire other people to become followers of Christ and not of institutions nor organizations.
As we continue preparing and celebrating Advent season, may we find ways to tell and share the Christmas narrative with Jesus at the center.
Compartiendo la Navidad
by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
Mientras leía Lucas 1: 26-38, noté varios componentes clave para fortalecer mi espiritualidad.
A la vanguardia, la interacción entre María y el arcángel Gabriel. La disposición y disponibilidad de María y José. Por supuesto, después de luchar con esa revelación por un tiempo.
Desde que era niño, la época navideña se convirtió en mi temporada favorita. No fue solo por los regalos y por los postres deliciosos; fue porque mis padres contaban historias navideñas a su manera.
Su creatividad estaba fuera de este mundo; encontraron formas para que mis hermanos y yo obtuviéramos la enseñanza de las narraciones del evangelio. Esta fue una de las muchas maneras en que me interesé en el evangelio de Cristo, que, por cierto, ese era el objetivo de mis padres.
Ahora que soy abuelo, he comenzado a poner a prueba este tipo de contar historias bíblicas y navideñas de la misma manera que mis padres lo hicieron. Para mi sorpresa, a mis dos nietas les están empezando a gustar.
Para mí, es de suma importancia transmitir estas narraciones con una base bíblica. Al contar historias bíblicas, Dios debe estar en el centro y no la humanidad.
Como parte de las expresiones de la fe cristiana, hay tres prácticas que se deben considerar:
1) Todo lo que los cristianos hacen y dicen debe traer gloria a Dios y no a sí mismo.
2) Todo lo que hacemos y decimos debe contribuir a construir la iglesia y no nuestro propio reino.
3) Todo lo que hacemos y decimos debe inspirar a otras personas a convertirse en seguidores de Cristo y no de instituciones u organizaciones.
A medida que nos continuamos preparando y celebrando la temporada navideña, quiera Dios que podamos encontrar maneras de contar y compartir la narrativa de la Navidad con Jesús en el centro.
Jan 5 – Pray for youth in WDC congregations, and the leaders who mentor, teach and accompany them in their faith journey.
Jan 12 – Pray for the WDC commissions in their ministries of equipping leaders, resourcing congregations, nurturing church planting, and encouraging generosity and stewardship.
Jan 19 – Pray for leaders and participants gathering January 24-25 for “Let’s Talk…Women, Money and Faith,” a conference sponsored by Western District Women in Mission in collaboration with Everence.
Jan 26 – Pray for WDC congregations in pastoral transition, as they seek God’s guidance for future direction and leadership.
- Western District Conference invites you to share a gift with WDC during this season, to help our congregations Witness & invite others to faith in Jesus Christ, Dwell in just & loving relationships, and Connect to God’s mission in the world. As of November 30 we were $111,000 short of meeting our expenses for the year to date, so your generous gifts are invited to help close the gap towards WDC’s 2019 budget goal! You may make an online contribution here or send a check to Western District Conference, PO Box 306, North Newton, KS 67117. Thank you for your generosity!
- An Invitation from First Mennonite Church of Hillsboro: The family band Five Times Harder will present a Christmas concert at 4 pm on December 22 at First Mennonite Church, 302 S Ash, Hillsboro KS. Their concerts feature an entertaining blend of voices and instruments, in bluegrass, folk, jazz, and classical styles. There is no admission fee; a freewill offering will be collected to benefit the ongoing work of Mennonite Central Committee.
- Advent is ending soon, but we still have many great Advent resources available for checkout!! Stop by the Conference Resource Library for an Advent resource or a great Christmas story! (Or contact the library at firstname.lastname@example.org to have something mailed to you).
- Library Giveaway: The Conference Resource Library has some resources to share, email Jennie at email@example.com if you’re interested in any of these great Anabaptist resources:
- Making Disciples: Preparing People for Baptism, Christian Living, and Church Membershipby April Yamasaki (1 copy)
- Building Together: Developing Your Blueprint for Congregational Youth Ministryby Carol Duerksen (1 copy)
- One on One: Making the Most of Your Mentoring Relationshipby Steve Ropp (2 copies)
- Decide for Peace: A Guide for Personal Bible Study and Reflection on Conscientious Objectionby Eddy Hall (1 copy)
- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Western District Conference! The WDC office and the Resource Library will be closed December 23 through January 1.
- The Youth Ministry Committee of Western District and South Central conferences presents… Youth Lead Now, a one-day workshop designed for high school youth to enrich their leadership skills and deepen faith. Using the adaptive leadership framework from the Kansas Leadership Center and well known spiritual practices, we will equip youth with skills to be leaders among their peers, in their churches, and in their communities. Our hope is that congregations would partner with us by sending youth who have been affirmed for their leadership gifts or potential.
Date: January 11, 2020
Time: 9am to 4pm
Location: Faith Mennonite Church, Newton KS
Registration Fee: $50 (scholarships available upon request). High School Youth can register HERE.
- Western District Women in Mission in cooperation with Everence Financial will host a two-day conference “Let’s Talk…Women, Money & Faith” on January 24 and 25 at Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, KS. Featured speakers, Teresa Boshart Yoder and Rhoda Blough, from Everence Financial will address money and faith topics for women of all ages and stages of life. Registration now open. Contact your church office for registration forms or download yours at mennowdc.org/lets-talk-women-money-faith/(Church offices, please run this announcement in your bulletins, pass this information along to women’s groups, print the attached registration forms to distribute, and post the flyer as appropriate in your church to promote the event. Many thanks!)
- Kansas Leadership Center training grant in 2020! – WDC and South Central Conference have been approved to continue a joint Leadership Transformation Grant from the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) in Wichita, KS. This covers registration costs for a selected number of WDC and SCC members to attend adaptive leadership training programs at KLC in 2020. (For specific program dates see http://www.kansasleadershipcenter.org). WDC especially encourages leaders of youth ministries, young adults, and WDC board/commission/committee members to apply for training, as well as any other interested WDC congregational members and leaders. 2020 programs are already filling up, so submit an application to WDC as soon as possible if you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity. To learn more, see the attached application and information form. Questions? Contact Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister at firstname.lastname@example.org 316-283-6300.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Summer is only 6 months away! Camp Mennoscah is looking for amazing people to be our summer staff for 2020. We need lifeguards, office assistants, music and crafts leaders, a naturalist and grounds/maintenance. Further information is available online or contact us at email@example.com 620-297-3290. Apply for a position online at campmennoscah.org under Summer Youth Camps!
- New Windows! Camp Mennoscah’s dining hall has new windows thanks to the generous work of volunteers. The windows have already proven to make a big difference in heating the dining hall. Our Volunteer Christmas was warm and cozy–the only thing “missing” was the cold drafts of air! Thank you to everyone who has volunteered, given gifts, and supported the continuing improvements to the kitchen and dining hall!
Mennonite church announcements
Boots, Buckets and Barrows: In partnership with Mennonite Disaster Service, Ted & Co. presents the original play “The Jesus Stories: Faith, Forks & Fettuccine”, in conjunction with a unique auction of buckets filled with baked goods and home items, along with ‘flash auctions’ to fund the tools and volunteers MDS needs to help restore communities and rebuild homes ravaged by natural disaster. All proceeds benefit the continued work of MDS. Admission is free! Please come prepared to bid! Friday, January 31, 7 pm at Hesston (KS) Mennonite Church and Saturday, February 1, 7 pm at Journey Mennonite Church, South Hutchinson, KS. Sponsored by Kansas MDS Unit, Hesston College Disaster Management Program, and Journey Mennonite South Hutchinson.
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.