February 18, 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)

To support WDC ministries, contributions may be made HERE.


*Guidelines for Healthy Communication


Guidelines for Healthy Communication

by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based) 

Do you have a congregational meeting coming up soon?  In the past has agenda that you thought would be non-controversial turned out to be more problematic than you or other leadership anticipated it would be?  Here are a few communication-related “best practices” for you and your leadership to consider.

First, discuss with other leaders each agenda item in preparation for the congregational meeting.  If the consensus is that an issue rises to the level of a moderately complex to complex issue, it should have at least two meetings before coming to the congregational meeting for action.  In the first meeting, the issue should be introduced in some depth, including questions of clarification.  It’s also at this meeting that the group agrees to the end goal.  Will there be a basic majority vote, or consensus, or will you allow a small group to make a decision on behalf of the congregation, or other way of deciding?  At the second meeting, discuss two or three possible ways of responding to the issue.  Only at the third meeting should a decision be made.  Then celebrate an important decision well-made.  At least have coffee and cookies!

At the beginning of the congregational meeting, or any other important meeting that might include significant differences of opinion, after prayer or a time of devotion, invite the Chair or Moderator to share some guidelines to shape the dialogue.  The list of guidelines doesn’t need to be long, but it needs to be thoughtful.  Here are a few to consider:

Because we care about each other and desire to be Christ-like, we commit to:

–Listening carefully and not interrupting each other.  If what another says makes me think of something I want to say, I will write it down to remind myself, so I don’t forget it.

–Asking clarifying questions, such as, “What ways could we work through this, so we could all agree to this?”

–Valuing one another’s experiences and imagining how these experiences might have contributed to each person’s thinking.

–Speaking our minds freely and gently and giving others equal time.

–Above all, treating others as we would have them treat us.

For more on this topic of shaping healthy dialogue, review “Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love” found on the MC USA website:   http://mennoniteusa.org/resource/agreeing-and-disagreeing-in-love/

WDC announcements

  1. KLC Leadership Lunch:  Bring your lunch on February 27 and join us at the WDC office from 12-1:15 pm, to practice how to lead.  Each month a leadership competency will be presented and we will practice teaching it to the group.  You are welcome if you have attended a Kansas Leadership Center training or if you are curious to learn more.  Clayton Gladish, on the pastoral team of Hesston Mennonite Church, will lead the gathering.
  1. Join the conversation about Caring for Climate: Beyond Denial and Despair: WDC will host a gathering at the WDC conference room (2517 North Main in North Newton, KS) to watch this upcoming webinar sponsored by Mennonite Creation Care Network on Thursday, February 27 at 6:30 pm followed by conversation together.   For more information, http://mennoniteusa.org/climatejustice/webinar/  (You can also register to watch this webinar on your own, or sign up to receive a link to a recording afterwards).
  1. New at the Conference Resource Library:Book Bundles for Group Study.  Starting March 1 your Sunday school class/small group/Wednesday night group can borrow multiple copies (10-15) of the same title for group study.  Current offerings include:
  • What is the Bible and How Do We Understand It? by Dennis R. Edwards
  • Fire by Night: Finding God in the Pages of the Old Testament by Melissa Florer-Bixler
  • Raising Disciples: How to Make Faith Matter for Our Kids by Natalie Frisk
  • The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong by Karen Gonzalez
  • The Bible Unwrapped by Meghan Larissa Good
  • Why Did Jesus Die and What Difference Does it Make?  Michele Hershberger
  • Invited: The Power of Hospitality in an Age of Loneliness by Leslie Verner

To borrow or find out more about the program, contact Jennie Wintermote, Library Director at crlib@mennowdc.org or 316-283-6300.

  1. TO ALL WOMEN– You are invited to the Western District Women in Mission Spring Supper on Thursday, March 12 at Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS.  The meal starts at 6 pm with the program at 7 pm.  Our Special Guest Speaker, Patty Shelly, Professor of Bible and Religion at Bethel College, will present “My Journey through Scripture”.  Reservations required by calling Darlene @ 316-323-9762 or emailing westerndistrictwomen@gmail.com.  Cost is $10 and payable at the door.  (Churches, please use this announcement in your Feb 23 and March 1 bulletins, and if possible, send it out by email.  Attached is a bulletin insert and poster that can be used.  Thank you!)  
  1. Mennonite Church USA requires that credentialed persons take Healthy Boundaries (HB) training every three years.  WDC credentialed persons who are due for the training have been notified about WDC’s training event on April 17 (https://mennowdc.org/healthy-boundaries-101-training/).  Other options available for the training are:

1) HB 101, March 2, offered by AMBS, Elkhart, IN  Cost:  $95.  https://www.ambs.edu/news-events/news/1671919/leadership-workshops-to-focus-on-faith-formation-and-healthy-boundaries

2) HB 101, April 20-May 22, offered online by FaithTrust Institute, April 20-May 22 (first session is live, the rest is self-paced with a final writing assignment)  Cost:  $249.  https://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/training/online-course-healthy-boundaries-101

  1. We Own This Now,a Ted and Company play, looks at love of the land, loss of land, and what it means to “own” something.  What if the land you love was stolen?  This question and many more address how the Doctrine of Discovery justified the theft of land and oppression of Indigenous Peoples and still has harmful implications for today.  This show benefits the Kanza Heritage Society.  Two performances are available to touch your heart and mind.

–April 19, 7 pm, University United Methodist Church, 2220 N Yale Ave, Wichita KS – sponsored by Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church and Mennonite Church of the Servant of Wichita, KS, WDC, and others)

–April 26, 4 pm, Flaming Performing Arts Center, Tabor College, Hillsboro KS – sponsored First Mennonite Church and Trinity Mennonite Church and Tabor College, all of Hillsboro, KS, Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, Goessel, KS, MCC Central States, and WDC.

Tickets:  Adults $20 donation (or pay what you can), Students $10 donation (or pay what you can), Indigenous people attend at no cost.  Get tickets electronically at https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/UFxoCrkBgVt8LJ4Xf7z06J?domain=first-church-of-the-brethren.square.site or scan the attached QR code, or get paper tickets through a sponsoring church or organization.  For questions, contact Kathy Neufeld Dunn at 316-283-6300.

  1. Churches, as you update your church directories, send a copy to the WDC office.  Email to wdc@mennowdc.org or send to WDC, PO Box 306, North Newton KS  67117.  Thank you!

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Camp Mennoscah’s Hymn Sing and Dessert Auction is March 1!  Everyone is invited to join us for an afternoon of hymns, fellowship and desserts at Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton KS, on March 1 from 4-6 pm.  Amazing desserts made by camp supporters will be auctioned off to raise funds to renovate our beloved amphitheater used for evening campfires.  Bring your singing voices and open wallets! (See attached poster.)
  1. Get your camp thrills early!  Grades 7-12 are invited to come to Youth Volunteer Weekend on March 13-14 for a time of worship, service, and fellowship.  Bring friends and show them how great camp is!  Register online at campmennoscah.org(part of the summer youth camp section).  Full scholarships are available. (See attached poster.)
  1. Kitchen staff for summer youth camps needed!  Camp Mennoscah is looking for kitchen staff for many of our summer youth camp weeks!  No great skills needed, just your basic knowledge of which end of the knife is sharp and how to use a hot pad.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 or olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org!  Parents can receive a full camper discount for a full camp week–but you don’t need to be a parent to volunteer!
  1. PreJunior II needs a nurse!  Camp Mennoscah needs a RN for July 5-9.  Please contact us at 620-297-3290 or olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.orgif you are interested.  We are thrilled with the number of people who volunteer or work for a stipend during the summer.  Thank you!
  1. The 2020 Camp Mennoscah tee shirt is up to you!  We’re looking for three two word phrases that represent the important parts of Camp Mennoscah to you!  The best combination of phrases will become our camp tee!  One (generic) example would be River play, Campfire songs, Love all.  Send all your amazing phrases to olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org!

Mennonite church announcements

Seeing Each Other’s Light, a program of story and song that provides understanding of diverse people, cultures and faith traditions of the Wichita community, will be held at Emanu-El Congregation Reform Synagogue, 7011 E. Central Ave., Wichita, 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 1. The event is part of Hesston College’s Peacing It Together Foundation and is also sponsored by Wichita’s Global Faith in Action.  The program features Hesston College students and internationally-acclaimed baritone Tony Brown, as well as other members of the Wichita community, including the Emanu-El Klezmer band and congregation choir. The concert is free and open to the public. For the full news release, go to  www.hesston.edu.

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