February 23, 2021

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)

We invite your continuing support for WDC! Contributions may be made HERE.     


*Walking on Water

*Prayer requests

*Coming Events


*WDC Ministerial and Credential Announcements

Walking on Water

by Olivia Bartel, Executive Director, Camp Mennoscah

Today as I walked on water, I thought about Jesus in the wilderness and Noah on the ark.  It was quiet and still, except for the crunch of my shoes on the frozen river and the soft thud-thud of the oil wells.  Every once in a while, a bird spoke up or a woodpecker rattled a tree.  The sun snuck through the stark wintery outlines of the trees.  The wonder of creation was all around and it was peaceful.

Peaceful on the outside, that is.  On the inside, everything was churning and bubbling over with frets and worries about the summer at Camp Mennoscah.  What are the best practices to keep everyone safe?  What adjustments are needed for the typical camp activities?  How do we create a good balance of safety and fun?  Will the pandemic force us to create camp boxes again?  Will all the preparations get done in time?!?  The questions were never-ending.

I wondered about Jesus and Noah in those situations.  Were they able to appreciate the creation around them?

Was Jesus only hungry from fasting and frustrated with the attempts to test him?  Did Noah only remember the floods, consumed with loss and the massive task before him after land appeared?  Perhaps somewhere in those 40 days, Jesus was able to appreciate what he saw in the wilderness.  Perhaps Noah moved past the relief of solid ground under his feet and was amazed by the renewal of the earth surrounding him.  Perhaps they rejoiced at what they saw.  I like to suppose they did.

Today I walked down the middle of the frozen Ninnescah River.  I did this, even though I was fretful and cranky, because it gave me a chance to work at the unknowns.  Jesus and Noah talked with God regularly and their faith was their foundation when things were turbulent.  Every time I do “camp work,” I walk on faith and prayers—not only mine, but yours, too.  With that knowledge, I can wade past the uncertainties and what-ifs.  I can dive head-first into rejoicing for the faith formation this mixed-up summer will bring.

But only with, and because of, you.  Thank you for being part of Camp Mennoscah’s community of faith.


Caminar sobre el Agua

–Olivia Bartel, Camp Mennoscah

Hoy, mientras caminaba sobre el agua, pensé en Jesús en el desierto y Noé en el arca.  Todo estaba tranquilo y silencioso, excepto por el crujir de mis pasos en el rio congelado y el suave ruido de los pozos de petróleo.  De vez en cuando, un pájaro cantaba o un pájaro carpintero hacia sonar un árbol.  El sol se colocó entre los rígidos contornos invernales de los árboles.  La maravilla de la creación estaba por todas partes y estaba tranquilo.

Estaba tranquila por fuera, pero en el interior, todo estaba revuelto y burbujeando con inquietudes y preocupaciones sobre el verano en Camp Mennoscah.  ¿Cuáles son las mejores prácticas para mantener a todos seguros en el campamento? ¿Qué ajustes se necesitan para las actividades típicas del campamento? ¿Cómo creamos un buen equilibrio entre seguridad y diversión? ¿Nos obligara la pandemia a volver a crear “camp boxes”? ¿todos los preparativos se realizarán a tiempo? Las preguntas eran interminables.

Me preguntaba acerca de Jesús y Noé en esas situaciones.  ¿Fueron capaces de apreciar la creación que los rodeaba?

¿Estaba Jesús solo hambriento por el ayuno y frustrado con los intentos de probarlo? ¿Noé solo recordaba las inundaciones, consumido por la perdida y la enorme tarea que tenía por delante después de la aparición de la tierra? Quizás en algún momento de esos 40 dias, Jesús pudo apreciar lo que vio en el desierto.  Quizás Noe se movió más allá del alivio de tener tierra firme bajo sus pies y se sorprendió por la renovación de la tierra que lo rodeaba.  Quizás se regocijaron por lo que vieron.  Me gusta suponer que lo hicieron.

Hoy camine en medio del rio congelado Ninnescah.  Hice esto, a pesar de estar inquita y de mal humor, porque me dio la oportunidad de trabajar en lo desconocido.  Jesús y Noé hablaban con Dios con regularidad y su fe era su fundamento cuando las cosas estaban turbulentas.  Cada vez que hago “trabajo del campamento”, camino con fe y oración, no solo las mías, sino también las suyas.  Con ese conocimiento, puedo superar las incertidumbres y los pensamientos de que si esto o lo otro pasará.  Puedo sin mucho pensar sumergirme en el regocijo por la formación de la fe que traerá este verano confuso.  Pero solo por usted y gracias a usted.

Gracias por ser parte de la comunidad de fe de Camp Mennoscah.

Prayer Requests

Mar 7 – Pray for ongoing recovery in WDC congregations and communities that experienced damage and disruption recently in extreme winter weather.

Mar 14 – Pray for the WDC Executive Board as they meet this week, and give leadership and oversight for conference vision and priorities.

Mar 21 – Give thanks for pastors in WDC, and pray for God’s strength and wisdom for them as they provide care, leadership and guidance for congregations in the face of many challenges.

Mar 28 – Pray for all WDC congregations and members in this Holy Week, as we follow Jesus in the way of the cross and in the promise of true life.

Coming Events

Due to COVID-19 concerns, all meetings are being held via Zoom video conference until further notice.
March 2 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting

March 3 – WDC Gifts Discernment Committee meeting

March 11 – WDC Executive Committee meeting

March 11 – WDC Resource Commission meeting

March 12-13 – MC USA Constituency Leaders Council

March 17 – WDC Gifts Discernment Committee meeting

March 20 – WDC Executive Board meeting

March 22 – WDC Staff Relations Committee meeting

March 23 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting

April 8 – Western District Women in Mission (Virtual) Spring Soiree

April 16 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
July 30-Aug 1 – WDC Annual Assembly

WDC announcements

  1. WDC  Gifts Discernment Committee seeks nominees:Do you know persons who can contribute to the ministry of WDC?  The Gifts Discernment Committee invites suggestions of names to consider for positions on the Executive Board and Commissions.  All suggestions are recorded for consideration in this or future years.  For more information about the work and current members of these groups, see http://mennowdc.org/executive-board-commissions/.  Nominees will be presented for affirmation by delegates at the WDC Annual Assembly, July 30-Aug. 1, 2021.  Please contact WDC at wdc@mennowdc.org or 316-283-6300 to offer suggestions.  Thank you!
  1. KLC Leadership Lunch: In these complex times, good leadership is vital. Please join us to practice the leadership competency, “Exploring Multiple Interpretations,” February 25, 12-1 pm.  You’re welcome if you’re a Kansas Leadership Center alumni or if you want to learn more.  Email wdc@mennowdc.org for the Zoom link.
  1. Now What?!  Post Pandemic Faith Formation: Do you want to talk with other people who care about faith formation?  What have we learned about new ways of sharing the Jesus story in the past year?  What will we lay aside?  What questions remain unanswered?  Join Kathy Neufeld Dunn and Resource Library Director Jennie Wintermote for a virtual dialogue Saturday, February 27, 9 am CST.  To register, please email wdc@mennowdc.org for the Zoom link.
  1. First Mennonite Church, 1161 E Ave A, McPherson is having a drive-thru verenika (with ham gravy and sausage) dinner on March 6 from 1-7pm or until the food runs out. This will be a free-will donation event with the proceeds going to the McPherson Housing Coalition. Phone: 620-241-4040
  1. Save the date! Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 8 at 7:00pm for the Western District Women in Mission 2021 Spring Soiree!In lieu of our annual Spring Supper, gather with us for a virtual night of worship, music and a reflection on “Faith in Turbulent Times” offered by special guest speaker and freelance minister, Georgia Metz, M. Div. More details to follow soon.

WDC Ministerial and Credential announcements

On February 19, 2021, the Ministerial Leadership Commission approved a License Toward Ordination credential for Michael Unruh.

On February 19, 2021, the Ministerial Leadership Commission approved an Extension of License Toward Ordination for Linda Lewis.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Verenike Casserole Fundraiser for Camp Mennoscah on March 13!Reserve your meal of verenike casserole, seasoned green beans, zweiback, and peach crisp online before March 7.  You can also call 620-297-3290.  This fundraiser supports the vital faith formation for youth and young adults that happens at camps and retreats.  Pick up meals at Moundridge High School on March 13.  Join in the fun to help make this return to summer youth camps as smooth and amazing as possible!
  1. We are ready to rock! Preparation for the Amphitheater Improvement project was completed in the Summer of 2020 and we are ready to finish this project up.  Work days are scheduled for the following days: March 12 to 13, March 26 to 27, April 2 to 3, April 9 to 10, May 14-15.  These opportunities to get involved are on Fridays and Saturday, come on out for one or both days, and part or all day. Ask about lodging if you would like to stay overnight.  A team of five volunteers will work from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm each day installing the the new stone benches. There will be stone to cut, move, clean and set along with a whole lot mortar to mix up.  Bring a lunch and water bottle with you when you come, and plan to arrive at the North cabin area to check in around 9:00 am. Email office@campmennoscah.orgor call 620-297-3290 to volunteer for this project.
  1. There are volunteer opportunities for you!Camp Mennoscah continually has year-round work to support the maintenance and upkeep of the campus and facilities. We can accommodate every group size, skill set and length of project you would like to tackle. Check out these ways to Get Involved!  Email office@campmennoscah.org or call 620-297-3290 to volunteer.
  1. One Day Event for Grades 7-12! Camp Mennoscah’s Youth Volunteer Weekend is one full day of service projects, worship, lunch & socially distanced fellowship.  Register online, email office@campmennoscah.org or call 620-297-3290.  Masks are required.
  1. Looking for kitchen staff and nurses!  Camp Mennoscah is filling volunteer and stipend positions for kitchen staff and nurses for the upcoming 2021 summer.  Contact Camp Mennoscah at office@campmennoscah.orgor call 620-297-3290 for available weeks and details.  Kitchen staff can receive a scholarship up to full camp fees for their camper.

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Travel to three different locations all within the coastal region of Colombia with your Youth Venture team. Serve and play as you learn about history and peacemaking in Colombia. Visit MennoniteMission.net/YouthVenturefor more information.
  1. Service Adventure is accepting applications for the 2021-2022 service term! Grow in leadership and faith, as you spend a year serving and living in community with others your age and with unit leaders. Visit MennoniteMission.net/ServiceAdventure to learn more!
  1. Join Lombard Mennonite Peace Center for the training event that a previous attendee described as “the Golden Globe winner of conflict resolution programs”!  The summer session of Mediation Skills Training Institute for Churches will be conducted in personin the Chicago area on August 2-6, 2021.  The exact site has yet to be determined, but it will be within driving distance of O’Hare Airport.  Should circumstances force us to revert to an online-only presentation, registrants will have the option to attend remotely, apply full credit towards a future LMPC event, or receive a full refund.  A final decision will be made by the end of May.  Online registration is now open at https://lmpeacecenter.org/ticketspice/.  Additional sessions in May, June, October and November will be offered remotely or as hybrid events.  For more information call the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center at 630-627-0507, email us at Admin@LMPeaceCenter.org, or visit https://lmpeacecenter.org/.  Acquire 32 contact hours of instruction, enjoy Christian fellowship, and learn skills that will help transform destructive conflict into an opportunity for growth and renewal – register today!

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