February 25, 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.


*Lessons From A Nesting Box

*Prayer Requests

*Coming Events


Lessons From A Nesting Box

by Michael Unruh, Camp Mennoscah Executive Director

Camp Mennoscah’s mission to offer hospitality extends beyond people. This spring at camp we are looking to provide hospitality to birds by increasing the number of nesting boxes around the campgrounds. Last weekend, I walked along camp’s trails with Rod Wedel, a fellow birder, and we identified several possible locations for new nesting boxes. Along the way, we saw the existing nesting boxes, some of which have been in place for many years. Rod reminded me that these boxes should be checked each year and cleaned out, because bluebirds typically will not nest in old nesting material. I cannot say for sure the last time these boxes were opened, but it has likely been several years since any clutter was removed. Without regular checking, we have maybe been limiting the possibilities for new (bird) life.

I cannot believe it is nearly March, which means “spring cleaning” is approaching quickly. As with the nesting boxes, many people will be taking stock of their own houses: making improvements where needed, deep cleaning to brighten up rooms, and maybe even removing clutter that seems to be getting in the way. Despite our differences, birds and people can have a lot in common! Without periodic cleaning and straightening up, we could be limiting the possibilities for new (home) life.

In the season of Lent, which begins February 26, we remember the difficult path Jesus chose to walk in his life and ministry, which led ultimately to his death. Also during this season, people will often give up something: removing a food (like sweets or soda) from their diet, fasting from social media, etc. Eliminating this “something” provides an occasion to focus more intently on God’s purpose and Jesus’ way of faithfulness that led to the cross. I have often used Lent as an opportunity to recognize the clutter that’s getting in the way of my spiritual life. For example, I check Facebook and ESPN over breakfast when I could be reading Scripture or spending time in prayer. Sometimes the distractions occupying my time are limiting possibilities for new (spiritual) life.

However, unlike bluebird nesting boxes or spring cleaning, our spiritual lives need to be evaluated more than on an annual basis. Lent could be a good time to start, but it is important to keep checking and re-checking to see where other things might be getting between ourselves and God. So, maybe you’ll join me this spring in clearing out the clutter so that something new can begin in you? And, if you find yourself at camp later this year, be sure and look for some new nesting boxes and hopefully even some new birds!

Prayer Requests

Mar 1 – Pray for WDC commissions as they meet in the coming month to nurture ministries of leadership, church planting, congregational resourcing and stewardship in the conference.
Mar 8 – Pray for special speaker Patty Shelly and women who gather for the Western District Women in Mission Spring supper this Thursday evening at Faith Mennonite Church.
Mar 15 – Pray for WDC congregations in Dallas, TX, as they gather this coming Saturday for a joint worship service and fellowship.
Mar 22 – Pray for WDC Moderator Ray Reimer and Conference Minister Heidi Regier Kreider as they join representatives from other conferences and constituency groups to attend Mennonite Church USA Constituency Leaders Council next weekend in Kansas City.
Mar 29 – Pray for Roseanne Penner Kaufman, Minister of Worship and Music at Rainbow Mennonite Church in Kansas City, as they celebrate her ordination today.

Coming Events

Mar 3 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting

Mar 10 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting

Mar 12 – WDC Women’s Spring Supper, Faith Mennonite Church, Newton KS

Mar 26 – WDC Resource Commission meeting

Mar 30 – Leadership Launch celebrating 5 years of partnership

Apr 3 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting

Apr 4 – WDC Executive Board meeting

Apr 10 – WDC Office & Resource Library closed for Good Friday

Apr 17 – Healthy Boundaries 101 Training, WDC office, North Newton KS

Apr 17-18 – Mennonite Relief sale, Hutchinson, KS

May 19 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting

May 25 – WDC Office & Resource Library closed for Memorial Day

July 31-Aug 2 – WDC Annual Assembly, Camp Copass, Denton, TX

Aug 25 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting

Sept 26 – WDC Reference Council

WDC announcements

  1. KLC Leadership Lunch:Bring your lunch on Thursday, February 27 and join us at the WDC office from 12-1:15 pm to practice how to lead.  If you want to connect by Zoom video conference, let us know at: wdc@mennowdc.org.  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. Sabbath as Resistance: Your worth is not based on how hard you work or how much you produce.  By taking time to Sabbath, followers of Jesus witness to the Reign of God.  Sabbath practice is opposed to the oppressive systems of the world.  You are invited to join Mennonite Church of the Servant, 2401 N. Woodland, in Wichita, for our annual Spring series, Wednesday nights in March, from 7-8 p.m with refreshments provided.  “Sabbath as Resistance” is based on the work of Walter Bruggemann and will be led by Pastor Asia Frye. It is not necessary to purchase a book. For more information, contact mcswichita@gmail.com.
  1. First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson, KS, is inviting you to a series of five Wednesday evening programs highlighting the work of MCC and celebrating MCC’s 100th anniversary.  Please join us on Wednesdays – March 4, 11, 18 and 25.  Come for a fellowship meal at 5:30pm and the program at 6:20. April 1 will be a visit to the MCC Center in North Newton.  Check the attached poster and plan to join us.
  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.  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.

–April 26, 4 pm, Flaming Performing Arts Center, Tabor College, Hillsboro KS – sponsored by First Mennonite Church and Trinity Mennonite Church and Tabor College, all of Hillsboro, KS, Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, Goessel, KS, MCC Central States, and WDC.  This show is underwritten, and free to the public, no tickets needed.

For questions, contact Kathy Neufeld Dunn at 316-283-6300.

  1. Western District Conference 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 are sad to share the news that Rainbow Mennonite Church’s Kansas City Mennonite Voluntary Unit closed as of December 2019. We want to celebrate its 40+ year history by throwing a party May 9-10. Have you or someone you know been connected with KC MVS? If so, please contact us so we can share more information about our May celebration. Contact us at office@rainbowmennonite.orgor 913.236.8820.

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 4-6pm.  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. It’s (probably) Spring Break!  Spend a couple of days of your Spring Break at Camp Mennoscah!  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 potato peeling, pot stirring and sharing smiles.  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.  This position receives a volunteer stipend or parent discount.  We love having new people be part of our program.  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

  1. Interested in partnering with others who care about restorative justice? Join a Mennonite Voluntary Service unit in places like Chicago; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; and Alamosa. Age: 20+; term: 1–2 years. Learn more at www.MennoniteMission.net/Serve.
  2. You can’t solve world hunger by yourself, but you can help! Join Fraser Valley Gleaners in Abbotsford, B.C., to process and dry local vegetables and make a dried soup mix for distribution to the hungry people in developing countries around the world. Age: 25+; flexible term length. Learn more at www.MennoniteMission.net/Serve.
  3. Campus Pastor position: Bethel College, North Newton, KS is accepting applications for Campus Pastor, a part-time credentialed ministry position.  For more information, see https://www.bethelks.edu/about/who-we-are/career-opportunities/current-position-openings/campus-pastor
  1. Transitional Ministry Trainingwill take place at Amigo Center (Sturgis, Michigan), March 23-25, for ministers who want to learn skills for guiding congregations through a process of preparation to enter a new chapter of leadership. TMT is a joint venture of the trainers and Amigo Centre, in consultation with Mennonite Church USA and several area conferences. Registration deadline is March 1. For more  information, see attached brochure, see http://tmt.amigocentre.org/, or contact Amigo Centre at 269.651.2811.

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