WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
February 27, 2018
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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Jesus vs the Commercials
Jesus vs the Commercials
by Olivia Bartel, Director, Camp Mennoscah
There are a great many heartwarming and inspiring stories associated with the Olympics. The past two weeks told the story of an amazing comeback after a terrible accident, the generosity of strangers purchasing needed Olympic equipment, and the many people who cheered for athletes who represented countries other than their own. These uplifting features, and more, filled the broadcast between the actual events and the chatter of correspondents.
What also filled time between events were the commercials. Diet Coke proclaimed, “because I can.” Subway declared, “make it what you want.” Some cell phone company doesn’t want you to compromise and GMC wanted me to live like a boss. These commercials bothered me. Sure, their goal was to sell stuff. But what do these slogans say about how we relate to each other? If I do things because I can or make it what I want and refuse to compromise, how does that affect the way in which I care for the least of these and love my enemy?
Jesus was about living the life of a servant. The good experiences I’ve had in living for others have rarely been accomplished without compromise and definitely not when I’ve focused on doing only what I want.
I think we all need opportunities to ignore what these commercials tell us. We need to laugh with each other and struggle with ideas and habits that don’t match our own, whether we are going into third grade or are well into retirement. We need a place where we can look at the stars or watch the river and experience the magnitude of God and, really, we also need a place to have fun learning about Jesus.
I’m grateful to have grown up coming to Camp Mennoscah. Camp was a place where I was accepted for the person I was, but it wasn’t just about me. It was about caring for others in the daily chores of doing dishes and sweeping, loving my neighbor during 4-square, and discovering how to love God in our everyday lives as we played at the dam and yelled the words to silly songs.
Every summer, Camp Mennoscah reaches out to almost 550 campers with a message that contradicts what they hear from many parts of society. Our next summer is swiftly approaching. We want not only to see our camps overflowing with youth challenging our “me first” culture, but also to be amazed at our family and church groups giving selflessly and sharing in God’s magnificent creation. We want everyone to hear the following message.
Put away your cell phone, make it what God wants and live like a servant—just because you can.
Mar 4 – Pray for WDC congregations as they seek to follow Jesus’ way of peace in response to the many forms of violence in our communities, nation and world.
Mar 11 – Pray for WDC congregations Beatrice Mennonite Church and First Mennonite Church of Beatrice, NE, as they host Faith, Hope, and the Mission of Rural and Small Town Churches, a study series with Brad Roth, Mar 18-19.
Mar 18 – Pray for WDC youth and their mentors, sponsors, teachers and pastors, as they seek to be disciples of Jesus in a complex and changing world.
Mar 25 – Pray for WDC pastor peer groups that meet regularly to share, pray and support one another in the joys and challenges of ministry.
March 8 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
March 9 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
March 10 – WDC Executive Board meeting
March 15 – WDC Women in Mission/SCC Women’s Spring Supper, Whitestone Mennonite Church, Hesston KS
March 18-19 – Faith, Hope and the Mission of Rural and Small Town Churches, Beatrice (NE) Mennonite churches
April 2 – WDC Resource Commission meeting
April 10 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting
April 13-14 – MCC Relief Sale, Hutchinson, KS
April 18 – “Comeback Churches” book discussion/brown bag lunch, WDC Office, 12 noon
April 28 – Healthy Boundaries 101 training, Dallas, TX
July 27-28 – WDC Annual Assembly, Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, KS and Eden Mennonite Church, Moundridge, KS
July 29 – WDC Annual Assembly, Sunday Worship Option, Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, Goessel, KS
- The Leadership Lunch that was scheduled for February 22 at the WDC office was rescheduled to March 1 from 12-1 pm. The topic is: “Make conscious choices (intervene skillfully)”. All are welcome to attend this conversation on Kansas Leadership Center concepts, even if you haven’t attended a KLC training. Bring your own lunch. (Instructions to connect by Zoom video conference: Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/568517894, Or iPhone one-tap: US: +16468769923,,568517894# or +16699006833,,568517894#, Or Telephone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 408 638 0968, Meeting ID: 568 517 894)
- Healthy circulation in Western District Conference (WDC) results from wide input from our congregations! Pray for WDC Gifts Discernment Committee as they begin once again to gather names of those willing to serve on WDC committees. Contact your pastor if you have suggestions for names.
- “Becoming Even More Missional” is a great exercise to get your congregation thinking and talking about evangelism. This useful resource, prepared by Steve Schmidt, is based on the work of missiologists Stanley Green and James Krabill and can be found at: https://mennowdc.org/year-of-evangelism/. The Resource Commission encourages congregations, mission committees, and interested individuals to do what Steve Schmidt did and share your good ideas as part of the WDC Year of Evangelism. Keep them coming!
- On March 18-19, the Mennonite churches of Beatrice, NE will host “Faith, Hope, and the Mission of Rural and Small Town Churches”, a WDC Year of Evangelism event. Brad Roth, pastor at West Zion, Moundridge, KS and author of God’s Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Churchwill be the speaker. A workshop session for pastors and church leaders has been added to the schedule on the afternoon of March 19. Detailed information can be found at: https://mennowdc.org/year-of-evangelism/. (Interested in carpooling from the Newton area? Heidi Regier Kreider has room for three people. She will leave the morning of March 18 and return late evening, March 19.)
Pastors and preachers–Just inat the Resource Library: Journal for Preachers: Easter 2018. Come read articles such as “Renounce, Resist, Rejoice: Easter Preaching in the Age of Trump,” “Primal Scream,” and “Unfinished–A Sermon for Easter.”
6. From the Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church Peace Committee – Sunday, March 18 – Sarah Thompson, former Executive Director of Christian Peacemaker Teams is now the 2018 Generations Fellow at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta, Georgia, organizing the Beloved Community Talks, a special event that is part of the King Center’s commemoration of Dr. King’s assassination 50 years ago and the commitment to developing the resilience we need for today. Sarah is a Mennonite from Elkhart, Indiana, and attended Spelman College, majoring in Comparative Women’s Studies and International Studies. She is a 2011 graduate of AMBS, and through theological scholar-activism and ecological black feminism she has visited 63 countries. She will be our preacher at Lorraine Avenue (655 S. Lorraine – 2 blocks south of Kellogg, one block west of Hillside) on March 18, bringing us good news from I Corinthians 12 and Revelation 6. Her sermon title is, “MLK and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. Sarah brings a treasure trove of study and experience in the area of nonviolent direct action (NVDA). She’ll be with us all morning and into the afternoon as she preaches (9:30 a.m.), facilitates a sermon discussion in the Faith and Issues Sunday school class (10:45 a.m.) and leads in a two-hour workshop (1:30-3:30 p.m.), describing nonviolent direct action – how she has seen it work, its strengths and weaknesses, how we, as followers of Jesus, are called to continue to be proponents and practitioners of nonviolent direct action. She’ll help us to address the question of what it means to keep on being people of faith for peace in the midst of our fatigue, apathy, doubt, discouragement and current culture. Suggested reading for Sarah’s day with us: The Movement Makes Us Human; An Interview with Dr. Vincent Harding on Mennonites, Vietnam, and MLK by Joanna Shenk. There will be a simple soup and bread lunch immediately following Sunday School, provided by the Peace Committee. Lunch is free, but there is a $10 donation suggested for the workshop (if you’re able – please don’t let that prevent you from attending). Please RSVP to the church office (316.682.4555 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for both lunch and the workshop by Wednesday, March 14.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- With a favorable weather forecast this coming weekend, Camp will be having TWO volunteer work days: Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3. We’ll be working on the roof of the kitchen and new entrance, so bring a hammer if you have one. It looks like the weather will be better the and we can get the job done. You are welcome on one or both days! Please bring a lunch. Lodging is available for Friday night, if interested. Please contact Camp at 620-297-3290or email@example.com for lodging details. Thank you all for being available and considering the work at camp. Volunteer work is valuable to lower the cost of the project and involve more people in camp’s ministry. With luck we will be painting inside the kitchen too! –Jim Yoder
- We had a hootin’ good time at the Hymn Sing and Dessert Auction for Camp Mennoscah! Here’s a summary of your generosity. Approximately 70 people showed up to raise the roof with song, $3376.15 was raised for fun afternoon activities at camp, and many of you went home with tasty additions to your next meal–from catfish (shaped) cake to German chocolate to cheesecake or pie. Our hearts are filled and we are thrilled to have your support of our summer youth camps. Thanks for having dessert with us!
- Youth attack! Those in grades 7-12 are invited to descend like hordes upon Camp Mennoscah on March 16-17 for the Youth Volunteer Weekend. There will be singing, worship, s’mores, service projects, and likely some silliness. Rachel Miller and Isaac Entz will lead the frivolities. This is your chance to stay in the Retreat Center because of the kitchen renovations! Parents and sponsors do not need to attend. Register online at campmennoscah.orgor call 620-297-3290 for assistance. Come join the fun!
- Hello, kitchen staff wannabes! Camp Mennoscah is searching for warm-hearted and fun kitchen staff and volunteers to be part of our summer youth camp ministry. Some weeks fill up quickly. Kitchen helpers can receive a camper discount up to full camp fees (limited number per week). Contact us at 620-297-3290or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to sign up! You’ll be in the newly renovated kitchen!
- We’ve got 8 weeks! Camp Mennoscah has 8 summer camps for youth in grades 3-12 (fall 2018) and we want you to come. We’re discovering amazing adventures in God’s love and seeking God in creation and community. Register for your adventure at Camp Mennoscah at campmennoscah.org. Early registration discount until May 1 when full camp fees are paid!
Mennonite church announcements
1. Executive Director: Mennonite Women USA seeks a strong, visionary leader and fundraiser to direct the overall mission and vision of empowering women and women’s groups within the Mennonite Church. The Executive Director supervises dispersed staff and coordinates and develops the various ministries, programs, publications and promotional material. This full time position requires working independently, but also part of a team; excellent verbal and written skills, including public speaking; and ability to build relationships with persons of diverse backgrounds. Involves travel. See job description at mwusa.org/staff. Send resume and three references to Kathy Bilderback, board chair at email@example.com by April 30.
- The Mennonite, Inc., welcomes your original submissions for our May 2018 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on Love Across Borders. Borders can be national borders that separate countries as well as economic or cultural borders that keep people apart. In the United States today, government officials are increasingly targeting and deporting undocumented immigrants, including “dreamers,” who were brought here as children by undocumented parents. Many of our Mennonite congregations include undocumented immigrants, sometimes referred to as undocumentable immigrants, given the current context. Submissions may consider these and other prompts/questions related to the theme:
How is your congregation responding to the needs of undocumented immigrants?
How does the church love those deemed undocumented or undocumentable within an unjust immigration system?
How do those of us who are technically immigrants (meaning those not indigenous to this land) live with and welcome those who are recent immigrants?
What does God say about “aliens” and welcoming them into our lands, hearts, presence?
If you are an undocumented or recent immigrant, how have you experienced the presence of Mennonites in your story?
Submissions are due to Editor@TheMennonite.org no later than March 19. We welcome written reflections—personal stories, biblical or theological reflections, poetry and more (800-1,200 words)—as well as original photography, multimedia products (including but not limited to original music recordings, music playlists and videos) and artwork on the theme. Please note we are committed to anti-oppression reviews as part of our editorial process. We have pulled together a list of anti-oppression guidelines for writers to consider as they are developing their piece. You can also review our full editorial guidelines.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620