February 5, 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)


*VBS:  Faith Formation or Mission or Both?!


VBS:  Faith Formation or Mission or Both?!

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

It’s time to think about Vacation Bible School!  I know there’s another dose of cold just around the corner, but summer really will be here before we know it.  VBS can be a prime time to reach out to neighbors with God’s good news, as well as engage your own church children and adults.  Do you want a VBS curriculum that is chockful of Jesus-centered lessons, fun activities, and reflects what it means to be a Mennonite Christian?  Here are three great options for VBS resources this summer.

Do you want to focus on what it means to be a good neighbor?  Review Menno Media’s “Who Is My Neighbor?  Learning to Love Like Jesus.”  It encourages kids (preschool through grade 5) to consider who their neighbors are and how they can show God’s love to their neighbors near and far.  More information can be found at http://www.faithandliferesources.org/Curriculum/vbs/.

A new Anabaptist nonprofit publishing group called Springs Forth! has two VBS options to share.  The unique aspect about these two VBS curricula is they are geared for all ages, from preschool through adult.  “Detectives of Divinity VBS Plus:  Smelly Camels and More” or “Detectives of Divinity VBS Plus:  Nighttime Sleuthing and More” are each quite flexible to meet the needs of your VBS participants young and old.  Learn more about these two studies at http://springsforth.com/products/.

As our friends in the culture around us become less and less familiar with the biblical story, it becomes more and more important to create ways to invite people into vibrant faith and discipleship as followers of Jesus.  Maybe VBS can be part of your congregation’s faith formation and good news to share with others in your community.

WDC announcements

  1. The WDC Executive Board announces that the 2018 ministerial complaint process regarding non-sexual misconduct involving former WDC moderator Anita Kehr has concluded.  According to the WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission, she has completed necessary requirements and her ministerial credential is in good standing. She continues as pastor at First Mennonite Church (Newton, KS).  The Board has also directed WDC leadership to review WDC’s culture and responsibilities to extend the learnings from the recent process. Five areas of concern have been identified for this review: 1) Relationship between WDC and its congregations; 2) Leadership relationships within WDC; 3) Resourcing, support and accountability for credentialed ministers, congregations and congregational leaders for prevention of and response to sexual abuse; 4) Support, accountability and resources for WDC Conference Minister and Associate Conference Ministers; and 5) Specific issues regarding Mennonite Church USA’s Ministerial Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure and implications for future implementation of the policy and procedure in WDC, including discernment of appropriate response to non-sexual misconduct allegations.  For more information about the review process, contact Heidi Regier Kreider, conference minister.  – WDC Executive Board
  1. Resource Library News: Check out WDC Favorites in the Resource Library! The February display features favorites of Conference Minister, Heidi Regier Kreider. Her list of 12 really good reads can be found at https://mennowdc.booksys.net/opac/crl/index.html…under “Staff Favorites” Check back next month for Associate Conference Minister Kathy Neufeld Dunn’s Top Ten List!   These and 12,000+ other resources are available for checkout Monday-Friday 8am-5pm in North Newton, KS or via mail anywhere in the conference!
  1. All women are invited to the Western District Women in Mission (WDWM) Spring Super on Thursday, March 21 at First Mennonite Church in McPherson. Speaker: Sheryl Wilson, Executive Director of KIPCOR. See flyer emailed to your church for more information including how to RSVP.   (Church offices, please forward this information to the women’s group(s) in your congregation as well as printing and posting the attached poster, and sharing via bulletin etc as appropriate in your congregation.)

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. The Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats are waiting for you!  Take advantage of two weekends of creative fun and space at Camp Mennoscah to delve into your favorite craft or scrapbook project.  There are still openings for March 8-10 and March 15-17.  The weekends are chock-full of time for you–to relax, walk around camp grounds, talk to other creative folks, and join in devotions.  Go to www.campmennoscah.orgto register or call us at 620-297-3290!
  1. Refill your Soul! The Youth Volunteer Weekend at Camp Mennoscah is March 15-16 and youth in grades 7-12 are heartily welcomed. There will be singing, worship, s’mores, service projects, and likely some silliness. Parents and sponsors do not need to attend.  Register online at campmennoscah.orgin Summer Youth Camps or call 620-297-3290 for assistance.  Full scholarships are available.  (See attached poster.)
  1. It’s time for DESSERT!  Camp Mennoscah will be holding the annual Hymn Sing and Dessert Auction at Bethel College Mennonite Church on February 24 from 4-6pm.  We’ll be celebrating and raising funds for our summer staff who provide mentoring relationships and faith formation, which is what camp is all about.  One set of hymns will be “bluegrass” and led by (former) summer staff!  (See attached poster.)
  1. Online registration for Summer Youth Camps at Camp Mennoscah is open!  In fact, registration is open for all upcoming camps and retreats, so power up your computer and register for all sorts of relaxation and fun!  Call us at 620-297-3290 with questions.

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Pastors’ Financial Assistance grant:Everence has been awarded a second $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment to address financial needs of pastors. Similar to the previous grant, this program will provide direct financial assistance grants to pastors to help alleviate debt burdens such as education, medical and credit card debt.  (Grants are available to pastors who have not previously received direct financial assistance grants as part of the program). The grant will also assist pastors with financial planning subsidies toward the cost of a first-year Everence comprehensive financial plan, and support educational events on topics such as retirement planning, debt reduction, financial planning, clergy taxes, etc.  March 1 is the first due-date for grant applications.  For more information see the attached application form, fact sheets, and news release, or go to https://www.everence.com/financial-services/for-churches/pastoral-financial-wellness-program.
  1. Join MCC on Sunday, February 10, 4 pm at Bethel College Mennonite Church (2600 College Ave., North Newton) to hear, “On Second Thought: a family’s return to Chad.” Susan and Jim Jantzen will share the story and images from their return journey to Chad, Africa, where they served with Mennonite Central Committee 30 years ago. The January 2018 trip allowed Jim and Susan to deliver photos and recordings of members of the community whose lives were taken shortly after the Jantzen’s departed in 1987. Please gather in the Fellowship Hall.

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