February 6, 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)


*Christian Conscience and How What We Buy Matters


Christian Conscience and How What We Buy Matters

     by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister

In July 2016, the delegates of Mennonite Church USA affirmed the resolution, “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine.” (http://mennoniteusa.org/resource/mennocon-2017-orlando/) As the resolution notes, “our Palestinian and Israeli partners  in peacemaking [some for 65 years] tell us that fifty years of Israeli military occupation is a major contributor to the cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.”  Many of us read things like this, then wonder, “But, how can anything I do matter over there?”

On behalf of the Israel-Palestine Task Force, I commend the following practical and moral idea to you and your congregation:  Become an HP-Free Church and pledge to not buy Hewlett-Packard products until they begin to live out their company’s own words of having “respect for human rights.”

Our churches are places to worship God, encourage and care for each other and our neighbors in need.  We pray that what we buy for our churches also helps factory workers earn a just living and does not make life more unjust for other neighbors affected by a company’s products.

Besides their home and professional office products, HP has a separate division that makes biometric (facial or fingerprint recognition) technology.  Unfortunately, in the case of HP’s biometrics, their words about respecting human rights do not match how their products are made to be used.  Here are a few examples.

·         There are roads that only Israelis are allowed to use.  Within their own country, Palestinians must go through check-point after check-point on their roads.  HP supplies biometric technology for these check-points. These check-points separate workers from their fields, students from their schools, sick people from hospital care, and family members from each other, because Palestinians are routinely delayed or turned back entirely for days, months, or even years at a time.

·         Most Palestinians do not have the ability to get an Israeli nor a Palestinian passport, even though they live and work in the area.  Instead, they receive an identification card that is only for Palestinians.  These cards with HP biometrics embedded in them become the basis for unjust discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare, education and other basics of life.

·         HP contracts directly with Israeli settlements, many of which are illegal, for security systems.  Settlements are Jewish-only, gated communities which have access to clean water, which Palestinians living nearby do not.

Even if we don’t understand all of the legal details, as people of faith we recognize that so many restrictions on everyday life cannot be just.  HP is complicit in these injustices by some of the products they make.

We can make the decision to not support this company until it changes its policies, products, and practices.  This is an act of conscience that we can make as followers of Jesus, who consistently reached out to those on the margins and those who were being treated unfairly.

Stop buying new HP products, and when the HP products your church already owns stop working, replace them with another brand.  Until Hewlett-Packard shows that they are no longer part of unjust practices, let’s hold them accountable in this way.

Learn more about becoming an HP-Free Church at https://www.fosna.org/free-your-church-hp.

WDC announcements

  1. Creative Curriculum: Have you chosen your spring or summer youth or adult Sunday School curriculum yet?  Consider the multi-media Upside-Down King, the story of Jesus and what he taught through Luke’s gospel, with art, drama, and music as ways to respond to the biblical story.  The songs you’ll listen to are from Doug and Jude Krehbiel’s musical, “The Upside Down King.”  Want a curriculum that’s solidly Anabaptist in its theology and creative in its approach?  Upside-Down King is for you.  The 12 sessions written by Carol Duerksen and sponsored by the Resource Commission are on the WDC website (https://mennowdc.org/the-upside-down-bible-study/) for $10.
  1. Sunday Concert Series: Celebrate Music in Worship – First Mennonite Church (52 Rambler Rd Hutchinson) invites you to a Sunday Concert Series: Celebrate Music in Worship.  All concerts are free and with the exception of the Sunday morning concert, will be followed by refreshments.  The concert schedule is  as follows.  More details can be found on our website (www.hutchfmc.org) or by calling the church office at 620-662-9385.
  • Feb 11 @ 9:25am Worship – Bethel College Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. William Eash (part of FMC Mennonite Education Sunday – fundraiser lunch follows Sunday School for the Mennonite College/Seminary Fund)
  • Feb 18 @ 4:00pm – Central Christian College of Kansas Concert Choir, Chanter Tigres, and a CCC Worship Team under the direction of Ms. Tiffiney Harms and accompanied by Dr. Brett Janssen
  • Feb 25 @ 4:00pm – G.A.N.G. (God’s Anointed Next Generation) girls praise and dance group from New Resurrection Church in Hutchinson, under the direction of Ms. Fauntella Crumble
  • March 4 @ 7:00pm – Tabor College Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. Bradley Vogel
  • March 11 @ 4:00pm – Hesston College Men’s Chorus and Women’s Chorus under the direction of Ken Rodgers
  • March 18 @ 7:00pm – The McPherson Community Brass Choir under the direction of Jerry Toews
  1. First Mennonite Church, 427 W 4th in Halstead, KS will have a Verenike supper on February 24 from 4:30-7 pm.  Cost by donation, proceeds go to church missions.  (Poster attached.)
  1. The WDC/SCC Women’s Spring Supper will be at 6 pm on Thursday, March 15, at Whitestone Mennonite Church, 629 Crescent Drive in Hesston, KS.  Meal (Ham, potatoes & more) for $10 by Whitestone Mennonite Youth with payment to them.  Program at 7 pm with Joanna Gerber Pinkerton, daughter of Mennonite missionaries in the Belgian Congo, on Faith in Every Day Life.Music, Sadie and the Larks, from Hesston College Offering for AIMM, Women’s Literacy training in the Congo. Checks made to WDWM and memo line AIMM.  Reservations due by March 8 to Marlene Faul, 316-283-3342 or westerndistrictwomen@gmail.com.
  1. Anyone from the Newton KS area going to AMBS Pastors and Leaders 2018 (Pastors Week) in Elkhart, IN on February 26-March 1?  Let WDC know, in order to make possible travel connections with others who are going.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Recruiting for AMAZING young adults for summer staff!  Camp Mennoscah is looking for awesome young adults to be part of our summer staff family.  We will be at Goshen College on Feb. 9 and Hesston, Tabor, Bethel, and McPherson Colleges on Feb. 12-15 respectively.  Summer staff applications are available online at campmennoscah.org/application.  Pizza gatherings will be held at Goshen on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 5pm in the Connector (weather pending!!!) and at Papa John’s in Newton on Weds., Feb. 14, at 6:15pm-ish.  Please let us know you’re coming at 620-297-3290!
  1. Camp Mennoscah’s annual Youth Volunteer Weekend for grades 7-12 is March 16-17!  This over-the-top, laid-back, faith-filled and service-doused retreat should not be missed!  We will stay in the Retreat Center due to renovations at the Main Camp kitchen.  There will be music, worship, counselors, and projects for all.  Register online at campmennoscah.orgor contact us at 620-297-3290 for assistance.  We’ll see you there! (Poster attached.)
  1. It’s Beyond Belief that our summer youth camps are already looming in the future!  Register your campers online today at campmennoscah.org!  Our summer theme is “Beyond Belief! The Universe of God” and we’ll be learning how God’s endless love launches amazing adventures.  Register online at campmennoscah.org!  Need more information?  Call us at 620-297-3290–we’re so ready for camp that we’re bouncing in our boots!
  2. Spring Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats are here!  Register online at campmennoscah.orgfor a delightfully long weekend of project time, sharing new ideas, devotions, and fun people.  Two weekends are offered, Feb. 23-25 and March 2-4.  Join us for a cozy weekend of craftiness and coffee or walk the campgrounds for some time in creation!  Call 620-297-3290 with questions.  We’ll see you and your stunning projects soon!
  1. Hymn Sing and Dessert Auction for “Creation, Craftiness, and Cooling Off”! Camp Mennoscah invites everyone to join us from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, February 25, at Whitestone Mennonite Church in Hesston. We’ll sing our favorite hymns, bid on delectable desserts, and hear about how, with your help, camp provides afternoon activities for campers to stay cool, be crafty, and learn about God’s creation. Funds raised will go toward the Camp Mennoscah general fund. Come and join us! (Poster attached.)

Mennonite church announcements
1.  Attend the Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series (AVDS) conference February 23-25 at Hesston College to become an effective change agent.  You’ll find or create a small group that shares your passion and begin to learn strategies for fighting injustice alongside others in your congregation and community.  The Kansas Leadership Center and Dr. Drew G.I. Hart of Messiah College will help to clarify our purposes and strengthen our Biblical theology of justice while small groups will engage to develop meaningful responses.  Register now at hesston.edu/avds.  $100/person, $75/each for two or more.

  1. Families with children:  February 14 is the first day of Lent and the beginning of “Between Me & You,” a free, downloadable guide for family worship from February 14 through April 1, Easter Sunday.  Pick and choose the activities that work best for your family.  Find it at:  www.anabaptistfaithformation.org.
  1. Looking for that next great adventure? MCC SALT positions now available!  Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy. Be challenged. Learn some things. Teach some things. Spend a year living somewhere that you never dreamed you’d go…   Serving and Learning Together (SALT) is a year-long, cross-cultural service experience. Through SALT, Christian young adults from Canada and the U.S. serve internationally in a wide variety of positions in fields like education, agriculture, health care, information technology, peace and more! Start now at salt.mcc.org, to find answers to frequently asked questions, assignment options and to apply, don’t delay, the deadline to sign up is Feb. 15!
  1. Graduate Students in Healthcare Professions:  Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) offers educational grants for Anabaptist students to learn and serve in cross-cultural mission/service settings in developing countries. Deadline for 2018-19 academic year is May 15, 2018.  For details and application form, see http://mennohealth.org/SET/, email info@mennohealth.org, or call 1-888-406-3643.

    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