February 7, 2017

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)


*Congregational Ministry in the Face of Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence


Congregational Ministry in the Face of Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence

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

On April 29, congregational leaders and pastors are invited to First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson, KS for a day-long workshop on how congregational leaders can respond when abuse takes place that affects their congregation members.  Kathryn Goering Reid, a credentialed minister and Executive Director of Family Abuse Center, Waco, TX, will be our seminar leader.

As background to this workshop, Western District Conference assumes that your congregation has policies and procedures in place to protect children and youth within your congregation.  If you do not, you are still welcome and we encourage you to move toward establishment of protection policies in your church.  We also hope that you affirm the importance of and encourage your minister to receive training in prevention of clergy sexual misconduct.  With this in mind, the seminar will offer further guidelines for congregational response to abuse.

We will explore scenarios where the abuse takes place beyond or within the context of your congregation. We will consider how to respond when only the perpetrator is a member of the congregation, only the victim is a member, or when both perpetrator and victim(s) are active in the same church.   For example, what can a deacon do when he or she learns that a church member is abusing another adult? How can the church board respond if a board member’s spouse suddenly goes to a domestic violence shelter?   What might the church chair say when the media reports that a prominent lay leader has been charged with sexual harassment at work?  How do we balance the needs of victims and survivors of abuse, and still be a place for sinners in need of repentance and restoration?  What if the abuser is not repentant?

We will look at theological responses and possible actions. Together we will look at models that have worked in some congregations and suggest responses that will help a congregation work through these complex situations.

Western District Conference knows that this topic is on the minds of many of our people.  We want this important resource to be available to as many people, conference-wide, as possible.  Therefore, Ministerial Leadership and Resource Commissions are partnering together to help subsidize the cost of this event.  Each congregation is encouraged to register your attendees together for the group rate of $100.  You may also register individually for $30 per person.  Registration information will be available soon.

WDC Announcements

  1. The February/March issue of WDC Garden has been distributed to churches, and is also available online at: www.mennowdc.org. Read about how San Antonio Mennonite Church offered hope to refugees.
  1. A Kansas death penalty repeal bill (HB 2167) is scheduled for a hearing in the House Correction and Juvenile Justice Committee on Monday, February 13, at 1:30pm, in room 572-N at the Kansas State Capitol. Those who are able to attend the hearing are encouraged to do so. Contact Peter Goerzen for more information:  316-284-5356, pgoerzen@bethelks.edu.
  1. Nominate a youth for the Step Up program! At this summer’s denominational convention in Orlando (July 4-8), Mennonite Church USA is offering a fresh way to involve high school youth representatives in delegate sessions, and prepare young people for future involvement as delegates and church leaders. Through two interactive seminar sessions, Step Up representatives will receive preparation in advance, and debriefing after attending delegate sessions at an assigned round table discussion group. Each conference is asked to name three participants in the Step Up program, reflecting diversity of gender and race/ethnicity.  Representatives should be rising sophomores in high school and older.  WDC invites nominations for this program, and the WDC Resource Commission will provide scholarships to help with expenses, based on need and availability of funds.   To nominate a youth representative, send his/her name, contact information, congregation affiliation, year in school, & brief biographical background to wdc@mennowdc.org.  We especially encourage you to nominate youth of color.  WDC’s due-date for nominations is Feb 15, to allow time for participants to register for Orlando 2017 before the Feb 28 early registration deadline. After nominations have been received, WDC will make appointments. (Note: Step Up representatives will not be actual delegates, but will be youth convention participants who participate in several delegate sessions as guests.)  For more information see http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/StepUp_LettertoConfConstgroups-docx.pdf
  1. Leadership Lunches! Thanks to the 17 people who joined us on January 19 for our first Leadership Lunch! Our next Leadership Lunch is scheduled for February 16 from 12-1:30pm at the WDC offices. Each month, we will be discussing a different Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) competency and how it relates to scripture, Anabaptist theology and practice, and our own areas of ministry. In January, we reflected on “Take the temperature” and in February, we will focus on “Raising the heat.” All pastors and ministry leaders from both WDC and SCC are welcome even if you haven’t attended a KLC training. We hope that this will encourage and empower us to exercise more leadership for the common good in our churches and communities. If you have questions, please contact Kathy Neufeld Dunn (kathynd@mennowdc.org), Rachel Siemens (rsiemens@sbcglobal.net) or Phil Schmidt (pschmidt@tabormennnonite.org).
  1. (Churches, please use this announcement in your February 12 bulletins): Join us at What’s So Funny about Money on February 19 at 7 pm at the McPherson (KS) Opera House (219 S Main St.).  This Ted and Company show will cause you to think even as it tickles your financial funny bone.  Cost?  By donation to benefit the WDC Matching Fund, assisting pastors with financial challenges.  Sponsored by Everence.  Bring your friends!
  1. Kansas Leadership Center training grants: WDC still has some spots available to congregation members and pastors to take one of the three primary adaptive leadership training programs at Kansas Leadership Center (Wichita, KS) through the grant we received for 2017. See http://kansasleadershipcenter.org more information about the programs offered by KLC throughout this year. Program sessions are filling up, so if you are interested in applying for a training spot through WDC this year, contact Heidi Regier Kreider soon at heidirk@mennowdc.org or 316-283-6300.
  1. All women in Western District and South Central Conferences are invited to attend the annual Mennonite Women Spring Supper on March 23 at 6 pm at Bethel College. Supper provided by Bethel College Women’s Association (BCWA).  Stories shared by Leah Mueller, Christine Schweitzer, Barbara Krehbiel Gehring and Mary Herr about “Living Faithfully in our Communities”.  Cost for meal:  $12 payable at the door for BCWA. Make your reservation by March 16 to:  westerndistrictwomen@gmail.com or 316-283-3342 (Marlene V. Faul).  Offering will be received for a Mennonite Central Committee women’s project (make checks payable to MCC).  (Attention church offices:  Please use attached poster to publicize this event!)
  1. Summer Youth Camp Registration is open and catalogs are in the mail! Go online at www.campmennoscah.org to join in the summer fun at Camp Mennoscah!
  1. Fundraiser for the new playground structure! Camp Mennoscah is holding a Hymn Sing and Dessert Auction on February 26 from 4-6pm at Eden Mennonite Church in Moundridge.  Join us to sing (or enjoy listening), bid on tasty treats, and hear a bit about the new “whale” playground structure.
  1. Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats at Camp Mennoscah are March 3-5 and March 17-19. There are hours of fellowship, devotions, and croppy-ness for you to enjoy.  Register online at campmennoscah.org or contact us at 620-297-3290.
  1. Retirees Relaxation Retreat coming up in April! Camp Mennoscah offers retirees of all ages a chance to slip away to the prairie for fellowship, worship, and learning.  We’ll gather April 24-26 to hear stories of faith, courage, and fun.  Brochures are available by calling 620-297-3290 or register online at campmennoscah.org.
  1. For close to 40 years, Rainbow Mennonite Church in Kansas City, KS, has worked in tandem with a 501(c)(3) organization called Sharing Community in Rosedale, Inc. (SCR). Most recently, Rainbow and SCR have partnered in offering educational enrichment opportunities such as Freedom School to the youth and families of Rosedale of Wyandotte County. SCR is now looking to hire a full-time Executive Director to expand our educational-based youth programs. You can find the job description and how to apply here: http://rainbowmennonite.org/serving/scr/

Mennonite Church Announcements

  1. Learn how humor and laughter can aid healing with a Ted & Company TheaterWorks performance of Just Give ‘Em the News, Saturday, February 18, at Hesston Mennonite Church on the Hesston College campus. Led by veteran actor Ted Swartz, this Christmas show in February connects the analogy of dark to light during the Advent season with moving from trauma to resilience.  Tickets are $12 for adults and are available at the door.  Youth through high school-age are free.
  1. COMMIT A RADICAL ACT OF LOVE THIS VALENTINE’S DAY – Offender Victim Ministries invites you to reach out to inmates at Hutchinson Correctional Facility through our Valentine’s Day letter-writing campaign and prisoner care kit initiative. Please bring items for prisoner care kits to the collection box at your church and come join us for letter writing and refreshments at the following venues: FEBRUARY 13, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, Amish Community Building in Hutchinson; FEBRUARY 14, 9:00 – 11:00 am, Mennonite Central Committee Central States offices in North Newton. If you aren’t able to attend an event, but want to write a letter, suggested talking points and instructions for sending letters are posted on the Offender Victim Ministries Facebook page.
  1. Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas, is hosting the annual conference of the Intercollegiate Peace Fellowship on its campus, February 10-12. The four keynote addresses are free and open to the public, although the discussions following will be restricted to registrants and their affiliated faculty. Fri., 11 a.m.: David Anderson Hooker, overview of/introduction to conference theme: Uniting for Social Change; Fri., 7 p.m., Aubrey Streit Krug and Alicia Harris, environmental justice; Sat., 9:30 a.m., Michelle Armster, racial justice; Sat., 2 p.m., Joel Barrett and David Seymour, LGBTQIA justice. All keynotes are in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu/unitingforchange
  1. Drew G.I. Hart, assistant professor of theology at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, will be giving Staley Lectures at Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas, Sun., Feb. 12, 7 p.m., and Mon., Feb. 13, 11 a.m., in Bethel’s Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. Feb. 12 lecture: “Trouble I’ve Seen: Better Frameworks for Discussing Race and Racism Together”; Feb. 13 lecture: “Who Can be Trusted?: Breaking the Cycle of 400 Years of Bad Racial Intuition.” Hart is the author of the 2016 Herald Press book Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism.
  1. JOB OPENING: Bethel College seeks a person for a three-quarter-time position as alumni administrative assistant and institutional researcher. Candidate must have strong interpersonal and communication skills, experience in Word and Excel, comfort using social media, proven accuracy in data entry and reporting, affinity for complex database management, interest in event planning, and familiarity with Bethel constituency, and must be able to maintain confidentiality. Details at www.bethelks.edu/why-bethel/people/career-opportunities/. AA/EOE

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