January 26, 2016

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)


*From the Conference Minister’s Heart

*Prayer Requests

*Coming Events

*Parish Paper


From the Conference Minister’s Heart

     by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister

Recently, an administrator at a Mennonite-related institution (Luke Hartman, vice president of enrollment at Eastern Mennonite University) was one of ten individuals charged with solicitation of prostitution, in a sting operation conducted by the Harrisonburg Police Department and Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office. (https://themennonite.org/daily-news/emu-vice-president-charged-in-sting-operation/). I do not intend to comment on the details of this case, but to use this as an occasion to reaffirm the importance of being pro-active in in preventing and responding to sexual violence of any kind – whether it be human trafficking, prostitution, or sexual misconduct and abuse in our institutions, churches and families.

As part of WDC’s accountability plan, credentialed leaders are requested to participate in prevention of sexual misconduct training, annually sign a code of sexual ethics for ministers and report how they maintain healthy boundaries and accountability in their life and ministry. Mennonite Church USA Ministerial Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures, which are currently being revised and updated, provide guidelines for responding to allegations of sexual misconduct. WDC also encourages congregations to establish “safe sanctuary” policies and practices to prevent sexual abuse. In the past, WDC has sponsored regular training events for this purpose, and staff will work with the Resource Commission to plan for such events again in the future as soon as possible. The WDC Resource Library has many good materials related to issues of justice and power, sexuality, and prevention of abuse.

Here are several additional resources to consider:

– Dove’s Nest is an organization whose mission is to empower and equip faith communities to keep children and youth safe in their homes churches and communities. See their website at http://dovesnest.net

– A Churchwide Statement on Sexual Abuse was passed by Mennonite Church USA delegate assembly, July 3, 2015 at Kansas City. See http://mennoniteusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Churchwide_Statement_On_Sexual_Abuse_2015July03.pdf

– In response to the church-wide statement, a sex abuse prevention panel was established to carry out the commitments of this statement. For more information see:

http://mennoniteusa.org/noticias/se-forma-un-panel-para-la-prevencion-del-abuso-sexual/ (Spanish) or http://mennoniteusa.org/news/sexual-abuse-prevention-panel-formed/ (English)

– SNAP-Menno is an independent Anabaptist/Mennonite chapter of SNAP (Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests). For more information see http://www.snapnetwork.org/mennonite It provides a safe place, independent of institutional structures, for Mennonite-related survivors to seek healing alongside other Anabaptist Mennonites. Its mission is to “protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, expose the truth.”

As people called to justice and peace, may we continue to promote these crucial principles in all our congregations and church-related institutions.

Prayer Requests

February 7 – Pray for God’s joy and blessing for Weldon Martens as he is installed today as pastor at Grace Hill Mennonite Church.

February 14 – Pray for Byron Pellecer as he prepares for a transition to a new role as Associate Conference Minister in Texas beginning in May.

February 21- Pray for Jenny Schrag, youth pastor for Buhler, Inman and Hoffnungsau Mennonite churches, as they join this Wednesday evening in a licensing service for Jenny’s Credential for Specific Ministry.

February 28 – Pray for pastoral search committees in WDC congregations, and for potential pastoral candidates, as they discern God’s guidance for the future.

Coming Events

February 1 – WDC Resource Commission meeting

February 5 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting

February 18 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting

February 21, 3:30-5 – Agri-Urban Faspa (Come & Go), Eden Mennonite Church, Moundridge, KS

March 12 – Kansas Leadership Center training follow-up, Whitestone Mennonite Church, Hesston KS

March 15 – WDC Executive Committee meeting

March 17 – Women’s Spring Supper, Whitestone Mennonite Church, Hesston KS

March 22 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting

July 29-30 – WDC Annual Assembly, Bethel College, North Newton KS

Parish Paper

The February issue of Parish Paper, entitled “The Payday Lending Crisis: What Can Congregations Do?” can now be viewed at: https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/. (Please note, this is the last Parish Paper that WDC will post. Congregations may subscribe to Parish Paper at:  http://www.theparishpaper.com/)


WDC Announcements

  1. Associate Conference Minister for Texas: WDC is pleased to announce that Byron Pellecer has accepted an invitation to serve as Associate Conference Minister (Texas-based), beginning in May 2016. This position will include relating to pastors and congregations in Texas, facilitating IBA (Instituto Biblico Anabautista) training, and working with the WDC Church Planting Commission to guide church planting throughout WDC. Byron has previously worked in church planting, discipleship programs and leadership education in Southeast and Virginia Mennonite Conferences. He is currently serving as church planter and pastor at Iglesia Menonita Aposento Alto (Wichita, KS) where he will continue ministry through April, then transition to the Dallas, TX, area to begin his new role with WDC. Pray for Byron, his wife Hilda and family, and WDC during this time of transition.
  1. Weldon Martens will be installed at Grace Hill Mennonite Church, Whitewater, KS on February 7 during the morning worship service at 9:30. Then, at 1:30 pm, Dr. Chelsea Vaught will give an organ concert. She is currently the Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Wayne, IN. She is a graduate of Bethel College and the KS School of Music. All are invited.
  1. Devotionals for children—at home or at church: Living Ink, the 2016 Lent At-Home devotionals from Mennonite Church Canada, is now available as a free download. This fully illustrated devotional will appeal to families with children ages 3 – 12 and includes scripture, prayer, activities, songs, and much more. Created by Elsie Rempel, this booklet is perfect for at-home, but also could be used for Sunday morning worship (children’s time) or for a special Lent emphasis for children on Wednesday. It can be found at http://www.commonword.ca/FileDownload/21831/2016_Lent_at_Home_-_Living_Ink.pdf
  1. Hey, summer campers and youth! There’s a retreat just for those of you in grades 7-12–the Youth Volunteer Weekend–on March 11-12. We’ll be singing and having fun as part of this time of service. We’ll start at 7pm on Friday with worship, singing, and snacky stuff following. Saturday will be fun times with Patrick Loganbill and Rachel Miller and various projects around camp. Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290.
  1. Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats! Camp Mennoscah is offering two weekends for all you crafty and scrappy people to focus on your projects–as well as chat and share stories with others! Register online for the March 4-6 or March 11-13 retreats at www.campmennoscah.org or call Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290. It’s a chance to finish up that project you’ve been working on (or put it off even longer)!
  1. Super staffers and snazzy folks! Camp Mennoscah will be recruiting for summer staff at Goshen College on Feb. 5 and at Hesston, Tabor, and Bethel Colleges on Feb. 8, 9, and 10 respectively. There will be a pizza meal/gathering on Feb. 10 at 6:15pm-ish at Papa John’s in Newton for those interested in being on summer staff and all former summer staff. Goshen pizza gathering is on Feb. 4 at Goshen College. Contact us at 620-297-3290 or olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org for more information. We think summer staffers are a hoot!

Mennonite Church Announcements

Equipping Your Church For Missional Living (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/equipping-your-church-for-missional-living-tickets-20137057481)

Saturday, February 13, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM (CST) at Indian Creek Community Church, 12480 South Black Bob Road, Olathe, KS

The Church & culture in the West is experiencing incredible change. Social, political and financial nuances continue to make the idea of engaging culture and building church a head scratcher. What is needed is a ‘missionary’ people committed to live and lead in the incarnational ways of Jesus. This training is for:

  • Pastors who want to see their church engage in the community
  • Small group leaders who desire to be a group with the posture, tone, motives and heart of Jesus
  • Concerned Christ followers who want to make a difference in their neighborhoods
  • Business leaders who feel called to significant kingdom work

Led by Hugh Halter and Brad Brisco – Hugh is the founder of Missio, a mission training organization and National Director of Forge America. He is the author of Sacrilege, BiVO, and co-author of The Tangible Kingdom, AND, and FLESH. His latest book is titled Brimstone: The Act and Act of Holy Nonjudgement. Hugh speaks extensively, encouraging and equipping pastors in incarnational ministry and missional leadership. Brad is currently the Church Planting Catalyst for the North America Mission Board in Kansas City; where he recruits, trains and coaches church planters. He holds a doctorate in the area of missional ecclesiology; his doctoral thesis was on assisting existing congregations in transitioning in a missional direction. He serves on the National Leadership team for Forge America. He is the co-author of Missional Essentials, a twelve-week small group study guide, The Missional Quest and the forthcoming Next Door As It Is In Heaven. Note: Brad Brisco was the presenter at the WDC Pastors’ Day Apart in October 2014, and several WDC congregations are currently studying his study-guide Missional Essentials.

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