WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
January 28, 2020
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)
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IN THIS ISSUE:
*Catching quail and gathering manna
Catching quail and gathering manna
by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister
Happy 2020! The beginning of a new decade is a reminder of the past pace of change and the transitions constantly taking place in our world and communities, our congregations and wider church, our families and personal lives.
At a WDC staff gathering last week, I shared William Bridges’ description of transition. (His book, Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes is in the WDC Resource Library). Bridges says that change and transition are different things. Change is situational – the external events taking place around us, whether by our own actions or beyond our control. Transition, on the other hand, is the process that we go through as we internalize and deal with the new situation that change produces.
According to Bridges, transition has three stages: The first stage is Endings, when we come to terms with the losses that come as a result of change, and we ask “What is it time for me to let go of?” This may include familiar habits or structures, cherished possessions or relationships, long-held assumptions, a job, personal health or mobility. It is natural to feel sadness, anxiety or anger in the face of such losses. The second stage of transition is the Neutral Zone, an in-between time when the old reality is gone, but the new isn’t fully present yet. This state is marked by both uncertainty and creativity, when things are in flux. We may feel disoriented, yet we can also experiment, imagine, and test possibilities. Finally, the stage of New Beginnings involves new understandings, attitudes and practices. We gain a sense of renewal, fresh identity, understanding and purpose, and have energy to move forward into the future.
In our gathering, WDC staff reflected on these stages of transition through the story of the Israelites’ journey in Exodus 16. Leaving Egypt and finding themselves in the wilderness, the Israelites realized their losses and complained, “Why didn’t God let us die in comfort in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat?” Then, they began exploring new questions and possibilities, as they discovered quail to eat and experimented with gathering manna (which means “What is it?”). Through trial and error – or, perhaps we should call it disobedience and failure – they learned not to hoard more manna than necessary on week-days, and also to accept God’s gift of Sabbath rest on the seventh day. Finally, the Exodus 16 story hints at new beginnings when it says that the Israelites ate manna for 40 years until they reached the land in which they would settle and develop new patterns of life as God’s people. (Yes, sometimes it seems that we are in the in-between space of transition for a long time!).
As we recognize changes in our lives, the church and the world, let’s also consider how we are experiencing transition. What is it time to let go of, and what losses do we lament? How will we trust God in the “in-between” spaces of uncertainty and exploration? What new beginnings and possibilities might God be calling us to?
The WDC Resource Library has many wonderful resources related to personal and congregational transitions. The book For Everything a Season: 75 Blessings for Daily Life offers this prayer: “God of new beginnings, thank you for this past year – the joyful moments and the growing moments, the celebrations and the defeats. Give to all the strength to entrust this new year to you, knowing that with you there is a future filled with hope. Amen.” May it be so!
Feb 2 – Give thanks for the WDC Resource Library, and pray for God to nurture growth in faith and discipleship for all who use library resources.
Feb 9 – Pray for WDC congregations struggling with conflict or painful situations, that God’s Spirit of wisdom, healing and hope would guide and sustain them.
Feb 16 – Praise God for the many ways that WDC congregations are involved with Mennonite Central Committee, as MCC celebrates its centennial this year.
Feb 23 – Pray for church planters and emerging congregations in WDC, that God would bring growth to the seeds of faithful witness in their communities.
Feb 7 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
Feb 29 – Youth Lead Now (postponed from Jan 11)
Mar 3 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
Apr 3 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
Apr 4 – WDC Executive Board meeting
April 17 – Healthy Boundaries 101 Training
May 19 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
July 31-Aug 2 – WDC Annual Assembly, Camp Copass, Denton, TX
Aug 25 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
Sept 26 – WDC Reference Council
- Iglesia Menonita Casa Betania, Newton, KS, is having a fundraiser “Burrito Dinner” on January 29 from 5:30-6:30 pm (by donation) at the First Mennonite Church, Newton KS, basement fellowship hall. All are welcome!
- WDC congregation featured in article:San Antonio Mennonite Church was featured recently in an article in Faith and Leadership, a learning resource for Christian leaders and institutions from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School. To read the article about SAMC’s caring for immigrants and response to trauma,, see shorturl.at/bhtuH.
- What seeds are growing in WDC? Each issue of the WDC Garden(quarterly newsletter) in 2020 will feature some “seeds” – brief highlights from congregations about new initiatives, creative ideas, missional practices and connections within WDC. If you have some “seeds” to suggest for consideration in the Garden, please send a note to WDC at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 316-283-6300!
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Summer staff needed! Camp Mennoscah is looking for college-aged people to fill summer staff positions (lifeguard, nature, music, crafts, office) and someone 21 or older to fill the new position of “director of support.” The director of support is a summer-long position to assist the camp director, summer staff, program and support staff through management, coordination, and communication. Complete your application for any of these positions at campmennoscahstaff.campbrainstaff.com! Questions can be directed to email@example.com 620-297-3290.
- Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats at Camp Mennoscah on Feb. 28-March 1 and March 6-8! Register online at www.campmennoscah.org! These retreats fill up fast–don’t miss out on your chance to spend a weekend relaxing through cropping and crafting. We can answer your questions at 620-297-3290 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Youth Volunteer Weekend is March 13-14 at Camp Mennoscah! Registration is through our summer youth camp registration which opens at the beginning of February, so you have just a few more days to wait before registering. We just wanted to let you know to get ready! This retreat is for grades 7-graduating seniors.
- Retreat registration is open! Registration for all 2020 Camp Mennoscah retreats is now available at www.campmennoscah.org. Look for the Register Online link at the top of the page. Summer youth camp registration will open at the beginning of February. We will announce through Facebook as soon as youth camp registration is open. We have so many exciting activities planned!
Mennonite church announcements
- Service Adventure is looking for a leader for the Jackson, Mississippi unit. Unit leaders are 24 years old or older, and live in community with 3-5 young adults, serving as mentors. For more information contact LaurenEH@MennoniteMission.net.
- The Mennonite, Inc., invites your original submissions for our April 2020 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on Resilient hope. More information at: https://themennonite.org/april-2020-call-submissions-resilient-hope/
- Calling all retirees, families, and adults 25+! Looking for a flexible service term that allows you to join the work of missional faith communities across North America? Learn more about SOOP at www.MennoniteMission.net/serve.
- Shine Curriculum: Want to know why and how MennoMedia’s Shine curriculum can be a valuable part of your children’s faith formation? Watch these videos: http://www.centralplainsmc.org/shine.html of webinars originally hosted by Joyce Peachey Lind, Content Editor for Shine. Shine combines age-appropriate music, worship, bible stories, spiritual practices, compassionate peacemaking and service in the faith community.
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.