WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
January 31, 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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*From the Conference Minister’s Heart
From the Conference Minister’s Heart
by Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister
Last week I attended the annual Pastor’s Week at AMBS (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) in Elkhart, IN. The theme was Cultivating Inter-Cultural Leadership for Diversity-Oriented Churches. In preparation for the week, participants were encouraged to take an online survey to assess our personal “CQ” or Cultural Intelligence, which is a person’s capability to function effectively in a variety of cultural contexts. While CQ is essential to navigate today’s globally-connected businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations, the most important reason that we as church members and leaders were encouraged to strengthen our CQ is to more faithfully participate in God’s mission of reconciliation and shalom.
The keynote speaker, A. Brian Leander, other preachers (including Byron Pellecer from WDC), worship services and workshops encouraged us to consider the Biblical vision of a multicultural church and practices that can help move us toward that vision. These were some key scripture texts that we considered:
Isaiah 2:2-3 – “In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”
Ephesians 2:14-21 – “For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 – “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
These scriptures point us toward the realization that God’s norm is not the “homogeneous unit” principle (which has often been the principle of church growth) but rather a culturally, socially, and economically diverse community of people who have been transformed and brought together in Christ.
Ironically, as Pastors’ Week participants returned home inspired to embrace God’s vision for authentic multicultural relationships, news was breaking of president Trump’s executive orders to build a wall on the border between U.S. and Mexico, and to ban immigrants and refugees from entering our nation – all in the name of national “security.” Along with many who protest these actions, I believe these orders will instead jeopardize international relations, hurt the economy, fuel terrorist recruitment and increase resentment against the U.S. But the most important reason I oppose these actions is that I believe they dehumanize and divide God’s children and contradict our scriptural calling as Christians to extend God’s shalom. As stated on the Mennonite Central Committee website, these actions “portray immigrants and refugees as criminals and threats rather than seeing them as God’s beloved children. By building walls and turning away refugees we ignore Christ’s call to care for those in need and to love the stranger among us as we love ourselves.” (https://mcc.org/get-involved/advocacy/alert/oppose-efforts-build-walls-criminalize-immigrants )
I encourage WDC congregations, members and leaders to discern how God is calling each of us to demonstrate God’s vision for authentic multicultural relationships in our world today. May we have the wisdom to listen carefully to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and courage to cross boundaries of hostility and fear in order to join God’s work of reconciliation.
Feb 5 – Pray for the WDC Gifts Discernment Committee, as they begin their work to identify new nominees to serve in WDC leadership roles next year.
Feb 12 – Pray for WDC pastor peer groups which meet regularly for sharing, support and prayer together.
Feb 19 – Give thanks for WDC pastors gathering this afternoon in McPherson, KS, for financial stewardship education, fellowship, and entertainment sponsored by Everence.
Feb 26 – Pray for WDC members participating in a Hispanic women’s gathering in Dallas this weekend.
Feb 7 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
Feb 16 (noon) – Kansas Leadership Center Brown Bag Lunch, WDC Office
Feb 19 (4 pm) – The Good, The Bad, the Funny about Money and the Pastorate (For active credentialed pastors, by invitation only, RSVP required by Feb 3), McPherson (KS) Opera House
Feb 19 (7 pm) – What’s So Funny About Money (Ted & Company Show, open to the public by donation at the door), McPherson (KS) Opera House
Feb 21 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting
Mar 4 – WDC Executive Board meeting
Mar 9 – WDC Resource Commission meeting
Mar 16 – Kansas Leadership Center Brown Bag Lunch, WDC Office
Mar 16-18 – Mennonite Church USA Constituency Leaders Council, Elkhart, IN
Mar 23 (6 pm) – Women’s Spring Supper, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
Mar 31 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
April 20 – Kansas Leadership Center Brown Bag Lunch, WDC Office
April 29 – Congregational Resourcing Event: Congregational Implications and Response to Sexual Abuse Outside the Church, First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson, KS
Aug 4-6 – WDC Annual Assembly, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Arlington DFW South, Texas
- Preschool Story Hour at the Resource Library with Carol Flickinger begins Wednesday, February 15. Sign up at https://goo.gl/forms/NNeiVbEyzpzLqksc2 or call the WDC offices at 316-283-6300. (Churches, please print and post the attached sign.)
- What’s So Funny about Money? Join us Sunday, February 19 at 7 pm at the McPherson Opera House, 219 S Main St, McPherson, KS. How does our faith fit into our fiscal affairs? What does it mean to be a steward? Is the banjo really necessary for the show? These questions will be asked with a good dose of humor thrown in. The public is invited to this Ted and Company show. Cost? By donation to benefit the WDC Matching Fund, assisting pastors with financial challenges. Sponsored by Everence. Invite your friends!
- The WDC Annual Assembly will be held on August 4-6 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Arlington DFW South. As per the WDC Resolutions Policy, resolutions must be submitted a minimum of 120 days prior to Annual Assembly. In 2017, that date is April 7. Send to: WDC Executive Board, PO Box 306, North Newton KS 67117
- We are Recruiting. Camp Mennoscah is visiting Mennonite colleges searching and seeking fun, creative, and responsible folks to be on our summer staff. We’ll be at Hesston on Feb. 6, Tabor on Feb. 7, Bethel on Feb. 9, and McPherson on Feb. 10. Stop by, say hi, and send your favorite college students our way!
- Summer Youth Camp Registration Open! Registration for Camp Mennoscah’s summer youth camps is open and waiting for all of our wonderful campers, new and returning, to sign up. Go to www.campmennoscah.org and click on Online Registration. Need help or a paper form? Contact us at 620-297-3290 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Summer is almost here! (Well…sort of.)
- Fundraiser for the New Playground Structure! Camp Mennoscah is hosting a Hymn Sing & Dessert Auction at Eden Mennonite Church in Moundridge on Feb. 26 from 4-6pm. You’ll have a chance to sing some hymns, bid on tasty desserts, and hear a bit about the new playground structure. All ages invited!
- Youth Volunteer Weekend! Camp Mennoscah is offering a short weekend of worship, service, fellowship, and fun for those in grades 7-12 on March 10-11. We’ll have counselors (i.e. adults) for those attending and youth groups are welcome to join. Please contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 if you are a youth sponsor who would like to attend. Scholarships are available. Register online at www.campmennoscah.org!
- Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats–March 3-5 and March 17-19! These retreats at Camp Mennoscah are filled with hours of time for your crafty- and croppy-ness, devotions, fellowship, and fun. Register online at campmennoscah.org or call 620-297-3290 for more information. Bring a Friend for a discount!
Mennonite Church Announcements
- Early registration for the Mennonite Church USA Convention 2017 ends on Feb. 28. Early Registration includes a T-shirt, I-Ride trolley pass, servant project and a meal card. Come to Orlando July 4-8 to celebrate “Love is a Verb” with fellowship, worship and activities with Mennonites from around the country. Learn more at http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/registration/.
- (For February 5 bulletins) This is the last week to register for Hesston College’s Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series conference, When the Unthinkable Happens, February 17-19, with a bonus STAR-Lite training event February 20. Learn strategies for trauma awareness and resilience within a congregational and community context. A special performance by Ted & Comapny TheaterWorks on the evening of Febryar 18 will show how humor and laughter can also aid the healing process following trauma. Register by Friday, February 10, at hesston.edu/avds. Registration discounts are available for members of sponsor congregations and groups of two or more from the same church or organization.
- Registration for “Beyond Buried Treasure: Turning Hidden Resources into Assets” is open. This second joint MHS Mennonite Health Assembly and Mennonite Education Agency Education Leaders Gathering takes place March 9-12 in Jacksonville, Florida. For more information or to register, visit http://mhaelgconference.wordpress.com.
- Bethel College Alumni – the Bethel College Alumni Association invites you to join us on Saturday, February 11 from 6-8 pm at Play-Mor Lanes, 1105 Washington Rd, Newton KS. We will have lanes reserved for you to enjoy an evening of bowling. There is a registration fee of $10, with a portion of your fee used as a donation to Bethel College. For info and to register, please contact the Bethel College Alumni Relations office 316-284-5251 or email@example.com. Payment may be made in advance through the Alumni Relations office or at the event.
- Bethel College, North Newton, KS, 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 am: David Anderson Hooker, overview of/introduction to conference theme: Uniting for Social Change; Fri., 7 pm, Aubrey Streit Krug and Alicia Harris, environmental justice; Sat., 9:30 am, Michelle Armster, racial justice; Sat., 2 pm, Joel Barrett and David Seymour, LGBTQIA justice. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu/unitingforchange
- Black, Brown, and Mennonite: Lessons from the Chicana/o, Puerto Rican, and Black Freedom Movements for the Mennonite Church, March 30 – April 1, 2017 at Greencroft Community Center, Goshen, IN (https://www.goshen.edu/ciie/mmc-conference/) The work of the Minority Ministries Council (MMC) in the 1960s and 1970s was cutting edge and in many ways ahead of the rest of the Mennonite church during the civil rights era. But since the group disbanded in 1973, the denomination and its primary storytellers, historians, and church leaders have for the most part ignored this important story. We hope you will join us for this historic event as we honor the essential work of Black and Brown leaders who during the civil rights era marched, struggled, imagined, and believed that another church—an anti-racist church—was indeed possible. Registration is now open for this event!
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620