January 7, 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)

To support WDC ministries, contributions may be made HERE.


*New Beginnings


New Beginnings

by Jennie Wintermote, Director, Conference Resource Library

Across the sanctuary I heard the sound of knees hitting the floor with gentle thumps and thuds.  I looked up to see the question in the eyes of my 2-year-old as her Daddy explained that we were praying.  But we weren’t just praying, we were confessing to God the ways we have failed to live the Shalom life He calls us to.  It has been tradition for generations at First Mennonite Church in Newton, KS to include kneeling prayer as a part of the Communion service. While not a part of church tradition in the congregation where I was raised, I am drawn to this fading tradition linking me to past generations of the faithful.  The physical action signals to my body that there is something different happening during that time.  As I bowed my head, I found myself confessing my actions and inaction leading to brokenness, and rising with the assurance that by Christ’s life and death and I can begin anew.  Praise the Lord!

In this month of new beginnings, it was a rich blessing to celebrate Communion on the first Sunday of the new year.  As we begin a new year, we are reminded of the new creation we are in Christ.  I wonder how we all might seek God more faithfully in the new year.  What goals or resolutions might we set in our spiritual lives?  To spend more time in prayer?  Joining a small group or Bible study?  Making time and space to talk to children in our lives about faith?  Exploring new spiritual practices to see what might be life-giving?

If you’re looking for a place to start with a goal or resolution like this, we’ve got great resources to help you!  Contact Jennie at the Conference Resource Library for ideas at crlib@mennowdc.org or 316-283-6300 or simply stop by!

In order to encourage you as you seek God this year, the library is giving away 3 copies of The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People (Selections from the NIV).  Each copy will have the Participant’s Guide (31 sessions) by Randy Frazee.  Enter to win a copy by emailing crlib@mennowdc.org or leaving a comment on the “New Beginnings” post on the WDC facebook page.  Names will be drawn on January 13.

WDC announcements

  1. All are invited to a farewell reception for WDC Associate Conference Minister Byron Pellecer on Wednesday, January 22, at 10-11 am (come-and-go, with remarks at 10:30 am) at the WDC conference room, 2517 North Main Street, North Newton, KS.  Come and enjoy some refreshments, and join in as we offer our prayers and best wishes for Byron as he concludes his ministry with WDC at the end of January.
  1. Interested in learning more about creation care?  WDC will host a gathering at the WDC conference room (2517 North Main in North Newton, KS) for anyone interested in joining to watch upcoming webinars sponsored by Mennonite Creation Care Network, followed by conversation together:

– Thursday, January 9 at 12 noon –  Nurturing a Culture of Creation Care in Congregations. – For more information, see https://mennocreationcare.org/zoom-chat-sign-up/

– Thursday, February 27 at 6:30 p.m. – For more information, see Caring for climate: Beyond denial and despair 

Since these webinars are around mealtimes, you are invited to bring some “creation-friendly” finger-foods to share! Drinks will be provided.  (You can also watch these webinars on your own, or sign up to receive a link to a recording afterwards).

  1. WDC Resource Library request:  Churches, please consider sending a copy of your Christmas Program/Christmas Eve Service/Christmas Serviceto crlib@mennowdc.org or PO Box 306 North Newton, KS 7117.  Every year pastors and planning committees check the library for ideas, please share what you did this year to benefit WDC congregations next year!
  1. WDC Resource Commission request: Thank youto those who have responded. If you haven’t yet–Pastors/Secretaries/Christian Ed Directors–please take 5 minutes to fill out this survey to help us better serve the congregations of WDC by January 10.   https://forms.gle/vQsUxCortDF8UuJt9
  1. 2020 in the Resource Library: Worship Planning Resources  Each month, check the special display in the Resource Library for worship resources.  Featured in January:  Commentaries, litinanies, and other resources that follow the lectionary cycle–check out the list here: Liturgical Resources for Worship 2020.  Stop by or contact the library to have resources mailed to you.  crlib@mennowdc.orgor 316-283-6300
  1. Strangers in Town: WDC Immigration Task Force encourages you and others in your congregation to watch this 33-minute film about how immigrants in Garden City, Kansas are shaping that town in positive ways.  The free film can be found at:  https://filmfreeway.com/StrangersinTown .  This would be an excellent resource to get a conversation started about immigration and our neighbors who have made this land their home, too.
  1. The Youth Ministry Committee of Western District and South Central conferences presents… Youth Lead Now, a one-day workshop designed for high school youth to enrich their leadership skills and deepen faith. Using the adaptive leadership framework from the Kansas Leadership Center and well known spiritual practices, we will equip youth with skills to be leaders among their peers, in their churches, and in their communities.  Our hope is that congregations would partner with us by sending youth who have been affirmed for their leadership gifts or potential.
    Date: January 11, 2020
    Time: 9am to 4pm
    Location: Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton KS (Note this location change!)
    Registration Fee: $50 (scholarships available upon request).  High School Youth can register through the link:  https://forms.gle/fWQ2BVjybMVtzKsC8
  1. Western District Conference invites you to share a gift with WDC during this season, to help our congregations Witness & invite others to faith in Jesus Christ, Dwell in just & loving relationships, and Connect to God’s mission in the world.  As of December 31 we were $65,000 short of meeting our expenses for the year to date, so your generous gifts are invited to help close the gap towards WDC’s 2019 (fiscal year ending January 31, 2020) budget goal! You may make an online contribution hereor send a check to Western District Conference, PO Box 306, North Newton, KS 67117.  Thank you for your generosity!
  1. Kansas Leadership Center training grant in 2020! – WDC and South Central Conference are continuing a joint Leadership Transformation Grant from the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) in Wichita, KS.  This covers registration costs for a selected number of WDC and SCC members to attend adaptive leadership training programs at KLC in 2020.  (For specific program dates see http://www.kansasleadershipcenter.org). WDC especially encourages leaders of youth ministries, young adults, and WDC board/commission/committee members to apply for training, as well as any other interested WDC congregational members and leaders.  Please pass this on to others in your congregation, and note that 2020 programs are already filling up so applications should be submitted to WDC as soon as possible.  To learn more, see the attached application and information form.   Questions? Contact Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister at heidirk@mennowdc.orgor 316-283-6300.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Retreat registration is open!  You are now able to register for 2020 retreats at Camp Mennoscah at www.campmennoscah.org.  Summer youth camp registration will open at the beginning of February.
  1. Recruiting for summer staff continues!  Camp Mennoscah continues to search for amazing young adults to be part of our 2020 summer youth camp leadership (nature, music, crafts, lifeguards, office, grounds/maintenance).  The summer staff application can be found at campmennoscah.org.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 or olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.orgwith questions!

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Want to utilize your skills while learning about another culture? Walk together in mission with our partners around the world through an international service term. Explore opportunities at www.MennoniteMission.net/Serve.
  2. What will you do after high school? Be informed about your options! Come visit a current service unit during the Service Adventure preview weekend, Feb. 20–23, 2020. Contact Susan Nisly for more information: SusanN@MennoniteMission.net
  3. The Mennonite, Inc., invites your original submissions for our March 2020 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on The mystery and power of prayer.  https://themennonite.org/march-2020-call-submissions-mystery-power-prayer/
  4. Hesston College’s Martin Luther King (MLK) Day celebrationwill provide learning opportunities about diversity, equity and inclusion on-campus and in the community. Public events will take place leading up to and including MLK Day, Monday, January 20. Sunday, Jan. 19, Glen Guyton, executive director of Mennonite Church USA will speak at Hesston Mennonite Church, both in the 10:30 a.m. worship service and at a free community building workshop at 7 p.m. Visit www.hesston.edu/MLK for more information.
  5. Before Rosa Parks. Before Martin Luther King Jr. Before Nelson Mandela. There was Paul Robeson. Hesston College artist-in-residence and peace ambassador Tony Brown gives his MLK Day tribute to the 20th century civil rights activist Paul Robeson at 7 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 19, at Hesston Mennonite Church. I Go On Singing: Paul Robeson’s Life in Word and Song , will be narrated by Victor Hogstrom, President of KPTS Channel 8 in Wichita (PBS). Tickets are $12 for all adults, available at the Hesston College Bookstore in Erb Hall or at 620-327-8104, as well as at the door. Students college-age and younger are free. Visit www.hesston.edu/MLKfor more information.
  6. Bethel College’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration will take place at a different place and time than previous years (also different from some previously printed calendars). All are invited to Memorial Hall on Monday, Jan. 20, for activities starting at 2 p.m. (or come and go as your schedule allows) with an informal time of snacks and mingling, followed by special music by the Bethel Worship Center band, and a step dance performance by the Junior People of Color (POC) Step Team from Leavenworth. Michelle Vann of Wichita, an author, teacher, speaker, radio show host, blogger and active church and community member, will speak at 3 p.m., and the afternoon will end with a reception.

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.  

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