July 28, 2015

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)


*Reflections on Mennonite World Conference

*Coming Events

*Parish Paper


Reflections on Mennonite World Conference

     by Christina Litwiller, Pastor at Salina Mennonite Church, Salina, KS

As I searched the enormous room looking for the circle of chairs labeled H373, I wondered what my assigned friendship group would be like.  Upon arrival at my destination, I was greeted by Raja, a pastor from India, and Benjamin, a young adult from Germany who spoke at least four languages.  We were soon joined by Ali and Bill from Pennsylvania and Jorge and Anna from Mexico.  Next to arrive was Virgo from Indonesia who is currently pastoring in California.  Dave, Marlin, and Sara lived nearby and were there just for Tuesday.  Louise, Paul, and Dave joined us only on Saturday.

As our time together began, Bill moved to sit next to Jorge so he could translate our conversation into Spanish.  Benjamin took the lead, guiding our discussion on walking with God in doubt and conviction, the theme of the day.  Subsequent discussions were about walking with God in conflict and reconciliation, in autonomy and community, and in receiving and giving.  We told personal stories, talked about our home congregations, stated our opinions, struggled to understand each other, laughed together, and shared prayer requests.  We ended each session by joining hands and praying the Lord’s Prayer together, each of us in our own language.

These group discussions, along with conversations at mealtime and during shuttle rides between my hotel and the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, represent the heart of my experience at Mennonite World Conference (MWC) in Harrisburg last week.  I connected with old friends from childhood, college, teaching, working at Provident Bookstore, seminary, pastoring in Kansas, and traveling to Europe and Israel/Palestine.  New acquaintances from Canada asked me about the decisions made by Mennonite Church USA in Kansas City.  A woman from a German colony in Paraguay marveled that I, a woman, could pastor a church.  She talked about the changes in their congregation as they now worshiped one Sunday a month in Spanish instead of German.  Our shared convictions of giving glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; reading the Bible together; pursuing shalom; worshiping and celebrating together; and being a worldwide family tied us together even as we were aware of differences among us.

My MWC experience also included vibrant worship and singing in many languages, challenging sermons, informative workshops, awe-inspiring art exhibits, a service project of cutting comforter squares, volunteering in the bookstore, and a day trip to Manhattan (the one in New York).  You can experience Mennonite World Conference by visiting http://pa2015.mwc-cmm.org. I encourage you to spend an hour or two or twenty viewing pictures, watching videos of the worship services, and reading blogs and articles.  This might motivate you to begin planning to attend Mennonite World Conference in Indonesia in 2021.  I hope to see you there.

Coming Events

August 17 – Heidi Regier Kreider begins as WDC Conference Minister

October 30-31 – WDC Annual Assembly, Bethel College, North Newton, KS

Parish Paper

The August issue of Parish Paper, entitled “How to Enhance the Ministry of Associate Pastors” can now be viewed at:  https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/.

WDC Announcements

1.  New items available at the WDC Library:  Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church, Reggie McNeal (a book recommended by Clarence Rempel); Ending Well, Starting Strong: Your Personal Pastorate Start-Up Workshop, Roy M. Oswald (CDs and booklet); And God Spoke to Abraham, Fleming Rutledge; 2 new Believers Church Bible Commentaries:  Galations and Lamentations/Song of Songs

2.  Hopeful Blues, a 5 piece instrumental ensemble from Hope Mennonite Church, Wichita KS is inviting you to a concert and CD launch August 9 at Hope Mennonite Church, 868 N Maize Road, Wichita. The concert will be informal and include an ice cream social for all ages starting at 7pm. Many of the selections performed originate in the MC-USA conference hymnals and songbooks, ranging from traditional to gospel to jazz.  Hopeful Blues has been invited to perform as the worship ensemble for Western District Conference in Newton Oct 30-31.  Donations will be accepted to cover costs of production, enabling all sales proceeds to be charitable. CD’s will be available for sale and will benefit Camp Mennoscah, for refurbishing and replacing musical instruments for campers of all ages.

3.  Want Your Church to Run Deep and Wide?   “I want skeptics to doubt their disbelief.  I want believers to believe deeper. I want people who don’t own a Bible to leave committed to finding one.  I want cultural Christians to dust theirs off and start reading them again.”   This passion drives Andy Stanley as he explains North Point’s spiritual formation model, a strategy to reach mature believers and the unchurched/dechurched through compelling preaching and programming. Take a look at Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend by Stanley, available at the WDC Resource Library.**We’re happy to mail resources upon request!  Contact us at crlib@mennowdc.org / 316-283-6300. Search at Conference Resource Library.

4.  Join us at West Zion for a discipleship workshop with Marvin Lorenzana of Mennonite Mission Network on Sept. 12, 9:00-noon.  Marvin will focus on how we grow as disciples of Jesus in the context of Missional Discipleship Groups, a form of small group.  Lunch will be provided.  Please register online at: http://goo.gl/forms/rcF3DMOedv (or on the West Zion church website).  Marvin will also lead SS and bring the message on Sept.13 at West Zion. West Zion Mennonite is located at 101 S. Washington, Moundridge, KS, 620-345-8143.

5.  Camp Mennoscah Camp Sing!  Hundreds of campers and volunteers have spent the summer singing silly songs, praise songs, and other ridiculously great songs.  Everyone is invited to come to the Camp Sing at 6pm at Grace Hill Mennonite Church on August 9 to re-sing all these songs (or listen to the joyful cacophony), have generic pop and popcorn, and raise funds for toilets for the new bath houses.  An offering will be taken for the toilets which cost $250 each.  Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 with questions. Come share in the joyful noise!

6.  Camp Mennoscah’s Mental Health Spiritual Retreat for individuals, family, and friends affected by mental illness is Sept. 6-7.  The theme is Power Up! and activities include fellowship, worship, music, speakers, and a hayrack ride.  A nurse will be on site for this retreat.  Scholarships are available.  For scholarship information, contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 or office@campmennoscah.org.  A brochure can be found online at www.campmennoscah.org in Retreats.

7.  Free with a bit of elbow grease!  Work & Play Camp will start with Camp Mennoscah’s annual meeting on September 20 (and the unveiling of the new disc golf course) and run through the 23rd.  Donations welcome, no camp fees apply.  We work, we chat, we have coffee and snacks.  Camp staff will have tasks for all skills and abilities–you choose your project and how much you want to work. Join us for a day or offer to stay longer!  Contact us at office@campmennoscah.org or 620-297-3290.

8.  Thank you, campers, volunteers, construction workers, and camp folks!  It was a delightful summer full of fun, a bit of sweat and stink, a modicum of silliness, and worship in all forms.  Camp Mennoscah staff thinks you guys are the greatest and we can’t wait to see you again!

Mennonite Church Announcements

Share the Mennonite World Conference experience with your friends and congregation!  A highlight video from Global Assembly last week is now available on our website:  mwc-cmm.org.  Check out the best moments from worship, speakers, service projects, the Mennonite World Cup, and more.  And while you’re there, make sure you sign up to receive information about Indonesia 2021 – it’s never too soon to start planning our next family reunion!

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