July 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)

We invite your continuing support for WDC! Contributions may be made HERE.


*Questions for 2020:  What is an Anabaptist Christian?


Questions for 2020:  What is an Anabaptist Christian?

by Jennie Wintermote, WDC Resource Library Director

In the popular booklet “What is an Anabaptist Christian?” by Palmer Becker (published by Mennonite Mission Network and available on their website), Becker writes that the core values of Anabaptist Christians can be summarized in the following three statements:

  1. Jesus is the center of our faith.
  2. Community is the center of our lives.
  3. Reconciliation is the center of our work.

You can read the booklet or Becker’s full-length book (Anabaptist Essentials: 10 Signs of a Unique Christian Faith) for a detailed exploration of these statements, but I wonder what these values look like in practice in our current time of global pandemic, increasing recognition of racial injustice, and political polarization.

On page 9 of the booklet, Becker writes, “The New Testament church provided an alternate way of living to both the religious and political realities of that day.”  How might our congregations provide an alternate way of living?  How are we finding new ways to ground ourselves in Jesus?  What does community look like in the midst of separation, isolation, and division?  How do we reorient our work toward reconciliation when life looks and feels so different (and out of control)?

I certainly don’t have any answers to these questions, but I DO think that as Anabaptist Christians, we have light to offer a dark and fearful world.  How can we model a life centered on Jesus, lived in community, and always seeking reconciliation?

In my own context I think of the good work churches are doing to connect in worship, and through Bible study and small groups that seek to continue forming individuals as disciples of Jesus (and I have plenty of suggestions of resources to recommend to help with this in a variety of settings!)  I think about new ways of bringing us together in community when we are apart–technology is a wonderful tool, but even a simple phone call or letter, just to check in and to say “you are remembered” helps build community and remind others of their place in community and of their beloved cherished-ness.  Finally, there is much that is broken in our world; reconciliation is needed within families, communities and nationally as we recognize the destruction present.  If we see this as our work, how might we join God in bringing lasting change and wholeness?

I know there is so much uncertainty in our lives, but what would it mean if we continue to ground ourselves in the idea that: Jesus is the center of our faith, community is the center of our lives, and reconciliation is the center of our work?


Preguntas para 2020: ¿Qué es un cristiano anabautista?

De Jennie Wintermote, Directora de la Biblioteca de Recursos de la WDC

En el folleto popular “¿Qué es un cristiano anabautista?” de Palmer Becker (publicado por Mennonite Mission Network y disponible en su sitio web), Becker escribe que los valores centrales de los cristianos anabautistas se pueden resumir en las tres declaraciones siguientes:

  1. Jesús es el centro de nuestra fe.
  2. La comunidad es el centro de nuestras vidas.
  3. La reconciliación es el centro de nuestro trabajo.

Se puede leer el folleto o el libro completo de Becker (Anabaptist Essentials: 10 Signs of a Unique Christian Faith {Esenciales anabautistas: 10 señas de una fe cristiana única) para una exploración detallada de estas declaraciones, pero me pregunto cómo se verán estos valores en la práctica en nuestro tiempo actual de la pandemia global, aumentando reconocimiento de la injusticia racial y la polarización política.

En la página 9 del folleto, Becker escribe: “La iglesia del Nuevo Testamento proporcionó una forma alternativa de vivir a las realidades religiosas y políticas de ese día.” ¿Cómo podrían nuestras congregaciones aportar una forma de vida alternativa? ¿Cómo estamos encontrando nuevas formas de asentarnos en Jesús? ¿Cómo se ve la comunidad en medio de la separación, el aislamiento y la división? ¿Cómo reorientamos nuestro trabajo hacia la reconciliación cuando la vida se ve y se siente tan diferente (y fuera de control)?

Ciertamente no tengo ninguna respuesta a estas preguntas, pero SÍ creo que, como cristianos anabautistas, tenemos luz para ofrecer a un mundo oscuro y temeroso. ¿Cómo podemos formar una vida centrada en Jesús, vivida en comunidad y buscando siempre la reconciliación?

En mi propio contexto, pienso en el trabajo bueno que las iglesias hacen para conectarse en la adoración, y por el estudio de la Biblia y grupos pequeños que tratan de continuar la formación de individuos como discípulos de Jesús (y tengo muchas sugerencias de recursos para recomendar para ayudar con esto en una variedad de entornos!) Pienso en formas nuevas de unirnos en la comunidad cuando estamos separados: la tecnología es una herramienta maravillosa, pero incluso una simple llamada telefónica o carta, solo para registrarse y decir “te recuerdan” ayuda a construir una comunidad y les recuerda a los demás su lugar en la comunidad y su apreciación amada. Finalmente, hay mucho en nuestro mundo que está roto; la reconciliación es necesaria dentro de las familias, las comunidades y a nivel nacional, ya que reconocemos la destrucción presente. Si vemos esto como nuestro trabajo, ¿cómo podríamos unirnos a Dios para lograr un cambio duradero y la integridad?

Sé que hay mucha incertidumbre en nuestras vidas, pero ¿qué significaría si continuáramos apoyándonos en la idea de que: Jesús es el centro de nuestra fe, la comunidad es el centro de nuestras vidas y la reconciliación es el centro de nuestro trabajo?

WDC announcements

  1. Creative WDC Assembly Worship: Friends from Texas who committed to sharing their gifts of music, dance, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, and more in-person, will still lead worship via YouTube Live.  Because this worship will be pre-recorded, your congregation may decide to join for an August 2, 10 am CT “Assembly Worship Watch Party” in small groups or in your own homes.  Or you may share this video with your congregation during your normal worship time.  If you join the watch party, we look forward to seeing each other’s “chat” comments of “Amen!”, “Hallelujah”, and “Praise the Lord!” as we worship together virtually.  We also look forward to your Assembly donation this year.  Once Assembly expenses are paid, all other donations go into our WDC Hope Fund to assist congregations in need.  More information at:  https://mennowdc.org/2020-wdc-annual-assembly/.
  1. Attention, church offices – for the WDC Assembly 2020, each church must submit their church membership number (as of January 1, 2020) and their delegate names by July 12 at:  https://mennowdc.org/online-delegate-list-form/.
  1. Looking forward to the Women and Girls Retreat at Camp Mennoscah? The Annual Spring Supper? Help make these events possible by joining the Western District Women in Mission Executive Council! There are nine open positions including: vice president, secretary, treasurer, one position on the Women and Girls Retreat Committee, two positions on the Communications Team, and three positions on the Nominating Committee. A wide variety of openings means we have a place for you and your unique talents and interests. You can help ensure the future of WDWM programming by volunteering for one of these positions.  If you are interested in supporting the mission of WDWM by filling one of these roles, please email westerndistrictwomen@gmail.com.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Camp Mennoscah will be reordering tee shirts!  Get your order in no later than July 9 by calling 620-297-3290 or emailing office@campmennoscah.org.  Only a high demand will allow us to reorder tee shirts a third/additional time.  Now is your chance!
  1. Camp Mennoscah is open to a limited number of individuals, families, and groups for both days and overnights.  Reservations must be made in advance.  Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 for further information.  We are excited to make this sacred space available to you!

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Hundreds of people tuned in to last week’s Mennonite Church USA’s live online panel discussion entitled “Race, Church and Change”.  Hosted by MC USA leadership, this important conversation addressed the impact of racism on the church and approaches for dismantling it.  If you missed the live event, be sure to watch the video here:  http://mennoniteusa.org/leadership-development/webinars/
  1. Join Mennonite Church USA leadership for another live event addressing racism in the church.  We are pleased to welcome back our panelists for this follow-up discussion, addressing key questions such as:
  • What role does racial healing and reconciliation play in being anti-racist?
  • How do we begin a conversation about white supremacy?
  • What would it look like for MC USA congregations to practice racial reparations?

Join us Thursday, July 23 at 5:30 pm CT.  Register at:  https://mcusa.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JKz_I1rpS76YxM8QwSvRzg

  1. Consider being an MVS participant for the 2020-2021 MVS year! The application deadline has been extended until the end of July. Visit MennoniteMission.net/MVS to learn more and apply!
  1. Please pray for churches who are meeting virtually for their annual conference assemblies this month, including those in Virginia, Mountain States, South Central and Western District Conferences.
  1. Menno Snapshots  Tax Day (July 15) is one of Sylvia Shirk’s favorite annual events because it gives her the opportunity to stand on her Anabaptist faith as a war tax resister. Read more in her blog, “If you pray for peace, why pay for war?” http://mennoniteusa.org/menno-snapshots/why-pay-for-war/

    6.  #BringThePeace  Save the date! Mennonite Church USA will be hosting Race, Church and Change, Part 2, a churchwide discussion on the impact of racism on the church and meaningful approaches for dismantling it, on Thursday, July 23 at 3:30 p.m.PDT/4:30 p.m. MDT/5:30 p.m. CDT/6:30 p.m. EDT. Register here to participate via Zoom: mennoniteusa.org/racewebinar-part2

    7.  #BringThePeace  The African American Mennonite Association, a constituency group of Mennonite Church USA, has called upon fellow Mennonite congregations to address racism. http://mennoniteusa.org/news/aama/

  1. Menno Media resources:
  • Leader magazine special edition offered for free: The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world and the church into uncharted territory. How can our Anabaptist biblical interpretation, faith, and practice inform a long-term strategy for ministry and mission for such a time as this? Normally MennoMedia’s Leader magazine publishes quarterly in print. To meet the needs of congregations at this time, MennoMedia is putting out this extra issue for church leaders around COVID-19. This issue is FREE to anyone. Download from the MennoMedia store at https://store.mennomedia.org/Leader-Special-Edition-June-2020-Download-P5816.aspx
  • Adaptive Church Webinar:  “Expanding Our Witness: Equipping Ministry for Anti-Racist Change” is the next Adaptive Church webinar series from MennoMedia at 1 p.m. Central Time on Thursday, July 9.  Registration is available at bit.ly/ExpandingOurWitness. Here’s the Facebook posting about the event on the MennoMedia page https://www.facebook.com/MennoMedia/photos/a.187449814646374/3208281895896469.
  1. Transitional Ministry Training will be offered online October 5-7, sponsored by Amigo Centre.  For more information, see attached flyer or register online at http://tmt.amigocentre.org.  Registration due-date is September 1, 2020.

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