WDC Sprouts, June 16, 2020

WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE

SPROUTS

June 16, 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.

IN THIS ISSUE:

*Whiteness, Weeding and Watering

*Announcements

Whiteness, Weeding and Watering

by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister

During the past months of pandemic restrictions and stay-at-home orders, I have found renewal and refreshment through gardening.  In the midst of all the chaos and crisis of human society, gardening is a chance to be outside in the natural environment, breathe in fresh air, get much-needed exercise, nurture plants, and soak in the beauty of God’s creation. I also recognize that having the space to safely move about, freely breathe, and enjoy the out-of-doors is a privilege that many in the world do not have.  In recent weeks of national protest against racial injustice, ignited by the tragic death of George Floyd, my gardening has also become a time to ponder racism and my role in the movement for justice, hope and change.

As a white person, I believe that white people must do our own work of anti-racism.  We cannot expect people of color to do this on our behalf.  To begin this work, we must first acknowledge how easy it is to become defensive, or feel overcome by a sense of guilt and the realization of our own complicity in the insidious evil of racism and oppression.  For me, this is like confronting another reality in my garden: The tangle of weeds and grass with deeply embedded root systems that overtake the garden when it is left to the status quo (definition: “The existing state of affairs.”).   To promote racial justice, as with gardening, I must turn again and again to the difficult work of weeding in my own garden patch, to dig deep into the dirt of despair to uproot the apathy, ignorance and self-justification that hide comfortably beneath the surface of my life.  This is dirty, sweaty and painful work. And these are tenacious roots. Even when I think I have unearthed them, remnants still remain hidden and ready to sprout again when I am not paying attention.  Becoming an ally and advocate for racial justice is not just a one-time project that can be accomplished through attending one anti-racism training, or reading one book on white fragility – as important as these things are.   The work of unearthing white supremacy and systemic injustice must be supported by ongoing disciplines of truth-telling, confession, and self-evaluation.

I confess this struggle would be beyond my capacity, if it weren’t for the fact that it also brings opportunity to nurture truth, beauty, and goodness accompanied by divine power and hope.  For me, this is symbolized by the watering of the garden that I do with a hose connected to the well, and that God does – even more effectively – with the rain that falls from heaven.  Together, we shed tears of lament and love on the freshly tilled soil, we pour out patience on tender seedlings struggling to grow, we soak the garden with fresh perspectives that produce fruitfulness, and celebrate the rainbows of color that dance as water glistens in the light.

The garden of justice is worth the hard work of weeding, and thirsty for the joyful gift of watering.  As the prophet Isaiah wrote, “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may spring up, and let it cause righteousness sprout up also; I the Lord have created it.” (Isaiah 45:8)  “For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.”  (Isaiah 61:11)

———————-

Whiteness (blancura), Weeding (quitar la maleza) y Watering (riego)

 –  de Heidi Regier Kreider, Ministra de la conferencia

Durante los últimos meses de restricciones pandémicas y órdenes de quedarse en casa, he encontrado renovación y revitalización por medio del cuido de un jardín. En medio de todo el caos y la crisis de la sociedad humana, la jardinería es una oportunidad de estar afuera en el medio ambiente natural, respirar aire fresco, hacer ejercicio muy necesario, cultivar plantas y sumergirse en la belleza de la creación de Dios. También reconozco que tener el espacio para moverme con seguridad, respirar libremente y disfrutar al aire libre es un privilegio que muchos en el mundo no lo tienen. En las últimas semanas de protesta nacional contra la injusticia racial, encendidas por la trágica muerte de George Floyd, mi jardinería también se ha convertido en un momento para reflexionar sobre el racismo y mi papel en el movimiento por la justicia, la esperanza y el cambio.

Como una persona blanca, creo que la gente blanca debe hacer nuestro propio trabajo de lucha contra el racismo. No podemos esperar que las personas de color hagan esto en nuestro nombre. Para comenzar este trabajo, primero debemos reconocer que tan fácil es ponernos a la defensiva o sentirnos abrumado por un sentimiento de culpa y la realización de nuestra propia complicidad en el mal insidioso del racismo y la opresión. Para mí, esto es como enfrentar otra realidad en mi jardín: la maraña de malezas y hierba con sistemas de raíces profundamente incrustados que invaden el jardín cuando se deja al statu quo (definición: “El estado actual de las cosas”). Para promover la justicia racial, al igual que con la jardinería, debo recurrir una y otra vez al trabajo difícil de escardar en mi propio jardín, cavar profundamente en la tierra de la desesperación para desarraigar la apatía, la ignorancia y la auto-justificación que se esconden cómodamente debajo de la superficie de mi vida. Este es un trabajo sucio, sudoroso y doloroso. Y estas raíces son tenaces. Incluso cuando creo que los he descubierto, los restos permanecen ocultos y listos para brotar nuevamente cuando no estoy prestando atención. Convertirse en un aliado y abogar por la justicia racial no es solo un proyecto único que se puede lograr asistiendo a una capacitación contra el racismo o leyendo un libro sobre la fragilidad blanca, tan importante como estas cosas. El trabajo de desenterrar la supremacía blanca y la injusticia sistémica debe estar respaldado por disciplinas continuas de decir la verdad, confesión y autoevaluación.

Confieso que esta lucha estaría más allá de mi capacidad, si no fuera por el hecho de que también brinda la oportunidad de cultivar la verdad, la belleza y la bondad acompañadas de poder y esperanza divinos. Para mí, esto está simbolizado por el riego del jardín que hago con una manguera conectada al pozo, y que Dios lo hace, aún más efectivamente, con la lluvia que cae del cielo. Juntos, derramamos lágrimas de lamento y amor en el suelo recién labrado, derramamos paciencia en las plántulas tiernas que luchan por crecer, empapamos el jardín con nuevas perspectivas que producen frutos y celebramos los arcoíris de colores que bailan mientras el agua brilla en la luz.

El jardín de la justicia merece el trabajo arduo de desmalezar y sediento del regalo alegre del riego. Como el profeta Isaías escribió: “Ábranse, oh cielos, y derramen su justicia.  Que la tierra se abra de par en par, para que broten juntas la salvación y la justicia.  Yo, el Señor, las he creado” (Isaías 45: 8) “El Señor Soberano mostrará su justicia a las naciones del mundo. ¡Todos lo alabarán! Su justicia será como un huerto a comienzos de la primavera, cuando brotan las plantas por todas partes.” (Isaías 61:11)

WDC announcements

  1. WDC Assembly Keynote Speaker: Danny Carroll R, child of immigrants, Bible professor and author of several books on God’s people on the move, will be our keynote speaker.  He is bilingual, so he has graciously agreed to record his addresses in both Spanish and English.  During our hour of conversation over Zoom with Danny on August 1, 3:30 pm, he will speak in Spanish.  English speakers will have a chance to practice listening carefully to an interpreter, as our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters do much of the time.
  1. Assembly Video Snapshot How To Video:  WDC Congregations, Commissions, Committees, and Task Forces – still not sure how to make an Assembly snapshot video or what to include?  Watch Kathy’s brief video at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkYTwt3c7SY&list=PL6aO7e884ZT5d9gHzyrfAucccOFYYd_M5&index=5&t=3s for helpful ideas and how to’s.
  1. Resources on Racial Justice:  The Resource Library has suggestions for growing and learning about the issues of racism and white privilege facing our nation.  Check out the lists on our online catalog (under the “Lists” tab and the 2020 Resource Lists Heading) or here: Racism & White Privilege Education 6/9/20NEW THIS WEEK Racism & White Privilege Education (Kids) 6/16/20 Please contact the library to borrow materials or log into the online catalog to reserve them.
  1. Resource Library – Summer Reading Programs–Running June 1-August 15
  • Adults–This year you’re invited to read any title in our collectionand submit a brief review.  Each review will be a ticket into our prize drawings for books, giftcards, and more.  Reviews may be submitted at https://forms.gle/r4kpXQBQqZPuGjiw8, posted on the WDC Resource Library FaceBook page, or given to Library Director, Jennie Wintermote.
  • Children–Download a reading log hereand mark off a box for each book you read (picture books) or every 15 pages (for chapter books) or contact the library for a copy.  Turn in your reading log after August 15 for fun prizes.  (Turn in by mailing, dropping off, or sending a picture of your log to crlib@mennowdc.org).  We would appreciate it if you register your child(ren) at https://forms.gle/mgPPft74HBDs9ZMu6 so we can have enough prizes ready!
  1. KLC Leadership (Virtual) Lunch: Thursday, June 25 from 12-1:15 pm.  To request a Zoom link for this virtual meeting, email: wdc@mennowdc.org.  Each month a leadership competency is presented and we will practice teaching it to the group.  You are welcome if you have attended a Kansas Leadership Center training or if you are curious to learn more.
  1. 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 wdc@mennowdc.org!

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Take a look!  Summer staff are sharing camp with you from a distance!  Videos are being posted on the Camp Mennoscah Facebook page daily.  You’ll see some typical activities of camp and some of the wild, creative fun we strive for in a week of camp.  A Facebook account is not needed, though they will try to get you to sign up.  Just click “not now” at the bottom of the pop-up box.  You can get to the Facebook page from www.campmennoscah.orgusing the button at the top left corner.  Send us your thoughts!
  1. Camp Mennoscah is open to a limited number of individuals and families 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!
  1. Family Weekend at Camp Mennoscah!  Camp Mennoscah is inviting you to join in a modified Family Weekend on July 18-19.  Many of the same activities like crafts and s’mores will be offered but adjusted to fit life during a pandemic.  The pool is closed for the summer, but the river is still as splashable as ever.  Each family group will be assigned their own bathroom.  Register online at campmennoscah.orgor call Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290.
  1. In the midst of the cancellation of in-person summer youth camps, you still have some great opportunities to support the mission of Camp Mennoscah!
  • By praying for the staff, volunteers, and campers to find creative ways to connect with one another this summer.
  • By making a general fund gift to support creative summer connection content and to sustain camp operations. Maybe even a little extra this year, if you are able to do so!
  • By encouraging others to remain involved in camp’s ministry.

It is a blessing to have your support during this unique year! If you have questions about giving options, please contact Michael Unruh at 620-382-6560 or michael.unruh@campmennoscah.org.

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Join the growing culture of discipleship in the church! Save your spot in the next Missional Discipleship Initiative cohort. Visit MennoniteMission.net/MDI and sign up for the next MDI cycle, starting Sept. 1!
  1. Herald Press discount offer!  This Friday is Juneteenth (also known as Freedom Day)! Celebrate with us as we remember June 19,1865, the day emancipation reached Galveston, Texas, and the remaining enslaved Black people were freed, nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed to formally end slavery.  We’re celebrating by highlighting some incredible books written by Black authors. These titles are a great addition to your reading list if you are working to expand your understanding of systemic racism in church and society. SAVE 40% on these titles with the discount code JUNE.  This discount is for U.S. customers only.  Available through Friday, June 19, 2020.  https://app.robly.com/archive?id=cdb35e6896fa785642347acd0e021eac&v=true&utm_content=06adc99efce4ebd29444d12396a3486e&utm_campaign=Celebrating%20Juneteenth%21&utm_source=Robly.com&utm_medium=email

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

 

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