June 19, 2018

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)


*Making New Friends


Making New Friends

     by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister, Texas-Based

Several years ago, while walking and praying around the neighborhood in Wichita, KS, I stopped at a local café. I was submerged in my reading, “The Art of Neighboring” when “Skip,” a total stranger, asked about my book.  This was the entry point to our 2 hour conversation. I learned a lot about my city from my new friend.

In the meantime, at our church plant initiative, we were reflecting on Luke 9:1-6. Out of these reflections “Come and see, go and tell” became our motto and our missional approach and the driving force that helped us to connect and build relationships with our neighbors. Under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, it became also the invitation to experience God afresh and Christian faith in new ways.

Our house churches emphasized the importance of building rapport with friends and inviting acquaintances and neighbors to come, see and experience God’s presence. We used different evangelistic and discipleship making approaches, familiar to our Mennonite tradition, like friendly and informal conversations, potlucks and outdoor activities like games.

At this point, church life and corporate worship were decentralized from a building setting to more organic practice and exposure, like small groups. Such practice encompassed communal hermeneutics, discipleship, worship, public witnessing and English classes for Spanish speaking friends.

We came across with a lot of people full of dreams and seeking opportunities to be productive and successful. However, many of them were lacking skills or higher education or were undocumented which hindered such goals and dreams. In many instances despite their skills and education, national, state or local structural systems restricted their opportunities.

The effect of economic recession, and the tough and changing immigration laws, were and still are the leading cause for immigrants not to be able to find steady jobs or settling in in one specific place.  Despite the adversities they faced, we saw God’s hand at work in their lives and our ceaseless prayers were and still are with them.

Consequently, it is imperative to pay attention to the movement of the Holy Spirit and to be willing to meet our neighbors, regardless of their condition and status, and to be a prophetic voice for those who are marginalized, especially by heretical hermeneutics.

How can we start? Consider having a cup of coffee or tea in a public space and then seek the opportunity to have a friendly conversation.  The rest is up to God.

Haciendo Nuevos Amigos
 by Byron Pellecer

Mientras caminaba y oraba por el vecindario de Wichita, KS me detuve en un café. Comencé a leer y de repente me ví sumergido en la lectura del libro, “El Arte de hacer Vecinos”, cuando “Skip,” hasta ese momento todo un extraño, me preguntó sobre lo que leía. Este fue el punto de partida para nuestra conversación que duró dos horas. Aprendí mucho sobre mi ciudad en labios de mi nuevo amigo.

Mientras tanto, en la iglesia que estábamos iniciando, reflexionábamos sobre Lucas 9: 1-6. De esas reflexiones surgió el lema “Ven y ve, ve y cuenta” y que a su vez se convirtió en el enfoque misional y la fuerza motriz que nos ayudó a conectarnos y a construir relaciones con nuestros vecinos. Bajo la guía y el poder del Espíritu Santo, tal enfoque se convirtió también en la invitación para experimentar a Dios en formas frescas y para experimentar la fe cristiana en nuevas maneras.

Las iglesias en los hogares enfatizaron la importancia de construir una buena relación con amigos e invitar a conocidos y vecinos a que vengan, vean y experimenten la presencia de Dios. Usamos diferentes métodos de evangelización y discipulado, familiares para nuestra tradición Menonita, como conversaciones amistosas e informales, convivios y actividades al aire libre con juegos.

A este punto, la vida de la iglesia y el culto corporativo se descentralizaron del uso de un edificio a una práctica y exposición más orgánicas, como grupos pequeños. Tal práctica abarcó una hermenéutica comunitaria, haciendo discipulado, la adoración, el testimonio público y clases de inglés para personas que solo hablaban español.

Nos encontramos con muchas personas llenas de sueños y buscando oportunidades para ser productivos y exitosos. Sin embargo, muchos de ellos carecían de destrezas manuales o de educación superior o eran indocumentados la cual les obstaculizó tales metas y sueños. En muchos casos, a pesar de tener las habilidades y la educación, los sistemas estructurales ya sean nacionales, estatales o locales les impidieron que tuvieran acceso a esas oportunidades.

Los efectos de la recesión económica, las duras y cambiantes leyes de inmigración fueron y siguen siendo la causa principal de que los inmigrantes no puedan encontrar empleos estables ni establecerse en un lugar específico. A pesar de las adversidades que enfrentaban, vimos la mano de Dios obrando en sus vidas y nuestras oraciones incesantes fueron y siguen estando con ellos.

En consecuencia, es imperativo prestar atención al mover del Espíritu Santo y al estar dispuesto a conocer a nuestros vecinos, independientemente de la condición y estado migratorio, y ser la voz profética de aquellos que están marginados, especialmente, por una hermenéutica herética.

¿Cómo podemos comenzar? Considere tomar una taza de café o té en un lugar público y luego, procure entablar una conversación amistosa con una persona, el resto depende de Dios.

WDC announcements

  1. Workshops for right and left-brained folks at the Western District Annual Assembly July 27-28 include:  Centering Prayer, Praying through Art, What is the Good News:  A Biblical Overview, Journey Forward (follow-up from MC USA convention), and Ethical Investing, among others.  That’s a lot of bang for your registration bucks!  For more information and to register, go to:  https://mennowdc.org/annual-assembly/#2018annualAssembly
  1. Scholarship assistance is available to help persons with financial need to attend the WDC Annual Assembly.  To request a $40 scholarship (this amount is 1/2 of the registration fee), contact the WDC office:  wdc@mennowdc.orgor 316-283-6300.  Scholarships available until funds depleted.
  1. The next Leadership Lunch will be on June 28 from 12-1:30 pm at the WDC office.  The topic is:  “Act Experimentally (Intervene Skillfully)”.  All are welcome to attend this conversation on Kansas Leadership Center concepts, even if you haven’t attended a KLC training.  Bring your own lunch.  (To join this meting by Zoom video conference: Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/126502259, Or iPhone one-tap:  US: +16699006833,,126502259#  or +16468769923, 126502259# Or Telephone:  Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):  US: +1 669 900 6833  or +1 646 876 9923, Meeting ID: 126 502 259
  1. Youth ministry news:  Dwight Regier (Youth Ministry Network Team Leader for WDC and South Central Conference) attended the recent gathering in Kansas City of MC USA youth leaders at Gathering Live, a meeting for worship, connection and discussion on the theme “Encountering God: Faith That Matters.”  Rainbow Mennonite Church hosted worship as part of the gathering.  To read more about it see http://mennoniteusa.org/news/being-open-and-honest-about-the-state-of-youth-ministry-at-the-gathering-live/.  Also, videos of the sessions can be viewed on The Gathering Place Facebook page. ad additional youth ministry resources can be found at Anabaptist Faith Formation website.
  1. Celebrate World Refugee Day through informative booths, games, food, music, and other free fun activities for all ages.  WDC Immigration Task Force encourages you to attend this Wednesday, June 20, 4-8 pm, Saint Christopher’s Episcopal Church, 2211 S Bluff St, Wichita, KS 67218. This event is sponsored by St Francis Migration Ministries. (Flyer attached.)
  1. Care for Immigrants and Refugees:  WDC Immigration Task Force invites anyone from WDC congregations to the Immigrant Family Support Network Forum, “Welcoming the Stranger:  Individuals and Churches” on Saturday, June 30, 9 am-12:30  pm at First Presbyterian Church, 525 N Broadway St, Wichita, KS 67214.  Information about a program of accompaniment of immigrants based on a model from St. Louis and congregational experiences in providing care for refugees, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes and sanctuary will be presented.   Shalom Mennonite Church (Newton) representatives will share their church’s immigration ministry story.  For more details, email:  FEhmke51@gmail.com. (See attached documents.)

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. The Whale playground at Camp Mennoscah is so very close to completion!  The (hopefully) last work days are June 22-23, beginning at 9:00 a.m. each day with final dirt preparation, landscape fabric, and spreading mulch. Please bring a sack lunch.  Contact camp at 620-297-3290 if you’re interested and let us know you’ll be there!   Thank you for helping us get the Whale built!
  1. Family Weekend!  Camp Mennoscah’s weekend of camp activities and relaxing fellowship is June 30-July 1.  You are invited!  The schedule is light but you have a chance to do all the usual camp activities like swimming, crafts, campfire, and river play.  Enjoy the weekend how you like.  Register online at campmennoscah.orgor call us at 620-297-3290!  We’ll see you for fun and s’mores!
  2. Summer youth camps at Camp Mennoscah are in full swing!  We’re having a blast with our summer theme of Beyond Belief: The Universe of God and all the wonderful campers.  There are still openings for most of our camps!  Senior Highers–keep registering on the wait list so that we know you want to come.  We’re busy finding more places for you.  If we can’t find you a space, we will return all fees paid.  Register online at campmennoscah.org!  Our summer youth camps are a hoot!

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