WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
June 2, 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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Clarence’s Clarion Call
Clarence’s Clarion Call – Fix the Church? Fix the World?
by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister
As movie titles get shorter, book titles seem to be getting longer. Kingdom Come: Why We Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church and What We Should Do Instead by Reggie McNeal caught my attention. McNeal suggests that from the time of the Reformation the church has been preoccupied with fixing the church. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and Menno Simons were all in that mode. “Let’s fix the church and the world will get better.” Fixing the church has often been accompanied by a fracturing and fragmentation of the church. Fixing the church focuses on what’s wrong with us. “We’re getting old. We hardly have any children. We can’t meet our budget. It’s harder to get volunteers.” This inward fixation hardly generates a welcoming spirit.
McNeal commends a new paradigm. “Let’s fix the world and the church will get better.” The prophet Jeremiah affirms the same. “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (29:7). Jesus’ prayer encouraged this outward focus as well, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The self-preserving, self-seeking church might consider Jesus’ warning, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35).
What does “fixing the world look like?” First Mennonite Church, Newton, just framed up a house in their parking lot for a firefighter’s family who lost their home to a raging forest fire in Black Forest, Colorado. The link to the need in Colorado came through Mennonite Disaster Service. The framing was delivered and set up in a week. It took two Sunday’s of testimonies to share all the blessings that washed back over the church.
Trinity Mennonite Church, Hillsboro, KS met with city and school leaders to discern needs in the community. After listening and ten days of discerning prayer, they committed to providing a nutritious lunch for children and youth, Monday through Friday, for the summer. They applied for a WDC “Loaves and Fishes” Grant of $500 to help with that. Word has gotten out and financial support from the community is coming in.
We are blessed by God to be a blessing. It began with God’s call to Abraham. “I will bless you….and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:1-3). The call and blessing continue through the church. “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (II Corinthians 9:8). The specific “good work” referenced in this text was famine relief, food for those without enough.
May our churches keep a vision congruent with God’s “all abundant” blessing. The vision includes movement from being a church in the community to being a church for the community to being a church with the community. That’s my word of farewell. And here is my word of blessing.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
June 7 – Pray for presenters, Andy Brubacher Kaethler and Rachel Miller Jacobs and 12 others, and for the participants of the Anabaptist Faith Formation launch meeting June 12-13 on the Bethel College campus. Pray that this will strengthen the church’s calling to equip the saints for the work of ministry.
June 14 – Thank God for the inspiration, encouragement, and insight received during the Anabaptist Faith Formation launch last weekend. Pray for participants as they bring back new possibilities to their congregations for strengthening our “making disciples” ministries.
June 21 – Pray for Nadine Friesen who will be ordained today at 4 pm at First Mennonite Church, Hillsboro, KS. Nadine is currently serving as Chaplain of Independent Living at Schowalter Villa, Hesston, KS.
June 28 – Thank God for the ministry of Clarence Rempel, Executive Conference Minister, who will be retiring on June 30. Pray for Heidi Regier Kreider, Executive Conference Minister elect, who will begin her work on August 17.
June 12-13 – Anabaptist Faith Formation Launch, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
June 28 (2:30 – 5 pm) – Clarence Rempel Come and Go Farewell, WDC office, North Newton, KS
June 30-July 5 – Mennonite Church USA Convention, Kansas City, MO
October 30-31 – WDC Annual Assembly, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
The June issue of Parish Paper, entitled “Could Lack of Curiosity Kill the Church?” can now be viewed at: https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/.
- These are the last days to register for the Anabaptist Faith Formation Launch, to be held June 12-13 at Bethel College. All information and registration form is at: https://mennowdc.org/anabaptist-faith-formation-launch/. We hope to see you there! (No registrations accepted after June 5.)
- Everyone’s invited to a come and go farewell for Clarence Rempel on Sunday, June 28, from 2:30-5 pm at the WDC office in North Newton, KS.
- Facebook users – “Like” us! Look for Western District Conference (Mennonite Church USA).
- We still have space for you! Camp Mennoscah still has room for more campers this summer. We think it would be great to have you visit us! Our summer theme is Power Up and we’re looking at the example of Jesus to learn how to live in the Spirit. Register online at www.campmennoscah.org! Scholarship funds are still available. Please contact us at 620-297-3290 for the scholarship request form. We’ll see you soon!
- Camp Mennoscah’s All-Ages Family Camp is July 25-26! Alan Stucky and Katie Best will be our leaders for a weekend of fun with campfire and swimming, free time and activities, and even more of this and that. Grab a friend or family member and join us!
- Call for Kitchen Helpers! Camp Mennoscah seeks and hopes for kitchen helpers for the following weeks: June 7-13, June 21-27, and July 26-31. A head cook is sought and hoped for the week of July 5-9. These are fun times, folks, that come with a free camp tee shirt–and parents can receive a camper discount of up to full fees! Please call us at 620-297-3290 for information and to be part of the summer fun!
Mennonite Church Announcements
- We hope you are planning to join us for the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City this summer from June 30-July 5. Come for the whole week or come for a day. You’ll enjoy worship with thousands of other Mennonites, food, fellowship, concerts, and more. We offer online registration until June 1 and onsite registration during the week. We also offer a daily rate if you choose to come for just a day or two. There are some events during the convention week that are free and open to the public.
Events at the Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral (across the street from the Kansas City Convention Center):
- Tuesday June 30, 6:00 p.m.: Prayer walk
- Friday July 3, 6:30 p.m.: The Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus concert
- Friday July 3, 8:30 p.m.: Service of Lament for Sexual Abuse
- Saturday July 4, 9:00 p.m.: The Ted & Company drama, Listening for Grace
In addition, worship on Tuesday June 30 from 7:15-8:45 p.m. and Sunday July 5, from 10-11:30 a.m., is free and open to the public. The services will take place in Exhibit Hall A in the Kansas City Convention Center. We hope to see you in Kansas City!
- The 2015 issue of Mennonite Life is now online, with articles on Vincent Harding, John Howard Yoder and a variety of other topics, as well as reviews of 10 Mennonite-authored and/or Mennonite-related books (both fiction and nonfiction) and a call for papers for the 2017 conference “Crossing the Line: Women of Anabaptist Traditions Encounter Borders and Boundaries.” Go to ml.bethelks.edu.
- MCC Song on the Lawn, an annual outdoor mini-music festival and meal hosted by the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and WillowSpring Downs, will be held on June 14 from 5-8 pm. Six music groups will be featured: Bethesda Band, The Flannelbacks, Cottonwood River Band, Men in Harmony, Wheel of Faith, and Diva Mea (aka Michelle Armster). Come for great music, but plan on eating too! Bring table service, lawn chairs, blankets, friends and family with you for this fun and unique event. The event is a benefit for MCC, supporting local, national and worldwide work for relief, development and peace in the name of Christ. WillowSpring Downs is located at 1582 Falcon, rural Hillsboro. Directions from Goessel are 3 miles north on Highway 15, 4 miles east on 150th and ¾ north on Falcon; or from Hillsboro, 4 miles south on Indigo, 3 miles west on 150th and ¾ north on Falcon. Do not follow GPS directions! In case of rain, the event will be held at the Goessel Elementary School. Call 316-283-2720 or 620-386-0709 with questions.
- Come join with doctors, nurses, dieticians, therapists, chaplains, mental health workers, and many other healthcare workers and their families from around the world! It’s the Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) Annual gathering, July 19-21, immediately prior to Mennonite World Conference Global Assembly in Harrisburg, PA. The theme is “Walking Together for Healthy Communities.” Plenary presenters include Ted & Company, Shane Claiborne, and Dr. Ann Thyle from India. Grants available for students, volunteers, and those from outside of U.S. and Canada. For more information, go to www.mennohealth/gathering, email email@example.com, or call toll-free to 1-888-406-3643. Final registration deadline: June 28.
- Do you want to experience Mennonite World Conference’s Assembly this July 21-26 but know that you can’t get there for the whole week? Don’t let limited free time keep you from participating in this global reunion! Registration is now open for part-time attendance: come for a couple of days or an evening. Find out more at mwc-cmm.org/pa2015.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620