WDC Sprouts, June 23, 2020

WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE

SPROUTS

June 23, 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:

*Faith and Generosity

*Announcements

Faith and Generosity

by Beth Yoder, WDC Business Manager

Times are uncertain right now; we are certain of that. Uncertainty and struggle look different for each of us. The storm has affected everyone differently. My husband and I are both grateful to have been able to continue to work during this time. We recognize others have lost their jobs and so we consider: what ways can we help provide resources for those who are less fortunate? A part of my mind says, but what if we later have needs, don’t we need to be prepared? Even without Covid concerns we never know what tomorrow may bring. While it may not be bad to think about the uncertainty of the future, I am also reminded that God calls us to be generous and that there may be times when we will need to receive generosity.

Several places have challenged my thoughts on this recently:

  • In the most recent issue of WDC Garden, Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister, shared some quotes from those who have given to the WDC Hope Fund (more info about that fund can be found here). The following struck me: a young-adult in Kansas wrote, “When I received my ‘stimulus’ money, I wasn’t sure about my own employment stability, but knew that, as we enter a time of economic instability, true security lies not in hoarding resources, but in nurturing a spirit of generosity. I give now because people have needs now and because I have money now. When I am in need, I put my trust in the continued generosity of the community of believers. This is mutual aid in a modern context.”

Do I have faith to give now because there is need now, and not hold tight because the future is uncertain?

  • Luke 12:33-34 reads, “33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Where are my treasures being stored? How does the way I spend my money communicate what I most treasure?

  • Mark 12:41-44 reads, “41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

If generosity in God’s kingdom is measured not by the amount but by how much it cost me, what does that look like for me? Am I willing to trust and to give as this widow did?

  • I recently read an article that shared this quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment, that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith…. By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world. That, I think, is faith.” 

Am I living unreservedly and completely, throwing myself into the arms of God, and taking seriously the sufferings of God in the world?

I don’t have the answers to these questions. I offer them as thoughts to consider. I do know that I want to be generous. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time and season for everything, if you aren’t able to give financial resources perhaps you can give time or other resources, or perhaps this is a season to accept generosity. Whatever your circumstances, I hope that during this time of change and uncertainty you are seeing hope, generosity, grace, faith, and love.

Here at WDC we appreciate the continued generosity of our congregations and constituents through financial contributions to the general fund and the Hope fund, prayers, service on commissions, summer story hour being offered in a new way, and other avenues I am probably not even aware of. Partnering with WDC in these ways helps our staff continue to provide resources for congregations, as well as bring together congregations to share resources in a time with we are experiencing church in a different way.  May we find ways to continue on in hope and love.

——————————–

La fe y la generosidad

by Beth Yoder, WDC Business Manager

Los tiempos son muy inciertos ahora; de eso tenemos certeza. Vemos la incertidumbre y la lucha de distintas perspectivas. La tormenta nos afecta a todos/as en distintas formas. Mi esposo y yo estamos agradecidos de poder seguir trabajando durante todo este tiempo. Reconocimos que otros han perdido trabajos y por eso consideramos: ¿Cómo podemos ayudar a proveerles recursos a los que tienen menos suerte?

En la mente me cuestiono: ¿pero si más tarde tenemos necesidad, no queremos estar preparados? Aun sin las preocupaciones de Covid, nunca sabemos lo que nos acaezca mañana. Aunque no sea malo pensar en la incertidumbre del futuro, también me acuerdo de que Dios nos llama a ser generosos/as y que podrá haber momentos en los que necesitaremos la generosidad de otros/as.

Varias lecturas me han provocado reflexión en esto:

  • En el número más reciente de la WDC Garden, Heidi Regier Krieder, Ministra de la conferencia, compartió algunos testimonios de personas que han donado al Fondo Esperanza [Hope Fund] de WDC (se encuentra más información acerca del fondo aquí). Me llamó la atención lo que escribió una joven adulta en Kansas, “Cuando recibí mi dinero de ‘estímulo,’ no estaba seguro de mi propia estabilidad laboral, pero sabía que, a medida que entramos en un momento de inestabilidad económica, la verdadera seguridad no reside en acumular recursos, sino al fomentar un espíritu de generosidad. Doy ahora porque la gente tiene necesidades ahora y porque tengo dinero ahora. Cuando tengo necesidades, confío en la generosidad continua de la comunidad de creyentes. Esto es ayuda mutua en un contexto moderno.”

¿Tengo la fe para dar ahora por la necesidad de ahora y no retener porque el futuro es incierto?

  • Lucas 12:33-34 dice, “33 Vendan sus bienes y den a los pobres. Provéanse de bolsas que no se desgasten; acumulen un tesoro inagotable en el cielo, donde no hay ladrón que aceche ni polilla que destruya. 34 Pues donde tengan ustedes su tesoro, allí estará también su corazón.”

¿Dónde son almacenados mis tesoros? ¿Cómo comunica mi manera de gastar dinero lo que tesoro?

  • Marcos 12:41-44 dice, “41 Jesús se sentó frente al lugar donde se depositaban las ofrendas, y estuvo observando cómo la gente echaba sus monedas en las alcancías del templo. Muchos ricos echaban grandes cantidades. 42 Pero una viuda pobre llegó y echó dos moneditas de muy poco valor. 43 Jesús llamó a sus discípulos y les dijo: «Les aseguro que esta viuda pobre ha echado en el tesoro más que todos los demás. 44 Estos dieron de lo que les sobraba; pero ella, de su pobreza, echó todo lo que tenía, todo su sustento».”

Si se mide la generosidad en el reino de Dios no por la cantidad sino por lo que me costó, ¿cómo sería eso para mí? ¿Estoy dispuesta a confiar y dar como la viuda?

  • Recientemente leí un artículo que compartió estas palabras de Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Descubrí más tarde, y sigo descubriendo hasta el momento, que sólo viviendo completamente en este mundo es que aprende uno a tener fe… Con esta mundanalidad quiero decir vivir sin reservación en las obligaciones, los problemas, los éxitos y los fracasos de la vida. Al hacer así, nos arrojamos completamente a los brazos de Dios, tomando en serio no los sufrimientos nuestros sino los de Dios en el mundo. Eso, pienso yo, es la fe.”

¿Vivo entera y completamente, arrojándome en los brazos de Dios, tomando en serio los sufrimientos de Dios en el mundo?

No tengo las respuestas a estas preguntas. Las ofrezco como pensamientos para considerar. Lo que sé es que quiero ser generosa. El libro de Eclesiastés nos enseña que hay momento y tiempo para todo. Si Ud. no puede dar recursos financieros, quizás puede dar de su tiempo u otros recursos, o a lo mejor éste será un tiempo para aceptar la generosidad. Sean lo que sean sus circunstancias, espero que durante este tiempo de cambio e incertidumbre Ud. ve la esperanza, la generosidad, la gracia, la fe y el amor.

Aquí en WDC apreciamos la generosidad continuada de nuestras congregaciones y constituyentes a través de sus contribuciones financieros al fondo general y al fondo Esperanza, a través de sus oraciones, su servicio en las comisiones, la nueva forma de la hora de relatos para verano, y otras vías que inclusive desconozco. Hacer equipo con WDC así ayuda a nuestro personal a seguir proveyendo recursos para las congregaciones, así como juntar las congregaciones para compartir recursos entre sí mientras la experiencia de ser iglesia es muy diferente. Que encontremos maneras de proseguir en esperanza y amor.

WDC announcements

  1. The Western District Conference office is open.  Visitor protocols include wearing a mask and social distancing.  Though the Resource Library remains closed, they offer resources by reservation and pickup.  See https://mennowdc.org/library/.
  2. So Many Resources Available! At this year’s virtual WDC Assembly on August 1, there will be four interactive Zoom webinars to choose from and links to many videos from Mennonite Mission Network, Mennonite Central Committee, Everence, and more of our partners in ministry!  Themes include creation care, reconciliation, mission, and immigration justice, among others.  Non-delegates don’t need to register this year to have access to all these wonderful resources.  Delegates, please register by July 12.  Find information and registration at:  https://mennowdc.org/2020-wdc-annual-assembly/.  Donations for WDC Assembly expenses are welcomed; donations exceeding expenses will go to the WDC Hope Fund to assist WDC congregations with financial need.
  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. The Western District Women’s retreat committee has decided to have a modified retreat this year, due to concerns about COVID19.  We will have a one day retreat on Saturday, September 12.  There are two options:  an in-person retreat at Camp Mennoscah or a virtual retreat.  A virtual retreat would take place on the computer over a platform like Zoom. We would have activities to do – some together online, like worship sessions with singing and a speaker; and some smaller group activities like our seminars, where participants would work or talk “together, but separately.” Zoom allows an interactive experience – so it’s not like watching TV. Groups of two or maybe even several could be together watching and participating – like at your church or in your home.   Please let us know your preference by completing this survey today:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6QXF85X
  1. We’ve been made aware of some phishing (fraudulent) emails going around that appear to be from WDC-related persons.  If an email seems odd or not quite right, even though it appears to be from someone you know, do not reply, be alert and proceed with caution!

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. The Camp Mennoscah summer staff say Hi and Hello to you!  They hope you are enjoying the videos they have created to share a bit of camp with you.  More videos are coming!  The videos are posted online on the Camp Mennoscah Facebook page.  A Facebook account is not needed, though Facebook 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.
  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!
  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.

Mennonite church announcements

  1. You are invited to join a webinar sponsored by Mennonite Church USA on Race, Church, and Change,to be held on June 25, 5:30 pm Central Time / 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.  Join the leadership team of Mennonite Church USA for a panel discussion about the impact of racism on the church and meaningful solutions for dismantling it. Iris de León-Hartshorn, associate director of MC USA, will facilitate the conversation, which will explore the following topics:

–How racism is manifested in the church

–The impact of culture on worship, leadership, and expectations in our congregations

–Dismantling Racism: What works and what does not

The diverse panel of speakers will include Glen Guyton, Felipe Hinojosa, Sue Park-Hur, Erica Littlewolf and Tobin Miller Shearer.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar. Register at this link: https://mcusa.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_i7Qwiw-6T1O2IEFHsYfHpQ

  1. Service Adventure only has five spots remaining for the 2020-2021 term beginning this fall. If you are interested in taking a gap year to serve, live in community, and grow spiritually, contact SusanN@MennoniteMission.netor apply online at MennoniteMission.net/ServiceAdventure.

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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