June 5, 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)


*Dandelions: Another Sign of the Kingdom?!


Dandelions:  Another Sign of the Kingdom?!  

    by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, Associate Conference Minister

I don’t know about you, but my yard has way too many dandelions in it this year!  I struggle each year to decide if I should try to exterminate them with a chemical, uproot them with a spade, or just allow them to be food for bees.  Maybe it doesn’t matter. They just seem to come back anyway. 

This led me to think about the kingdom of God.  Jesus told many parables about the kingdom. The kingdom of God is like a sower planting seeds, or like yeast in dough, or a mustard seed.  When I learned that Middle Eastern mustard seeds grow into kind of shaggy, unkempt, but really hardy plants that reproduce well, that made me begin to think of dandelions, which are quite similar in their nature. 

What about us and our churches?  Do we reproduce well, not waiting until we have everything “perfect” before sharing the good news or are we trying very hard to become beautiful in every way before we allow the Holy Spirit to blow us out of the greenhouse and into the wild blue yonder?   

Dandelions don’t wait for much of anything except maturity.  Then they allow the Wind to take them where It will, disperse them over the land, to multiply in unexpected places.  Some of them are unwanted, so they are dug up, but many more flourish and continue to reproduce. Some dandelions that have been seemingly uprooted come back again and again.  Is our faith and our desire to share the love of God this strong? 

May we followers of Jesus be just as tenacious and trusting when it comes to sharing the good news wherever the winds of the Spirit take us.

WDC announcements

  1. Everyone is invited to the WDC Annual Assembly 2018, July 27-28!  Complete information is posted at http://mennowdc.org/annual-assembly/#2018annualAssembly.  Read all about it and register online by July 13.
  1. Church offices, please note – WDC congregations may send one delegate to WDC Annual Assembly for every 30 members or fraction thereof.  Please submit your list of delegates by July 13 on the Delegate List Form, which can easily and quickly be done online: https://mennowdc.org/online-delegate-list-form/. Thank you!
  1. Scripture, Stranger, Neighbour: Encountering the “Other” in – and with – the Bible: As part of WDC’s “Year of Evangelism,” and in conjunction with WDC annual assembly,ministers are invitedto an Afternoon Apart on Friday July 27 with Bryan Moyer Suderman, 2:30 – 5:00 p.m. at Tabor Mennonite Church. We will “search the scriptures” and our own experience to explore examples of encountering the “other” in – and with – Scripture. How might Scripture inform and transform our encounters and relationships with others, inviting people to become disciples of Jesus? How might our encounters and relationships with others inform and transform our engagement with Scripture and life of discipleship? Through story, conversation, film, and song, Bryan Moyer Suderman will lead us in a dynamic and uplifting time of exploration and reflection together. The event is free of charge, but participants are requested to RSVP to WDC, at wdc@mennowdc.org or 316-283-6300.
  1. The June/July/August 2018 issue of WDC Garden is posted at:  https://mennowdc.org/wdc-garden-june-july-august-2018/.  Read about the upcoming 2018 Annual Assembly, a Hispanic Pastors’ retreat, and how a Wichita, KS church plant is being contextual!
  1. Language Interpretation Ministry Team:WDC seeks to establish a ministry team of persons located in different areas of the conference, who can provide language interpretation for WDC meetings and events in order to enhance participation by individuals who speak different languages. Assessment, orientation and training will be provided for Team members, as well as some financial compensation through grant funds WDC has received.  Please contact WDC at wdc@mennowdc.org or 316-283-6300 if you have skills in a second language and are interested in applying or learning more about this ministry opportunity!

Camp Mennoscah announcements

Thank you for sharing these announcements with your congregations and friends!  To respond or ask questions about any of these items, contact the camp at office@campmennoscah.org or 620-297-3290:

– Volunteer to help rebuild The Whale!  Assembly of the Whale playground continues at camp this week (June 4-10).  To be a part of the action, contact camp and we’ll get back to you with more details.  We’re really excited to have this up by the time summer youth camps begin on June 10!

– We are in search of tin cans for crafts this summer! Any empty can (only one lid removed) from canned foods would work. “Normal” sized cans (~14-20oz) are best; little cans from items like tuna and chicken are too small. We need approximately 60 by the first week of camp, and about 120 total for the summer. Any help collecting these cans would be greatly appreciated!

– Send a camper to camp or bring a friend with you!  Camp Mennoscah has both room and scholarships for more campers.  Grab your friendly neighborhood friend, a cousin, or someone who would benefit from a week of worship and fun!  Register online at campmennoscah.org or contact camp with questions.

–  Kitchen staff for the week of July 15-21 are still needed. We have this amazing new kitchen and we’d love to share it with you.  Our fearless head cooks will be there to help you create great meals! Contact camp to volunteer.  Parent discounts are available for up to full camp fees.

– Family Weekend is June 30-July 1!  It’s a weekend focused on giving you the most time to spend with your family and friends.  Our time together is loosely scheduled and you can choose what to do–worship, river play, swimming, crafts, or even just talking with each other!  Register online at campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290!

Mennonite church announcements

  1. The Mennonite Church USA Journey Forward “Pathways” study guide is now available!It invites congregations and groups across MC USA to engage in studying Scripture, singing, praying, storytelling, exploring Anabaptist history and values, and discussing how you see God working in your lives. It is a way for groups to participate in the Journey Forward churchwide renewal process that will highlight how God is working in the lives of people and congregations across MC USA. Consider using Pathways in small group and Sunday school sessions, as well as a resource for worship services.  The study guide is available online at mennoniteusa.org/pathways   For more information see http://mennoniteusa.org/news/mc-usa-invites-churchwide-engagement-with-journey-forward-study-guide/
  1. Resources are available to continue to #LearnPrayJoin for the Korean Peninsula.

– Read blog reflections from people who have lived and served on the Korean peninsula: mennoniteusa.org/korea-posts

– Listen to Peace Lab Podcast #33 with Joy Yoon: mennoniteusa.org/plp33

– Watch the webinar recorded with Dr. Inyeop Lee: mennoniteusa.org/dr-lee

– Support the ongoing peacemaking efforts of MCC and Mission Network: mennoniteusa.org/give-lpj

  1.  Thinking about taking a gap year after high school? Serve, learn, and develop your leadership skills through Service Adventure. For more info, visit www.MennoniteMission.net/ServiceAdventureor contact SusanN@MennoniteMission.net.
  2. Calling all Mennonite Central Committee volunteers!! Join us for our annual Volunteer Appreciation Celebration on June 13, 5 pm – 7 pm at MCC-Central States office in North Newton, Kansas!All relief sale volunteers, all meat canning volunteers, participants in the Flatlander Bicycle Ride or the Harvest Giving Walk, all of you who make comforters on your own or at a Comforter Blitz, if you’ve packed a kit at MCC or volunteered your time at an MCC thrift shop or in the MCC Warehouse – YOU’RE INVITED! We want you to join us, enjoy a delicious meal of burgers, hot dogs, salads, chips and ice cream for dessert! Please RSVP by June 11 to patsydirksen@mcc.org, 316.283.2720.
  1. Supplies are running low in the MCC Material Resources Center in North Newton and we could use your help! The current material resources needs are: shampoo for relief kits (1-2 bottles, totaling more than 20 oz), toothbrushes for relief and hygiene kits (in originally packaging), small, metal pencil sharpeners (one or two holes) for school kits, dark colored hand or bath towels for hygiene and relief kits. Visit mcc.org/mrc/kitsfor full kit information and from there click through to our Amazon Wish List for easier shopping and shipping. Just bring or ship kit items to MCC Central States 121 E. 30th St. North Newton, KS 67428. Contact katemast@mcc.org or call with questions at 316-283-2720.
  1. Sexualized violence and the church webinar, June 13, 2 pm – 3 pm:Mennonite Central Committee is offering the third webinar in our three-part series this spring for churches and individuals to learn about addressing sexualized violence within the church. This webinar focusing on Healthy masculinity will cover how the church can prepare men to talk to their sons about healthy masculinity and what men should tell boys about sexual violence. Speakers will be Glen Guyton, the new Executive Director for MCUSA and Isaac Villegas, pastor at Chapel Hill (North Carolina) Mennonite Fellowship . Learn more and register for the webinar at mcc.org/wwso.  Contact karinkaufmanwall@mcc.org with questions.
  2. The Mennonite, Inc., invites your original submissions for our August 2018 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on Church Planting. Description of the theme:  Why is church planting important and what should it look like today? A news release describing this year’s SENT conference, sponsored by Mennonite Mission Network and Everence, noted that “there’s a movement building” that is “diverse, multicultural and energized to take the church to new places.” A 2014 survey conducted by church-planting staff showed that Mennonite Church USA conferences reported 85 church plants initiated between 2008 and 2013. In the Great Commission, the resurrected Jesus instructs his followers to spread the gospel to all people: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:16-20).

Submissions may consider one of the following prompts/questions, among others:

– Do you attend or lead a church plant? We want to hear the story of how your church plant began and what its ministry looks like today.

– Are you a bivocational pastor engaged in church planting? Tell us your story.
– What role do socio-economics, racial/ethnic identity and/or gender identity play in church planting?

– What current trends in church planting do you find exciting? What concerns you?

– What are some of the challenges of church planting you have learned from?

– How are church planting, evangelism and/or social justice connected? How not?

– In your context, how would you say church planting today compares with previous decades?

– How do you address or challenge the legacy of colonialism within church planting?

Submissions are due to Editor@TheMennonite.org no later than June 22 We welcome articles—personal stories, biblical or theological reflections, stories about your congregation, and more (800-1,200 words)—as well as original photography, videos and artwork on the theme. Please note we are committed to anti-oppression reviews as part of our editorial process. When developing your submission, please review our anti-oppression guidelines as well as our editorial guidelines.

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