WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
June 8, 2021
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:
*Stories of Faith
*WDC Ministerial and Credential Announcements
Stories of Faith
by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)
Jesus drew crowds. When he talked, people listened. Whether they were day laborers or religious leaders or those labeled “sinners,” people loved to hear Jesus tell stories of the kingdom of God.
From the most to the least educated, stories speak truth to everyone. Good storytellers know how to speak from the heart and capture the attention of their listeners at a deep level. I think of the prophet Nathan and King David. Nathan knew he needed to confront David with his role in the death of Uriah and David claiming Bathsheba, Uriah’s widow, as his own. Nathan had the right to confront the king. That was in his job description. But instead of confronting David head on with his sin, Nathan told the king a story of a poor man and his only lamb and of a wealthy man who stole and ate the lamb. David became angry at the injustice. Nathan knew his story had hit home and he said, “You are the man!” David repented.
Many Anabaptists have told and retold the story of Dirk Willems. It’s a powerful story. The early Anabaptists were being hunted down and imprisoned as heretics. Dirk Willems had been imprisoned, but escaped. A guard noticed and gave chase. Both men were making their way across a frozen moat near the prison when the guard fell through the ice and began screaming for help. Dirk knew he could keep going and be free, but instead he turned back and rescued the guard. The guard who had been rescued pleaded for Dirk’s release, but Dirk was later martyred anyway. Many people throughout the last 500 years have heard the story of Dirk Willems. They have been convicted to give their lives to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who gave Dirk the strength to love his enemy even when his own life was in danger.
What is your own story of faith? How has your faith in Jesus influenced how you live your life? Was there a particular time when you did or said something unexpected because of how you understand the way of Jesus? I encourage you to tell at least one other person your story. Maybe your congregation could have a multi-generational summer series where you take turns telling faith stories in small groups. Telling stories is a powerful way to pass on faith to the next generation and the next.
The theme of this year’s Annual Assembly is “Woven into God’s Story.” Learn more here: https://mennowdc.org/2021-wdc-annual-assembly/. There will be some amazing storytelling July 30-August 1 virtually and in-person. There will be heartwarming and challenging stories of how God has been at work in peoples’ lives. Some will be lighthearted. Others may bring a tear to your eye. All will point us toward the One who loves us and the whole world and calls us to do the same. Join us!
Historias de Fe
Jesús atrajo multitudes. Cuando hablaba, la gente escuchaba. Ya fueran jornaleros o líderes religiosos o aquellos etiquetados como “pecadores”, a la gente le encantaba escuchar a Jesús contar historias del reino de Dios.
Desde los más a los menos educados, las historias dicen la verdad a todos. Los buenos narradores saben hablar desde el corazón y captar la atención de sus oyentes a un nivel profundo. Pienso en el profeta Natán y el rey David. Natán sabía que necesitaba confrontar a David con su papel en la muerte de Urías y David reclamando a Betsabé, la viuda de Urías, como suya. Nathan tenía derecho a enfrentarse al rey. Eso estaba en la descripción de su trabajo. Pero en lugar de confrontar a David con su pecado, Natán le contó al rey la historia de un hombre pobre y su único cordero y de un hombre rico que robó y se comió el cordero. David se enojó por la injusticia. Nathan sabía que su historia había tocado a David y dijo: “¡Tú eres el hombre!” David se arrepintió.
Muchos anabautistas han contado y vuelto a contar la historia de Dirk Willems. Es una historia poderosa. Los primeros anabautistas fueron perseguidos y encarcelados como herejes. Dirk Willems había sido encarcelado, pero escapó. Un guardia se dio cuenta y lo persiguió. Ambos hombres cruzaban un foso helado cerca de la prisión cuando el guardia cayó a través del hielo y comenzó a gritar pidiendo ayuda. Dirk sabía que podía seguir adelante y ser libre, pero en cambio se dio la vuelta y rescató al guardia. El guardia que había sido rescatado pidió la liberación de Dirk, pero Dirk más tarde fue martirizado de todos modos. Muchas personas a lo largo de los últimos 500 años han escuchado la historia de Dirk Willems. Han sido convencidos de entregar su vida a Jesús, el Príncipe de la Paz, quien le dio a Dirk la fuerza para amar a su enemigo incluso cuando su propia vida estaba en peligro.
¿Cuál es tu propia historia de fe? ¿Cómo ha influido tu fe en Jesús en cómo vives tu vida? ¿Hubo un momento en particular en el que hiciste o dijiste algo inesperado por cómo entiendes el camino de Jesús? Te animo a que le cuentes tu historia al menos a otra persona. Tal vez tu congregación podría tener en el verano una serie en la que se turnen para contar historias de fe en grupos pequeños multigeneracionales. Contar historias es una forma poderosa de transmitir la fe a la próxima generación y a la siguiente.
El tema de la Asamblea Anual de este año es “Entrelazados en la Historia de Dios”. Obtenga más información aquí https://mennowdc.org/2021-wdc-annual-assembly/. Habrá un increíble tiempo de narración de historias del 30 de julio al 1 de agosto de forma virtual y en persona. Habrán historias reconfortantes y desafiantes de cómo Dios ha estado obrando en la vida de las personas. Algunas serán alegres. Otros pueden hacerte que se te salgan las lágrimas. Todas nos señalarán hacia Aquel que nos ama y al mundo entero y nos llama a hacer lo mismo. ¡Únete a nosotros!
1. Michelle Hershberger, Bible Department Chair, Hesston College, will be our keynote speaker and storyteller for WDC Annual Assembly, July 30-August 1. She is the author of God’s Story, Our Story. Michelle never gets tired of telling how Jesus is at work in her life, church, and community! For more hybrid Assembly info, go to https://mennowdc.org/2021-wdc-annual-assembly/. You’re welcome to join us for worship or for the whole Assembly!
2. Special Annual Assembly Storytelling Opportunity! WDC’s Assembly theme July 30-August 1 is “Woven into God’s Story.” When was the last time you really listened to the story of someone who doesn’t see the world as you do? The folks at StoryCorps have invited WDC to partner with their storytelling project, One Small Step, to share and record our own stories within WDC. One Small Step is an initiative to facilitate conversations across differences, between people who may disagree politically. It’s not a debate. It’s a chance to spend time virtually with someone different than you and discover the stories behind each other’s beliefs. To join another WDC member for an online conversation, sign up at https://onesmallstep.storycorps.org/wdc/. The registration deadline is June 25 and virtual recordings will be scheduled July 28-30 (space is limited). For more information about One Small Step see the attached flyer.
3. Join others from across WDC to discuss “Why Do We Suffer and Where is God When We Do?” by Valerie G. Rempel on Thursday, June 24 at 7:00pm via Zoom. Register for the online discussion or to borrow a copy at email@example.com
4. ¡Únase a nosotros para un servicio de adoración patrocinado por las Iglesias Menonitas de Texas! Todos son bienvenidos, únase en escritura, canto y oración a las 6:00 pm este sábado 12 de junio. Únase a nosotros en zoom en https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86582197725 o en la página de Facebook de la Iglesia Menonita de Houston (https://www.facebook.com/HoustonMennonite). Habrá música de Casa Del Alfarero y Hope Fellowship, y un mensaje de la Ministra Asociada de la Conferencia, Sandra Montes-Martinez. ¡Esperamos verlos!
Join us for a worship service sponsored by the Texas Mennonite Churches! Everyone is welcome to come together in scripture, song and prayer at 6:00 pm this Saturday, June 12. Join us on zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86582197725 or on the Houston Mennonite Church facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HoustonMennonite). There will be music from Casa Del Alfarero and Hope Fellowship, and a message from Associate Conference Minister Sandra Montes-Martinez.
We look forward to seeing you there!
5. Staff position opening: WDC seeks a full time Administrative Assistant to work out of its North Newton, KS office, beginning August 25. Responsibilities include office management, communications, records management, scheduling, and administrative support for staff. Qualifications include strong organizational, computer and communication skills, ability to collaborate as part of a team, and willingness to promote WDC’s mission and priorities. For more information, position description and application materials, contact Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-283-6300.
WDC Ministerial and Credential announcements
1. Marshall Anderson’s credential status was changed from Active to Active without Charge on June 6 when he ended as Pastor at Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS.
2. Kurt Horst ended on June 6 as Interim Pastor at First Mennonite Church, Newton, KS. His credentials have been held by the South Central Mennonite Conference.
3. Kristine Regehr ended as Transitional Pastor at Manhattan (KS) Mennonite Church on May 31. Her Active credential was changed to Active Without Charge.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
1. Camp Mennoscah needs kitchen staff and maintenance volunteers! We are looking for kitchen staff for June 13-17 and maintenance volunteers for all weeks. For the kitchen, no professional cooking skills needed–just an ability to follow directions and some happiness to share! Contact email@example.com or 620-297-3290.
2. Congratulations! Deborah, Camp Mennoscah’s dedicated and generous office assistant of over 7 years, is retiring! She has reduced her hours and has graciously agreed to stay on while the next assistant is found. Camp Mennoscah is seeking someone to share in office/support operations and guest services in a position with potential growth. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
3. There’s still time to register for camp! Camp Mennoscah has a few openings at most camps. Register online at campmennoscah.org!
4. Guidelines for summer youth camps have changed and Camp Mennoscah is working to change within the guidance of state and local agencies. If you have questions or concerns about how the camp masking and distancing guidelines may have changed, please contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 or email@example.com.
Mennonite church announcements
1. Mennonite Mission Network has openings for a Director of Finance and Director of Human Resources, two new positions for the agency. You can find details on our website at www.MennoniteMission.net/employment . To begin the application process, send a resume to StaffRecruitment@MennoniteMission.net.
2. Serve with the Immigrant Resource Center through MVS in Alamosa, Colorado! Serve others by connecting them with educational and legal resources. Visit MennoniteMission.net/MVS to learn more.
3. Mennonite Church USA has released a new Bible-based curriculum, entitled “Laboring Toward Wholeness: A Training on Dismantling Patriarchy.” It addresses the history and impact of systemic patriarchy — and looks at how God calls followers to respond through an intersectional lens. Learn more here: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/news/dismantling-patriarchy-curriculum/
4. For the first time, Mennonite Church USA is hosting a hybrid convention on July 6-10, 2021. MennoCon21 participants may choose between attending in person in Cincinnati, Ohio, or virtually via Pheedloop, an interactive, online event platform. Learn more about MennoCon21 virtual offerings here: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/mennocon21-virtual-opportunity/
5. Jon Carlson will be the July 9 worship speaker for MennoCon21, Mennonite Church USA’s biennial convention. Carlson reflects on his conference topic, “Trust the Peace,” through his experience with trust in the Mennonite church, in this blog: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/menno-snapshots/trust-the-peace/
6. In his blog, “An Afro-Latina Who Refused to be Made Invisible,” Mennonite Church USA’s Chief Communications Officer Wil LaVeist reflects on his mother’s life and her Afro-Latina heritage. Despite the racism that she, and countless other Afro-Latino people have experienced, she persisted and proudly represented her culture. Read more here: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/refused-to-be-made-invisible
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