March 14, 2017

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)


*Pastoral Openings

*News and Transitions


Pastoral Openings
First Mennonite Church, Halstead, KS – Pastor
First Mennonite Church, McPherson, KS – Pastor (Search Committee appointed)
Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church, Inman, KS – Pastor
Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, KS – Associate Pastor

News and Transitions

Marshall Anderson will begin in June as Associate Pastor at Faith Mennonite Church in Newton, KS.

Our sympathies to Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based), upon the death of his mother in Guatemala on February 23.

Byron Pellecer (WDC Associate Conference Minister Texas-Based) and Sandra Martinez (Pastor at Iglesia Menonita Monte Horeb, Dallas, TX, and WDC Administrative Assistant Texas-Based) will participate in the Mennonite Church USA & MCC “Come and See Learning Tour” to Israel/Palestine during March 17-29.

Congratulations to Caleb and Beth Yoder upon the birth of their son, Austin Ardis Yoder on February 25.  Caleb is a Pastor at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, Goessel, KS.

WDC announcements

  1. Leadership Lunches! Our next Leadership Lunch (bring your own sack lunch) is scheduled for Thursday, March 16 from 12-1:30pm at the WDC offices. Each month, we are discussing a different Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) competency and how it relates to scripture, Anabaptist theology and practice, and our own areas of ministry. In January, we reflected on “Take the temperature.” In February, we focused on “Raising the heat.” This month, in connection with Lent, we will focus on “Speak to Loss.” All pastors and ministry leaders from both WDC and SCC are welcome even if you haven’t attended a KLC training or one of the previous Leadership Lunches. We hope that these lunches will encourage and empower each of us to exercise more leadership for the common good in our churches and communities. If you have questions, please contact Kathy Neufeld Dunn (kathynd@mennowdc.org), Rachel Siemens (rsiemens@sbcglobal.net) or Phil Schmidt (pschmidt@tabormennnonite.org).
  1. Congregational Ministry in the Face of Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence – an educational event for WDC church leaders – will be held on Saturday, April 29 from 8 am – 3:30 pm at First Mennonite Church in Hutchinson, KS. Kathy Goering Reid, Executive Director of the Family Abuse Center in Austin, TX, will lead the day.  This event is for church chairs, deacons, Christian educators, youth leaders, and pastors.  Cost:  $30 per person or $100 per group from the same congregation.  See attached form for more information.  Register and pay online by April 20 at:  mennowdc.org/congregational-ministry-in-the-face-of-sexual-abuse-and-domestic-violence.
  1. This year is the 125th anniversary of Western District Conference. As we seek to tell the story of WDC, its congregations and God’s faithfulness in those years, we invite people to visit the WDC website (https://mennowdc.org/wdcs-125-year-anniversary-is-in-2017/) and provide information about their congregations’ history. You’ll find several questions you may respond to. This ongoing project provides one way for all of us to learn more about our history and be inspired to live faithfully as we move on.
  1. A “Jewish and Palestinian Voices for Peace” Tour is coming to Kansas in April, featuring Jonathan Kuttab, a Palestinian Mennonite and human rights lawyer who serves on the Boards of Sabeel and Al Haq. Jonathan will speak on the vision of Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews to live free, dignified and whole lives in the Land belonging to both.  Kuttab will be joined by Laura Tillem, Jewish Voice for Peace and Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas.  Jewish Voice for Peace, “opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression.”   JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.”  Stops on the tour include:

April 17, 7 pm – Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita

April 18, 7 pm –  Bethel College Administrative Building Chapel, North Newton

April 19, 11 am – Bethel College Chapel

April 19, 7 pm – Ecumenical Campus Ministry, 904 Sunset, Manhattan

For more information contact Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based) at kathynd@mennowdc.org or (316) 283-6300.

  1. WDC has been hearing many accounts of how congregations are involved in or wish to be involved in ministries to refugees and/or immigrants. We would like to facilitate a meeting to get you talking with each other about what you’re doing that works, what you have questions or concerns about, and how we might support each others’ ministries.  We encourage you to invite 1-3 people (or so) from your congregation to report on your ministry focus. We recognize that this sort of gathering would be more useful sooner rather than later, so we propose two dates for such a gathering (with refreshments!):  Thursday, March 30, 7 pm OR Saturday, April 1, 8:30 am at the WDC office.  (We’ve already heard that the Texas pastors would prefer Thursday.)  Let us know by this Friday, March 17 which date would be your preference (but if both dates would work, please indicate that).  Let us know if you need a video conference link for people connecting at a distance.

  2. Israel-Palestine Relations Task Force Organizes: A task force has come together to encourage Mennonites throughout the Western District Conference to become more aware and engaged in the Israel-Palestine conflict by providing educational resources and opportunities to congregations.  The task force is in response to the resolution passed at the 2015 National Conference in KC to support Palestinian and Israeli partners in peacemaking by inviting Mennonites into a time of learning and discernment about the conflict.

For over 65 years, Mennonites have been engaged in peacemaking in Palestine and Israel, but deteriorating conditions for Palestinian Christians have reached a crisis point.  A 2009 document called Kairos Palestine describes Palestinian Christians suffering and an infrastructure and economy on the verge of collapse.  Kairos Palestine is one of many resources the Task Force will be using as an education tool.

The task force will be chaired by Jakob Whitson, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church (Wichita, KS), and includes Tom Harder, co-pastor, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Bob Atchison, Manhattan (KS) Mennonite Church, Katie Mitchell Koch, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, and Elizabeth Raid, Bethel College Mennonite Church (North Newton, KS).  Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister and Jonathan Brenneman, Mennonite Church USA Coordinator, Israel/Palestine Partners in Peacemaking, will provide facilitation and support to the task force as needed.

The Task Force will be focusing on providing information about Mennonite Church USA Orlando 2017 Resolution on Israel-Palestine, especially to conference delegates.  An excellent source of information about the resolution, Kairos Palestine and the conflict is MennoPIN (https://mennopin.org/).

  1. Mennonite Women Spring Supper is Thursday, March 23, at 6 pm in the Bethel College Cafeteria, North Newton, KS. Full meal @ $12 by BCWA (Bethel College Women’s Association). Program in Krehbiel Auditorium by four women “Living Faithfully in our Communities.” Music by “Hopeful Blues” from Hope Mennonite Church, Wichita. Offering for MCC: Bangladesh (Girls Education).  Reservations by Monday, March 20: westerndistrictwomen@gmail.com or call Marlene Faul, 316-283-3342
  1. Rainbow Mennonite Church in Kansas City, KS is hiring a new Church Administrator! Click here to see the job description and application instructions.
  1. Iglesia Menonita Casa Betania (Newton, KS) IBA students are planning to have their monthly fund raiser. Menu: Tamales. Chicken or Pork (not spicy).  Place your order by March 22.  Email Suhelen at suhelen_c@yahoo.com or text her (316)227-0090.  Pick up your order at 510 SE Second on March 25 between 4-7 pm.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Thank you, Youth Volunteers and Staff! We had a great time this weekend at Camp Mennoscah with our Youth Volunteer retreat.  The group participated in some rousing worship, helped out with some projects on camp grounds, and livened up an otherwise not summer-like weekend.  You folks are the greatest!
  1. You are needed! Camp Mennoscah is looking for kitchen staff for our summer youth camps.  Kitchen staff are people with big hearts, smiling faces, and the ability to follow directions.  It’s not a big deal if you aren’t the world’s best cook.  We have a head cook to lead you in making wonderful meals for our youth campers!  Weeks available are June 11-17, June 25-29, and July 9-13 with only a smattering of spots for other weeks.  Contact us at olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org or 620-297-3290.  Being at Camp Mennoscah is fun!
  1. Camp Mennoscah invites all you fun folks to our Retirees Relaxation Retreat, April 24-26! Our theme this year is “Believe It or Not–Stories of Our Lives.”  We’ll hear stories of courage, great journeys, and amazing things.  Amanda Rempel will lead us in music and Stan & Marlene Smucker will lead us in devotions.  Pick up a brochure at your church or contact us at 620-297-3290.  Brochures can also be found at www.campmennoscah.org under Retreats.

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Early registration for the Mennonite Church USA Convention 2017 has been extended to March 23! Early Registration includes a T-shirt, I-Ride trolley pass, servant project and a meal card.  Come to Orlando July 4-8 to celebrate “Love is a Verb” with fellowship, worship and activities with Mennonites from around the country.  Learn more at:  http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/registration/.
  1. Attending the 2017 Convention in Orlando? The convention planning office has arranged discounts at Orlando-area attractions.  Visit:  http://mennolove.orlandomeetinginfo.com.
  1. The Future Church Summit will add a new dimension to this summer’s Mennonite Church USA Convention, inviting participants to envision an Anabaptist future for the church. Learn more at:  http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/future-church-summit/.
  2. Do you enjoy mentoring young adults and living in community? Service Adventure is looking for unit leaders for our Colorado Springs, Colo. and Jackson, Miss., units. The two year term begins late July. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Susan Nisly at SusanN@MennoniteMission.net or visit us at www.MennoniteMission.net5.  Attention: Campus pastors, Career services staff, Youth Pastors, Youth sponsors and office administrators – Do you know young adults who are interested in traveling internationally, building their resumes, and growing personally and spiritually? Then join us at the MCC Central States office in North Newton, KS, for lunch on Thursday, March 23, from 12-1 pm and hear Alli and Ben Rudeen Kreider, MCC Service And Learning Together (SALT) alumni, share about their experiences in Tanzania and Honduras and learn how you can help young adults get involved with MCC.  Please RSVP by March 21 by calling 316.283.2720 or emailing heidihuber@mcc.org. A free will donation will be taken to help cover the cost of the lunch. (Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions).  For more information about SALT visit mcc.org/salt.

    6.  Arli Klassen, Mennonite World Conference Coordinator of Regional Representatives from Kitchener, Ontario, is visiting in Kansas March 12-19. She will be at various area churches and venues to which the public is invited. Her itinerary includes:

March 15: 11 am, Bethel College Chapel, North Newton; 6:45 pm, Buhler Mennonite Church

March 16: 9 am, MCC Workroom, North Newton; 12 noon, Tabor College, Hillsboro

March 17: 11 am, Bethel College Convocation, North Newton

March 18: 4 pm, Song Festival, Lorraine Mennonite Ave. Church, Wichita (see attached poster)

March 19: 8:30 am, Whitestone Mennonite Church, Hesston; 10:30 am, Hesston Mennonite Church; 4 pm,Trinity Mennonite, Hillsboro

  1. AMBS webinar: Migration and Pentecost:  Thursday, March 16, 2-3:30 pm EDT.  Join us in an interactive webinar to discuss these major challenges facing the contemporary church.  Facilitator Greg Boyd, a scholar, author, pastor and leading Neo-Anabaptist, will engage Safwat Marzouk, Ph.D, AMBS associate professor of Old Testament, and Jamie Pitts, Ph.D, AMBS assistant professor of Anabaptist studies, on this topic.  This webinar is offered by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary’s Church Leadership Center and is the first of a series of three webinars that Boyd will lead.  Cost:  $20 by noon on March 15; $30 after.  Your first AMBS webinar is free of charge!  ambs.edu.webinars
  1. !Explore: A Theological Program for High School Youth gives students in grades 10, 11, and 12 an opportunity to explore ministry, develop their leadership gifts and listen for God’s call through a Congregatioal Experience and a Group Experience (July 11-26).  Whom could you encourage to take part in this program of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary’s Center for Faith Formation?  Applications are being accepted now.  ambs.edu/explore

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