WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
March 2, 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:
*”In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful!”
*WDC Ministerial and Credential Announcements
“In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful!”
by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)
One of my favorite “new” songs in Voices Together isn’t actually a new song to me. It’s been a prayer song of my heart for years. #118 is a simple melody. The words are simple, too, but profound:
“In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful, in the Lord I will rejoice! Look to God, do not be afraid. Lift up your voices, the Lord is near, lift up your voices, the Lord is near.”
Many of us have had reasons to be afraid in the past year. We worry that we might get very sick or die. We are afraid that our loved ones might get ill and die. We worry that prejudice and racial injustice might keep our loved ones from returning home safely at night. We worry how we will pay the rent, the utilities, how to get the car or the pipes fixed, or how to pay for groceries that have gotten more expensive, too.
We know that some of these fears are universal. Others are not. We didn’t all begin this pandemic with the same resources and that’s become even more apparent recently.
I’ve been talking with one pastor who struggles to know how to make the dollars stretch enough to pay for gas to make pastoral visits—or did before Covid.
At the same time, I’ve heard other pastors talk about this being a “good year,” as far as giving goes, then some look uncomfortable.
But that is not the end of this story. Some congregations who have had “good giving years” have care for their brothers and sisters who started out with less and have found ways to express that. There have been such generous gifts to the WDC Hope Fund that many gifts have been given to those in need. At the same time, some congregations have reached out to other congregations directly and offered mutual aid.
I’ve also heard faithful people in congregations all around WDC praying for each other. That’s one of the joys of this time. I have dropped in virtually on WDC worship services around our district.
When I hear these stories of compassionate sharing and support, I sing in my heart, “In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful, in the Lord I will rejoice! Look to God, do not be afraid. Lift up your voices, the Lord is near, lift up your voices, the Lord is near.”
“¡En el Señor estaré siempre agradecida!”
–Kathy Neufeld Dunn, Ministra de Conferencia Asociada (basada en KS)
Una de mis “nuevos” cantos favoritos en _Voices Together_ [el nuevo himnario de la Iglesia Menonita USA] no es en realidad un canto nuevo para mí. Ha sido un canto de oración de mi corazón durante años. El canto # 118 es un canto simple. Las palabras también son simples, pero profundas:
“¡En el Señor estaré siempre agradecida, en el Señor me regocijaré! Mira a Dios, no tengas temor. Alcen sus voces, el Señor está cerca, alcen sus voces, el Señor está cerca”.
Muchos de nosotros hemos tenido motivos para tener temor durante el año pasado. Nos preocupa que podamos enfermarnos gravemente o morir. Tememos que nuestros seres queridos se enfermen y mueran. Nos preocupa que el prejuicio y la injusticia racial impidan que nuestros seres queridos regresen a casa a salvo por la noche. Nos preocupamos cómo pagaremos el alquiler, los servicios públicos, cómo arreglar el automóvil o las tuberías, o cómo pagar los alimentos que también se han vuelto más costosos.
Sabemos que algunos de estos temores son universales. Otros no lo son. No todos comenzamos esta pandemia con los mismos recursos y eso se ha vuelto aún más evidente recientemente.
He estado hablando con un pastor que lucha por saber cómo hacer que los dólares se estiren lo suficiente como para pagar la gasolina para hacer visitas pastorales—o lo hizo antes del Covid.
Al mismo tiempo, he escuchado a otros pastores hablar de que este es un “buen año”, en lo que respecta a las donaciones, algunos se ven incómodos.
Pero ese no es el final de esta historia. Algunas congregaciones que han tenido “buenos años de generosidad” se preocupan por sus hermanos y hermanas que comenzaron con menos y han encontrado formas de expresarlo. Han habido donaciones tan generosos para el WDC Hope Fund, que se ha podido ayudar a muchos necesitados. Al mismo tiempo, algunas congregaciones se han acercado directamente a otras congregaciones y se han ofrecido ayuda mutua.
También he escuchado a personas fieles en las congregaciones de todo WDC orar unos por otros. Ese es uno de los placeres de este tiempo. He visitado virtualmente los servicios de adoración de iglesias de WDC en nuestro distrito.
Cuando escucho estas historias de compasión y apoyo, canto en mi corazón: “¡En el Señor estaré siempre agradecida, en el Señor me regocijaré! Mira a Dios, no tengas temor. Alcen sus voces, el Señor está cerca, alcen sus voces, el Señor está cerca”.
- SAVE THE DATE: Thursday, March 25, 7 pm ZOOM networking meeting hosted by WDC Immigration Task Force. Reconnect with other churches to hear about their advocacy on behalf of immigrants. Hear from MCC’s National Advocacy Director Tammy Alexander. How should our work go forward? What is your church doing or what do they hope to do? Ask a representative from your church to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the ZOOM invitation.
- Save the date! Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 8 at 7 pm for the Western District Women in Mission 2021 Spring Soiree! In lieu of our annual Spring Supper, gather with us for a virtual night of worship, music and a reflection on “Faith in Turbulent Times” offered by special guest speaker and freelance minister, Georgia Metz, M. Div. More details to follow soon.
- Wait! Where’s my latest issue of WDC Garden? In 2021, Western District Conference plans to refresh its website and make it THE PLACE to go to for all WDC news, articles and information. Content typically found in WDC Garden will now be exclusively available on the website. As we transition to a more web-based approach for disseminating information and a refreshed website, you can already find the latest content at: www.mennowdc.org – check it out!
- Raising Disciples with Natalie Frisk– With the Western District Conference, First Mennonite Church (Beatrice, NE) and Beatrice Mennonite Church will be hosting a virtual event with featured speaker Pastor Natalie Frisk. The series will include:
- Sunday morning, March 14, 9:30 a.m. – “Kids in the Kingdom” – a pre-recorded message by Pastor Natalie Frisk that can be viewed as part of a regular Sunday worship service, or at any time.
- Sunday evening, March 21, 7:00 p.m. – “Jesus Centered Parenting: Q & A” – a live/interactive zoom gathering with Natalie to conclude our event.
- Two additional sessions and an interview will be pre-recorded and available for viewing starting March 14:
- Session 1 – Anchors and Waves: Living the Life as a Disciple While Discipling Your Kid
- Session 2 – Journeying on Sacred Pathways: How is Your Kid Wired?
- Fun interview to get to know Natalie
- Facebook event info: Raising Disciples – Natalie Frisk
Natalie Frisk is the curriculum pastor at The Meeting House Church in Toronto, Canada, where she and an education team create kids’ and youth curricula for ages 0–18 used by churches worldwide. Frisk is a sought-after speaker on topics of youth and children’s ministry, spiritual formation, and discipleship, and is the author of the book Raising Disciples: How to Make Faith Matter for Our Kids, published by Herald Press. Videos will be available via a YouTube link, though we can make the sessions downloadable too if that’s helpful. For additional information, please email email@example.com.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Verenike Casserole Fundraiser for Camp Mennoscah on March 13! Click here to reserve your meal of verenike casserole, seasoned green beans, zweiback, and peach crisp online before March 7. You can also call 620-297-3290. This fundraiser supports the vital faith formation for youth and young adults that happens at camps and retreats. Pick up meals at Moundridge High School on March 13. Join in the fun to help make this return to summer youth camps as smooth and amazing as possible!
- One Day Event for Grades 7-12! Camp Mennoscah’s Youth Volunteer Weekend is one full day of service projects, worship, lunch & socially distanced fellowship. Register online, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 620-297-3290. Masks are required.
- We are ready to rock! Preparation for the Amphitheater Improvement project was completed in the Summer of 2020 and we are ready to finish this project up. Work days are scheduled for the following days: March 12 to 13, March 26 to 27, April 2 to 3, April 9 to 10, May 14-15. These opportunities to get involved are on Fridays and Saturday, come on out for one or both days, and part or all day. Ask about lodging if you would like to stay overnight. A team of five volunteers will work from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm each day installing the new stone benches. There will be stone to cut, move, clean and set along with a whole lot mortar to mix up. Bring a lunch and water bottle with you when you come, and plan to arrive at the North cabin area to check in around 9:00 am. Email email@example.com call 620-297-3290 to volunteer for this project.
- Looking for kitchen staff and nurses! Camp Mennoscah is filling volunteer and stipend positions for kitchen staff and nurses for the upcoming 2021 summer. Contact Camp Mennoscah at firstname.lastname@example.org call 620-297-3290 for available weeks and details. Kitchen staff can receive a scholarship up to full camp fees for their camper.
- There are volunteer opportunities for you! Camp Mennoscah continually has year-round work to support the maintenance and upkeep of the campus and facilities. We can accommodate every group size, skill set and length of project you would like to tackle. Check out these ways to Get Involved! Email email@example.com or call 620-297-3290 to volunteer.
Mennonite church announcements
- The Lenten season is upon us! Find Mennonite Church USA’s Lent at Home 2021 resource for home-based guided daily and weekly worship — for all ages — here: mennoniteusa.org/lentathome
2. This month, Mennonite Church USA invites you to engage with the “Learn, Pray, Join: Cost of War” initiative to promote peacemaking and anti-militarism. Learn more: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/cost-of-war
3. Mennonite Church USA Executive Board met in late January and discussed a resolution to retire the denomination’s Membership Guidelines. The resolution was forwarded to the Constituency Leaders Council for feedback. Read more about the meeting here: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/retire-mg. En español: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/quitar-los-lineamientos
4. Please pray for the Constituency Leaders Council of Mennonite Church USA (MC USA), which is meeting virtually on March 12 and 13. The Constituency Leaders Council is an MC USA advisory group comprised of leaders from the area conferences, agencies and constituency groups that meets one or two times per year to counsel and advise the Executive Board, functioning as denominational elders.
5. Cyneatha Millsaps, co-pastor of Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Indiana and executive director of Mennonite Women USA, explains that, for some, including her niece, the military offers peace in ways that civilian life does not. How then, should the church respond? Read “When military creates peace” for Millsaps’ thoughts on the matter. https://www.mennoniteusa.org/military-peace
- The Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions is hiring a director of advancement(full time position). For more information see https://sustainable climate solutions.org/2021/02/04/job-posting-cscs-advancement-officer/ . The Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions (CSCS) is a collaborative initiative of Eastern Mennonite University, Goshen College and Mennonite Central Committee to lead Anabaptist efforts to respond to the challenges of climate change.
- Do you have a heart for mentoring students and strong organizational skills? Freeman Academy in Freeman, South Dakota, is looking for a Resident Director to supervise and encourage 12 boarding students in on-campus housing. Salary plus benefits including health insurance, retirement, room and board. Main responsibilities are building relationships with students and overseeing daily life at the dorm including cooking the evening meal, coordinating student activities, and communicating with parents. Retirees and experienced parents are urged to apply. For more information visit FreemanAcademy.org/employment/ or contact Nathan Epp, Head of School, firstname.lastname@example.org 605-925-4237.
- The Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions will offer a new series of interactive webinars entitled “For the Beauty of the Earth: A Series on Climate and Racial Justice”. The interconnectedness of climate and racial justice will be explored, grounded in Anabaptist values and theology. Sessions will feature speakers, Q&A, and discussion. Visit the facebook pagefor more details and registration information! Contact Nicole Litwiller at email@example.com with any questions!
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.