March 27, 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)


*How is this week holy?

*Prayer Requests

*Coming Events


How is this week holy?

     by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister

During this Holy Week, I pray for WDC congregations, pastors, chaplains and other leaders as you plan and participate in special events focusing on Jesus’ passion and resurrection.

Last Sunday, some of you observed Palm Sunday with a procession of palm branches, or Gospel readings of Jesus’ passion.  On Maundy Thursday some will share in the Lord’s Supper or practice foot-washing; perhaps you will participate in a community Good Friday worship service, or host a “stations of the cross” service.  Saturday may be a time for a prayer vigil or decorating Easter eggs.  And, of course, Sunday is a day of celebration, with a sunrise service or special breakfast, festive worship with lots of music and flowers, a delicious Easter dinner and hunting Easter eggs or throwing colorful cascarones (egg-shells filled with confetti) as signs of life and joy!

In many ways, however, Holy Week makes no sense in our society.  Amidst relentless news of politics and current events, attractions of consumerism and entertainment, and the demands of daily life, why set aside a “holy” week?  Why interrupt today’s “real” world to focus on a crucifixion that took place centuries ago and an audacious claim of resurrection?

In response, I believe that we observe Holy Week because it does point to the heart of reality, with a truth that is authentic, radical and hopeful in today’s world:

·         In Jesus’ suffering, God stands in solidarity with humanity. With Jesus, we open ourselves to acknowledge the pain, vulnerability, and messiness of life.  We join Jesus in companionship with all who suffer, and we lament together with all creation as it groans for redemption.

·         In Jesus’ death, God meets hatred with love, rather than taking revenge or killing others in defense. With Jesus, we draw on the resources of God’s goodness which is stronger than evil.  We join Jesus in overcoming evil by working for justice, loving enemies, and risking reconciliation.

·         In Jesus’ resurrection, God invites us into a new and radical embrace of life.  With Jesus, we acknowledge our wounds yet celebrate that life is stronger than death.  We join Jesus in persistently proclaiming hope and joining God’s work in the world through the power of the Holy Spirit.

This Holy Week, may we renew our commitment to stand in solidarity with those who suffer, to meet hatred with love, and to embrace life in all its fullness.   May we recognize and follow the risen Christ in today’s world.

Prayer Requests

April 1 – Pray that congregations across WDC may embody the living presence of Christ in their communities, on this Easter Sunday and throughout the year.

April 8 – In this Year of Evangelism, pray that WDC congregations grow in their willingness and capacity to share the gospel – the good news of God’s kingdom breaking into the world through Jesus!

April 15 – Pray for youth pastors gathering for a retreat next weekend in Hesston, KS, sponsored by WDC and South Central Conference.

April 22 – Pray for credentialed leaders in WDC attending Healthy Boundaries training next weekend in Dallas, TX.

April 29 – Pray for the WDC Annual Assembly Planning team, as they prepare for our conference gathering July 27-28 in central Kansas.

Coming Events

April 2 – WDC Resource Commission meeting

April 10 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting

April 11 – WDC Chaplains Gathering

April 13-14 – MCC Relief Sale, Hutchinson, KS

April 18 – “Comeback Churches” book discussion/brown bag lunch, WDC Office, 12 noon

April 19 – Youth Pastor Retreat

April 21 – WDC Executive Board meeting

April 26 – Leadership Lunch

April 28 – Healthy Boundaries 101 training, Dallas, TX

May 15 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting

July 27 – WDC Annual Assembly, Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, KS

July 28 – WDC Annual Assembly, Eden Mennonite Church, Moundridge, KS

July 29 – WDC Annual Assembly, Sunday Worship Option, Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, Goessel, KS

WDC announcements

  1. Did you know there’s an online Anabaptist Spanish-language library?  La Biblioteca Digital Anabautista es una initiativa de Mennonite Mission Network (la Red Menonita de Misiones), Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism (Goshen College), el Seminario Anabautista Latinoamericano (Semilla), y el Seminario Bíblio Anabautista Hispano (SeBAH).  Find the link on Western District’s website at www.mennowdc.org/library/
  1. Youtube videos are available of the sessions at the “Faith, Hope, and the Mission of Rural and Small Town Churches” Year of Evangelism event with Brad Roth in Beatrice, NE March 18-20.  Access them here: https://mennowdc.org/year-of-evangelism/.
  1. New at the Resource Library–DVD studies for groups and individuals:
  • Present Over Perfect: Leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living by Shauna Niequist (5 sessions)
  • The Path to the Cross by Ray Vander Laan (5 sessions)
  • Anxious for Nothing: Find Calm in a chaotic world by Max Lucado (5 sessions)
  • Before Amen: The power of a simple prayer by Max Lucado (4 sessions)
  • When God Doesn’t Fix It: Learning to walk in God’s plan instead of our own by Laura Story (5 sessions)
  • People who met Jesus–Series Two (8 sessions)
  • Starting Point: A conversation about faith by Andy Stanley (8 sessions)
  • Doctrine of Discovery: In the name of Christ (Use with the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Study Guide for a 5, 6, 9, or 10 session study)

Contact (or stop by) the library today to borrow one of these titles! crlib@mennowdc.org (316)283-6300

  1. Western District Conference invites financial contributions from congregations and individuals throughout the year, to support the ongoing work of sustaining pastors, resourcing congregations, and encouraging church planting initiatives and partnerships.  Contributions can be made online athttps://mennowdc.org or sent to WDC at PO Box 306, North Newton, KS 67117.  Thank you for your generosity!

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Spring Retreat to Renew!  Camp Mennoscah’s Retirees Retreat invites retirees and interested persons of all ages to join usApril 23-25 for several days on the theme of Refresh and Renew. Speakers will share about Vietnam, teen prison ministry, storm chasing and so much more! Coffee breaks will give you a chance to discuss further and enjoy a good chat. Contact Camp Mennoscah for a brochure or find it online at campmennoscah.org!  We’ll see you there for an amazingly good time.
  2. Informacion de Registro de Camp Mennoscah en español (www.campmennoscah.orgen “Programs – Youth Camp Information”)!  We ask all Spanish speakers to please pass this information along to those who would like Camp Mennoscah information en español.  Paper copies are also available.  Call us at 620-297-3290!  (We recognize the irony of having this announcement in English.)
  3. Getting the kitchen ready,April 6-8!  Camp Mennoscah’s newly renovated kitchen is oh-so-very-close to being completed.  One HUGELY important task left is to get everything back into the kitchen.  With several months of construction behind us, a wee bit of cleaning is needed first.  The weekend of April 6-8 will be dedicated to this process.  We’re offering late nights for college students and early hours for daybreakers and all day options–call us at 620-297-3290 and let us know when you can help out.  Stay overnight, eat doughnuts, drink copious amounts of coffee (or tea), and have a BLAST!  You can also email olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org to be part of the fun.
  4. Dam Going In!  Camp Mennoscah will be putting the dam back in onSunday, April 8, at approx. 2pm-ish.  Be prepared for whatever weather we have.  Come early on Friday or Saturday to help us move things back into the new kitchen!  Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 with questions.
  1. “Rebuilding the Whale!” Camp Mennoscah plans to start construction of the new playground, “The Whale,” in mid-April, and we’ll be looking for volunteers to come out and help! Stay tuned to your church bulletins, e-mail, and social media for the types of work we’ll be doing, dates, and times. With your help, we’ll have it ready to go for summer youth camps!
  2. Kitchen helpers needed for summer youth camp!  Camp Mennoscah has openings for many camp weeks this summer for those wonderful people who can follow directions, be cheerful, and be flexible of mind.  Our kitchen staff are a hoot and can receive a camper discount up to full camp fees.  Be one of the first to work in the new kitchen!  Give us a holler atolivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org or 620-297-3290!
  3. Summer Youth Camps for Grades 3-12 at Camp Mennoscah!  We thought to remind you in case you forgot or didn’t know.  Find more information and register atcampmennoscah.org!  Camp staff is happy to answer questions–just call 620-297-3290.  Returning campers can bring a friend new to camp and both campers will get free tee shirts.  Our theme this summer is Beyond Belief:  The Universe of God.  We will see you this summer!

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Joanna Shenk, Associate Pastor at First Mennonite Church of San Franciscohas just published The Movement Makes Us Human; an Interview with Dr. Vincent Harding on Mennonites, Vietnam and MLK.  Dr. Harding was a good friend of Dr. King and, in fact, drafted the Beyond Vietnam speech.  Vincent Harding is “the person who created and defined the field of Black Studies.  In this provocative and poignant interview, Dr. Vincent Harding reflects on the communities that shaped his early life, compelled him to join movements for justice, and sustained his ongoing transformation. He challenges those committed to justice today to consider the enduring power of nonviolent social change and to root out white supremacy in all of its forms. With his relentless commitment to education and relationship-building across lines of difference, Harding never doubted the capacity of people to create the world we need.”  The Greater Wichita Ministerial League, (traditionally made up of African American clergy, but currently including Anglo pastors from Mennonite, Quaker, and Church of the Brethren churches) will host an event with Joanna as the keynote speaker on April 4 at 6:30 pm at the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church (2727 E 25th St North, Wichita, KS).  April 4 marks the day, 50 years ago, that Brother Martin was killed.  Come to commemorate his life, to learn more about “the movement” and to find out how you can work for nonviolent social change now!  (Poster attached.)
  1.   The Mennonite, Inc., welcomes your original submissions for our June 2018 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on Costly Discipleship.

When Jesus called people to follow him, he told them to “count the cost” (Luke 14:25-33), and when foretelling his death and resurrection, he told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). The term “costly” can have a different meaning for people from different contexts. Someone in a privileged position may choose to face a cost out of commitment to their faith. A person who is oppressed may be paying a cost without having a choice in the matter.  Submissions may consider these and other prompts/questions related to the theme:

  • How does our understanding of God impact the way we follow Jesus in our current sociopolitical and economic context?
  • How has being a disciple of Jesus led you to face adversity or challenges?
  • Who is someone who inspires you to bear witness to your faith at great cost? Tell us a story about that person, with their permission, and what you’ve learned from them.
  • What is one way your congregation is attempting to live faithfully as a discipleship community?
  • How can Anabaptist-Mennonites more fully bear witness to God’s shalom in our world today?

Submissions are due to Editor@TheMennonite.org no later than April 16.  We welcome written reflections—personal stories, biblical or theological reflections, poetry and more (800-1,200 words)—as well as original photography, multimedia products (including but not limited to original music recordings, music playlists and videos) and artwork on the theme.  Please note we are committed to anti-oppression reviews as part of our editorial process. We have pulled together a list of anti-oppression guidelines (https://themennonite.org/anti-oppression-writers-guidelines/) for writers to consider as they are developing their piece. You can also review our full editorial guidelines:  https://themennonite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/EditorialPolicy_ForWeb_June2016.docx.

  1. The Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) at Bethel College will host “Restorative Kansas” on the Bethel campus Thurs.-Fri., April 19-20– the first-ever statewide conference on restorative justice in Kansas. For more information and to register online, go to kipcor.org

  1. The Bethel College Department of Bible and Religion and the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) will sponsor Jalane Schmidt, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and a Black Lives Matter activist, for two public lectures. Both are in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center on the Bethel campus. The first isSunday, April 15, 7:30 p.m.: “Huck Finn Moments: Using White Privilege to Dismantle White Supremacy.” The second is Monday, April 16, for Bethel’s convocation at 11 a.m.: “Holding Space in #Charlottesville: Confronting ‘Alt-Right’ White Supremacists.” Jalane was an organizer for actions countering the white supremacist and alt-right demonstrations in Charlottesville in August 2017.
  1. The Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) at Bethel College wraps up a year-plus-long celebration of its 30th anniversaryApril 22 by hosting author and storyteller Rafe Martin, Rochester, New York, at 3 pm in Memorial Hall on the Bethel campus. Martin is known for his children’s books on making peace and celebrating differences, and his storytelling performances for audiences of all ages. There will be a reception and book-signing following the program, with Faith & Life Bookstore in Newton offering Martin’s books for sale, or books can be pre-ordered through the store (606 North Main St.; 316-283-2210info@faithandlifebookstore.com). KIPCOR is also collaborating with Kauffman Museum on April 22 – the museum opens its newest special exhibit that day, with extended hours of 1-5 pm “Newton Kids Create: Storytelling through Art” is artwork by students from Newton USD 373, some of it inspired by Rafe Martin’s books.
  1. Sexualized violence and the church: Mennonite Central Committee is offering three free webinars this spring for churches who want to learn more about how to address sexualized violence within their congregation and how to encourage healthy sexuality and healthy masculinity among members. The webinars will be led by church leaders and others with expertise in the topics. All three webinars will start at 2 pm and end at 3 pm CST. The first webinar, Healthy sexuality in our congregations will be on April 11. Katherine Goerzen and Benjamin Reynolds will lead the discussion focusing on what role the church can play in fostering and supporting healthy views of sexuality. May 9’s webinar will focus on Sexualized violence – how should churches respond?  And then on June 13Healthy masculinity. Learn more and register for the webinars at mcc.org/wwso Contact karinkaufmanwall@mcc.org with questions.

WDC Sprouts announcement guidelines:  Announcements should 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