March 29, 2016

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)


*From the Conference Minister’s Heart

*Prayer Requests

*Coming Events


From the Conference Minister’s Heart:  Why Go To Beatrice on April 23?

     by Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister

I love the country! I love open sky and wide horizons with a visible sunrise, sunset, stars, moon – and the grain elevator miles away.  I love the sight of wheat fields and hedge-rows, prairie grass, a herd of grazing cattle, and a single hawk perched on a fence-post.  I love the smell of cut alfalfa and damp soil.  I love the sound of singing meadowlarks, silence, and approaching thunderstorms.  I love the taste of fresh sweet-corn and ripe tomatoes, and the availability of locally-grown grass-fed beef and free-range chicken.  I love country churches, cemeteries and wide-spot-in-the-road cafés.

My roots are in rural Kansas, where my parents grew up on farms near Whitewater and Elbing.  Their rural background served them well as they went into mission work, first among Spanish-speaking and Old Colony Mennonite German-speaking farm communities in Cuauhtemoc, Mexico (where I was born and lived for two years), and later in a rural development project near the village of Nyanga in Congo.  As a child I fed rabbits, chickens and ducks in our backyard farm, dug peanuts and picked bananas in the garden, and road my bicycle through the sand to the mission station two kilometers away to practice piano at another missionary’s home.  Later as an adult I lived in north-central Florida, where the prairie was home to alligators, and “rural” meant fresh-water springs, cypress swamps, loblolly pines, wagon-loads of fresh citrus at the farmer’s market, and boiled peanuts for sale along the road. These are some impressions that come to mind when I think of “rural.”

What does “rural” mean to you?  The word “rural” may prompt warm feelings of nostalgia, gratitude for God’s good earth, and appreciation for family and spiritual heritage. It might also make you think of computerized technology, center-pivot irrigation systems, migrant workers, and global commodity markets. It might call to mind commercial feedlots and meat packing plants, abandoned farmsteads and ghost towns.  It may raise questions about a changing economy, environment, demographics and religious landscape.

Whatever your thoughts or questions, come join the conversation at the WDC Spring Reference Council, “Being Church in the Rural Context” on April 23, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at First Mennonite Church in Beatrice, NE.  All WDC church members and leaders are invited to participate, because the realities facing rural churches and communities in Western District Conference impact our whole conference and the wider church.    We will hear reflections from a panel of pastors working on a writing project about ministry in the rural context, as well as stories from people living and working in the rural context.  Table conversation will explore the unique gifts and challenges of the rural context, and what gifts rural and urban congregations have to share with each other as we partner in God’s mission.

God loves rural churches and communities, and so do we! Come to Beatrice to explore what it means to be the church in the rural context, and how we are all the church together.

 (Later, watch for a future issue of Sprouts to hear why I love the city!  And plan to attend the Fall WDC Reference Council on October 22 in Dallas, TX on the theme “Being Church in the Urban Context.”  More details to come…)

Prayer Requests

April 3 – Give thanks for the Easter season! Pray for WDC congregations, that they might embody Jesus’ good news of life and hope.

April 10 – Pray for members of the WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission as they meet this week to continue their work of sustaining transformational pastors in WDC.

April 17 – Pray for all who gather this Saturday, April 23, for WDC Reference Council, “Held Together in Mission: Being Church in the Rural Context” at First Mennonite Church, Beatrice, NE.

April 24 – Pray for Byron Pellecer, as he concludes ministry at Aposento Alto church plant in Wichita, KS, this month, and prepares to move to Texas to begin work May 15 as WDC Associate Conference Minister (TX-based).

WDC Announcements

  1. (Church offices: Please put this announcement into your bulletin or newsletter.)  Everyone is invited! The Western District Conference Reference Council will be on April 23 from 9 am-3 pm at the First Mennonite Church in Beatrice, NE.  Panel discussion, story telling, table conversations and more – how can rural and urban congregations learn from one another as partners in God’s mission?  Refreshments and lunch provided.  Please RSVP by April 14 to:  316-283-6300 or wdc@mennowdc.org.  Let us know if you want to carpool.
  1. Retirees Relaxation Retreat at Camp Mennoscah–Retirees of all ages and those interested are welcome at the Retirees Relaxation Retreat on March 25-27. The theme is Mennonites in Early Kansas. We’ll have Bible Study and singing, coffee breaks, amazing speakers, and time to get to know new folks or catch up with friends. Call 620-297-3290 for a brochure or register online at www.campmennoscah.org. See you soon!
  1. Kitchen helpers for Camp Mennoscah’s summer youth camps are needed for the weeks of June 19-25, June 26-30, July 17-23, and July 24-29. No great skill is needed, only willing hands and a giving heart. Parents can receive a camper discount of up to full camp fees. Call 620-297-3290 for more information. Free camp tee for all volunteers!
  1. Camp Mennoscah wants as many kids and youth as possible to have a summer youth camp experience. It’s a great way to help faith grow and to find God in creation and in friends. The summer youth camp theme is Fearless Faith: Courage in Community.  Register online at www.campmennoscah.org.  Scholarships are available. Call 620-297-3290 or email office@campmennoscah.org for more information.
  1. We’ve rounded up our 2016 Camp Mennoscah Summer Staff! These folks have snazzy pants, loving hearts, and just the right amount of silliness. Josh Carlgren (lifeguard), Hannah Carlgren (lifeguard), Roxy Gehring (music), Ashlynn Hamm (office/media), Kate Jolliff (crafts), Keri Kauffman (lifeguard), Garrett Smith (naturalist), Adam Voth (grounds/maintenance), and Amy Wedel (office) will be serving at Camp Mennoscah this summer. We’re absolutely positively thrilled. Give them a cheer and send your prayers for these folks!

Mennonite Church Announcements

  1. MCC Central States has an opening for the position of Executive Director The Executive Director promotes and encourages support of MCC. The Director works hand-in-hand with a management team which includes the Program Director and the Director of Donor Relations to provide vision and leadership to MCC program in the region and to develop and maintain strong relationships between MCC and its constituents in the region. This full-time position, based in North Newton, Kan., requires considerable cooperation and coordination with MCC US and the other regional MCCs and considerable travel in the region and beyond. The full job description is available at http://mcc.org/get-involved/serve/openings/executive-director-cs.

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