WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
March 3, 2020
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)
To support WDC ministries, contributions may be made HERE.
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Lent: Practicing Faith Practices
Lent: Practicing Faith Practices
by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)
Lent is a period of time when we consciously focus on faith practices that assist us in deepening our spiritual life. Another way to say this is we commit ourselves to be disciplined in following Jesus in our lives. Most of us are disciplined in some aspect of our lives, whether it is our commitment to spending time in the gym or practicing a musical instrument or playing a team sport or spending consistent time listening to a child or parent or spouse. Whatever we are committed to, we find time to do.
When we commit ourselves to the Lenten journey, we find time to practice a spiritual discipline so we may become more deeply connected to the way of Jesus and in relationship with God. We may choose to fast from some food or from Facebook to be reminded that Jesus fasted, too. He fasted as a way to focus concretely on his dependence on God. We might choose to spend a specific time in prayer to begin to tune in to God’s desires for us, our congregation, community, nation, and the world. Even making time to pray for as little as five minutes for the next 46 days (minus Sundays) will help create new spiritual habits in our lives. We could commit to journaling or doing other creative writing about God, the church, and our faith and how this relates to our work in the world. We could also commit to praying for a wise and compassionate electoral process this year. We could spend time in silence, asking God to teach us humility or kindness as we pick up trash in a local park. There are many ways we can practice consciously focusing on God during these forty days.
We may choose faith practices or spiritual disciplines to do together with others. Maybe you and others are committed to praying for your congregation together. Perhaps your congregation is studying one of the gospels during the Wednesdays of Lent. You could commit to reading through that gospel once a week during this time. Maybe you and others will commit to “placing yourself in the story” of the last week of Jesus’ life. When have you, like one of the first disciples, betrayed a good friend or allowed fear to keep you from doing what you knew to be right and good, or experienced God in such a new, life-giving way that it changed the trajectory of your life? Tell your own stories as part of God’s story.
However you choose to do it, practice a faith practice during Lent. It just might become a habit and ultimately a deeper connection with God and God’s people.
If you want a book or DVD or other resource on this topic, search the WDC online Resource Library Catalog at mennowdc.booksys.net/opac/crl/index.html?mode=start#menuHome Some search topics might include spiritual disciplines, faith formation, or spiritual practice, or even simply Lent. See where God leads you this season.
- The Resource Library Book Bundles for Group Studyprogram has begun!! Four sets have already been checked out. Now available:
- Collateral Damage: Changing the Conversation about Firearms and Faith by James E. Atwood
- What is the Bible and How Do We Understand It? by Dennis R. Edwards
- Fire by Night: Finding God in the Pages of the Old Testament by Melissa Florer-Bixler
- Raising Disciples: How to Make Faith Matter for Our Kids by Natalie Frisk
- The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong by Karen Gonzalez
- Speak Your Peace: What the Bible says about Loving Our Enemies by Ronald J. Sider
- Invited: The Power of Hospitality in an Age of Loneliness by Leslie Verner
Contact Library Director, Jennie Wintermote, to borrow any of these book bundles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-283-6300.
- The March/April/May 2020 issue of WDC Gardenis now available in WDC churches (also posted at: https://mennowdc.org/wdc-garden-march-april-may-2020/). Read about two churches that share space and convictions, see an invitation to a dessert reception, find out what “book bundles” are, and more! Also see a new feature “WDC Seeds” which highlights creative ideas and missional initiatives from WDC congregations . WDC Garden is a quarterly newsletter to help you know what’s going on in WDC!
- TO ALL WOMEN– You are invited to the Western District Women in Mission Spring Supper on Thursday, March 12 at Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS. The meal starts at 6 pm with the program at 7 pm. Our Special Guest Speaker, Patty Shelly, Professor of Bible and Religion at Bethel College, will present “My Journey through Scripture”. Reservations required by March 5 by calling Darlene @ 316-323-9762 or emailing email@example.com. Cost is $10 and payable at the door. (See attached bulletin insert and poster.)
- The 2020 Heritage Fundraiser Dinner for the Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum in Goessel, KS will be held Friday, March 13 at 6:30 pm at the Tabor Mennonite Church (Newton, KS) Fellowship Hall. Entertainment will be Donna Becker portraying the Suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt, who was instrumental in securing the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920, giving women the right to vote. Come celebrate the 100th anniversary of this event. Call the museum 620-367-8200 to reserve your ticket by March 9. Tickets $50; first time attendees $25; ages 12 and under $5.
- Rosi Penner Kaufman’s ordination service will be held at Rainbow Mennonite Church, Kansas City, KS on Sunday, March 29 at 4pm. Special guests will include Heidi Regier Kreider from Western District Conference and Michael Bauer, KU professor of organ and church music. A light reception will follow the service. This isn’t an end or a beginning, but a marking of a point on the journey for both me and the congregation. I’m grateful to have had the support and prodding to explore what this musical/theological/community calling means. I’m grateful to share this celebration with all of you. ~ Rosi Penner Kaufman, Minister of Worship and Music, Rainbow Mennonite Church
- Leadership Launch: Celebrating and Looking Ahead! – All are invited to a free dessert reception recognizing 5 years of joint partnership of Western District Conference and South Central Conference with Kansas Leadership Center (KLC), on Monday, March 30, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at KLC, 325 E Douglas Avenue, Wichita, KS. Refreshments will be served, with a brief program at 7:00 p.m. featuring greetings and stories from KLC, WDC and SCC about how adaptive leadership is strengthening the church and its ministry. This will also be a time to learn about training opportunities through WDC/SCC’s Leadership Transformation Grant from KLC. The 2020 grant covers full registration cost for a selected number of participants to attend one of KLC’s three primary leadership training programs. For more information, see: http://mennowdc.org/grants/. Members of the Core Team for implementing WDC/SCC’s grant are Heidi Regier Kreider, Kathy Neufeld Dunn, Phil Schmidt, Howard Keim and Isaac Landis.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Youth Volunteer Weekend is one week away (plus a few days)! Grades 7-12 are invited to come to Camp Mennoscah for Youth Volunteer Weekend on March 13-14 for a time of worship, service, and fellowship. We’ll be singing, serving, and funning! Register online at campmennoscah.org(in the summer youth camp section of registration). Full scholarships are available. (See attached poster.)
- Kitchen staff for summer youth camps needed! Camp Mennoscah is looking for kitchen staff for many of our summer youth camp weeks! No great skills needed, just your basic knowledge of potato peeling, pot stirring and sharing smiles. Contact us at 620-297-3290 or firstname.lastname@example.org! Full camper discount for parents helping a full camp week in the kitchen–but you don’t need to have a camper to volunteer!
- Tee shirt contest! Camp Mennoscah is looking for three two-word phrases that represent the important parts of Camp Mennoscah to you. The best combination of phrases will become our camp tee! One (generic) example would be Sing loudly, Play hard, Love God. Send all your amazing phrases to email@example.com!
Mennonite church announcements
- Wanted: Financial advisor to United Mission to Nepal, an interdenominational organization that exists to serve the poor and marginalized in the name and spirit of Christ. Work alongside Nepali professionals to ensure that sound financial practices are implemented to properly manage funds. Age: 21+; term: 3 months–2 years. Learn more at www.MennoniteMission.net/Serve.
- Earlier this year, Mennonite Creation Care Network held a webinar entitled, Nurturing a Culture of Creation Care in Congregations.In it, Heather Wolfe of Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship, Taftsville, Vt., shared her congregation’s inspiring journey. If you missed it, the one-hour webinar is recorded and available here: https://mennocreationcare.org/nurturing-a-culture-of-creation-care-in-congregations/ Notes are provided to guide you to the sections most relevant to your needs.
- Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) is seeking a half-time Executive Director to start between May and September 2020 who is committed to Anabaptist values and the mission of MHF, has proven skills in administration, communication, and networking, and has an intergenerationally compelling vision for MHF. Interested persons are invited to send a resume and statement of intent, including the broad strokes of your vision and thoughts about a strategic plan, to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information at www.mennohealth.org.
- The Mennonite, Inc., invites your original submissions for our May 2020 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on The presence of beauty. More information available at: https://themennonite.org/may-2020-call-submissions-presence-beauty/.
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.