WDC Sprouts, March 30, 2021

WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE

SPROUTS

March 30, 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:

*Congregational discernment in a pandemic Easter season

*Prayer requests

*Coming Events

*Announcements

*WDC Ministerial and Credential Announcements

Congregational discernment in a pandemic Easter season

by Heidi Regier Kreider 

As your congregation observes Holy Week and celebrates Easter, do you sense new hope, energy and purpose for the future as you are encouraged by post-pandemic possibilities? Or do you feel tired, overwhelmed, disconnected and disoriented from a year of coping with the ongoing pandemic in a world filled with struggle, change and uncertainty?  Either way, this season is a good time to pause, to make sense of the present moment and focus direction for the future.  It is not unlike what Jesus’ disciples had to do in response to his suffering, death and resurrection.

As I have consulted with congregational leaders, listened to pastors, and done some reading on post-pandemic ministry and leadership, I’ve been gathering questions that might help guide congregations as they find their way forward in this present time. (This includes ideas adapted from an article by Dave Odom,  https://faithandleadership.com/dave-odom-next-three-most-faithful-steps, and a webinar by Mennonite Health Services on strategic planning in the midst of a pandemic).

First, take stock of where you are right now. How are you doing and what are you feeling? What do you grieve or lament from the last year of the pandemic? For what gifts of God’s faithfulness are you thankful? What needs do you have at this time?  How can your congregation share support, compassion, healing and grace with one another and your community? How might you intentionally strengthen relationships both among long-time members and with new participants?

Next, reaffirm what you know about God’s vision for the world and God’s intention for the church. Within WDC, we emphasize our mission of empowering congregations to Witness and invite others to faith in Jesus Christ, Dwell in just and loving relationships, and Connect to God’s mission in the world.  Within your congregation, what vision or mission statements might help you focus your attention in this moment and hear the Spirit’s leading for the future?  What scriptures are foundational and give you perspective and hope? For example, it may be stories of Jesus’ followers transformed by his resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit; or the prophets’ call to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. It may be the simple reminder to love God, self and neighbor; or the powerful vision of a new heaven and new earth where God dwells with us and wipes away our tears.

Then, reflect on how – and with whom – you can participate in this vision and join God’s work now and in the future.  What are the next most faithful steps in your journey? Here are some questions to prompt imagination for these steps:

  • What has your congregation learned during the pandemic?  What are you rethinking?
  • What new thing(s) has your congregation started doing in response to the pandemic that is having a positive impact? Should you consider doing it indefinitely? Why? What results do you see from this? What is required to maintain the activity? Who needs to support it? What kinds of resources need to be put behind it?
  • What were you doing before the pandemic that you have stopped doing, and it has not been missed (or you are relieved not to be doing it now)?  What is required to let those things remain fallow for the next season? How might you prune for greater fruitfulness, simplify for clearer focus, and find freedom for greater faithfulness?
  • What essential practices of your congregation need to be resumed, renewed or strengthened?
  • What are your strengths in this season? What gives you joy? How can the next steps sustain opportunities for joy among all those who are a part of the work?
  • Has your congregation come to new realizations of injustice in the community and world? Who has suffered and who continues to experience the harm? What can you do to learn about this, and to incorporate what you are learning into next steps?
  • What opportunity or challenge have you recognized that needs to be addressed? What can you encourage now that would prepare the ground for new activities?
  • Who in your church or community has energy right now? How will you pay attention to them, encourage them, and provide resources for them to move forward?

As your congregation considers these and other questions, I will be curious to hear where God is leading you.  May you be strengthened by God’s love, renewed by the joy of Jesus’ resurrection, and guided by the Spirit in this Easter season and beyond.

———————

Discernimiento congregacional en una temporada de Pascua pandémica

    Por Heidi Regier Kreider  

Mientras su congregación observa la Semana Santa y celebra la Pascua, ¿siente una nueva esperanza, energía y propósito para el futuro mientras se siente alentado por las posibilidades posteriores a la pandemia? ¿O se siente cansado, abrumado, desconectado y desorientado después de un año de lidiar con la pandemia en curso, en un mundo lleno de luchas, cambios e incertidumbre? De cualquier manera, esta temporada es un buen momento para hacer una pausa, darle sentido al momento presente y enfocar la dirección para el futuro. No es diferente de lo que los discípulos de Jesús tuvieron que hacer en respuesta a su sufrimiento, muerte y resurrección.

Al consultar con los líderes congregacionales, escuchar a los pastores y leer un poco sobre el ministerio y el liderazgo después de la pandemia, he estado reuniendo preguntas que podrían ayudar a guiar a las congregaciones a medida que encuentran su camino hacia adelante en este tiempo presente. (Esto incluye ideas adaptadas de un artículo de Dave Odom,

https://faithandleadership.com/dave-odom-next-three-most-faithful-steps, y un seminario web de Mennonite Health Services sobre planificación estratégica en medio de una pandemia).

Primero, evalúe dónde se encuentra ahora mismo. ¿Cómo esta y como se siente? ¿Qué le aflige o que lamentas del último año de la pandemia? ¿De cuáles dones de la fidelidad de Dios está agradecido? ¿Qué necesidades tiene en este momento? ¿Cómo puede su congregación compartir apoyo, compasión, sanidad y gracia entre sí y con su comunidad? ¿Cómo podría fortalecer intencionalmente las relaciones tanto entre los miembros antiguos como con los nuevos participantes?

Luego, reafirme lo que sabe acerca de la visión de Dios para el mundo y la intención de Dios para la iglesia. Dentro de WDC, enfatizamos nuestra misión de empoderar a las congregaciones para Testificar e invitar a otros a tener fe en Jesucristo, Habitar en relaciones justas y amorosas y Conectarse con la misión de Dios en el mundo. Dentro de su congregación, ¿qué declaraciones de visión o misión podrían ayudarlo a enfocar su atención en este momento y escuchar la dirección del Espíritu para el futuro? ¿Qué pasajes de las Escrituras son fundamentales y le dan perspectiva y esperanza? Por ejemplo, pueden ser historias de seguidores de Jesús transformados por su resurrección y el poder del Espíritu Santo; o el llamado de los profetas a hacer justicia, amar la misericordia y caminar humildemente con Dios. Puede ser un simple recordatorio de amar a Dios, a uno mismo y al prójimo; o la poderosa visión de un cielo nuevo y una tierra nueva, donde Dios mora con nosotros y secará nuestras lágrimas.

Luego, reflexione sobre cómo – y con quién – puede participar en esta visión y unirse a la obra de Dios ahora y en el futuro. ¿Cuáles son los siguientes pasos más fieles en su caminar? Aquí hay algunas preguntas para estimular la imaginación sobre estos pasos:

  • ¿Qué ha aprendido su congregación durante la pandemia? ¿Qué está reconsiderando?
  • ¿Qué cosas nuevas ha comenzado a hacer su congregación en respuesta a la pandemia que está teniendo un impacto positivo? ¿Debería considerar hacerlo de forma indefinida? ¿Por qué? ¿Qué resultados ve de esto? ¿Qué se requiere para mantener la actividad? ¿Quién necesita apoyarlo? ¿Qué tipo de recursos se deben destinar?
  • ¿Qué hacía antes de la pandemia que dejo de hacer y no se le ha escapado (o se siente aliviado de no hacerlo ahora)? ¿Qué se requiere para que esas cosas permanezcan en barbecho durante la próxima temporada? ¿Cómo podría podar para obtener una mayor cosecha, simplificar para un enfoque más claro y encontrar libertad para una mayor fidelidad?
  • ¿Qué prácticas esenciales de su congregación deben reanudarse, renovarse o fortalecerse?
  • ¿Cuáles son sus puntos fuertes en esta temporada? ¿Qué le da alegría? ¿Cómo pueden los próximos pasos sustentar oportunidades de gozo entre todos los que forman parte del trabajo?
  • ¿Ha llegado su congregación a nuevas percepciones de la injusticia en la comunidad y en el mundo? ¿Quién ha sufrido y quién continúa sufriendo el daño? ¿Qué puede hacer para aprender sobre esto e incorporar lo que está aprendiendo en los próximos pasos?
  • ¿Qué oportunidad o desafío ha reconocido que debe abordarse? ¿Qué puede animar ahora, que prepararía el terreno para nuevas actividades?
  • ¿Quién en su iglesia o comunidad tiene energía en este momento? ¿Cómo les prestará atención, los alentará y les proporcionará recursos para que sigan adelante?

A medida que su congregación considere estas y otras preguntas, sentiré curiosidad por saber adónde los está guiando Dios. Que sea fortalecido por el amor de Dios, renovado por el gozo de la resurrección de Jesús y guiado por el Espíritu en esta temporada de Pascua y más allá.

Prayer Requests

April 4 – Give thanks for the joy of resurrection, as WDC congregations celebrate Easter and bear witness to new life, healing and hope in Jesus!

April 11 – Pray for WDC congregations engaged in ministries with immigrants and refugees, as they seek to embody God’s love and justice.

April 18 – Give thanks for farmers and gardeners, and pray for all those in WDC congregations working to be faithful stewards of God’s creation.

April 25 – Pray for pastors, parents, teachers, and mentors in WDC congregations, as they guide faith formation for children and youth in the midst of challenging times.

Coming Events

Due to COVID-19 concerns, all meetings are being held via Zoom video conference until further notice.

April 2 – Good Friday – WDC Holiday

April 5 – WDC Staff Relations Committee meeting

April 8 – Western District Women in Mission (Virtual) Spring Soiree

April 13 – WDC Israel-Palestine Dialogue

April 16 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting

April 20 & 22 – WDC Healthy Boundaries training

April 29 – Third Thursday WDC Book Discussion

May 11 & 13 – WDC Healthy Boundaries training

May 13 – WDC Resource Commission meeting

May 18 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting

May 21 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting

June 3 – WDC Executive Board meeting

June 18 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
July 30-Aug 1 – WDC Annual Assembly

WDC Announcements
1.  Due to Covid-19 concerns, the WDC staff has worked from their homes for the last several months.  Now, with lower positivity rates and vaccine availability, the WDC office plans to again be open beginning Tuesday, April 6 at 8 am.  Visitor protocols will include wearing a mask and social distancing from others.  Hand sanitizers will also be available.  At this time, Resource Library materials will be available by lobby pick up only, but it is hoped that patrons will be able to enter the library again soon.

  1. Several WDC congregations along I-70 (Kansas City, Manhattan, Salina, Topeka, and Lawrence), will gather virtually for a Good Friday Serviceon April 2. The gathering will be recorded and made public via the Rainbow Mennonite Church YouTube channel by 8 pm on Good Friday.
  2. Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, Goessel, KS, is pleased to host the Service of Ordination for Lead Pastor Caleb Yoderon Sunday, April 11, at 4:00 pm.  COVID precautions will be followed, including social distancing, required masks, and no congregational singing. A quartet will sing from the stage. Guests are welcome to join by livestream; email alexmenno@mtelco.net for the Zoom link.
  3. Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church, Inman, KS, is seeking a Pastor.  A Pastoral Ministry Job Description is available at:  https://mennowdc.org/hoffnungsau-mennonite-church-inman-ks/
  4. Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church (Wichita, KS) is seeking an administrative assistant (20-30 hours/week, benefits available).  Interested candidates can apply here.

Camp Mennoscah announcements
1.  Camp Mennoscah is seeking a full-time Director of Development, Marketing & Communications to lead our ongoing operational and advancement needs.  This position reports directly to the Board of Directors while taking directive from the Executive Director when related to operational considerations.  As a member of a small, very hands-on staff, the role is expected to be highly collaborative.  This professional must embrace the mission of Camp Mennoscah, have an established background in coordinating nonprofit donation strategies, possess strong written, interpersonal, leadership and relationship building skills, and work as an independent contributor with good organization and follow-through.  Most of the work will commence off campus, however some in-person time at camp is required.

This role involves organizing broad-based fundraising initiatives, advocating for Camp Mennoscah through speaking engagements, promotional materials, and social media, as well as recruiting volunteers, and building relationships with board members, donors and staff.

Our ideal candidate will have a bachelor’s degree, a minimum of five years of fund development experience, or equivalent experience in church relations, and a passion for Camp Mennoscah.  They should also be familiar with office related applications, and other technology used for communication and social media.  Experience with CampBrain and the associated donor database is a plus.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled and early submission is encouraged.  Please send application materials (resume, cover letter, references and salary requirements) to campmennojobs@att.net.

  1. Men and Boys Retreat, April 16-18, at Camp Mennoscah! Come to Camp Mennoscah for this long-standing, guys-only retreat! Spend time fishing, canoeing, worshiping, sitting by the fire, or visiting with friends in fellowship.  The official beginning to the weekend is Saturday morning, but many arrive on Friday. Meals can be purchased for Saturday night, Sunday morning and lunch.  People are welcome Friday, but no meals or entertainment will be provided.  Meals available for an additional cost. No pre-registration. Registration and payment will take place upon arrival. For more information contact Kevin Neufeld at 316-322-5515.
  1. 2021 Summer Staff!  Camp Mennoscah’s summer staffers are Anna Lubbers, Beth Balzer, Karina Brandt, Emily Brandt, Schyler Entz, Ethan Entz, Seth Rudeen, Ben Rudeen, and John Koontz.  We are excited to have them be part of the summer camp staff and they are ready for an absolutely rootin’, tootin’ summer!  Start your prayers now for these staffers and for all who are part of the summer youth program!
  1. Looking for HUGE tents! Camp Mennoscah is looking for at least 2 more tents that hold approx. 8-10 bunk beds for summer youth camps (18′ X 36′).  These would be (similar) to the ones used for Senior High Camp (military tents repurposed for peace).  The cost to purchase one is approximately $2600.  If you have one stored away and are willing to lend it to Camp Mennoscah for the summer, please contact us at 620-297-3290.
  2. It’s time to finish the Campfire Amphitheater at Camp Mennoscah!  We’d like to have this ready for the summer youth camps.  Work days are scheduled for the following days: April 2-3, April 9 to 10, April 24, May 15.  Come 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 of 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 office@campmennoscah.orgor call 620-297-3290 to volunteer for this project.  Let us know by the Tuesday before!
  3. 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 office@campmennoscah.orgor call 620-297-3290 for available weeks and details.  Kitchen staff can receive a scholarship up to full camp fees for their camper.

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Join Michael Danner, Mennonite Church USA’s associate executive director of Church Vitality, in a webinar April 8 at 7 p.m. ET, as he interviews Elain Enns and Ched Myers, authors of “Healing Haunted Histories: A Settler Discipleship of Decolonization.” Register here:  https://www.mennoniteusa.org/registration-decolonization

    2.  SeongHan Kim, in his blog, “Walk out from the military base nation,” recounts how the construction of a Republic of Korea naval base on Jeju Island, Korea — and its connection to the U.S. military — has affected the lives of those Koreans who live in that region. Read his take on the Cost of War here: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/base-walk-out

  2. Allegheny Mennonite Conference (AMC) is offering a matching grant of up to $15,000 for donations made to Mennonite Church USA’s Justice Fund, a mutual aid fund that supports MC USA congregations’ work toward social justice. Find out more about AMC’s contribution and how your congregation can get involved at https://www.mennoniteusa.org/news/justice-fund-match/.

    4.  Registration for MennoCon21 opens April 6 for in-person and online attendance. Learn more here: https://convention.mennoniteusa.org/registration/

  1. Learn about the Potawatomi Trail of Death with Youth Venture. On this nine-day trip, participants will camp along the trail and acknowledge markers while discussing the history and present-day realities for Indigenous peoples in the U.S. Visit MennoniteMission.net/YouthVenture to learn more. Deadline is May 1! 
  1. Want to be an integral part of a young adult’s life? Become a unit leader for Service Adventure, a gap-year program for ages 17-20 from Mennonite Mission Network. Unit leaders, who are at least 24 years of age, serve as mentors to the young adults in the Service Adventure household. Leaders are needed in Colorado Springs, CO and Johnstown, PA. Learn more by contacting SusanN@MennoniteMission.net.

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.  

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

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