WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
March 6, 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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*St. Patrick’s Way of Evangelism
St. Patrick’s Way of Evangelism
by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)
In honor of St Patrick’s Day, here are a few lessons we can learn from Celtic missionaries that just might have meaning and relevance for us today.
*In Patrick’s day, “establishment” Christian leaders took a dim view of making “apostolic outreach (or befriending pagan, sinners and lost people) the priority of a church. Establishment Christianity always expects its people, pastors and bishops to care for, and fraternize with, church people.” What thoughts does this critique inspire in you? Your congregation? In WDC?
*St Patrick went to the Barbarians in what became Ireland and later Scotland and did his best to shape the story of the gospel so it spoke to them. Today we have “new barbarians” in our home communities who don’t know 2 Corinthians from Ecclesiastes, and wouldn’t even know what to say to the pastor after worship, or how to act “civilized” in most of church life. Some live lives bound up by addiction, broken relationships, or other deep wounds. How can the message of hope and new life in Christ become indigenous in our local communities today, so the gospel may speak with relevance in this time and place?
*A spirituality centered on Jesus that recognizes many people need to reach out to the Holy in experiential ways is something important to consider. Celtic Christians made connections between the physical world around them that they saw, touched, heard, smelled and even tasted and the spiritual lessons God’s good creation could teach them. “New barbarians” today also value feelings and deep experiences. Some philosophers note our society has moved from the Enlightenment’s “I think, therefore I am” to “I feel, therefore I am.” What can this prompt us to consider for worship and community life that just might speak to those around us?
*Community life was also crucial to St Patrick’s way of evangelism and mission. Wherever he went, he would not do the work alone. He would bring others with him who had at least some understanding of the local language and culture. These individuals would begin bringing people into Christian community and into deep conversation about their experiences of life. Peter Berger notes, “In a pluralistic society, the possibility of conversion (that is, changing the way one perceives essential Reality) is opened up through conversations with people who live with a contrasting view of Reality and one adopts and internalizes the new worldview through resocialization into a community sharing that new worldview.”
If you want to learn more about this model of mission and evangelism, read George G Hunter’s The Celtic Way of Evangelism. It’s in our WDC Resource Library (or will be once I return it!)
- Did you know that there are a number of WDC congregations that are building or renovating? Did you know that the Conference Resource Library is opening a branch in Texas? Read about these things and more in the WDC GardenMarch/April/May 2018 issue! https://mennowdc.org/wdc-garden-march-april-may-2018/.
- On March 18-19, the Mennonite churches of Beatrice, NE will host “Faith, Hope, and the Mission of Rural and Small Town Churches”, a WDC Year of Evangelism event. Brad Roth, pastor at West Zion, Moundridge, KS and author of God’s Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Churchwill be the speaker. A workshop session for pastors and church leaders has been added to the schedule on the afternoon of March 19. Detailed information can be found at: https://mennowdc.org/year-of-evangelism/. (Interested in carpooling from the Newton area? Heidi Regier Kreider has room for three people. She will leave the morning of March 18 and return late evening, March 19.)
3. West Zion Mennonite Church (101 S. Washington, Moundridge, KS) is hosting a bicycle drive, March 10, 8:00-10:00 AM in support of refugees who have settled in Wichita. Many newcomers to our country use bicycles to get to work and school, especially while they’re still getting established and don’t yet have a driver’s license. We’re accepting new or used bicycles for all ages. Bicycles needing light repairs are also okay. You can also make a monetary donation which will go toward the purchase of helmets. Questions? Contact the West Zion church office: 620-345-8143 or email@example.com.
- Looking for short-term housing in Kansas City for a weekend retreat? Rainbow Mennonite Church has developed a Rainbow Guest House that can be used for individuals or small groups. The house is located one block from Rainbow Mennonite Church in what used to be the Kansas City MVS house. During this past year the house has been transformed into a hybrid house that includes 2 full-time house managers and residents with private rooms available for short-term guests. Please visit Rainbow Guest House – Rainbow Mennonite Churchfor more information or to inquire about reservations.
- Rainbow Summer Program (Rainbow Mennonite Church, Kansas City, KS) is hiring summer interns! Rainbow Summer Program is a six-week summer enrichment program for 100 children who have completed grades K – 8. Interns serve in the classrooms and are paid a stipend for the summer. For more information on how to apply, please visit www.rainbowmennonite.org/serving/rainbow-summer-program/
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Refresh and Renew! Camp Mennoscah’s Retirees Retreat invites retirees and interested persons of all ages to join us April 23-25 for several days of renewal. 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.
- You are more than just a carrot cutter and cookie maker! Camp Mennoscah is looking for those amazing people who can peel potatoes without losing a finger and who love being around youth and other fun people for our summer youth camps. No culinary certificate needed, just the ability to follow directions, a smile, and mental flexibility. Kitchen helpers can receive a camper discount up to full camp fees. Give us a holler at firstname.lastname@example.org 620-297-3290! It’s a new kitchen!
- Bring a Friend! All you long-time summer youth campers, grab a friend who hasn’t been to camp and that needs to love camp like you do–or even someone who just needs camp. We love having new folks at Camp Mennoscah and sharing all the fun we have. BAFs get a free camp tee shirt! Register online at campmennoscah.org!
- Show up your elders! Youth of Camp Mennoscah and their friends (grades 7-12) are hereby invited to give complete and total proof that young people are amazing and giving folks. Come to the Youth Volunteer Weekend, March 16-17! Spend the day in worship, song, service, and community. It’s a great way to get a “camp fix” before the summer. Rachel Miller and Isaac Entz will lead the retreat. Register online or call us at 620-297-3290for more information.
Mennonite church announcements
Know anyone who is interested in volunteering with Mennonite Voluntary Service? We have four great placement options in Kansas City, including a new placement at Rainbow Mennonite Church! Please spread the word and encourage people you know to look into it!
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620