WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
May 17, 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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Find Jesus and join him
Find Jesus and join him
by Byron Pellecer, Associate Conference Minister (Texas-based)
As we read about Jesus in any of the gospels, we find that there are three things that Jesus constantly did during his ministry: he connected with his community, he taught the word of God and he taught people to pray.
We also notice that it was not about the church; it was about the kingdom of God. The church exists because the kingdom of God is at hand, not the other way around.
Therefore, the church becomes the people of God while following Christ.
I have shared these thoughts in different settings and every time I have done it, they tend to sound louder in my heart.
I see the church, in any context, as an agent of transformation as much as the church allows itself to be transformed by its hosting community without becoming of the world.
In a recent article entitled “Christ’s presence and saving love within our neighborhood, I shared that as church, we need to avail ourselves of the hospitality extended to us by our respective communities and we need to be grateful for it. In addition, we need to become part of it as much as possible because in doing so, we become relevant to it. After all, as church we are evangelized by our neighborhood as well.
As I enter into a new ministerial journey, as the Associate Western District Conference Minister based in Texas, I am aware that a church, whether the church is already established or a church plant, can only be effective in the community where it resides if the church meets and serves its community. That is to say that, the church needs to be incarnated and engaged in the life and in reality of its people. After all, this is the life style that Jesus modeled.
People were the reason of Jesus’ message and ministry; he lived and spoke from within his community. It was an inward approach with outward results – transformation.
Whether as individuals or as congregations, we are challenged to find Jesus in the midst of community life and we are called to join him in his mission.
1. Plan now to attend WDC Annual Assembly, July 29-30, at Bethel College, North Newton, KS, on the theme Held Together in Mission. Friday evening and Saturday activities will include worship, delegate assembly, workshops on a variety of topics, music, food and fellowship. (A resourcing event for pastors will also take place Friday afternoon, followed by a pastors’ appreciation dinner). More information to come soon!
2. Palestine/Israel tour report: On Tuesday, June 7, at 7 p.m., central Kansas participants from a recent Come and See Learning Tour to Palestine and Israel will present a program of reflections and pictures from their experience. The program will be at First Mennonite Church, 429 E. 1st Street, Newton, KS. Refreshments will be served, and all are welcome to attend. The presenters are among 13 persons who traveled in April on an 11-day Come and See learning tour sponsored by Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Central Committee at the invitation of Palestinian Christians. Approximately 75 persons from across Mennonite Church USA have now participated in Come and See tours, to increase awareness of issues surrounding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and promote peace and social justice.
3. Pastoral Financial Assistance Grant: Everence recently received a Lilly grant to address pastoral financial challenges. Part of the grant is available as matching funds to directly help pastors who need financial assistance to reduce financial burdens such as educational debt, medical debt, or credit card debt (not current education, medical or housing expenses). Attached is a brochure about the Pastoral Financial Assistance Grant, and the application form (in Spanish and in English) for pastors to use to apply for grants. Upcoming grant deadlines are June 1, Sept 1, and Nov 1. Send completed applications to Terry Shue, Director of Leadership Development for MC USA, 4000 Steinwood Dr., Dalton, OH 44618. (e-mail TerryS@MennoniteUSA.org). Grants must be matched by funds from congregation, conference, individuals (not the pastor) or other sources. To help meet this requirement, WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission has approved initial funding for five matching grants up to $1000 each, and is seeking additional ways to fund future grants. A special offering for this will be received at WDC Annual Assembly (July 29-30 at Bethel College, North Newton, KS). To apply for a WDC matching grant, contact Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister. Congregations are also encouraged to provide matching grants for their pastors.
4. Summer Story Time, for children ages 3-8, begins Tuesday, June 14 with Marjie Warkentine, Storyteller. Summer Story Times will be at 10-10:45 am on June 14, 21, July 4, 12, 19, and 26, in the WDC children’s library. Register NOW at: http://goo.gl/forms/TGmHI5odLO or email/call: firstname.lastname@example.org, 316-283-6300 (space is limited). Churches, please print and post the attached poster!
5. Rainbow Mennonite Church (Kansas City, KS) has received a Vital Worship Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The grant will fund a year-long project in which Rainbow Mennonite Church will invite people of all ages and backgrounds into a deeper spirit of contemplation and awareness of the beauty and wonder of God’s creation, especially in outdoor space. The Vital Worship Grants Program is generously supported by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1937, the Endowment’s major areas of concern are community development, education, and religion. For more information on the grants program, including a complete list of this year’s grants recipients, please see: worship.calvin.edu/grants.
6. This is where you should be! Camp Mennoscah has summer youth camps starting June 5 and we think you should be here. The theme for the summer is Fearless Faith: Courage in Community and looks at how living as God’s people provides us with great courage. It’s a time of worship, fun, riverplay, crafts, and some of the best friends ever! Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290. See you soon!
7. First Come, First to Serve! Camp Mennoscah is looking for two kitchen helpers for the week of July 17-23. These helpers need to have willing hands and the ability to follow directions. Our head cooks will do the rest (i.e., help you know what to do)! The days are filled with laughter, cookie baking, great stories, and many peeled potatoes. Contact us at 620-297-3290 or email@example.com. Can’t wait to hear from you!
8. The flower beds are blooming! Camp Mennoscah has had some absolutely beautiful iris these past few weeks and the wild flowers are looking great, too. However, the flower beds are beginning to have more residents than what we want and the weeds have come for a visit. We’re looking for volunteers to remove these unwanted guests from the flower beds. Call us at 620-297-3290 to spend your day smelling flowers (and pulling weeds)!
9. Only two-ish months away! The Young Adult Retreat is July 29-31, so give those young adults in your life an elbow or nudge. There will be grilling, campfire, worship, swimming, fun, games, friends, and leadership provided by Rachel Miller and Patrick Loganbill. Register online at www.campmennoscah.org! Come burn some marshmallows to the perfect degree of charcoal!
Mennonite church Announcements
1. For all Mennonite women – Empowering Women: Money, Health and Faith is a resourcing event that will take place on August 12-13 at Peace Mennonite Church in Aurora, Colorado. In previous years, this event was called PREP (preparing, resourcing, encouraging, praising) and was held specifically for area-conference women leaders. This year, this event is being opened up to all women, because, let’s be honest – who among us doesn’t need to be empowered with regards to our understanding of money and our personal health? So… come…it’s for all women! Attached – 1. colorful poster – please print and post in your church, 2. information and schedule. Register at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1XkolszCbcDKoCS9QIvZqFx66uq4PR_tfs9eWlgeq6uo/edit?usp=drive_web
2. The Mennonite Heritage & Agricultural Museum in Goessel, KS, is having a Quilt Trunk Show fund-raiser on May 21 at 3 pm at the Goessel Mennonite Church with speaker Mayleen Thiesen Vinson. Admission $10, reservations appreciated but not required. The cost includes one admission to visit the museum before July 31, 2016. Contact info: 620-367-8200, firstname.lastname@example.org. (www.goesselmuseum.com)
3. Bethel College Women’s Association Annual Meeting – May 19, 2016, 7:00 p.m. at the Kauffman Museum, 2801 N. Main, North Newton, KS. Come and view the “Root for the Home Team: Building Community through Sports” exhibit. The evening will include a presentation by Rachel Epp Buller, Associate Professor of Visual Art and Design at Bethel College and a brief summary of the past years activities of BCWA. The public is invited. Refreshments will be served. Donations are welcomed.
4. The Mennonite Church USA convention planning staff is working to plan for next year’s convention in Orlando. We are excited to see how God works through the “Love is a Verb” theme! To help get people excited for convention we are looking for volunteers to be part of a social media ambassador group. We are looking for youth and young adults who have great energy and a strong social media presence. Attached is a document with information on what we are looking for. They will be asked to help leading up to convention and receive a reduced registration. Contact Sarah Chase at the Mennonite Church USA Office of Convention Planning, Direct: 614-370-1120 (cell; preferred), toll free: 1-866-866-2872 ext. 23025, email@example.com.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620