WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
May 18, 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)
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IN THIS ISSUE:
*WDC Ministerial and Credential Announcements
by Sandra Montes-Martinez, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
Cuando pensamos en la misión de la iglesia y el trabajo en las congregaciones, regularmente nos enfocamos en los programas de sustentabilidad que apuntan a mantener una membresía saludable. Y creo que esta también, pues parte de la labor de la iglesia es atender las necesidades de la comunidad de fe y perseverar juntos como lo modelo la iglesia primitiva en el libro de Hechos 2: 46-47
“Y perseverando unánimes cada día en el templo, y partiendo el pan en las casas, comían juntos con alegría y sencillez de corazón, alabando a Dios, y teniendo favor con todo el pueblo. Y el Señor añadía cada día a la iglesia los que habían de ser salvos”.
Estos sucedieron después del derramamiento del Espíritu Santo en forma colectiva y ante muchos testigos lo que conocemos como Pentecostés.
Ese mismo empoderamiento que la iglesia recibió de parte de Dios los impulso a crear comunidades vibrantes y que atendían tanto las necesidades espirituales como las esenciales para la vida cotidiana, todo esto sin dejar de proclamar el evangelio cerca y lejos pues entendían el llamado de ir y ser testigos de lo que habían experimentado.
En mi experiencia compartiendo con distintas congregaciones puedo notar el arduo esfuerzo tanto de los líderes como la mayoría de los miembros para sostenerse, enfocado en lo que han establecido como su visión y misión. Este puede llegar a ser un trabajo arduo que se puede complicar de acuerdo con las estructuras que debamos sustentar para subsistir como congregación.
la experiencia del último año (para algunos desde mucho antes) nos ha llevado a abrir la conversación acerca de que debemos Re-imaginar, Revitalizar, para ser aun Relevantes en nuestras comunidades.
Hoy me gustaría compartir otro de los elementos importantes al pensar en el trabajo de la iglesia, este nos invita a no solo pensar en nosotros como congregación, sino en nosotros como un cuerpo (romanos 12: 4-6) a esto le llamamos Colaboración Divina.
Muchas veces cuando pensamos en misión y en servicio, pensamos que una de las partes dará algo y otro se beneficiará, cuando pensamos en colaboraciones pensamos en que todas las partes involucradas tenemos algo que aportar y algo que recibir. De esta forma no formamos patrones paternalistas o círculos viciosos en nuestras relaciones de servicio, honrando el principio Bíblico de que somos un cuerpo con múltiples miembros y habilidades.
Hoy en día muchos hemos coincidido que es vital para seguir siendo relevantes hacer colaboraciones, asociaciones que nos permitan funcionar como un cuerpo y no como un órgano aislado.
Transformar el conocimiento y experiencia en impacto que impulse la misión en la congregación es mucho más parecido al modelo que Jesús nos invita a seguir en sus enseñanzas.
Hagamos puente entre teología y la práctica, los recursos y las necesidades, atrevernos a invitar a otros que puedan desafiarnos a servir fuera de nuestra zona de comodidad. Veamos al otro no como benefactores o beneficiarios sino como colaboradores en la misión, así participaremos de la Colaboración Divina.
When we think about the mission of the church and work in congregations, we regularly focus on sustainable programs that aim to maintain a healthy membership. And I think it is part of the church’s job to meet the needs of the faith community and persevere together as the early church modeled in the book of Act 2: 46-47.
“The believers had a single purpose and went to the temple every day. They were joyful and humble as they ate at each other’s homes and shared their food. At the same time, they praised God and had the good will of all the people. Every day the Lord saved people, and they were added to the group”.
These happened after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit collectively and before many witnesses, what we know as Pentecost.
That same empowerment that the church received from God prompted them to create vibrant communities that attended to both spiritual and essential needs for daily life, all this while continuing to proclaim the gospel near and far as they understood the call to go and bear witness to what they had experienced.
In my experience sharing with different congregations, I can see the arduous effort of both the leaders and most of the members to sustain the congregation, focused on what they have established as their vision and mission. This can become laborious work that can be complicated due to the structures that we must support to survive as a church.
The experience of the last year (for some long before that) has led us to open the conversation about what we must Reimagine, Revitalize, to be still Relevant in our communities.
Today I would like to share another of the important elements when thinking about the work of the church. This invites us to not only think about ourselves as a congregation, but about ourselves as a body (Romans 12: 4-6) – we call this Divine Collaboration.
Many times, when we think of mission and service, we think that one party will give something and another will benefit, when we think of collaborations, we think that all parties involved have something to contribute and something to receive. In this way we do not form paternalistic patterns or vicious circles in our service relationships, honoring the Biblical principle that we are one body with multiple members and abilities.
Today many of us agree that it is vital to continue being relevant by collaborating in ways that allow us to function as a body and not as an isolated organ.
Transforming knowledge and experience into the impact that drives mission in the congregation is much more like the model that Jesus invites us to follow in his teachings.
Let us bridge between theology and practice, resources, and needs, dare to invite others who may challenge us to serve outside of our comfort zone. Let us see the other not as benefactors or beneficiaries but as collaborators in the mission; thus we will participate in Divine Collaboration.
- The WDC Annual Assembly will be held July 30-August 1, focusing on the theme of “Woven Into God’s Story”, based on Colossians 2:2-7. Some parts of it will be only virtual, and other parts will be only on-site at Faith Mennonite Church in Newton, KS. Much of it will be hybrid with people on-site and virtual sharing together. Information is posted as it becomes available, and online registration will be available at the beginning of June at: https://mennowdc.org/2021-wdc-annual-assembly/
- Special Annual Assembly Storytelling Opportunity! WDC’s Assembly theme July 30-August 1 is “Woven into God’s Story.” When was the last time you really listened to the story of someone who doesn’t see the world as you do? The folks at StoryCorps have invited WDC to partner with their storytelling project, One Small Step, to share and record our own stories within WDC. One Small Step is an initiative to facilitate conversations across differences, between people who may disagree politically. It’s not a debate. It’s a chance to spend time virtually with someone different than you and discover the stories behind each other’s beliefs. To join another WDC member for an online conversation, sign up at https://onesmallstep.storycorps.org/wdc/. The registration deadline is June 25 and virtual recordings will be scheduled July 28-30 (space is limited). For more information about One Small Step see the attached flyer.
- The WDC Resource Library invites children ages 3-8 to join us for an outdoor Green Things Summer Story Hour. On Thursdays starting June 3 at 10:00am, we will meet in front of the North Newton (KS) City Building at 2601 N. Main. Register hereor at mennowdc.org/library (Newton-area churches please run this announcement and post the flier attached to Sprouts)
- KLC Zoom Lunch: “Uncertainty and Conflict” is our May 25, 12-1 pm topic and it’s appropriate as we say goodbye to Clayton Gladdish who’s been a faithful advocate for KLC through the years. Join us whether you’ve been to a KLC training or are interested to learn more. (Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83458158470?pwd=TGpEdG8yWjg4MFpzcUJ0djVtK0QrQT09, Meeting ID: 834 5815 8470, Passcode: 760463)
- BIG NEWS from the Western District Women in Mission! The Women’s Retreat at Camp Mennoscah will happen in-person this September! Details are being discussed but please circle the dates of Saturday, September 11 and Sunday, September 12 and consider joining our fellowship and reconnecting. Of course, some things will look different including no programming for girls, only meeting on Saturday and Sunday, building use being limited, bodies being one year older, etc. We’ll send out more details and registration information later this summer; hope to see you there!
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- From not enough to overflowing! Camp Mennoscah is grateful for all the nurses who have offered to be a camp nurse and for anyone who spoke with someone about being a camp nurse. Over three days, the camps needing nurses had the positions filled–plus additional nurses willing to help! What a blessing to have such support for Camp Mennoscah and the campers!
- Still room at the inn! Camp Mennoscah still has a few openings at most camps. Register online at campmennoscah.org!
- Counselors, volunteers, and program staff! Camp Mennoscah needs your information/application forms (parts 1 & 2) as soon as possible to prepare for a summer of grand fun and exceptional faith. Difficulties? Contact 620-297-3290!
- Kitchen staff needed! Camp Mennoscah is still looking for kitchen staff for June 6-12 and July 18-24. No professional cooking skills needed–just an ability to follow directions and some happiness to share! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org 620-297-3290.
Mennonite church announcements
- The Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) at Bethel College is offering its core mediation training (Practical Skills for Managing Interpersonal Conflict) via Zoom June 14-18. There is a fee discount if you register before May 28. See the attached flyer or visit kipcor.orgfor more information.
- Join author Sarah Augustine as she shares about her new book, “The Land is Not Empty, Following Jesus in Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery,” in a webinar on June 3 a 7 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. CDT/5 p.m. MDT/4 p.m. PDT. A question-and-answer time will follow. Spanish interpretation provided. This webinar is cosponsored by Mennonite Church USA and MennoMedia. Register here: mennoniteusa.org/land-not-empty3. In her blog, “The Sacred Work of Holy Agitation,” Bonita Croyle shares what she hopes to accomplish as a member of Mennonite Church USA’s Women in Leadership Steering Committee. Read about her passions here: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/sacred-work-holy-agitation4. Hiro Katano writes about his experience as a peace educator with the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute in his blog, “Peace as Cultural Transformation in Northeast Asia.” The blog is part of Mennonite Church USA’s Learn, Pray, Join: Cost of War initiative to raise awareness of the destructive powers of militarization. Read more: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/peace-cultural-transformation5. In “Conference Minister’s Response to the Tragic Shooting near Boulder Mennonite Church,” Rev. Amy S. Zimbelman reflects on the prayer vigil held in the aftermath of the shooting that took place in Boulder, Colorado, in March. https://www.mennoniteusa.org/uncategorized/boulder-shooting/
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