May 23, 2017

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)


*Agri-Urban – A Sigh of Relief


Agri-Urban – a Sigh of Relief

     by Phyllis Regier, WDC Business Manager

Over half a million dollars! This is what Agri-Urban has contributed to Western District Conference in the last 45 years. The annual Agri-Urban contribution would be received right at the end of our fiscal year and as treasurer I would breathe a sigh of relief because in many of those years it meant that we could cover our expenses.

In the early 1970’s Western District Conference Minister, Elbert Koontz, had an idea that he believed could help balance the WDC budget. This unique fund raising idea encouraged rural and urban people to work together to buy and raise cattle with the proceeds going to Western District Conference. The urban people provided money to buy the cattle and the rural people fed and grew them until it was profitable to sell them. They called this new venture Agri-Urban.

At first the project was only to benefit Western District but in time the Agri-Urban Board expanded their recipients to include Bethel College and General Conference/MCUSA as well as several other non-profit organizations. In 45 years they distributed a total of 1.6 million dollars.

I have had the pleasure of being on the Agri-Urban Board for the past 17 years as the Western District Representative. We would meet 3 or 4 times a year to discuss cattle placement and prices and to plan Agri-Urban’s popular Day-on-the-Farm event. This event which was held on the Duerksen/Knepp farm always drew big crowds of mostly young families. Day-on-the-Farm was designed to promote the relationship between rural and urban families and to help children from towns and cities connect with the rural upbringing of many of their grandparents.

Having grown up on a farm and being the owner of a grain farm with my husband, I greatly appreciate the concept of Agri-Urban. Farmers don’t always have the cash to donate but often have the time and feed to raise cattle which, when sold, benefits the organizations.

Changes in agriculture in the past few years have created a climate that is not as favorable to Agri-Urban. Currently farms are more specialized and the number of farmers raising cattle is dwindling. That reality has led the Board to end the Agri-Urban program this year.

From all of us at Western District we would like to say a big thank you to all who participated in the Agri-Urban program. Your generosity of time and money will not be forgotten by WDC.

WDC Announcements

  1. SAVE THE DATE! The annual Womens/Girls Retreat at Camp Mennoscah will be held September 8-10. The theme this year is “Together: Rooted and Reaching” led by Barb Krehbiel Gehring. We will also be celebrating 100 years of Mennonite Women. Watch for more details and registration in July. (Church offices, please post the attached poster on your church bulletin board.)
  1. Shalom Mennonite Church (800 E First, Newton, KS) will host a Community Conversation on Immigration on Saturday, June 3 at 10-11:30 am. It will be a moderated panel discussion with a question and answer time to follow. The discussion will focus on the panelists’ general perspectives on issues that affect refugees and immigrants in Kansas and Harvey County. The confirmed panel participants are Bob Myers (Newton City Manager) and Tim Hodge (State Representative). If you have questions about the event, contact Shalom at office@shalomnewton.org

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Save the Whale! Camp Mennoscah started a Go Fund Me campaign to help fund the new playground structure.   A gift of $5 buys enough of the new playground for 1 camper to play on for 1 week of camp over the course of 25 years.  Gifts of any size are welcome.  Go to gf.me/u/hmes8 and check out the progress!
  1. Dear Campers, do you know about our Bring a Friend program? If you are a returning camper who is bringing a first-time friend to camp with you, you both get free tee shirts!  It’s a great way to share Camp Mennoscah with others and add some variety to your wardrobe.  Questions?  Contact us at 620-297-3290.
  1. Family Weekend at Camp Mennoscah, July 29-30! Families of all shapes, sizes, and generations are invited to spend time swimming, playing in the river, crafting, and being with each other.  Register online at campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290.  We want to see you!
  1. Young Adult Weekend at Camp Mennoscah, August 4-6! We know that the likelihood of young adults reading the church announcements is slim, but there’s a much bigger likelihood that those of you who read this do know at least one young adult.  Give them a nudge and spread the word that there’s a Young Adult Weekend at Camp Mennoscah.  Scholarships are available and they can register online at campmennoscah.org.  Tell those young folks to come visit us!

Mennonite Church Announcements

  1. Bethel College seeks a full-time director of development. Bachelor’s degree required with 3-5 years’ experience in funds solicitation or a combination of transferable experience.  Send cover letter, resume and three professional references to:  Fred Goering (interim vice president for advancement), fgoering@bethelks.edu; see full job description at www.bethelks.edu/why-bethel/people/career-opportunities/
  1. The Future Church Summit will add a new dimension to this summer’s Mennonite Church USA Convention, inviting participants to envision an Anabaptist future for the church. You can learn more at convention.mennoniteusa.org/future-church-summit/.
  1. The Mennonite, Inc. is teaming up with Michele Hershberger, Professor of Bible at Hesston College to offer a series of four virtual Bible studies for Junior and Senior High youth groups in June. Whether your youth groups are headed to the Mennonite Church USA convention in Orlando this summer or not, they’ll be sure to benefit from Michele’s four-week Bible study series focusing on the theme “Love is a Verb.” Michele will offer input on four Wednesdays: June 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 8-9 p.m. Eastern/5-6 p.m. Pacific. Youth groups will have a chance to share their stories and input with Michele, too. The events will be livestreamed. For more information, visit https://themennonite.org/love-verb-virtual-bible-study-series-michele-hershberger/.
  1. Please be in prayer for the Mennonite Health Services (MHS) Board meetings taking place this week.

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