WDC Sprouts, May 26, 2020

WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE

SPROUTS

May 26, 2020

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:

*Pentecost

*Prayer requests

*Coming Events

*Announcements

Pentecost

by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister

The upcoming celebration of Pentecost (May 31) invites us to reflect on Acts 1-2 and Jesus’ promise, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”   Normally, what catches my attention in this story is the dramatic signs of wind and fire signaling the Holy Spirit’s presence.   But now – several months into the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing – what I notice in this story is all the gatherings that take place:  Acts 1:12-13 says that after Jesus’ ascension, his followers returned to Jerusalem and “went to the room upstairs where they were staying,” and it names the eleven remaining disciples who were present.  Then, Acts 1:15 says that “in those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons)” and he spoke to them.  In Acts 2:1-6, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.”

Each gathering was larger – from 11 disciples, to 120 Jesus-followers, to an unnumbered crowd of curious seekers!   Several months ago these details may not have seemed unusual.  We took it for granted that we could gather together in one place to hear the natural voices of preaching, prayer and singing together, to shake hands and offer hugs, to break bread and pass the cup together, to send an offering basket down the pew, to feel the water of baptism and the laying-on of hands.

Indeed, Christian faith and worship is incarnational, embodied.  Jesus, the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. The Church is now the body of Christ in the world, animated by the breath of God’s Spirit.  “Church” is not just an idea to talk about, information to know, or a video to watch. It is a community of living, breathing, touching, eating, working people.  We sense the presence of God, our fellow human beings, and the rest of God’s creation through smell, touch and taste, sight and sound (…not all of which can be mediated electronically, despite the wonders of technology).

As we continue to live with social distancing and precautions due to coronavirus, I realize again what a tremendous gift and blessing it is to be “together in one place.” I am thankful for the foundation of togetherness that we do have – the prior relationships, experiences, stories and traditions that ground us in the incarnational reality of being the Church.   I grieve that we are not able to fully share all the rich dimensions of that right now. I lament that for some in our society, conversations about “reopening” and resuming church gatherings have become politicized and polarized, reduced to a controversy about legal rights, regulations and who is right.

The good news of Pentecost is that the power of God’s Spirit – like fire and wind – transcends our physical barriers, social distance and petty politics.   It blows across cultural differences and geographic distance, it burns through economic and racial inequities; it links us to those we know and love, and it also invites new connections we had never imagined before. Even as we long to gather again, may the Spirit empower us for new ways of sharing the living Word of God and being the Body of Christ in today’s world.

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Pentecostés  

La próxima celebración de Pentecostés (el 31 de mayo) nos invita a reflexionar sobre Hechos 1-2 y la promesa de Jesús, “recibiréis poder cuando el Espíritu Santo venga sobre vosotros; y me seréis testigos en Jerusalén, en toda Judea y Samaria, y hasta los confines de la tierra.”

Normalmente, lo que me llama la atención en esta historia son los signos dramáticos de viento y fuego que indican la presencia del Espíritu Santo. Pero ahora, varios meses después de la pandemia de coronavirus y el distanciamiento social, lo que noto en esta historia son todas las reuniones que tienen lugar: Hechos 1: 12-13 dice que después de la ascensión de Jesús, sus seguidores regresaron a Jerusalén y “subieron al aposento alto donde estaban hospedados”, y nombra a los once discípulos restantes que estaban presentes. Luego, Hechos 1:15 dice que “Por aquel tiempo Pedro se puso de pie en medio de los hermanos (un grupo como de ciento veinte personas estaba reunido allí)”, y les habló. En Hechos 2: 1-6, “Cuando llegó el día de Pentecostés, estaban todos juntos en un mismo lugar. De repente vino del cielo un ruido como el de una ráfaga de viento impetuoso que llenó toda la casa donde estaban sentados, y se les aparecieron lenguas como de fuego que, repartiéndose, se posaron sobre cada uno de ellos. Todos fueron llenos del Espíritu Santo y comenzaron a hablar en otras lenguas, según el Espíritu les daba habilidad para expresarse. Y había judíos que moraban en Jerusalén, hombres piadosos, procedentes de todas las naciones bajo el cielo. Y al ocurrir este estruendo, la multitud se juntó; y estaban desconcertados porque cada uno los oía hablar en su propia lengua.”

¡Cada reunión fue más grande, desde 11 discípulos, hasta 120 seguidores de Jesús, hasta una multitud innumerable de buscadores curiosos! Hace varios meses, estos detalles pueden no haber parecido inusuales. Dimos por sentado que podíamos reunirnos en un solo lugar para escuchar las voces naturales de la prédica, la oración y el canto, para estrechar las manos y ofrecer abrazos, para partir el pan y pasar la copa juntos, para enviar una canasta de ofrendas por las filas, para sentir el agua del bautismo y la imposición de manos.

De hecho, la fe y el culto de los cristianos son encarnados. Jesús, la Palabra de Dios se hizo carne y habitó entre nosotros. La Iglesia es ahora el cuerpo de Cristo en el mundo, animada por el aliento del Espíritu de Dios. “Iglesia” no es solo una idea sobre la cual hablamos, información para conocer o un video para ver. Es una comunidad de personas que viven, respiran, tocan, comen y trabajan. Percibimos la presencia de Dios, nuestros semejantes y el resto de la creación de Dios a través del olfato, el tacto y el gusto, la vista y el sonido (… no todo puede ser mediado electrónicamente, a pesar de las maravillas de la tecnología).

Mientras seguimos viviendo con distanciamiento social y precauciones debido al coronavirus, me doy cuenta de nuevo de qué tan grande es el regalo y la bendición de estar “juntos en un solo lugar”. Estoy agradecida por la base de la unión que tenemos: las relaciones, las experiencias, las historias y las tradiciones previas que nos fundamentan en la realidad encarnada de ser la Iglesia. Lamento que no podamos compartir completamente todas las ricas dimensiones de eso en este momento. Lamento que, para algunos en nuestra sociedad, las conversaciones sobre la “reapertura” y la reanudación de las reuniones de la iglesia se hayan politizado y polarizado, reducido a una controversia sobre los derechos legales, las regulaciones y la superioridad moral.

Las buenas nuevas de Pentecostés es que el poder del Espíritu de Dios – como el fuego y el viento – trasciende nuestras barreras físicas, la distancia social y la política insignificante. Atraviesa las diferencias culturales y la distancia geográfica, quema las desigualdades económicas y raciales; nos une a aquellos que conocemos y amamos, y también invita a nuevas conexiones que nunca antes habíamos imaginado. Aun cuando anhelamos reunirnos nuevamente, que el Espíritu nos permita formas nuevas de compartir la Palabra viva de Dios y ser el Cuerpo de Cristo en el mundo de hoy.

Prayer Requests

June 7 – Pray for the WDC Executive Board as it meets this week to offer vision and leadership to the conference in the midst of challenging times.

June 14 – Give thanks for generous contributions to the WDC Hope Fund, and pray for ongoing financial support for WDC ministries and congregations.

June 21 – Pray for Camp Mennoscah and WDC members and congregations, as they make new kinds of connections this summer in the place of traditional camp experiences.

June 28 – Pray for the WDC Annual Assembly planning team, as they prepare creative ways for WDC members to meet, learn and worship together on the weekend of August 1.

Coming Events

Due to Covid-19 concerns, all meetings of WDC Executive Board, Commissions and Committees are being held via Zoom video conference until further notice.

June 1 – WDC Staff Relations Committee meeting

June 2 – WDC Interim/Transitional Pastors’ meeting

June 9 – WDC Executive Board meeting

June 10 – WDC Gifts Discernment Committee meeting

June 18 – WDC/SCC Youth Pastors’ meeting

June 19 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting

June 25 – WDC Leadership Lunch meeting

July 9 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting

Aug 1 – WDC Virtual Annual Assembly

Aug 25 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting

Sept 26 – WDC Reference Council

WDC announcements

  1. 2020 Annual Assembly Invitation Video: Here is a link to a YouTube video inviting your delegates and friends to WDC’s virtual Annual Assembly August 1-2 – https://youtu.be/jn1zOf3jVGA.  Please use this video during worship announcements, post it to your church website, or in any other way you see fit.  Our hope is to encourage people with a diversity of voices, ages, and viewpoints.to be part of this year’s Assembly.  Thanks for your help in getting the word out!
  1. Connections for conversation:  As the impact of  COVID-19 continues, how is your congregation planning for “re-opening” and future congregational life and ministry? In what ways can the church practice compassionate outreach, witness and service during this time? How can WDC best support you?  WDC staff will host three 1-hour zoom conversations about these topics  – You are invited to join the time that works best for you:
  • Tuesday June 2 at 4-5 pm (English)
  • Wednesday, June 3 at 4-5 pm (English)
  • Thursday, June 4 at 7-8 pm (Spanish/English translation)

Please RSVP to wdc@mennowdc.org by one day in advance of the discussion date to receive a link to the Zoom call.

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Conexiones para la conversación: A medida que continúa el impacto de COVID-19, ¿cómo está planeando su congregación para la “reapertura” y la vida y el ministerio congregacional futuro? ¿De qué maneras puede la iglesia practicar alcance, testimonio y servicio compasivos durante este tiempo? ¿Cómo puede WDC apoyarlo mejor?

El personal de WDC organizará tres conversaciones de zoom de 1 hora sobre estos temas. Usted está invitado a unirse al horario que mejor funcione para usted:

  • Martes 2 de junio a las 4-5 pm (inglés)
  • Miércoles 3 de junio a las 4-5 pm (inglés)
  • Jueves 4 de junio a las 7-8 pm (traducción español / inglés)

Responda a wdc@mennowdc.org un día antes de la fecha de discusión para recibir un enlace a la llamada de zoom.

  1. KLC Leadership (Virtual) Lunch: Thursday, May 28 from 12-1:15 pm.  To request a Zoom link for this virtual meeting, email: wdc@mennowdc.org.  Each month a leadership competency is presented and we will practice teaching it to the group.  You are welcome if you have attended a Kansas Leadership Center training or if you are curious to learn more.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. This summer, Camp Mennoscah is committed to sharing the camp community and God’s love with you through videos, a Camp in a Box, and/or activities posted online. We hope you will connect with Camp Mennoscah in these ways! The videos and activities posted online will be free. A Camp in a Box will contain a camp tee shirt, crafts, activities, devotions, and nature fun. A box will cost $40; a tee shirt alone will be the usual prices of $11/$16. Boxes and tee shirts are available to anyone of any age! To order a Camp in a Box or a tee shirt, go to www.campmennoscah.organd click on Register Online at the top of the page or contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290. Orders accepted until June 3. After June 3, please contact Camp Mennoscah.
  1. It is with both appreciation and sadness that the Camp Mennoscah Board of Directors announces the resignation of Michael Unruh from the position of Executive Director, effective July 1, 2020. In a statement, Michael shared, “I am grateful for each staff person and board member who has worked tirelessly to develop camp’s ministry, and the hundreds of camp supporters I have had the privilege of getting to know.” Michael will begin as Campus Pastor at Bethel College this summer. In the interim period, the Camp Mennoscah Staff and Board of Directors will continue to fulfill camp’s mission by providing space and programs for people of all ages to connect with God, nature, others, and self.  Full statement can be found at campmennoscah.org.
  1. In the midst of the cancellation of in-person summer youth camps, you still have some great opportunities to support the mission of Camp Mennoscah!
  • By praying for the staff, volunteers, and campers to find creative ways to connect with one another this summer.
  • By making a general fund gift to support creative summer connection content and to sustain camp operations. Maybe even a little extra this year, if you are able to do so!
  • By encouraging others to remain involved in camp’s ministry.

It is a blessing to have your support during this unique year! If you have questions about giving options, please contact Michael Unruh at 620-382-6560 or michael.unruh@campmennoscah.org.

  1. Camp Mennoscah is open to a limited number of individuals and families.  Reservations must be made in advance.  Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 for further information.  We are excited to make this sacred space available to you!

Mennonite church announcements

  1. In the spirit of increasing our mutual aid to care for each other in a time of need, Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) encourages congregations to continue the financial support they already provide to students and their families and to consider increasing their support. Congregations are also urged to consider developing a student aid plan now if they do not already have one. For information about various giving models and how MEA can help your congregation, see https://mailchi.mp/66061bbfe668/a-letter-from-tom-stuckey-mea-interim-executive-director-and-ceo. MEA also asks that congregations consider supporting Anabaptist education programs for Hispanic leaders.
  2. Spiritual practices Zoom webinar offered by Mennonite Mission Network  
    When:  June 4, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. EDT/ 6:00 p.m. CDT
    What: Spiritual practices for peacemakers: finding your center when you feel pulled apart
    How: Visit the registration page for more information and instructions to join!
    Encounter anew, or rediscover ancient spiritual practices which create a daily rhythm of life. Turn your despair and isolation into hope and community. Join us for this webinar, exploring the practice of prayer, ritual, and community in this time of loss and loneliness. After the webinar, you will be invited to join a 30 day virtual learning community of 12-15 people, that will seek and find this daily rhythm of life together!
  1. We have missed our visitors here at theMennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum, 200 N. PoplarGoessel, KS. The museum will reopen our doors on Tues. June 2, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Tues.- Sat. All the while being aware and following the Kansas state guidelines. During this pandemic, your safety is as important as preserving our heritage. Plenty of space allows distancing within the eight buildings on the museum campus. Visitors are welcome to wear face masks. Feel free to call first. 620-367-8200. For other information visit the museum website  www.goesselmuseum.com

 

  1. Reflecting on Faith and Fear:  “A Time Enduring” is a second FREE edition of the Rejoicedevotional in the midst of a pandemic.  These are wonderful, thoughtful reflections by some gifted Anabaptist writers.  Find a copy of this at:   https://mennowdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/2020-Rejoice-Time-Enduring.pdf
  2. Follow @missionnetwork on Instagram for scripture graphics and more!
  3. Mission Network is striving to be God’s hands and feet in the world during these tough times. If you feel called to help, please visit MennoniteMission.net/Donate. Thank you.

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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