WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
May 31, 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:
*Why Attend WDC Annual Assembly?
From the Conference Minister’s Heart: Why Attend WDC Annual Assembly?
By Heidi Regier Kreider
I love WDC Annual Assembly! I love meeting sisters and brothers in Christ from Houston, Beatrice, Kansas City, Turpin and many other places in between. I love singing together in unison and in four-part harmony; in Spanish, English and Chin; from memory, off the screen and out of the hymnbook; with instruments of all kinds and with only our voices. I love eating food and drinking coffee together with other people. I love being moved by the Spirit in worship, inspired by passionate preachers to follow Jesus more closely, encouraged through stories of God’s faithfulness, and connected to contexts and resources beyond my own. I even love delegate business, as we offer to God the practical gifts of money, time, relationships, policies and priorities that guide our work.
Of course, some parts of Annual Assembly are challenging, even difficult: Having a conversation with someone who holds a different theological perspective; trying to relate to others through cultural and language barriers; singing unfamiliar songs; feeling overloaded with information or disturbed by new ideas; setting aside other priorities of family, work or personal life in order to give time to attend assembly; becoming exhausted by traveling, walking, sitting, or standing so much in one weekend….
As I anticipate the upcoming WDC Annual Assembly on July 29-30 at Bethel College (North Newton, KS), I think of other gatherings of followers of Jesus before us: Disciples sitting at table with Jesus; Jews and Gentiles brought together into one community; Christians meeting in households, monasteries and churches throughout the centuries and around the world… I think of our Anabaptist forebears meeting secretly in homes, barns, caves, or boats to evade persecution. In more recent centuries, Mennonites have had the freedom to gather at conventions, regional conferences, and global assemblies. Yet for some, it still takes incredible dedication to overcome the obstacles to participation. In some locations in the global Anabaptist communion, people must walk for several days to reach a church conference! In all of these gatherings, there have been – and continue to be – both inspiration and exhaustion, celebration and conflict. Yet it is in gathering that we are reminded of our common identity and purpose, we practice what it means to “be the church,” and we are strengthened for our ongoing journey of faith.
Matthew 28:16-20 tells how the disciples gathered in Galilee as Jesus had instructed them; there they worshiped Jesus, who again turned them toward the world, saying: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Again and again, God calls us together in community and sends us forth in ministry. We are the church, “held together in mission.” I look forward to seeing you at Annual Assembly!
This is second in several articles related to the theme Held Together in Mission, which is being used to focus WDC gatherings in 2016. In April, the Spring Reference Council focused on being part of God’s mission in the rural context; and on October 22, the Fall Reference Council gathering in Dallas will explore what it means to be the church in the urban context. All are invited! Watch for more details to come.
June 5: Pray for WDC pastors traveling to a Hispanic ministers’ educational gathering next weekend in Goshen, IN, sponsored by Mennonite Education Agency.
June 12: Give thanks for Derek King, whose ordination service will be at 3 pm today at Eden Mennonite Church, rural Moundridge, KS.
June 19: Give thanks for Iglesia Menonita Casa Betania in Newton, KS, as they celebrate their 8th anniversary in a special service this weekend.
June 26: Pray for pastors and congregations in leadership transition, as they seek God’s guidance for the future.
June 17 – WDC Conference Resource Library Open House 8 am – 8 pm
June 24 – Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
June 28 – WDC Executive Board meeting
July 1 – Kathy Neufeld Dunn begins as WDC Associate Conference Minister for Kansas
July 4 – WDC Office closed for Independence Day
July 7 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting
July 29 (12-5 pm) – Pastors’ Afternoon Apart, Bethel College, North Newton KS
Jul 29-30 – WDC Annual Assembly 2016, Bethel College, North Newton KS
Oct 22 – Fall Reference Council: “Held Together in Mission: Being Church in the Urban Context”,Dallas, TX (Location to be announced)
- WDC Annual Assembly will take place July 29-30, Friday evening – Saturday, on the Bethel College campus in North Newton, KS. Information is being mailed to churches today! Information also posted at: https://mennowdc.org/annual-assembly/#2016annualAssembly
- Pastors: Mark your calendars to attend a “Pastors’ Afternoon Apart” resourcing event on the theme Holy and Whole: Faithful Response to Sexual Abuse in the Congregation, Noon – 5 pm on Friday, July 29 (preceding WDC annual assembly) sponsored by WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission. Registration is $25. Register by July 15 if possible. For more information and to register, see https://mennowdc.org/pastors-afternoon-apart-july-29-2016/
- In an attempt to clarify the relationship between WDC and several other organizations, on March 15, 2016, the Executive Board approved an amendment to Bylaw 5 of the WDC Constitution and is bringing it to the July 30, 2016 Delegate Assembly for approval. A two-thirds vote by delegates is required for such an amendment. The proposed amendment is attached (and posted at: https://mennowdc.org/annual-assembly#2016annualAssembly). If you have questions, please contact WDC Moderator Richard Gehring at email@example.com.
- Derek King’s ordination will be celebrated on Sunday, June 12, 3 p.m. at Eden Mennonite Church, rural Moundridge, KS.
- Palestine/Israel tour report: On Tuesday, June 7, at 7 pm, 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.
- 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/TGmHl5odLO or email/call: firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-283-6300 There’s still space!
- Are you planning for VBS? Are you using MennoMedia’s “Surprise! Stories of Discovering Jesus”? Did you know the Conference Resource Library has many of the books on the suggested book list? Contact the library today to reserve the books for your week of VBS. email@example.com or 316-283-6300
- WDC Resource Library Open House! – Friday, June 17, 8:00 am-8:00 pm. Come explore our new Makerspace Creation Station where you can: make your own stickers, turn bananas into a piano with out new Makey Makey, build with the Legos or handmade Lincoln Logs. Come at 8, 10, 12, 2, 4, or 6 o’clock for a read aloud, enjoy snacks, sign up for the summer reading program (adults too) and take a poster home with you. (Flyer attached.)
- Camp Mennoscah can’t wait to see you! The summer staff is ready to greet you and to set you on your camp adventure. Camps are still open for all ages. We’ll be courageous and finding our Fearless Faith this summer with stories of how living in community as God’s people strengthens us. Grab a friend, your sleeping bag, a toothbrush and find your way to Camp Mennoscah! Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290. It’s going to be a real blast!
- Hey, all youthful adults! Camp Mennoscah is having a Young Adult Weekend on July 29-31. It’s a chance for you to get back to your “camp roots” and spend some time relaxing under the shelter or galumphing through the river. You’ll be roasting your own marshmallows and gathering for campfire worship. Go online and register at www.campmennoscah.org! Scholarships are available. Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290.
- Save a place on the calendar! The annual Camp Sing will be August 7 at 6:30pm at Grace Hill Mennonite Church in Whitewater. Camp Mennoscah summer staff will lead us in hymns and camp songs–all ages, all voices invited! We’ll end our time together with popcorn and pop. You can hardly go wrong with that. The Camp Sing will be here in no time at all!
- Mental Health Spiritual Retreat–This retreat at Camp Mennoscah is for all affected by mental illness–family, friends, supporting congregation members, everyone! We’ll be gathering on September 4-5 for fellowship, music, worship, and to support each other in fun! Scholarships of $50 are available (total fees are $60). Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 for more information!
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620