WDC Sprouts, May 5, 2020

WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE

SPROUTS

May 5, 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:

*Safer Online

*Announcements

Safer Online

by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)

While we’ve all sort of settled into this in-between time of congregational life–worshiping online, having bible study online, and gathering in small groups in digital break-out rooms, I encourage you to think about online child and youth safety. Hear me. I get it that every ministering person was struggling just to keep their head above water for the first several weeks of this pandemic.  Now that we have just a little bit of “breathing room,” please invite your Christian Education or Safe Sanctuaries Committee to review your safety policy to prevent child and youth abuse and imagine how to adapt your policy to online ministry.

It is not too late to do this.  With all this experience fresh in our minds, it is a good time to do this analysis.  It is highly likely that most WDC congregations will be continuing to meet via Zoom, Facebook, and other digital platforms exclusively for a while yet.  When we do the wise discernment and begin to gather in-person again, there will be some households who will choose to still socially distance for perhaps months to come.  Many congregational leaders are agreeing that hybrid congregational life (digital and in-person) will be an important component to serve as many people as possible who have differing needs.  If your children’s ministry volunteers can’t imagine helping children stay consistently 6’ apart for the foreseeable future, continuing to offer digital faith formation for children may be a wise option.

With these things in mind, allow me to offer some online safety practices for your consideration:

–Adults should not initiate one-on-one conversations via social media with minors.

–If a minor initiates online communication with an adult (youth pastor, sponsor), the adult should keep a log of name/date/time/topic of conversation.

–Ask parents’ permission ahead of time to communicate with their children or youth (usually as a group).

–Adults should record or copy videos, texts, or posts with minors.  Do not communicate with minors using social media platforms with no way to save posts.

–Use ministry-based email, Instagram, Twitter accounts to remind yourself that this social media interaction is ministry.  During this time, if you cannot, use your own name.  If you already have a handle or username, ask the pastor or Chair of Safe Sanctuaries to keep a list of such usernames or handles, so those monitoring gatherings know who is communicating what.

–If a minor reaches out to an adult on a personal account, write a summary of the interaction, date it, and send it to the Chair of Safe Sanctuaries as a form of accountability.

–Continue to the 2-adult rule on any children or youth online gatherings.  If that is not possible, have a person, preferably one of the Safe Sanctuaries volunteers, to regularly review recordings and/or written posts.

–If one of the ways you are being available to children or youth is to have online, drop-in hours, inform parent of your schedule, and assure them that someone has been designated to review the recordings of these drop-in times, then follow through with that safety/accountability step.

–Maintain the “five years older” rule online.  Young adults online with youth for youth ministry meetings should be at least 24 years old.

–Document who attends which online gathering, as you would in-person.

–Never post pictures or videos of minors without parental permission.

–When a picture or video is posted, never include minors’ names.

–If you do not have a social media safety policy, now is a good time to draft one.

God bless you as you minister to “the least of these!”

Do you want to learn more?

Dove’s Nest has a useful list of online safety resources at  https://dovesnest.net/COVID19.

Wilterdink, Chris, internet, “Safe Sanctuaries:  Supporting a Shift to Online Youth Meetings,” Discipleship Ministries, UMC, 4/8/20.

————————

Más seguros en línea

     Kathy Neufeld Dunn, Ministra Asociada de la Conferencia (WDC)

Si bien todos nos hemos acostumbrados a este tiempo intermedio de la vida congregacional: cultos en línea, estudios bíblicos en línea y reuniéndonos en pequeños grupos en salas de reuniones digitales, les animo a que piensen en la seguridad en línea para niños y jóvenes. . . Escúchenme. Entiendo que cada persona que ministra ha estado luchando solo por mantener la cabeza fuera del agua durante las primeras semanas de esta pandemia. Ahora que tenemos un poco de “espacio para respirar”, invitan a su Comité de Educación Cristiana o Santuarios Seguros a revisar su política de seguridad para prevenir el abuso de niños y jóvenes e imaginar cómo adaptar su política al ministerio en línea.

No es demasiado tarde para hacer esto. Con toda esta experiencia fresca en nuestras mentes, es un buen momento para hacer tal análisis. Es muy probable que la mayoría de las congregaciones de la WDC continúen reuniéndose a través de Zoom, Facebook y otras plataformas digitales exclusivamente por un tiempo todavía. Cuando discernamos sabiamente y comencemos a reunirnos en persona nuevamente, habrá algunos hogares que optarán por seguir a distanciarse socialmente durante los próximos meses. Muchos líderes congregacionales están de acuerdo en que la vida congregacional mixta (digital y en persona) será un componente importante para servir a tantas personas como sea posible que tengan necesidades diferentes. Si los voluntarios del ministerio de sus hijos no imaginan que sea posible que los niños se mantengan consistentemente separados por 6’ en el futuro previsible, la práctica de ofrecer la formación de fe digital para los niños puede ser una buena opción.

Con estas cosas en mente, permítanme ofrecerles algunas prácticas de seguridad en línea para su consideración:

  • Los adultos no deben iniciar conversaciones uno a uno por las redes sociales con menores de edad.
  • Si un(a) menor inicia la comunicación en línea con un adulto (pastor de jóvenes, patrocinador), el adulto debe mantener un registro de nombre / fecha / hora / tema de conversación.
  • Pidan permiso a los padres con anticipación para comunicarse con sus hijo(a)s o jóvenes (generalmente como un grupo).
  • Los adultos deben grabar o copiar videos, textos o publicaciones con menores. No se comuniquen con menores utilizando plataformas de redes sociales sin forma de guardar publicaciones.
  • Utilicen las cuentas de correo electrónico, Instagram y Twitter asociadas con ministerios (no personales) para recordarse que esta interacción en las redes sociales es ministerio. Durante este tiempo, si no pueden, usen su propio nombre. Si ya tienen un identificador o nombre de usuario, pídanle al pastor o al Presidente de Santuarios Seguros que mantenga una lista de dichos nombres de usuario o identificadores, para que aquellos que están supervisando esas reuniones sepan quiénes están comunicando y qué.
  • Si un menor se acerca a un adulto en una cuenta personal, escriban un resumen de la interacción, fechen y envíenla al Presidente de Santuarios Seguros como una forma de responsabilidad.
  • Sigan con la pauta de 2 adultos en cualquier reunión en línea para niño(a)s o jóvenes. Si eso no es posible, hagan que una persona, preferiblemente uno de los voluntarios de Santuarios Seguros, revise regularmente las grabaciones y / o publicaciones escritas.
  • Si una de las formas en que está disponible para niño(a)s o jóvenes es tener un horario de visitas en línea, informen a los padres de su horario y asegúrenles que alguien ha sido designado para revisar las grabaciones de estos horarios, entonces sigan por el paso de seguridad / responsabilidad.
  • Mantengan la pauta de “cinco años mayor” en línea. Los adultos jóvenes en línea con jóvenes para las reuniones del ministerio juvenil deben tener al menos 24 años de edad.
  • Documenten quién asiste a cada reunión en línea, como lo harían si fuera en persona.
  • Nunca publiquen fotos o videos de menores sin el permiso de los padres.
  • Cuando se publique una foto o un video, nunca incluyan los nombres de menores.
  • Si no tiene una política de seguridad de redes sociales, ahora es un buen momento para escribir una.

Dios les bendiga mientras ministras a “¡estos más pequeños!”

¿Quieren aprender más?

Dove’s Nest tiene una lista útil de recursos de seguridad en línea en https://dovesnest.net/COVID19.

Wilterdink, Chris, internet, “Safe Sanctuaries:  Supporting a Shift to Online Youth Meetings,” (Santuarios seguros: apoyando un cambio a las reuniones juveniles en línea) Discipleship Ministries, UMC, 4/8/20.

WDC announcements

  1. WDC Annual Assembly 2020 update: Has Covid-19 got you feeling like you’re “Living In Exile?” For some of us, this is a new awakening. For others, it’s all too familiar. Join us for the socially distanced Western District Conference Annual Assembly online on August 1.  (Note: This will replace previous plans for an in-person gathering).  Webinars, worship, Danny Carroll, our keynote speaker, and some time to talk together will all be part of this grand experiment. What can the times we’re living in help us to discover about mission? About God’s love for the exile? We hope it will be possible for small groups to host Assembly watch parties together. If not, we’ll be together in Spirit and over digital media. Save the date! See you there!
  2. Congregational Video: Please make a 1-3 minute video of the spirit of your congregation. We hope to have these very brief videos available for our online Assembly 2020. We all want to learn more about
    how God is at work in our WDC congregations. Don’t know how to make a video on a smartphone? Ask your child or grandchild to help. Please forward these to kathynd@mennowdc.org by July 15. Thanks!
  1. WDC seeksfor a full time Associate Conference Minister with focus on supporting congregations and pastors in Texas and promoting church planting across WDC.  Job description and qualifications are posted on the WDC website at  https://mennowdc.org/wdc-associate-conference-minister-texas-based/.   For more information contact Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister, at heidirk@mennowdc.org.  Candidates are requested to send a letter of intent to WDC, and complete a Ministerial Leadership Information (MLI) form through Mennonite Church USA.
  1. We give thanks for generous contributions to the WDC Hope Fund and the opportunity to assist WDC congregations facing financial needs due to Covid-19.   Congregations seeking help to meet needs such as rent, utilities, groceries, or pastoral support during this time are encouraged to apply for a grant from the Hope Fund.  Last week the Hope Fund team determined that grants will be up to $2,500 per congregation. To submit an application or make a contribution, see https://mennowdc.org/wdc-hope-fund-response-to-the-coronavirus-pandemic/.  Members of the Hope Fund team are: Lesther Caceros and Wayne ALbrecht (Executive Board) Matt Lehman Wiens (Stewardship Commission), Peter Goerzen (Ministerial Leadership Commission), and Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister.
  1. Covid-19 Resources – Planning for the future:As congregations plan ahead for a combination of ongoing electronic connections and reintroducing in-person gatherings, here are resources to consider:
  1. Church Secretaries, please put in your bulletins for a few weeks:The WDC/SCC Women’s and Girl’s Retreat is scheduled!  We plan to gather together at Camp Mennoscah Friday, September 11 through Sunday, September 13 (mark your calendars). The Retreat Committee is working to make this a special time of reflection, fellowship and fun. Please keep this in prayer as we hope to be able to gather and worship together in the usual way, but will reevaluate as needed when the time gets closer.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. After much prayer and conversation, Camp Mennoscah made the difficult decision to cancel 2020 summer youth camps.  The safety of campers and staff is our top priority and we could not envision a way to safely and responsibly continue in-person summer camps at Camp Mennoscah in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic.  We are hopeful camp will be a vibrant place of community and faith formation again soon, and we will keep you updated about possibilities for being at camp.
  1. Parents/Guardians of campers registered for Camp Mennoscah’s 2020 summer youth camps will be contacted directly by May 15 about your registration(s).  If you have not completed the emailed survey regarding alternate camp options, please do so or contact Camp Mennoscah.  We want to hear your thoughts!
  1. Camp Mennoscah is working on guidelines for being open to small groups and families within state and local recommendations.  Watch the campmennoscah.orgwebsite and the Camp Mennoscah Facebook page for updates!  If you already have a group reservation at Camp Mennoscah, we will contact you if changes are needed.  At this time, the Family Weekend in July has not been canceled.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 with questions.

Mennonite church announcements

1.  Glen Guyton, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, invites you to join him for a livestream chat tomorrow, May 6, 9:30 am PDT/ 10:30 am MDT/ 11:30 CDT/ 12:30 pm EDT on MC USA’s Facebook page. He will provide a few words of encouragement and a brief update on:

  • Reopening our churches
  • The Congregational Relief Fund
  • MC USA’s new video series on Technology Best Practices
  1. The Mennonite, Inc., invites your original submissions for our July 2020 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on Music and worship.  More information at: https://themennonite.org/july-2020-call-submissions-music-worship/
  1. Service Adventure is still happening in the fall and there are plenty of openings! Check out MennoniteMission.net/ServiceAdventure to learn more and sign up!

 

  1. Mennonite Mission Network is still taking MVS applications for the 2020-2021 year. Please visit MennoniteMission.net/MVS for the most up to date unit and placement information.

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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