WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
November 1, 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:
*Twenty Years or Twenty Days
Twenty Years or Twenty Days
by Michael Unruh, Camp Mennoscah Executive Director
This fall (if one can truly call it that in Kansas with these unseasonably warm temperatures) has brought along with it many transitions in my own life. I will spare most of the details, but one of them remains most significant. On September 6, I began working as executive director at Camp Mennoscah, the camp I attended as a camper, the camp where I have served on summer staff, and the camp where I lived for a year serving a term with Mennonite Voluntary Service. Stepping into this new role, it is clear that I haven’t gotten enough of Camp Mennoscah. It is a place I love.
In the weeks since starting, what I have been finding as I visit with other supporters of Camp Mennoscah is more of the same: Camp Mennoscah is a place that people love. Campers return to youth camps year after year eager to strengthen their relationship with Jesus and deepen friendships with fellow campers. Volunteers give of their time and gifts to improve the camp in ways I could not. Generous supporters give financially to support the mission of Camp Mennoscah, so that all who come to camp continue to have formational spiritual experiences.
Last month, Camp Mennoscah hosted a booth at Bethel College’s Fall Festival, in hopes that we would reconnect with many of the people who come to camp on a yearly basis. And reconnect we did! What I did not expect, however, was to meet and hear stories from people who have not been out to Camp Mennoscah in twenty years! Whether it was twenty years or twenty days since a person had visited camp, a common theme through every story was, you guessed it, a love for Camp Mennoscah. I believe our love of camp is in part a reciprocation of the love that is expressed to us while at camp. God’s love is embodied in the people who come to camp, and the result of that love is an outpouring of even more love to others. We love camp because we have felt God’s love at camp.
At the end of a long, beautiful, Fall Festival day, I finally had the chance to catch my breath. I had so many conversations of appreciation for Camp Mennoscah, and I have more fully recognized my privilege in joining the formational work at camp. I think Camp Mennoscah is a pretty special place, and spending the day at Fall Festival confirmed that many, many people feel the same way. Have you been to Camp Mennoscah in the last twenty years? How about the last twenty days? Maybe it’s time to come back for a visit! No matter the last time you came to Camp Mennoscah, we are always happy to be here for you–for conversation about your favorite camp memories, for sharing with you new stories about meaningful camp experiences, and most importantly, for continuing to be a place where God’s love is undoubtedly present.
November 6 – Pray for our leaders and congregations to follow the way of Jesus in love, justice and peace in this election process and beyond.
November 13 – Pray for the Executive Board and staff to look and listen for God’s vision as they meet in retreat this Saturday.
November 20 – Give thanks to God for faithfulness through all seasons of our lives.
November 27 – Pray for WDC pastors and congregations in the midst of transition, challenge and opportunity.
November 15 – Pastors’ Brown Bag lunch, WDC Office
November 19 – WDC Executive Board meeting
November 24-25 – WDC Office closed for Thanksgiving
December 8 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting
December 15 – WDC Resource Commission meeting
December 23 – January 2, 2017 – WDC Office closed for Christmas & New Year’s Break
January 10-11, 2017 – WDC Staff Retreat
January 16, 2017 – WDC Office closed for Martin Luther King Jr Day
January 28-29, 2017 – Know Jesus, Hesston College, Hesston, KS
August 4-6, 2017 – WDC Annual Assembly, Dallas, TX (Location to be announced)
- Pastors’ Brown Bag Lunch: All ministers welcome to conversation with Mennonite Mission Network’s, James Krabill, on “Anabaptist Evangelism? Facing Down the Elephant in the Room,” Tuesday, November 15, 12 noon-1:00, WDC Office, 2517 N Main St, North Newton. We encourage you to read two articles before then as conversation starters: “Tongue Screws and Testimony” by Alan Kreider and “Keeping Good News and Good Works Together” by Ron Sider and Heidi Rolland Unruh. Both can be found in the book “Fully Engaged: Missional Church in an Anabaptist Voice” by Stanley W. Green and James R. Krabill, as well as free online downloads. Bring your own lunch. Drinks provided. For more information, contact Kathy: email@example.com or 316-283-6300.
- Did you know? The Resource Library subscribes to more than 10 magazines/journals that are available to you for checkout? This includes the children’s bilingual magazine High Five (from Highlights), Children’s Ministry, Group, Sojourners, Christianity Today, Christian Century, and of course Mennonite periodicals like The Mennonite and Mennonite World Review. Come in and read (or checkout an issue today).
- On display this month at the Resource Library: Fall books about leaves, apples, pumpkins, and Thanksgiving. Coming soon, Advent resources for families, individuals, and congregations!
- All are invited to Trinity Mennonite Church, 211 S Elm, Hillsboro, KS, for an Election Day Prayer & Communion Service on November 8 at 7:00 pm.
- You are invited to join First Mennonite Church’s Choir (Newton, KS) in singing Handel’s Messiah on Sunday, December 18 at 7 pm. Rehearsals: Sundays, November 20 – December 11, 2-3:30 pm and Wednesdays, November 2-December 14, 7:15-8 pm. Bring your own book or purchase one for $10 at the first rehearsal. Contact: Kay Schroeder, 316-283-0273, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All Summer Youth Camp Volunteers and their families are invited to come to Camp Mennoscah on December 17 at 2:30pm-ish for cookies and hot drinks. This includes anyone who has been involved in our summer youth camp program as counselors, program staff, support staff, summer staff, etc. We will have a White Elephant gift exchange for those interested. Find something wonderfully hideous and wrap it up! Bring snacky treats to share (optional).
Mennonite Church Announcements
- Special Tax Considerations for Clergy: Pastors make special considerations in relation to their tax preparation every year. The nuances can be challenging to navigate. Everence is hosting a special seminar covering the things that clergy need to know when filing their taxes. Christopher Stauffer, CPA, will be presenting on tax considerations for ministers. Pastors, spouses of pastors, and other church leaders are all welcome to attend. Join us on December 1, at 7:00pm at the Dyck Arboretum Visitor Center in Hesston, Kansas, for this valuable workshop. There will be a dessert reception at 6:30pm preceding the workshop. Come for a time of fellowship and valuable information. (Poster for this event is attached.)
- AMBS Church Leadership Center – Webinar: Introduction to Anabaptism -Thursday, Nov. 3, 2–3:30 p.m. EDT – Lois Barrett, Ph.D., AMBS professor of theology and Anabaptist studies, has been teaching about Anabaptism for more than 20 years. In this webinar she will give an overview of Anabaptist beliefs. Anabaptist theology is not some kind of generic theology with a few Anabaptist distinctives added, as if we were putting parsley on a casserole. To continue the analogy, we will be considering a whole different style of cooking rather than adding just a few extra ingredients. In other words, we will be looking at how to take an Anabaptist view of all of theology — and what difference that makes for believers, for the life of the church and for its relation to the world. Participants in the webinar will look at a few clusters of theological topics, with opportunity for questions after each cluster. For more information, visit this link: https://www.ambs.edu/churchleadershipcenter/Webinars.cfm
- Anti-Racism Training in Newton, KS: February 17-19, 2017 at the Newton Recreation Commission, 415 N Poplar, sponsored by Newton Community for Racial Justice (NCRJ). Cost per participant: $250 (register by January 9) / $300 (register after January 9). More information at: rootsofjusticetraining.org
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620