November 19, 2019

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)

To support WDC ministries, contributions may be made HERE.


*Seeing with the Eyes of God


Seeing with the Eyes of God

by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)

A few years ago, someone asked me about the worship style in the congregation that I was serving at the time. Then, the unavoidable question was raised: Is it Anabaptist?

Ever since, I have been wondering about what that type of worship would look like, especially in a church with such complex cultural diversity, linguistic realities and holding different expressions of the same theological identity.

Among the many blessings in my life, visiting different congregations is one of them. I get to experience a lot of worship styles. Each one of them has enriched my life in ways that I can hardly describe. Every time I try to explain it, I end up inviting people to be open to the possibilities to experience it, despite language barriers.

Each of these liturgies expressed in the different worship styles, requires the use of all senses, mind and heart so the experience will be vivid. As I attend and engage these Spirit filled worship services, the apocalyptic image comes to mind.

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:9-12 NIV).

All these worship experiences contribute to provide the ground for an intercultural approach as well. That is to say that each culture needs to be honored. As a church, we might want to recognize that there is a wealth of healthy practices to be considered and adopted, to complete ours. It is easy to see people from various parts of the globe living, working and playing next door.

Within this context, Christ’s followers’ challenge is to see people the way God sees them. A key component is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Understanding and practicing it, becomes fundamental.

Monocultural approaches don’t work. Understanding other people’s cultural richness and how spirituality is expressed is crucial. Connecting, relating, servicing and ministering to this vast cultural expression so different from ours might cause some frustration and confusion.

Yet, visiting and worshiping God in different churches poses a perfect reminder that, despite many cultural expressions, languages and other differences, God sees us with eyes of love, forgiveness, compassion, acceptance, and mercy. This intercultural experience brings joy to the life of the church.

May we continue finding ways to see each other with the eyes of God.


Viendo con los Ojos de Dios
     by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)

Hace unos años, alguien me preguntó sobre el estilo de adoración de la congregación en la que estaba sirviendo en ese momento. La pregunta inevitable fue planteada: ¿es Anabautista?

Desde entonces, me he estado preguntando cómo sería ese tipo de adoración, especialmente en una iglesia con una diversidad cultural tan compleja, con realidades lingüísticas y con las diferentes expresiones de la misma identidad teológica.

Entre las muchas bendiciones en la vida, visitar diferentes congregaciones es una de ellas. He tenido la experiencia de adorar a Dios en muchos estilos. Cada uno de esos estilos ha enriquecido mi vida de una manera que no puedo describir completamente. Cada vez que trato de explicarlo, termino invitando a las personas a abrirse a las posibilidades de experimentarlo. Sí, a pesar de las barreras idiomáticas.

Cada una de las liturgias expresadas en los diferentes estilos de adoración, requiere el uso de todos los sentidos, la mente y el corazón para que la experiencia cobre vida. A medida que asisto y participo en estos cultos llenos del Espíritu de Dios, la imagen apocalíptica se hace presente.

9 Después de esto miré, y apareció una multitud tomada de todas las naciones, tribus, pueblos y lenguas; era tan grande que nadie podía contarla. Estaban de pie delante del trono y del Cordero, vestidos de túnicas blancas y con ramas de palma en la mano. 10 Gritaban a gran voz: ¡La salvación viene de nuestro Dios, que está sentado en el trono, y del Cordero! 11 Todos los ángeles estaban de pie alrededor del trono, de los ancianos y de los cuatro seres vivientes. Se postraron rostro en tierra delante del trono, y adoraron a Dios 12 diciendo: «¡Amén! La alabanza, la gloria, la sabiduría, la acción de gracias, la honra, el poder y la fortaleza son de nuestro Dios por los siglos de los siglos. ¡Amén! (Apocalipsis 7: 9-12 NIV)

Todas estas experiencias de adoración contribuyen a poner las bases para un enfoque intercultural también. Es decir que cada cultura necesita ser honrada. Como iglesia, podríamos reconocer que hay una gran cantidad de prácticas saludables para ser consideradas y adoptadas, para poder completar nuestra cultura. Es fácil ver a personas de diversas partes del mundo viviendo, trabajando y jugando al lado nuestro.

Como discípulos de Cristo, estas realidades nos plantean varios desafíos como ver a las personas como Dios las ve. Un componente clave parte de una relación con Dios a través de Jesucristo. Esta comprensión y práctica son fundamentales.

Un enfoque monocultural no funciona. Comprender la riqueza cultural de otras personas y cómo expresan la espiritualidad es crucial. Conectarse, relacionarse, servir y ministrar a esta vasta expresión cultural tan diferente de la nuestra puede llegar a ser frustrante y confusa.

Así que, visitar y adorar a Dios en diferentes iglesias plantea un recordatorio perfecto; a pesar de las muchas expresiones culturales, idiomas y otras diferencias, Dios nos ve con ojos de amor, perdón, compasión, aceptación, misericordia y la lista se hace interminable.

Sigamos encontrando maneras de vernos con los ojos de Dios.

WDC announcements

  1. Giving Tuesdayis December 3 – Western District Conference invites you to join this global giving initiative!  Share a gift with WDC during this season, to help our congregations Witness & invite others to faith in Jesus Christ, Dwell in just & loving relationships, and Connect to God’s mission in the world.  Current projections suggest that WDC income will fall short of expenses for the current year, so your generous gifts are invited to help close the gap towards WDC’s 2019 budget goal!  You may make an online contribution HERE or send a check to Western District Conference, PO Box 306, North Newton KS  67117.  Thank you for your generosity!
  1. WDC Leadership Lunches continue.  Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the next Leadership Lunch will be on Thursday, November 21.  These lunch discussions are based on Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) principles, competencies, and behaviors, but please come even if you haven’t attended a KLC training.  Case studies are used to guide our time together.  Join us at the WDC office from 12-1:30 pm on November 21 (bring your own lunch).  If you want to join via Zoom video conference, let us know (wdc@mennowdc.org) and you will be sent a link.
  1. Office closings to note:  The WDC office and Resource Library will be closed November 28-29 for Thanksgiving, and December 23-January 1, 2020 for Christmas and New Years break.
  2. Join us for our annual German Dinner & Bake Sale at First Mennonite Church McPherson, KS (1161 E. Ave. A) on Saturday, December 7 from 5-7 pm.  The menu will be verenika with ham gravy, sausage, green beans, homemade sauerkraut, zwieback, & cherry moos for a free will donation.  Baked goods will be priced.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Recruiting is not over!  Camp Mennoscah has finished visiting colleges for the season, but we are still on the lookout for many great and amazing young adults with leadership skills for our summer staff.  The positions we fill are Crafts Leader, Grounds/Maintenance, Lifeguard, Media/Office, Music Leader, Naturalist, and Office.  These positions receive a stipend of $250 per week.  Apply online at campmennoscah.orgunder Summer Youth Camps!
  1. Christmas for Volunteers at Camp Mennoscah!  All who have volunteered in any capacity for any event or year are invited to come for a time of games, conversation, and refreshments on December 14 at 2:30pm.  Break away from the holiday rush for a bit of camp relaxation!

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