WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
October 18, 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:
*It is risky business…
It is risky business…
by Byron Pellecer, Associate Conference Minister (Texas-based)
Sometimes, it seems like the more sophisticated and scientifically advanced we become, the less we believe that God is at work through demonstrations of power, love and grace, and to top it off, the more distant from each other we become.
It should be the other way around! We were created as social beings and not as human silos. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in personal spaces too, but I believe and care more deeply about human relationships. However, in order to connect, build and nurture such relationships, I am challenged to take a risk of abandoning my mono-culture confinement in order to meet those who are around me, especially people who might look and live different than my cultural and religious traditions.
Each one of us brings to the table a life journey with a unique set of gifts and experiences that are needed in our society, churches, denomination and educational institutions.
Instead of embracing such wealth of cultural expressions, our society insists on rejecting them whether emotionally, verbally or sometimes even with physical violence. This xenophobic environment has to stop. Expressing and experiencing cultural differences should not be a reason to be distant from each other. Instead, our cultural differences should be a reason to feast together.
Whether we like it or not, in our local and global contexts, cultural diversity is becoming a more common reality that, if you ask me, should be a lifestyle.
The Church is not immune to this cultural diversity/reality because the face of the Church and that of area conferences and denominations has changed and it will continue to experience change. Hence, cultural diversity should not be a class lecture or a theme for a round-table discussion only.
Perhaps church planting is a good example of the cultural diversity inclusion approach shaped by a kingdom perspective. Moreover, I think that this century and this world is in dire need of experiencing God’s love, grace, service and salvation. In the United States, we are not so different; we are all in need of God.
Some people believe that the Church as such, is in decline. Since the Church, as a sign of the kingdom, is a divine project, I believe the Church can be revitalized in so many ways. I believe that evangelism and church planting, which are spirit-filled, peacemaking, Gospel-driven and Christ-centric, play a big role as a starting point in this invigorating endeavor.
I still believe that people are longing to experience God in fresh ways. This was true when Jesus spoke, shared and taught about the kingdom of God. It was true too when the first Christian community was formed and began to share the gospel with their respective communities. It is true today. The gospel of Jesus is for everyone, if we, as churches and as individuals, still believe that Jesus is the way. Because God is mission, the church has a mission …God’s mission, that is.
Now, if Jesus matters to us, then we should consider sharing Jesus with as many people as possible in whatever way available. Scripture vividly attests that God has been in mission since humanity departed from his presence, will and purpose.
Therefore, evangelism and church planting is a risky business. It makes us rethink our commitment to the great commission in its totality. To be committed to the great commission is to be committed to the kingdom of God. It is through, evangelism and church planting, just to name a couple of ways that we respond to God’s calling and commission, to go out and make disciples.
- On Saturday, October 22 from 1:30-4:30, First Mennonite, Hutchinson, KS, will host a centering prayer workshop. Centering prayer is drawn from an ancient form of Christian prayer which involves being still and consenting to the presence and gracious action of God. Anyone desiring to deepen his or her prayer life will benefit from this introduction to Centering Prayer. Laurinda Wade,spiritual director and Contemplative Outreach retreat leader from Wichita will lead this workshop. Any who may be interested are welcome to attend. After this workshop, there will be a weekly centering prayer group at First Mennonite Church (52 Rambler Rd) that meets on Thursdays during the noon hour (12-1). You are welcome to the ongoing centering prayer group whether or not you were able to attend the Oct 22 workshop. For more information, please contact the church office (620-662-9385), Pastor Nathan Koontz (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Pastor Tonya Ramer Wenger (email@example.com). RSVP’s for the Oct 22 event are not necessary, but are welcome!
- Lois Barrett, Pat Cameron and Jerry Truex will lead a “Forum on Christian Faith and the Political Process” October 25, 7:30 p.m., at Mennonite Church of the Servant, 2401 N. Woodland, Wichita. The event is free and open to the public.
- Everyone’s invited to a CD Launch Party for the Upside Down King with Doug & Jude Krehbiel on Saturday, October 22 from 10am-Noon at Faith & Life Bookstore, in Newton, KS.
- Camp Mennoscah sends a waterfall of thanks to everyone who helped take out the dam and cheered our waterlogged volunteers. The river will now hopefully wash some of the sand and silt downstream, creating a better place for canoeing and fishing. The dam will be replaced in the spring.
- Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats! There’s one week left for a couple of really lucky last minute folks to register for these retreats on October 28-30 and November 4-6. Go online at campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290 to register. We can’t wait to see all you scrappers and crafters!
- Summer Youth Camp Volunteer Christmas! On December 17 at 2:30pm-ish, all of our great summer youth camp volunteers throughout the years (including summer staff, nurses, cooks, counselors, program directors, etc.) are welcome to come out to Camp Mennoscah for a time of hanging out, eating cookies, and having a blast. We’ll have a white elephant gift exchange (grab something from the bottom of your closet and wrap it up) for anyone interested. Cookies and hot drinks will be provided. You are welcome to bring something snacky and tasty to share. Families are invited. We’ll see you at the dining hall!
Mennonite Church Announcements
- Third annual Ten Thousand Village Fair Trade International Gift Festival – Mark you calendars! Invite a friend! Prepare your Fair Trade Holiday Gift List!
WHEN: Friday & Saturday, November 25-26; Friday & Saturday, December 2-3; Friday &-Saturday, December 9-10; HOURS: 10 am – 6 pm; WHERE: Western District Conference Office Complex, 2500 North Main Street, North Newton, Kansas
- Fall 2016 Heritage Lecture – October 29, 9 am-12 pm at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, Goessel, KS. Speaker: John Sharp. Lecture 1: “Orie O. Miller’s Tears for the Common Good”. Lecture 2: “Orie O. Miller, the Founding of MCC, and Its Mission”. For more information, see: www.goesselmuseum.com
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620