October 20, 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.


*Half-Inch Possibilities

*Prayer requests

*Coming Events


Half-Inch Possibilities

by Olivia Bartel, Executive Director, Camp Mennoscah

This past week, I had eye surgery to correct my right eye.  The eye muscles had weakened and the eye was turning in toward my nose.  During surgery, the muscles were tightened and relaxed to pull the eye approximately ½ inch back to the middle.  It’s not all that much.  That’s less than one and a half M&Ms and more or less the width of my pinkie finger.

A minor measurement, however, can have major results.  For me, with surgery completed, there’s movement in my peripheral vision that I couldn’t see before and, imagined or not, things look different.  One half-inch can mean reaching the height requirement for an amusement park ride.  It means the difference between an average-sized brownie and a bigger, tastier one.

COVID-19 has not likely been a minor or pleasant change for any of us, but we’ve made adjustments.  We’ve shimmied and shifted to find a solid footing and then had to leap over the unexpected.  It has been the same for Camp Mennoscah.  There is a new understanding of how camp works in this COVID-19 era.  Daily tasks have tentatively returned to a modified normal, but overall everything looks different than in March of this year.

Which is absolutely amazing.  Everything is new-ish and somewhat out of whack, creating a space ripe for transformation.  It’s a chance to discover half-inch possibilities and develop them into exciting improvements.  Camp Mennoscah’s vision of faith formation and mission to call people to follow Jesus and live as people of healing and hope is one puzzle piece that aptly fits the needs of this coronavirus space.

This may sound grandiose and pie-in-the-sky.  But if we do not get excited about this liminal, transitional space we are in, we’ll be stuck in the same place we were in March.  I have no big complaints about March, but I continue to want more than that for the people who visit and for Camp Mennoscah.  I want to see faith and faith formation come newly alive.

However, Camp Mennoscah will require donations of all sizes to make it through 2020 and to transform the 2021 summer youth camp experience into a safe one.  It will take volunteers stepping up in ways that haven’t been considered before.  Your ideas and innovations will be necessary to leap into the great whatever-comes-next for Camp Mennoscah.  Together, it will take those with new ideas and those people steeped in Camp Mennoscah traditions to get to the final destination.

A bold, involved faith for these times.  That’s all I’m asking.  It’s a big demand, but possible, if we all work together.  Thanks for being part of Camp Mennoscah’s community and helping Camp Mennoscah create a place for joyous faith for everyone.

Prayer Requests

Nov 1 – Pray for God’s strength for chaplains and others in WDC caring for those facing pain, illness and death in the midst of the pandemic.

Nov 8 – Pray for WDC pastor peer groups as they meet virtually or in person to offer support and encouragement to one another in their ministry.

Nov 15 – Pray for WDC staff in their daily work of sustaining transformational leaders, resourcing missional congregations, and encouraging church planting partnerships in our conference.

Nov 22 – Give thanks for the gifts of leadership, vision, prayer, financial support, and volunteer time that WDC members have shared to support WDC’s ministry this year.

Nov 29 – Pray for God’s hope and encouragement for WDC congregations that have suffered significant loss and stress during the pandemic.

Coming Events

Due to COVID-19 concerns, all meetings are being held via Zoom video conference until further notice

Oct 24 – Connect!  Faith Formation in Challenging Times

Nov 9 – WDC Immigration Task Force meeting

Nov 12 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting

Nov 13 – WDC Israel-Palestine Task Force meeting

Nov 21 – WDC Executive Board meeting

Nov 26-27 – WDC Office closed for Thanksgiving

WDC announcements

  1. Join the conversation at WDC’s Leadership Lunch on October 22 at 12:00 noon.  Each month a Kansas Leadership Center leadership competency is presented.  Anyone is welcome.  Email wdc@mennowdc.orgfor a Zoom link to join the conversation.
  1. Grants are still available through the Everence Pastor Financial Assistance program, for eligible pastors who have not previously participated in the grant program.  Upcoming due-dates for grant applications are Nov 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021 if grants are still available then.  For guidelines and application, see https://www.everence.com/financial-services/for-churches/pastoral-financial-wellness-program. WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission also has limited funds available to assist with matching grants as part of the Everence program. For more information contact Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister.

Las subvenciones todavía están disponibles a través del programa de asistencia financiera de Everence Pastor, para pastores elegibles que no hayan participado previamente en el programa de subvenciones. Las próximas fechas límite para las solicitudes de subvenciones son el 1 de noviembre de 2020 y el 1 de marzo de 2021 si las subvenciones aún están disponibles en ese momento. Para conocer las pautas y la aplicación, consulte https://www.everence.com/financial-services/for-churches/pastoral-financial-wellness-program. La Comisión de Liderazgo Ministerial de WDC también tiene fondos limitados disponibles para ayudar con las subvenciones de contrapartida como parte del programa Everence. Para obtener más información, comuníquese con Heidi Regier Kreider, ministra de conferencias de WDC.

  1. Protocols for congregational gatherings during COVID-19: As churches discern safe and effective ways to gather for worship, faith formation and other activities, WDC congregations are invited to share their protocols/guidelines with WDC.  WDC will then post these at https://mennowdc.org/coronavirus/ as a resource for other congregations.  Send your guidelines to:  wdc@mennowdc.org.

Protocolos para reuniones congregacionales durante COVID-19: A medida que las iglesias disciernen formas seguras y efectivas de reunirse para la adoración, la formación de la fe y otras actividades, se invita a las congregaciones de WDC a compartir sus protocolos / pautas con WDC. WDC luego los publicará en https://mennowdc.org/coronavirus/ como un recurso para otras congregaciones. Envíe sus pautas a: wdc@mennowdc.org.

  1. A request has been received for copies of “The Mennonite Hymnal” (the one published in 1960), for use in a nursing home. Contact Karen Mascho, kmascho@gmail.com if you have any to donate.
  1. The Tabor Church Mennonite Men would like to invite everyone to the annual chicken barbeque on Nov. 5 from 5-7 pm or until the food runs out.  This year it will be a to-go pick up meal.  The menu is bbq chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, dinner roll and ice cream and the food will taste great as usual.  From the south end of the east parking lot please drive around the south side of the church under the overhang to place your donation and pick up your meal(s).  The funds raised will go to Mennonite Central Committee and Bethesda Home in Goessel.  The church is located 8 miles north of Newton to 90th then 1 mile east or 3 miles south and 1 east of Goessel.
  2. Thumbnail Comparison of Candidates on Immigration policy, asylum, and deportation:  The WDC Immigration Task Force invites you to review this brief comparison between the presidential candidates on immigration issues here: https://mennoniteswithoutborders.org/blog/candidates-immigration-policies/.  We voters are the voice for the voiceless.  “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom that is prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you gave me clothing; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me” (Matthew 25.34-35).
  1. Connect!  Faith Formation in Challenging Times: Join Kathy Neufeld Dunn (WDC Associate Conference Minister, Kansas Based) Saturday, October 24, 9-11 am CT on Zoom or Facebook Live on WDC Facebook page for ideas of how to connect with the story of Jesus and with God–how to connect your church folk, yourself, and the curious.  Before the pandemic, people were already going online for info and interaction.  Now faith formation online is one tool we have to have in our faith formation toolbox.  How do we do this with integrity?  Want to join via Zoom?  Request the link at wdc@mennowdc.org.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. A recording of Camp Mennoscah’s annual meeting is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/gWLZ8tXyBcMand soon on Camp Mennoscah’s Facebook page.
  1. Camp Mennoscah’s Scrapbook and Crafts Retreat on October 30-Nov. 1 has only a few spaces available.  Participants will stay in the Retreat Center with their own bathroom and scrapbook/crafts tables will be set up in the dining hall to provide more space and better ventilation.  Mask and distancing guidelines followed.  Register at campmennoscah.org!  Call 620-297-3290 for more information.
  1. Another Work and Play Day at Camp Mennoscah has been completed!  Thank you to all the volunteers for the work done and your great company.  Your support is valued more than you might imagine.  (And think BIG x 100.)  You are the greatest!
  1. Camp Mennoscah is a year-round campground!  Ask about winterized facilities or conquer the prairie wilds in a tent.  It’s a whole new world in the winter–and available for you!  Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 to make a reservation.

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Pastor Sandy Drescher-Lehmanand her husband, John, realized that when they stepped out of the way, God began a good work – right in their own backyard. Read their blog, “Hosting Hipcampers: Is this missional? Or spiritual?” at https://www.mennoniteusa.org/hipcampers.
  2. MenoTicias es una publicación digital en español con historias, eventos, noticias y artículos de interés del mundo Menonita-Anabautista de los Estados Unidos e Hispanoamérica. Todos pueden compartir y suscribirse totalmente gratis:  https://www.mennoniteusa.org/menoticias/.  /  MenoTiciasa new Spanish-language digital newsletter of MC USA and Hispanic Ministries of Mennonite Education Agency, has published its first issue. Subscribe today. http://eepurl.com/hb2FGT
  1. new video seriesfrom Mennonite Church USA showcases the stories of Mennonites who are advocating for immigration justice and demonstrating radical hospitality.  Visit the Learn, Pray, Join web page for these and other resources: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/immigration/.
  1. Safwat Marzouk, associate professor at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, urges us to consider how the demographic changes in North America are providing an opportunity to recover a biblical vision of the church. Read his blog, “A church that embodies immigration justice and radical hospitality”at https://www.mennoniteusa.org/menno-snapshots/church-embodies-immigration-justice-radical-hospitality/
  1. Giving Tuesday 2020 is Dec. 1. Live out your call to participate in and support the work of God. Visit MennoniteMission.net/GivingTuesday.

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