WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
October 27, 2015
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:
*From the Conference Minister’s Heart
From the Conference Minister’s Heart
by Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister
This reflection is third in a series on leadership competencies featured in training at the Kansas Leadership Center. WDC is partnering with South Central Conference to offer this training to congregational leaders through a Leadership Transformation Grant from KLC. Today’s column is on “Energizing Others.
Last week I attended the Constituency Leaders Council (CLC) of Mennonite Church USA. CLC meets semi-annually, a gathering of representatives from area conferences and constituency groups of MC USA. Also attending from WDC were Richard Gehring (Moderator) and Byron Pellecer (member-at-large).
The CLC is not a governing or decision-making body. Rather, it serves as a council of denominational “elders” who worship, pray, encourage faithfulness, share ideas and resources, process concerns, and offer counsel to Executive Board and the wider church on issues of life and faith. Relationships nurtured at CLC strengthen the denomination, and model God’s grace and truth in the midst of the divisions present in MC USA. (For a report on the CLC meetings, see https://themennonite.org/daily-news/brokenness-and-hope-meet-at-clc/)
CLC offers opportunity to practice leadership that energizes others, rather than simply promoting individuals’ agenda. Such leadership strives to:
Create a trustworthy process: CLC participants met in table groups, with guidelines for conversation so that everyone had opportunity to speak and be heard. Open mic times allowed everyone to hear from each table group. Together with worship and prayer, this cultivated humility, love, respect, and trust.
Engage unusual voices and Work across factions: CLC seeks to include voices from across the denomination, including minority or under-represented perspectives. Conferences and constituent groups are encouraged to send representatives who, in addition to holding leadership roles, reflect ethnic/racial identity, gender, and age diversity. The question has also been raised as to how CLC can create space for the church to hear the voices of LGTBQ members. CLC should be a safe place to speak and listen across our differences.
Start where they are: Often we make assumptions and rush to judgment about others rather than allowing them to tell their own story. At CLC, the range of perspectives and feelings shared defied stereotypes or easy categorization. Participants from across the denomination demonstrated dedication to God’s work, anguish where members of their constituency are alienated or in conflict, and trust that the Spirit is at work even in the midst of division and uncertainty.
Speak to loss: Tears were shed at CLC, because pain accompanies conflict and change. Rather than avoid or deny the emotions we feel in the midst of division or transition, it is healthier to acknowledge the losses that prompt people to feel anger, grief, rejection, or fear.
Inspire a collective purpose: Along with lament, CLC celebrated God’s faithfulness to MC USA, and God’s mission beyond MC USA. Ultimately we trust in God – not church structures.
Acts 15 tells of a similar gathering at Jerusalem where Christians shared reports of God’s work, listened, learned, discussed, debated, and offered counsel to one another. We have such opportunities at WDC assembly this weekend: Worship is planned to inspire a sense of shared purpose. Delegate sessions seek to follow a trustworthy process that listens for the Spirit speaking through diverse voices. Break-out sessions “start where they are,” learning from others across the church. May we be energized by one another and the Holy Spirit to grow together as WDC: A community of people who Witness and invite others to faith in Jesus Christ, Dwell in just and loving relationships, and Connect to God’s mission in the world.
Nov 1 – Give thanks for God’s presence at the WDC Assembly this past weekend, and pray for congregation members and leaders as they return home to continue God’s work in their own communities.
Nov 8 – Pray for God’s guidance for the Church Planting Commission, Stewardship Commission, and Executive Board as they each meet this week to plan for the work of WDC.
Nov 15 – Pray for members of the Resource Commission as they meet this week to consider ways to support healthy, missional congregations in WDC.
Nov 22 – Give thanks for God’s faithfulness to WDC through times of transition, challenge and new opportunity.
Nov 29 – Pray for chaplains in WDC who provide pastoral care in retirement communities and hospitals, and for all through whom God’s healing and hope flow to those who suffer in body, mind or spirit.
October 30, 1:00-4:30 pm – Pastor’s Afternoon Apart, Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
October 30, 5:30 pm – Pastor/Spouse Dinner, Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, KS
October 30-31 – WDC Annual Assembly, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
November 2 – WDC Office closed
November 9 – Church Planting Commission meeting
November 12 – Stewardship Commission meeting
November 14 – Executive Board meeting
November 16 – Resource Commission meeting
November 25-27 – WDC Office closed
December 11 – Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
December 24-January 1, 2016 – WDC Office closed
The November issue of Parish Paper, entitled “Navigating the Currents of Endowments and Reserve Funds” can now be viewed at: https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit will unite us as a church as we worship and discern together at the WDC Annual Assembly this coming Friday and Saturday.
- WDC in the news: Crossroads of Faith is the title of a 6-story series that KWCH Channel 12 TV (Wichita, KS) will air to explore responses to trends of shrinking church membership and attendance in the U.S. As part of the series, co-anchor Scott Evans interviewed a variety of church representatives in the area, including WDC Conference Minister Heidi Regier Kreider and Tabor Mennonite Church Pastor Phil Schmidt. Excerpts from these interviews will air during the 6 p.m. newscast on Tuesday, November 3 on Channel 12, or on http://www.kwch.com shortly after.
- On Wednesday, November 4, at 7 pm, the Peace Group at the First Mennonite Church of Christian, Moundridge, will sponsor a presentation by Sister Mary Ellen Loch and Sister Dorothy LeBlanc, of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Wichita. They will be sharing with us and helping to educate us about human trafficking. What does it look like? How do we recognize it? What can we do about it? These topics and a few more will be addressed. All are welcome to attend.
- Hey, Camp Mennoscah friends! It’s a great time of year to grab your scarf and traipse around the camp grounds, have a blood-warming round of disc golf, or play games inside with a cup of hot chocolate at hand. We have spaces for small groups, families, and larger groups, too! We think camp is an all-ages, all-seasons activity. Contact us at 620-297-3290 to inquire or share your favorite pirate, turkey, or potato joke.
Mennonite Church Announcements
- 2016 Cornelius Krahn Mennonite Multimedia Contest for High Schoolers: The Mennonite Lifejournal invites high school scholars and artists to submit historical essays, creative writing, multimedia projects, or original works of art or music on topics related to Mennonite and Anabaptist history, identity, or theology. Cash prizes awarded, as well as matching scholarship from Bethel, Hesston, and Tabor Colleges. Submissions to email@example.com by April 1, 2016. For more information, see ml.bethelks.edu.
- Preaching Workshop: Are you looking for preaching tips and new ideas for sermon writing? AMBS-Kansas Center will be hosting a Preaching Seminar led by Allan Rudy-Froese entitled “Preaching as Testimony.” It will be held November 13-14, 2015 and February 26, 2016 on the Bethel College Campus in North Newton, KS. This three-day workshop is open to all who are interested in practical preaching tips and learning more about the power of testimony in preaching. Registration and more information are available at: https://www.ambs.edu/churchleadershipcenter/Preaching-Seminar.cfm.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620