October 30, 2018

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)


*The River is Here

*Prayer Requests

*Coming Events


The River is Here

     by Michael Unruh, Camp Mennoscah Executive Director 

Earlier this month, a large portion of Central Kansas received a lot of rain. A lot of rain. Before the water from these heavy rains reached the Gulf of Mexico, or even the Arkansas River, the runoff from our area passed right through Camp Mennoscah via the Ninnescah River, and the floodwaters came up to their highest level in over 40 years! The observation deck was underwater, water spilled into the picnic area, and the canoe shed was half underwater. It was quite the phenomenon, and even a bit scary. With waters on the rise, I posted a short “river update” video on Facebook to keep Camp Mennoscah friends informed on the state of the river. The response to this video update was vast, garnering attention from people at least as far away as Oregon, and even a Wichita news station! I was compelled to make two more videos during various stages of the flooding as a result. We were initially shocked at the number of people interested in hearing about the river, but upon further reflection, it didn’t take long to conclude why.

To hundreds who have been to Camp Mennoscah, the Ninnescah River is more than just a body of water:

–       The river is a defining feature of creation at camp, which reveals God’s presence in the natural world here.

–       The river supports an abundance biological life: fishes, birds, mammals, insects, and much more, which makes the river a constant source of activity.

–       The river has been the site of many baptisms over the years, which highlights the special role camp can play in campers’ faith journeys.

In short, the river can represent the entire camp experience, which has been a formative one for 70 years. It’s no wonder Camp Mennoscah friends wanted to witness the impact a flooding river was having at camp, because camp and the river have had an impact on them.

A flooding river is one way I’ve come to think of the love of God. Though I could probably write a page or more to develop this metaphor, I have decided to simply summarize the most prominent parts:

  1. God’s love creates and sustains abundant life, like the river does, except to an infinite degree.
  2. Like a river, the love of God is a force, always coming toward us, with the capability to break into and spill over every area of our lives. Sometimes this is a scary force, too!
  1. The love of God, like a river, has the power to shape and change us, either immediately or over time. Sometimes these are welcome changes, and at other times we resist. 

All this talk about rivers has brought to mind “The River Is Here,” by Andy Park, a song my youth group worship band always used to play. Verse two of the song reads: 

The river of God is teeming with life
And all who touch it can be revived
And those who linger on this river’s shore
Will come back thirsting for more of the Lord

Let us continue thirsting for God’s river of unending love to break into, revive, sustain, and shape our lives, both now and always.

Prayer Requests

Nov 4 – Give thanks for congregations who have used WDC Mustard Seed grants to reach out to their neighbors to promote health initiatives, share food and hospitality, and welcome children!

Nov 11 – Pray for the WDC Executive Board meeting next Saturday, as they lead WDC in its mission of empowering congregations to 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 18 – Pray for WDC congregations in pastoral transition, as they seek God’s direction for the future.

Nov 25 – Give thanks for all the congregations of WDC, and the unique gifts and perspectives that each one brings to our conference.

Coming Events

Nov 10 – Hispanic Women Ministry gathering, Iglesia Comunidad de Esperanza, Dallas, TX

Nov 17 – WDC Executive Board meeting

Nov 17 – WDC Healthy Boundaries Training 201, First Church of Christian, Moundridge KS

Nov 22-23 – WDC office closed for Thanksgiving holiday

Nov 26 – MC USA Delegate Special Session

Dec 7 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting

Dec 11 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting

Dec 24 through Jan 1, 2019 – WDC office closed for Christmas & New Year holidays

Jan 31 – WDC Resource Commission meeting

Feb 9-10, 2019 – Know Jesus (Jr. High event), Hesston College

July 26-27, 2019 – WDC Annual Assembly, Bethel College, North Newton, KS

WDC announcements

  1. Safwat Marzouk, PhD, Associate Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, will present Bible Lectures at Bethel College, North Newton, KS, Nov 4-5.  On Sun., Nov 4, at 7:30 pm he will speak on “Migration in the Joseph Narrative: integration, separation and transnationality.”   On Monday, Nov 5, at 11 am he will present a Convocation lecture on “Ethnic Boundary Crossing as a way of Resisting Tyranny and Oppression in Exodus 1-2.”  Both lectures are in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Luyken Fine Arts Center.  Following the convocation lecture on Mon., Nov 5, Western District Conference and Bethel College will co-host a lunch gathering for pastors to meet Dr. Marzouk, at 12 noon at KIPCOR (Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution) on the Bethel campus. At the pastors’ gathering Dr. Marzouk will speak on  “Church in an age of migration,” drawing on his experience as an Egyptian scholar and ordained minister who has focused on issues of migration and cross-cultural dynamics in his Biblical study.  A light lunch will be provided. Pastors interested in attending the lunch, please RSVP to WDC by Friday, Nov 2, at 316-283-6300 or wdc@mennowdc.org.  For more information about Safwat Marzouk see https://www.ambs.edu/academics/people/749240/safwat-marzouk 
  1. Everyone welcome!  First Mennonite Church Youth, Newton, KS will have a Turkey Dinner Fundraiser on Nov 7 from 5:30-7 pm.  Menu is smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry salad, rolls and pumpkin dessert.  Donations go for Mennonite Convention 2019.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Recruiting for Summer 2019!  Camp Mennoscah and other Mennonite Camping Association camps will be visiting colleges & universities in November.  We’ll be at Goshen College on Nov 9 and at Hesston, Tabor, Bethel, and McPherson colleges on Nov 12-15 (one day each respectively).  Pizza gatherings for people interested in summer staff positions will be held Nov 8 at Goshen College and Nov 14 at Papa John’s at 6:15 pm-ish in Newton.  Watch Facebook, stop by the booth, or call 316-293-7313 for more information!
  1. Christmas at Camp Mennoscah!  Volunteers of all years, your families and summer staff from every possible years are invited to enjoy whatever sort of winter we’re having at Camp Mennoscah on Dec 15 at 2:30 pm.  We’ll provide cookies, drinks and games, you provide the conversation and fellowship!  You’re the best and we want to share the season with you!
  1. Celebrating 10 Years of Scrapbooking at Camp Mennoscah!  Renetta Gooden, Eileen Stucky and Sharon Stucky have led our Scrapbook and Craft Retreats for 10 wonderful years.  Renetta leads in crafty-ness and devotions; Eileen and Sharon feed us incredibly tasty meals and keep us entertained with conversation and fellowship.  We love these folks!  Tell them thanks for us when you see them!

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Nov 14 Service Night at Hesston Mennonite Church (sponsored by Mennonite Mission Network) – Come join youth groups from across South Central Kansas to prepare Thanksgiving meal boxes that will be distributed to families in our area. We are partnering with New Hope Shelter in Newton, KS to provide a special meal for folks who have recently transitioned from the shelter to homes of their own and are still getting established. Let us know you’re coming so you can sign up for food to bring for the Thanksgiving meal boxes.  We will also meet young adults in Service Adventure to be inspired by their stories. RSVP to Del Hershberger at delh@mennonitemission.net.
  1. MCC Meat Canning:  This year is different for some communities that are used to doing meat canning.  Due to staffing issues MCC isn’t able to bring the mobile cannery to your community. However, we hope that changes soon, and that in the future the mobile cannery can travel to even more locations!  MCC has a brand new video about MCC meat canning – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAxo0moMz3M&t=13s.  If your congregation already helps can meat this video will help recruit volunteers! If not, and you’d like to learn more or get involved please contact duaneunruh@mcc.orgor visit https://mcc.org/get-involved/canning.
  1. Attention Couples!  Mennonite Central Committee wants YOU to join the canning crew this year! This opportunity is a fully-supported short-term volunteer position that will travel in the United States and Canada between Jan and May 2019. For more information and/or to apply for the Canner Operator position, visit mcc.org/serveor contact Heidi Huber by email at heidihuber@mcc.org or by phone at 316-283-2720. 
  1. César García, General Secretary of Mennonite World Conference, will visit in Kansas in November.  All are welcome to meet him at a reception on Tuesday, Nov 20, at the Mennonite Church USA offices at 718 North Main Street, Newton, KS.  Refreshments will be served from 9:30 – 11:30 am, and at 10:00 am.  César will speak about Mennonite World Conference.  Over 100 Anabaptist/Mennonite-related national churches, including Mennonite Church USA, are members or associate members of Mennonite World Conference.
  1. The Mennonite, Inc., invites your original submissions for our January 2019 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on Education: What does a just, equitable and liberated system look like?  https://themennonite.org/january-2019-call-submissions-education-just-equitable-liberated-system-look-like/
  1. MennoCon19 (Mennonite Church USA convention) news – The first newsletter is out for the 2019 convention in Kansas City! Find it here. Do you have a great idea for an Equipping Seminar at MennoCon19? The deadline to submit seminar ideas is Nov 5.  For more information and to submit ideas, see https://convention.mennoniteusa.org/the-experience/worship-equipping-seminars/
  1. Guide for Advent at home from Anabaptist Faith Formation Network and Mennonite Church USA:  Congregations, you can equip families to celebrate Advent and Christmas together at home by downloading this booklet at https://www.commonword.ca/FileDownload/26275/2018_Advent_Booklet.pdf – Then, make connections during Sunday morning worship to the At-Home guide, which follows the lectionary and the themes in Leader magazine. 

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