WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
September 20, 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:
*The Cross… Hope and Challenge
The Cross… Hope and Challenge
by Byron Pellecer, Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
It is in the midst of the turbulent times that we live in, filled with violence, darkness and sentiments of racism and racial profiling, just to name a few, that I found the cross not just a “symbol” of Christian faith. Rather, I find it instrumental in Christian formation.
It provides meaning to my Christian journey and it is a reminder of God’s love, servant leadership, hope for a better tomorrow and a call to costly discipleship among many other things. I am also aware that the cross might mean something different for other people too, like power and dominion, and the list goes on and on.
However, the shape of the cross allows me to reflect on my relationships, the vertical and the horizontal. Vertically, it checks my connection with God, the proclamation of his kingdom and his mission in the world and across the streets. Horizontally, it checks my connection with family and friends, with neighbors and community, with culture and with both local and global society.
In conversations with some people, in an effort to connect and build relationship with them, I have found that some of them refer to the cross as a symbol of hardship and pain or something difficult to bear in life.
As is, life can be very complex and sometimes, it can be hard! There is no need to add more pain to life, rather we need to keep looking for some sparkles of hope in the midst of the difficulties in life. Sometimes experiencing hardship in life make us feel alone and abandoned.
A lot of times in my life, I have felt like life is not fair at all. But I have to say too, there has been a lot of things in life that bring joy, hope and healing.
I get to visit established and emerging congregations and I have seen, in both settings, people that seemed like they have gone or are going through very rough patches in life due to so many reasons.
Sometimes adversity and affliction tend to push our humanness to experience unworthiness, causing feelings of loneliness and abandonment. Such is the pain that we tend to suppress such experiences and its memories because humanly speaking, we feel like life is fading away.
On one hand, while experiencing adversity, sorrow and pain in life, one might be tempted to pray or want to have a great power to not only hold back one’s painful experiences, but if possible, to erase them for good from one’s mind and heart.
It is in the midst of situations and human conditions like those, that I find the cross to be not just a symbol but rather some sort of Global Positioning System (GPS), it helps to find my true north, hope and challenge that is. Personally, I want to find the courage and inspiration to live a life abundantly in spite of the turbulent times that I face nowadays. Let us keep turning to the cross, to Scripture, to Christ and let’s find light for our human condition whichever that may be.
Allow me to close by saying that I find in the cross a challenge to be missional, starting in own local -barrio- community. Let us keep sharing Christ by establishing and building relationships with those around us through service and word. After all, the cross is a way of living, not just an emblem, of Christ’s follower.
1. Festival de la Fraternidad Familiar /Family Fellowship Festival will be this Saturday, September 24 at Luz del Evangelio in Dallas, TX. This time of fellowship and local outreach is for all WDC congregations, especially those from Texas. There will be games, food, music, and open spaces for those with talents to share. For more information, contact Sandra Martinez, email@example.com, 214-907-6309.
2. Fall Story Hour (ages 3-5) begins Thursday, September 29 at 10:00am at the Western District Conference Resource Library. Story Hour will run through Thursday, November 17. Come join Carol Flickinger for stories, activities, and lots of fun. Please let us know if you’re planning to attend at https://goo.gl/forms/qo6YEhOux4gZKNsj2 or (316)283-6300.
3. Western District Conference Fall Reference Council – Held Together in Mission: Being Church in the Urban Context – Saturday, October 22, 9 am – 3 pm at Iglesia Luz del Evangelio (Light of the Gospel), 1524 Dowdy Ferry Road, Dallas, TX 75217 – Please RSVP by October 10 to firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-283-6300. Contact WDC for carpooling and motel information.
4. Camp Mennoscah sends the biggest and huge-est thanks to everyone who volunteered during our Work & Play Camp. Fences were built, name tags created, towels and rags sorted, river shoes winnowed down into a manageable number, picnic tables fixed, brush cleared, and so much more. It was a blast. We really enjoyed having you at Camp Mennoscah!
5. Come see us! Camp Mennoscah will be at Bethel College’s Fall Festival on October 1st. The booth will be a hot spot of great wonderfulness. Stop by, say hi, and wear your Camp Mennoscah gear!
6. Fall Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats are almost here! Sort of. It’s a bit over a month, but we are antsy to have you at Camp Mennoscah. These are fun retreats! Grab a friend for a discount, grab your photos or computer, and be prepared for inspiration from your fellow scrappers and crafters. Retreats are October 28-30 and November 4-6. Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290 for more information!
Mennonite Church Announcements
1. John C. Murray will be completing his term of service as one of the pastors at Hesston Mennonite Church at the end of September after 17 years. A Farewell Reception that is open to the entire community will be held on Sunday, September 25 from 2:30-4:00 pm in the church’s community center, 309 S. Main Street.
2. The Mennonite magazine welcomes your original submissions of feature articles, poems, original artwork and photos for our November 2016 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on the idea “Fidelity of Place.” You can read the full details online at https://themennonite.org/november-call-submissions-fidelity-place/. Submissions are due to Editor@TheMennonite.org by October 3.
3. Lawrence and Betty Hart will be honored at a celebration dinner on Oct. 8, from 5 to 8 pm CDT for their faithfulness in their work with Mennonite Indian Leaders Council (GC), Native Mennonite Ministries of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Central Committee. Those who know Lawrence and Betty Hart are invited to join the celebration at the Frisco Center (101 S. 4th St.) in Clinton, Oklahoma. Cheryl Bear from the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation Community in northern British Columbia will perform. Howard Zehr will also be attending and will speak on the work Lawrence and he did together in the repatriation of Cheyenne remains that were brought back to Clinton, Oklahoma, to be buried. This was part of MCC’s work with the Return to the Earth project. There will be many others sharing their stories about Lawrence and Betty. For more information and to register, go to: http://mennoniteusa.org/news/celebrate-the-faithful-work-of-lawrence-and-betty-hart/
4. Partners in Peacemaking: Israel-Palestine. Jonathan Brenneman has begun a one-year assignment with Mennonite Voluntary Service in Elkhart, Indiana, as Partners in Peacemaking Coordinator for Mennonite Church USA’s Executive Board staff. The new position was created as one way of implementing A statement of suport for our Palestinian and Israeli partners in peacemaking, a resolution adopted unanimously by the Delegate Assembly in July 2015. Jonathan will facilitate education, conversation, prayer and action for peace with justice in Israel-Palestine in local settings across the denomination. To learn more or to contact Jonathan, see mennoniteusa.org/news/new-mvs-position-created-to-carry-out-partners-in-peacemaking-resolution-in-local-settings/.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620