WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
September 27, 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:
*From the Conference Minister’s Heart
From the Conference Minister’s Heart
by Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister
This coming Sunday, October 2, is observed by many congregations as World Communion Sunday, celebrating the global body of Christ and promoting ecumenical cooperation and unity. Whether or not your congregation observes the Lord’s Supper on this day, this is a good moment to reflect on how we relate to others who claim the name of Christ.
As Mennonites we have sometimes been wary of ties to other Christian groups, preferring to keep to ourselves to preserve the “purity” of our faith. In contrast, I believe that WDC’s third mission priority – “Connect to God’s mission in the world” – encourages us to nurture relationships with other faith communities. Mennonites have rich gifts to share with other followers of Christ, such as our theology of community, discipleship, peace and justice. We also have our blind spots and shadow sides. For example, our emphasis on “peace” has at times led us to avoid conflict and deny violence within our own families and congregations. We have much to learn by interaction with other people of faith who bring different perspectives, experiences and traditions.
Our own denomination, Mennonite Church USA, relates to other Christian groups through its office of inter-church relations. This has included official inter-denominational dialogue, as well as resources for building relationships on the local level. For more information see http://mennoniteusa.org/resource/interchurch-relations/
Here in WDC, congregations are also creatively engaging their local faith communities and the wider church. Recently I have had conversations with several pastors about their participation in local ministerial associations. Some congregations join others in their community for special activities or fundraising to address hunger, poverty, gun violence, or natural disasters. Others are part of wider ecumenical efforts to advocate for legislation that promotes justice and peace, or to facilitate dialogue between religious groups.
Of course, connecting with God’s mission in the world goes beyond just inter-church relationships. It also calls us to build inter-faith relationships with people of other traditions and value-systems. In a nation and world torn by violence and fragmented by political, economic, and religious divisions, Mennonites have a profound responsibility and a tremendous opportunity to bear witness to God’s gift of reconciliation, love and justice. The integrity of our witness is strengthened when it is rooted in authentic relationships.
Let us join others around the world as the body of Christ – blessed, broken, and given for the sake of God’s beloved world.
October 20 – Preventing Clergy Misconduct training, Grace Hill Mennonite Church, Whitewater, KS
October 22 – WDC Fall Reference Council, Luz del Evangelio, Dallas, TX
December 5 – Texas Pastor Appreciation Dinner
January 28-29, 2017 – Know Jesus, Hesston College, KS
August 4-6, 2017 – WDC Annual Assembly, Dallas, TX
Oct 2 – On this World Communion Sunday, give thanks that WDC is part of the global body of Christ, and pray for our sisters and brothers around the world.
Oct 9 – Pray for WDC congregations in Dallas, TX, hosting staff and board members from Mennonite Mission Network this weekend.
Oct 16 – Pray for participants from across WDC gathering this Saturday in Dallas, TX, for Reference Council on the theme Held Together in Mission: Being Church in the Urban Context.
Oct 23 – Give thanks for WDC pastors who participated last week in training for prevention of clergy misconduct, and for pray congregations and leaders to practice healthy relationships in their life and ministry.
Oct 30 – Pray for wisdom and courage for WDC congregations giving witness to God’s love, peace, and justice during this election season.
- Possible new task force? Did Alex Awad’s visit spark a fire within you to advocate within and/or educate WDC congregations on the Israel-Palestine conflict and how we might be people of Christ’s peace? Would you be interested in being part of a new Israel-Palestine Task Force? If so, please contact Kathy Neufeld Dunn, Resource Advocate at email@example.com. “In response to special needs or interests, task forces may be created [for a three-year term] through an application process for the purpose of performing special duties or assignments” (WDC Constitution and Bylaws).
- First Mennonite Church, 52 Rambler Rd in Hutchinson KS, invites you to our fall Wednesday Nights at First (WNAF) lecture and discussion series: A Virtual “Come and See” Learning Tour of the situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Several years ago Mennonite Church USA responded to an invitation from Palestinian Christians to “come and see” the situation in Israel and the occupied territories by committing resources towards sending denominational leaders to the region. Since then MC USA has sponsored a number of tours, organized by Mennonite Central Committee. This past April, Jonathan Wenger from First Mennonite was part of one of these tours. This Wednesday evening series is Jonathan’s attend to bring parts of this experience back to Kansas, a virtual tour. The series will feature video recordings of several of the speakers that shared with the group as well as additional input from Jonathan and from Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister. The series begins Sept 28 and ends Nov 16. Each evening dinner is served between 5:30-6:15 pm and the program will be from 6:20-7:20 pm in our sanctuary. Activities for PreK-5th grade are offered during the program – please contact the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org or 620-662-9385) if you plan to bring children so we can be well prepared. Detailed information available at: www.hutchfmc.org.
- You are invited to attend a presentation and workshop with Aziza Hasan, founder of NewGround, a Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. Join us at Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, 655 South Lorraine, Wichita, KS, for our Peace Weekend presentation on Saturday, October 15. The presentation is at 2:30 with a faspa at 4:00. (Faspa is Low German for a small afternoon meal.) RSVP to email@example.com. (Please use the attached poster to publicize this event – thank you.)
- Prevention of Clergy Misconduct Prevention Training – October 20, 8:15 am – 4:30 pm at Grace Hill Mennonite Church, Whitewater, KS. This is for credentialed persons new to Western District or for whom it’s been five years since they’ve had this training. For more information and to register online, go to: https://mennowdc.org/prevention-of-clergy-misconduct-training/. Please register by October 13.
- WDC Reference Council – October 22, 9 am – 3 pm at Luz del Evangelio, Dallas, TX. Please RSVP by October 10.
- Save the Date for KNOW JESUS – January 28-29, 2017 – an overnight event for Junior High youth groups and youth (6-8th grades). Location: Hesston College campus. Being planned by Western District Conference and South Central Conference Youth Ministry Committee.
- Camp Mennoscah will have a booth at Bethel College’s Fall Festival on October 1. There will be a chance to meet Michael Unruh and see kitchen renovation plans, and buy camp souvenirs, puppy chow and generic pop. We can’t wait to see you in your camp sweatshirt and snapback!
- Fun times! Again, as we so often and always do in the fall, the dam at Camp Mennoscah will be removed on Sunday, October 16, beginning at approx. 2pm. People are welcome to participate or to watch. Dress appropriately and bring spare clothes if you would like to change after helping or are not sure whether you’d like to be in or out of the river. Whatever the weather, we will proceed unless it is determined to be unsafe. Contact us at 620-297-3290 if you have questions.
- Fall Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats are a hoot! We’ve got a place for you at Camp Mennoscah either October 28-30 or Nov. 4-6. Putting those pictures in order is a great way to reminisce about those great vacations and wonderful milestones in life that have happened. Spend some time doing a Make-n-Take or talking with the nifty folks who attend. Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290 for more information!
- The West Zion Mennonite Church Concert Series continues with a concert on Sunday evening, October 9, 2016 at 7 p.m. Musicians scheduled to perform include the following: Ken Rodgers, Organ; Open Road, a male vocal group from Bethel College, North Newton; McPherson Brass Quintet; and Donna Stucky, Piano. Open Road personnel are Chase Stucky, Matthew Graber, Tyler Shima, Austin Regier, Alec Loganbill, Nicholas Preheim, Randall Schmidt, Nate Kroeber & Dominick Geddert. McPherson Brass Quintet members are Richard Guse, Darren Hendricks, Winona Godfrey, Ty Kaufman & Greg Nickel. No admission will be charged, but a free-will offering will be received. There will also be a time of fellowship after the concert with refreshments being served. (Central Kansas churches, please put this announcement in your October 2 and 9 bulletins.)
- Book of JEBB will be having a free concert at First Mennonite Church in Newton on Sunday, October 9, 7 pm in the Sanctuary. Come hear bluegrass, gospel and folk music played with taste and skill by Bethany Amstutz Schrag, Ben Regier, Eric Schrag and Tim Regier. An offering will be taken for the church Musical Instrument Fund.
Mennonite Church Announcements
- How do we respond to tragedy in our midst? AMBS-Kansas Center and Hesston College joining together to offer two events on responding to trauma. This fall beginning October 18, join AMBS-Kansas Center for a short course entitled Communities in Trauma: Responding Biblically, Theologically, and Ethically. This continuing education course will explore trauma from a theological lens and will include testimony, biblical study, and practical and ethical ways to respond in the midst of tragedy. This February, join Hesston College for their Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series (AVDS) for When the Unthinkable Happens, a resourcing event on trauma and resilience. Anyone who registers for both events will receive a $60 discount off the price of AVDS. For more information and registration, see: https://www.ambs.edu/academics/communities-in-trauma.cfm
- SAVE THE DATE—IBA BENEFIT DINNER – The annual Instituto Bíblico Anabautista (IBA) benefit dinner will take place Friday, October 14 at 6:30 pm at First Mennonite Church in Newton, KS. A smothered pork burrito dinner will be prepared and served by Chef Carlos Lujano. A short program will follow, featuring a testimony from IBA student Miguel Alatorre and a dance performance by the children of Iglesia Menonita Casa Betania. Dinner is by donation. This is a great opportunity for a Sunday School class, small group or individuals to come and hear how IBA is equipping Hispanic leaders in Mennonite Church USA for ministry. IBA is a program of Mennonite Education Agency’s Hispanic Ministries for Leadership Development and Pastoral Education. For any inquires contact Violeta Ajquejay at: VioletaA@MennoniteEducation.org or call 316-281-4342. (Churches, please place this announcement in October 2 and 9 bulletins.)
- PARKINSON’S SUPPORT GROUP – A Parkinson’s Support Group meets at 2 pm on the first Tuesday of every month in Menno Hall at Kidron Bethel Village. North Newton, KS. On Tuesday, October 4, Jim Dunn, retired pastor, will share his reflections on “My Personal Pilgrimage with Parkinson’s Disease.” The meeting is open to persons with Parkinson’s and their caregivers, and others who wish to increase their ability to support someone with Parkinson’s
- Please be in prayer for a gathering titled “Deep Faith: Anabaptist Faith Formation for All Ages.” The event, designed for pastors, teachers and other leaders to re-imagine faith formation ministry, takes place in Elkhart, Indiana, October 6-8. Information is at mennoniteusa.org/deepfaith.
- A Women Doing Theology Conference, I’ve got the power: Naming and reclaiming power as a force for good, will be held November 4-6 at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia. Sponsor: Women in Leadership Project of Mennonite Church USA. The full cost is $425, which includes a private room and all meals and snacks. Register at: mennoniteusa.org/wlp-conference.
- Kauffman Museum at Bethel College (North Newton, Kansas) seeks artifacts, letters, photos and documents that tell the story of conscientious objectors during World War I. To learn more, or if you have an item for donation or long-term loan, please contact museum director Annette LeZotte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-283-1612. There is more information on “Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War” at the “Traveling Exhibits” tab of the museum website, kauffman.bethelks.edu (see kauffman.bethelks.edu/Traveling%20Exhibits/Voices-of-Conscience/index.html).
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620