WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
September 29, 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.
IN THIS ISSUE:
*The earth is the Lord’s
The earth is the Lord’s
by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister
Recently in Kansas I have observed the rising and setting sun as a big red ball on a horizon obscured by haze from wildfire smoke drifting from the west coast; this is the worst fire season on record for the west coast (over five million acres burned so far). Meanwhile WDC folks in Houston, Texas have been on alert repeatedly as hurricane winds and heavy rain inundate coastal communities; the most recent, Hurricane Beta, was the 9th named storm to make landfall in the U.S. this year (tying a record set in 1916), with two months of hurricane season yet to go.
These are just two examples of the impact of climate change in our world, being caused in large part by greenhouse gases due to human activity. Whether it be flooding or increased heat and drought, more extreme weather is one sign of climate change. Other evidence is in melting icebergs, rising sea levels, worsening air quality, changing growing seasons and shifting animal habitats. The impact on human beings includes health problems, displacement from home communities, economic stress, and conflict over depleted resources.
Why should Mennonites in Western District Conference care about this? First, because we are people of faith and part of the human family. As stewards of God’s good creation, we are called to care for it, and to repent (change direction) where we have failed in that responsibility. Secondly, because we care about justice. Globally (and in our own nation) those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are generally the ones least responsible for causing it. To care about climate change also means advocating for the wellbeing of refugees, immigrants, and indigenous communities, working for racial justice, supporting people in poverty, and caring for children. And speaking of children: A third reason to care about climate change is because we have hope for the future. We are called to participate in God’s work of redemption, seeking shalom not only for ourselves but for many generations to come.
One good way to get involved in creation care is to connect with Anabaptist/Mennonite organizations such as Mennonite Creation Care Network (see https://mennocreationcare.org/), and the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions, a collaborative initiative of Eastern Mennonite University, Goshen College and Mennonite Central Committee to lead Anabaptist efforts to respond to the challenges of climate change (see https://sustainableclimatesolutions.org/). Currently, CSCS is conducting a congregational survey, as they develop strategies for faithful climate change advocacy. Pastors and other church leaders are most ideally suited to responding to this survey. If your congregation has not yet participated, click here to Take the survey. Survey responses should be submitted by October 10.
Looking for other ideas? Consider these: Start a creation-care discussion and action group in your congregation using materials from the WDC Resource Library or other sources. Get involved in environmental and social justice movements in your local community or region. Advocate to your state and national legislators for creation-friendly policies and programs. Join with other concerned members of WDC to launch a WDC Creation Care Task Force (contact the WDC office for more information). Include prayers, sermons and songs in worship affirming God’s creation and our stewardship of it. Celebrate ways that your congregation and its members are practicing faithful stewardship of the earth – and seek new ways to support each other in this important work.
Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it – the world, and all who live in it.” As God’s people, may we care lovingly for this world that God so loves!
Oct 4 – Pray for WDC congregations as they continue to navigate difficult decisions and new patterns of church life during the pandemic.
Oct 11 – Give thanks for generous contributions that support WDC’s work of sustaining pastors and leaders, resourcing congregations, and nurturing church planting partnerships.
Oct 18 – Pray for youth and children’s leaders in WDC congregations, as they give support and nurture faith formation for young people in the midst of our changing and uncertain world.
Oct 25 – Pray for pastors in WDC, as they provide congregational leadership and care during challenging times.
Due to COVID-19 concerns, all meetings are being held via Zoom video conference until further notice.
Oct 12 – WDC Immigration Task Force meeting
Oct 13 – WDC Healthy Boundaries 101 training
Oct 16-17 – MC USA Constituency Leaders Council
Oct 20 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting
Oct 30 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
- Racial Justice from Palestine to the US video is now posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDhQEV0VfGw&list=PL6aO7e884ZT6FJtR4ENGB8dtMFJgSorEJ&index=1&t=4s. If you missed this great dialogue hosted by the WDC Israel-Palestine Task Force and MennoPIN last Monday because of our technical difficulties, here’s your chance to listen to it. It was full of fascinating intersections of racial justice issues here and in Israel-Palestine.
- Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church (43 13th Ave, Inman KS) annual Mission Supper is just around the corner and not even Covid can keep us from this special time of service and celebration! While we will not have a dine-in experience in our church basement, we will be offering a carry out meal featuring our traditional menu of homemade sausage, mashed potatoes, gravy, creamed peas, zwiebach, applesauce and pie. Save the date for Saturday evening, October 24. Orders will be accepted from October 4-October 18; call/text Barb Reeves (620-543-6863) or Teresa Schrag (620-242-2357) to let us know how many meals to have ready and prepared for you. Meal pick-up will be at the church from 5-6:30pm on October 24. This will be a free-will offering benefit with all proceeds going to support the Buhler Omega Project, a Christian addiction recovery program. Checks can be made out to “Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church” and cash donations will also be accepted that evening. We look forward to serving you!!
- The Tabor (891 Chisholm Trail, Newton, KS) Mennonite Men’s annual chicken BBQ will occur on Nov. 5. However, unlike the last 50 years there will be no in church dining. The meal will be a drive-by to-go meal. The menu will be the same, bbq chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, dinner roll and ice cream. Mark this day on your calendar and come support the Tabor Menn. Men. More details to follow.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Camp Mennoscah’s Scrapbook and Crafts Retreat on October 30-Nov. 1 has only a few spaces available. (Nov. 6-8 is waitlist only.) 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. Masks and distancing guidelines followed. Register at campmennoscah.org! Call 620-297-3290 for more information.
- Work and Play Day! Camp Mennoscah invites volunteers to sign up for a day of service and fun on October 10. The day begins at 8:30am and ends approximately 2:30pm. Contact staff at 620-297-3290 or email@example.com details. Please bring a mask!
- Escape to the prairie! Pastors and ministry workers are welcome to come to Camp Mennoscah for a day or overnight retreat. No charge for the first day/night, but reservations are required. Spend time on the trails, have a campfire cookout, and enjoy the open spaces of the tallgrass prairie and the Ninnescah River! Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 to make a reservation.
Mennonite church announcements
- Salt & Light Bible study video series: Jump start online or in-person Bible study conversations this fall with new, short introductory teaching videos that enrich MennoMedia’s new Salt & Light Curriculum series. These teaching videos can be used either for teacher prep or to introduce each weekly session. Check out the videos here. (Salt & Light replaces the Adult Bible Study/Quarterly with sessions written by Anabaptists for Anabaptists!)
- Last call for proposals for Equipping Seminars! If you have an Equipping Seminar to offer at MennoCon21 (Cincinnati, Ohio, July 6-10, 2021), please submit a proposal by October 10, 2020. https://www.mennoniteusa.org/equipping-seminars
3. Women in Leadership, a ministry of Mennonite Church USA, is presenting “What We Need Is Here,” a series of webinars engaging theological work born out of women’s experiences. The next two webinars will address intersectionality (Oct. 11 @ 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT/5 p.m. MT/4 p.m. PT) and navigating patriarchy (Oct. 22 @ 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT/5 p.m. MT/4 p.m. PT). Register by Oct. 8 here: https://forms.gle/kARRY9JLTcZv4duf9
4. The Mennonite Church USA Executive Boardrecently met to report on its strategic plan, approve a budget and affirm a process for addressing polity concerns. Read about it here: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/news/eb-meeting-sept-2020/. The Executive Board also responded to the report from the Membership Guidelines Advisory Group: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/news/processes-advisory-group-report/
5. Join Mennonites across the church who are reading Stephanie Lobdell’s “Signs of Life: Resurrecting Hope Out of Ordinary Losses,” as part of a Common Read, a shared reading experience. Learn more here: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/news/common-read/
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.