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Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.  –Psalm 24:9

a newsletter for Central Plains Mennonite Conference leaders

Pastors, Elders, Deacons, Central Plains Delegates, Church Moderator, Treasurer, Christian Education Chair, Missions Committee, Mennonite Women, Church Librarian, Youth Sponsors.

March 16, 2016

For Your Prayers: weekly bulletin announcements

      Here are weekly prayer requests for each week between now and the next issue of The Sower. Please share them with your congregation by whichever method works best, whether it be in your bulletin, in the pastoral prayer or some other way. Thank you!
 
For Sunday, March 20

One year ago today, Max Villatoro, pastor of the Torre Fuerte Mennonite Church in Iowa City, was deported to Honduras. Pray for Gloria Villatoro, Dave and Shana Boshart and others visiting officials in Washington, D.C., tomorrow to advocate for Max Villatoro's return. They will also attend a prayer vigil there for Max this evening.

For Sunday, March 27
Pray for David Boshart, eight pastors, two spouses and one aspiring church planter from Central Plains as they attend the Mennonite Church USA Church Planting Summit in New Orleans next weekend.

For Sunday, April 3
Pray for the Ecuador Partnership meetings happening in Ecuador today through April 11 to plan the for the future of the work there. The partnership includes folks from Central Plains, Mennonite Church Colombia and Mennonite Mission Network.

For Sunday, April 10
Pray for those planning Youth Escape 2016, the weekend youth retreat for Central Plains youth July 15-17. Pray for the youth who are deciding to attend and for speaker Michele Hershberger as she prepares.

For Sunday, April 17
Pray for the pastors and chaplains of Central Plains and their spouses as they attend the Annual Leaders Retreat taking place at a retreat center in Schuyler, Nebraska, next weekend. Pray for speaker Debra Hirsch as she prepares for and travels to the retreat.
Next month, The Sower will be dated March 16.  Send submissions to shanaboshart@centralplainsmc.org by March 1
El Sembrador, the Spanish version of The Sower, is available here.  

Upcoming Events

Annual Leaders Retreat will take place April 22-24, 2016, in Schuyler, Nebraska.
Central Plains Annual Meeting 2016 will take place June 16-19, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Youth Escape 2016 will take place July 15-17, 2016 in central Iowa.

Finance Update

Hallelujah!  Maybe the extra day in February for leap year help create the unusual giving result of the Central Plains budget!  Whatever it was, we are very thankful and hope to continue this great momentum the last two months of the fiscal year to end the year in the black!  Income for the month came in at $54,562.95, over two and half times the average amount in February for the last three years ($20,855.49).   Expenses for the month came in steady at $35,553.12.  As a result, we have climbed into the black for now at $1,623.23.  Again, we give thanks for your contributions and invite you to help end the year in the black.   –Stewardship Task Group

Staff News

March 19-21  Shana and Dave will be in Washington, D.C. to advocate for Max.
23  Tim has his fourth chemotherapy infusion.
31-April 2 Dave attends the Mennonite Church USA Church Planting Summit in New Orleans.
3-11 Dave attends Ecuador Partnership meetings in Ecuador.
14-17 Dave presents a workshop at a Virginia Mennonite Conference gathering

New phone number for the Freeman office

In another cost savings measure, we've changed the phone number for the Freeman Office. By eliminating the office landline and adding the office phone to the mobile account that the conference ministers share, we will save money on phone bills. The new number, 605-929-3325, is effective immediately. Please note this change in your records.  The old number will be disconnected after Annual Meeting, June 16-19, 2016.
 

Pray for Villatoro advocacy in the capital

     On March 20 and 21, the anniversary of Max Villatoro's removal to Honduras, folks from Central Plains will be in Washington DC to advocate with lawmakers and Obama administration officials for his return. Gloria Villatoro, David Boshart, Shana Boshart and Dave Sickles (of Friends of Pastor Max) will be going.  The Mennonite Central Committee Washington Office and Church World Service  staff are making the arrangments.
     On Sunday, March 20, there will be a public prayer vigil, and on Monday, March 21, we plan on House and Senate briefings, a visit with Department of Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson and meetings with legislators. Please cover this trip with prayers that God would use these visits to make a way for Max to return to his family and congregation.
     Other things you can do: 

Annual Leaders Retreat

Pastors, chaplains and spouses will be gathering at the St. Benedict Retreat Center in Schuyler, Nebraska, on April 22-24, 2016, for our Annual Leaders Retreat. Debra Hirsch, speaker, church leader and writer will be our guest speaker, reflecting on "Missional Discipleship: Following Jesus into the Hard Places."  She will focus on "Putting Jesus back at the center" and talk about two incarnational practices: "Following Jesus into the neighborhood" and "Jesus and the upside-down Kingdom."  Retreat information, a brochure and online registration can be found at http://www.centralplainsmc.org/annual-leaders-retreat.html.

Plan to attend Annual Meeting 2016

  You won't want to miss Central Plains Annual Meeting 2016 in Des Moines. We will be hosted by Des Moines Mennonite and Christ Community on the campus of Grand View College. Leonard Dow, pastor at Oxford Circle Mennonite Church in Philadelphia, will speak on the theme, Joyfully Following Jesus: Sharing God’s Love. See the next issue of Scattered Seeds for an introduction to Leonard.

Ecuador Partnership Tour

     As you begin to make your summer plans, please consider participating in the Learning and Fellowship Tour in Ecuador June 3-15, 2016. You'll have a first-hand opportunity to meet Ecuadoran and Colombian brothers and sisters in faith and to learn about the joys and challenges of bearing witness to God's kingdom in Ecuador. Eight people from Central Plains and Mennonite Mission Network (MMN) will travel with two members of the Colombian Mennonite Church. We'll be introduced to an indigenous community in the rainforest where MMN workers Jerrell and Jane Ross Richer live half of the year. (The other half of the year they are in Goshen, Indiana, where Jerrell teaches at Goshen College.) During the latter portion of the trip we will visit congregations in Quito and learn about the refugee program that is supported by Mennonite Central Committee. MMN workers Peter Wigginton and Delicia Bravo Aguilar will be our hosts in Quito. 
     Tour information and an application form can be found at http://www.centralplainsmc.org/upcoming-trips.  The Application deadline is March 31. Questions can be directed to Joetta Schlabach, jschlabach@faithmennonite.org or 651-290-2185. Some travel scholarships are available through the partnership.

 
 

Youth are invited to an encounter with Jesus

      The weekend youth retreat for Central Plains youth is all about connecting youth to Jesus, the church and each other.  What better way to spend a summer weekend than in worship, spiritual growth, and fellowship with other Central Plains youth? Invitations and flyers for Youth Escape 2016, July 15-17, 2016, have been sent to youth groups. This event is for youth who are in grades 6-12 this school year. Bring your high school group and your junior high group.
     We've created a 30-second video suitable for showing during announcements and a longer video to show during youth group or youth Sunday School. Find them both on the Youth Escape 2016 Facebook page and on the Youth Escape web page.

WDC Library subscription to end April 30

     For the past several years, Central Plains has paid a subscription to the Western District Conference (WDC) Resource Library that has given all our congregations and individual members access to the library.  With the departure of a couple congregations, the conference budget needs to be reduced, and the subscription to the WDC Resource Library will be discontinued as of April 30.  
     Individual congregations can subscribe, however, and continue with the Box of Books program as well as individual library cards for their members.  A yearly membership for a congregation costs $1 per year per regular attender with a $100 per year minimum.  Individuals may subscribe on their own for $25/year.  These prices are negotiable for those who want to subscribe but cannot afford the rate.
     Central Plains also has a resource library that Central Plains churches and individuals can use.  It is smaller than the WDC Library, and it focuses mainly on curriculum for children, youth and adults.  It is located in the Kalona office. Shana will mail you items and you mail them back. Find a list of everything in the Central Plains Formation Resource Library at www.centralplainsmc.org/resource-library.

Start your own Shalom Readers

     Shalom Readers lends itself well to a Summer Reading Program for the children in your congregation.  It can be used along with Sunday School, Wednesday evening meetings or as a grandparent/grandchild activity. Encourage someone in your congregation to create excitement about sharing these wonderful peace books. This program is administered by our conference Christian Formation Committee. All of the information for Shalom Readers is available on the Central Plains web site.

Welcome the stranger: Helping refugees

     ​One of our spiritual disciplines in Central Plains Mennonite Conference is to "accept and offer hospitality, believing it creates the context for God’s kingdom to appear in our midst, particularly as we minister to the poor, the hungry, the prisoner and the stranger."
     Today, 39 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict or natural disaster. Ten million are refugees and 29 million are internally displaced persons (meaning they have not crossed an international border). (American Refugee Committee International)
     Find ways for your congregation to become involved in refugee resettlement on the Central Plains web site.

Order your VBS curriculum

Jesus surprised the people he met! People in the temple were amazed by the conversations and questions they had with a boy named Jesus. Hungry people in a crowd had more than enough food to eat when Jesus provided plenty of food. Two travelers were sad that Jesus died, but then they were surprised when Jesus started walking alongside them! With each surprise, people discovered more about Jesus. Are you ready to be surprised by Jesus? Are you ready to ask questions and discover more about him? Then come along on the journey, open your eyes, and see what you will find! Find Surprise! VBS curriculum at the MennoMedia online store.

Attention healthcare workers!

     Registration is now open for Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship's Annual Gathering, June 17-19, 2016, in Estes Park, Colorado. Plan now for this weekend of workshops, worship, networking, and sharing together with other healthcare professionals.  Visit www.mennohealth.org/annual-gathering-2016.

Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute

STAR: Trauma Awareness Training
      Monday-Friday August 8-12, 2016 in Minneapolis   Details at: www.staraug2016.eventbrite.com
Both trainings have been approved for continuing education for all licensed mental health providers, nurses, and teachers.  STAR-Lite has also been approved for continuing legal education (CLEs) for attorneys.
       –Donna Minter, director of the Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute.

AMBS Spring webinars

Greg Boyd on Anabaptism: Engaging Mauricio Chenlo on Mennonite Church Planting - Conversation 4
Thursday, April 14, 2016  1:00-2:30p.m. CDT
Presenters: Greg Boyd, PhD, and  Mauricio Chenlo, MDiv.
Moderator: David B. Miller, AMBS

For more information and to register, click here.
The Sower is published the third Wednesday of each month for Central Plains pastors, delegates, conference leaders, congregational leaders and other interested persons. Please include items from this newsletter in your church bulletins and newsletters. Find back issues at http://www.centralplainsmc.org/the-sower.html.
Editor: Shana Peachey Boshart: shanaboshart@centralplainsmc.org
Spanish translation by Steven Rhodes: 319-930-7303

Office: P.O. Box 101, Freeman, SD 57029
         Monica Clem, Office Manager: 605-929-3325; office@centralplainsmc.org
Conference Ministers: P.O. Box 352, Kalona, IA 52247
         David Boshart: davidboshart@centralplainsmc.org; 319-936-5904
         Tim Detweiler: timdetweiler@centralplaninsmc.org; 319-458-0224
         Shana Boshart: shanaboshart@centralplainsmc.org; 319-936-5905
Hispanic Ministries Coordinator: Ramiro Hernandez rmherns@yahoo.com 319-621-3725
Moderator Margie Mejia Caraballo: margiemmc60@ymail.com  309-235-3011
Assistant Moderator Sid Burkey: sid@burkeyfarms.com 402-761-2093


The mission of Central Plains Mennonite Conference is to create settings for our congregations and partners to grow in holistic witness to God's reconciling mission in the world by developing leadership, encouraging fellowship and promoting lifelong discipleship.
Copyright © 2016 Central Plains Mennonite Conference, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 101, Freeman, SD  57029

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