The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. --John 1:9

a newsletter for Central Plains Mennonite Conference leaders

Pastors, Elders, Deacons, Central Plains Delegates, Church Moderator, Treasurer, Christian Education Committee, Missions Committee, Church Librarian, Youth Sponsors, Adult Sunday School Superintendent.

January 18, 2017

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 January 29: 
With the St. Paul Hmong Mennonite Church, give thanks for the renewal of Pastor Xeng’s R-1 visa which will allow him to continue leading the congregation for another three years. 

For February 5: 
Pray for the Villatoro family as we continue to ask God to open a door for Pastor Max to be reunited with his family and congregations. Also consider joining Friends of Pastor Max to fast and pray on the first Tuesday of each month. 

For February 12: 
Pray for our brothers and sisters in Ecuador as they seek new pastoral leadership for their congregation. Give thanks for the faithful leadership that Pastor Luis Tapia has provided this community in recent years.

For February 19: 
This week, give thanks for the joyful journey we share in Central Plains Mennonite Conference, covenanted together, seeking to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus.

Next month, The Sower will be dated February 22.  Send submissions to Erin Ramer at OR by February 14. 
El Sembrador, the Spanish version of The Sower, is available here. Please be aware that there are items in The Sower that are not in El Sembrador and that there are items in El Sembrador that are not in The Sower.  

Upcoming events

Annual Meeting Task Group meets January 17 & 18 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Annual Meeting Task Group snow date: January 31 & February 1.
Annual Leaders Retreat will take place March 19-21, 2017, in Schuyler, Nebraska.
Central Plains Annual Meeting 2017 will take place June 15-18, 2017, in South Dakota.
Mennonite Church USA Convention & Delegate Assembly will take place July 4-8, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.
Finance Update
Thank you for your contributions! In December, Central Plains budget continued its positive outcome for the second straight month!  Income for the month came in at $72,288.82, the second highest mark in Central Plains history.  Meanwhile, expenses for the month held steady at $33,907.44.  As a result, we were able to lower our overall fiscal year deficit down to $10,804.05.  We have some more work to do in the coming year, but are very grateful for your contributions and ask for prayer to continue this momentum!  
–Stewardship Task Group

Staff news

January –March Shana is on sabbatical 
January 16-18  Tim attends Eastern Mennonite Seminary's School for Leadership Training.
24-26 Tim, Shana and Dave will be attending Pastors Week at AMBS in Elkhart, IN
February 11-25 Dave will be on vacation

Formation Resource lending library--for YOU
     The Central Plains Formation Resource Library has many new titles and even new categories of resources! Find a list of everything in the library on the Resource Library page of our web site. Find curriculum for adult classes, youth group or Sunday school, kids clubs, women's Bible study, small groups...most any setting you can think of! 
    Superintendents, download the list and share it with your teachers. Christian Education committees will also find it useful.
    Central Plains members and leaders, this library is for YOU. Choose the material you want to borrow and email David Boshart (during Shana's sabbatical) at He will mail the items to you at no charge, but you pay return postage. Check them out for two months at a time, and renew for another two months if necessary. 

Tuesdays with Dave

     The Outreach and Service Committee is sponsoring a “Tuesdays with Dave” webinar series “Witness to a Better Place.” This series will focus on how the life and message of our churches can be infused with grace, joy and peace in a world seeking hope. This year, three 20- to 30-minute teaching videos with discussion questions will be made available in advance of each Tuesday’s gathering. The videos will be available on the Central Plains website by February 10. Watch your church bulletins for information on how to join the webinars.

     Videos and questions for conversation can be easily used in church groups that are already meeting (Sunday School, Bible Study, and Small Groups). Anyone interested in gathering with and learning from other congregations will meet online for one hour on three Tuesday nights (February 28, March 7 and March 14) for a conversation on the questions for discussion from each video. Check out the Facebook group “Tuesdays with Dave” for updates and early conversation. Topics for these sessions include:

Session 1: Witness in Exile: Longing for a Better Place (February 28)

Session 2: The Substance of Witness: Being the Better Place (March 7)

Session 3: The Heart of Witness: Becoming Communities of Grace, Joy and Peace (March 14)

Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series

     February 17 to 19, 2017 at Hesston College:  It can happen anywhere, including your community. It could be a tornado, domestic or sexual abuse, a mass shooting or something else. As Christ’s followers, we need to be ready and respond well.

     How can we as congregations and the communities in which we live and work be ready for traumatic events? What are the key principles and practices for responding in the immediate aftermath and in the days and months following? How do congregations and communities work together to build resilience and bring hope and healing? Hesston College’s 2017 Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series (AVDS) seeks to educate and equip church members, community workers and emergency responders in the human and spiritual aspects of trauma care preparedness and immediate/longer term response.

     Keynote presenters are Rev. Dr. Kate Wiebe of the Institute for Congregational Trauma and Growth, Dr. Donna Minter of the Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute and Kevin King, executive director of Mennonite Disaster Service, along with other regional and national resource presenters and organizations.

Visit for more information and to register.

New Israel/Palestine Study Guide Available:

     Kairos Palestine: A Four-Week Congregational Study Plan i snow available to help congregations prepare for the convention in Orlando in July. After tabling the resolution on Israel/Palestine at Kansas City 2015, the delegates also pledged to devote the following two years to learning about the situation in Israel/Palestine and to discernment regarding the Mennonite Church response. The study guide is available from MennoMedia and also as a free download on the Mennonite Church USA website.


Free download:

Note: A Spanish language translation of the study guide will be available soon.

Annual Leaders Retreat

     Plan now to attend the Annual Leader’s Retreat scheduled for March 19 - 21, 2017 at the St Benedict Retreat Center in Schuyler, NE.  This year’s theme will focus on the second spiritual practice in the Covenant of Spiritual Practices for Central Plains Mennonite Conference - We will practice prayer, fasting and generous giving to separate ourselves from the influence of the principalities and powers of this age and to make us available to fully participate in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. 

     We will worship, dialogue and practice together around the spiritual practices of prayer, fasting and generous giving.  How might these practices help us to separate ourselves from the powerful influences of nationalism, consumerism and individualism that are so prevalent in the times we live?  How do the spiritual practices of prayer, fasting and generous giving re-form us to participate in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; to bear witness to God’s story of shalom to the world, and to live out God’s story in the world? How have you witnessed worship and the spiritual practices as means for practicing and living an alternative to the principalities and powers of this age?    

     More information and registration material will be coming soon.  Mark your calendar and plan now to attend.  See you in Schuyler! - Tim Detweiler

January at The Gathering Place

Pastors, youth sponsors and formation leaders, don't miss the January gatherings and resources at The topic for the month is a Christian response to racism.  Click on an item below to participate:
January 20  Study Circle book discussion of Trouble I've Seen by Drew Hart
January 24 Webinar with Drew Hart, "Racialized Society and the Way of Jesus."
Video podcast of Rachel Gerber interviewing Iris DeLeon Hartshorn on the importance of intercultural understanding in our church.
Video podcast of Rachel Gerber interviewing Sue Park Hur, "My Life's Work: Working for Peace and Racial Reconciliation."
A Vlog by Chantelle Todman Moore on owning our shared history as we move toward reconciliation and unity.


     Registration opened on January 17 for the 2017 Convention and Delegate Assembly.  This edition of the Convention Newsletter includes important info about the registration process and offers a preview of what’s happening in Orlando next summer – including our exciting line-up of speakers and a glimpse at the official schedule:

Fast and pray for the Villatoro Family
     Friends of Pastor Max and Central Plains conference ministers invite you to set aside one meal on the first Tuesday of every month to fast and pray that God will make a way for Max and Gloria Villatoro to reunite their family.
     Congregations, please remember the Villatoros in prayer on the first Sunday of every month.
     Other ways to support the Villatoros:
Staff sabbatical
     Shana Peachey Boshart will be on sabbatical through March 31.  Erin Ramer is editing and producing Scattered Seeds and The Sower.  You may continue to submit items for these publications to Erin can be contacted at or 319-646-3358.
     Committees may also contact Erin to make changes and updates to the web site.  
     To check out books from the Central Plains Formation Resource Library, contact David Boshart at or 319-936-5905.  
     For questions and advice about Christian formation, contact 
Christian Formation Committee chair Lewis Miller at or 402-641-0131; OR Denominational Minister of Christian Formation, Rachel Springer Gerber, at or  574-523-3024.  

Act fast to apply for !Explore 2017!

!Explore is a theological program at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) that gives young people in the 11th and 12th grades the chance to develop leadership gifts. Stop and think: do you know a junior or senior who should participate? Let them know about this opportunity! Application forms are due by February 1, 2017.
About the program: Through the Congregational Experience and Group Experience, participants engage the world of theological ideas and foster a call to vocation in the church.
Group Experience: During the 16-day group experience (July 11-26, 2017), youth worship, serve and study. Participants become church with and for each other while exploring their own places in their congregations and in the church they imagine for the future.
Congregational Experience: The Congregational Experience comes before, after, or on both sides of the Group Experience. Participants serve in their congregation for 100 hours over a period of five or more weeks, working along side their pastor in a mentoring relationship.
Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute

STAR-Lite Training: Learning Strategies Awareness and Resilience in a Single Day
Saturday February 11, 2017 in Minneapolis

STAR-Lite Training
in Hesston, Kansas on Monday February 20, 2017 immediately following the Anabaptist Vision Discipleship Series.  Register at   Click here for details.  

Restorative Justice 101: Training for Practice in Everyday Life (RJ 101) 
Register now for: Fri. March 31, 2017
                         Fri. November 17, 2017

AMBS webinars

How We Got the Bible by Loren Johns, PhD
Thursday, February 9, 2:00-3:30 pm EST

Principles of Worship Leading by Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin
Thursday, March 9, 2:00-3:30 pm EST

Intercultural Leadership in Diversity-Oriented Churches by A. Brian Leander, PhD
Thursday, March 23, 2:00-3:30 pm EDT

Register here.

Your first webinar is free! Learn more
$20 if registering before noon of the day prior to the webinar. After deadline, $30. 
Buy 5, get 1 free! Learn more
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
Editor: Shana Peachey Boshart:
Spanish translation by Steven Rhodes: 319-930-7303

Office: P.O. Box 101, Freeman, SD 57029
         Monica Clem, Office Manager: 605-929-3325;
Conference Ministers: P.O. Box 352, Kalona, IA 52247
         David Boshart:; 319-936-5904
         Tim Detweiler:; 319-458-0224
         Shana Boshart:; 319-936-5905
Hispanic Ministries Coordinator: Ramiro Hernandez 319-621-3725
Moderator Margie Mejia Caraballo:  309-235-3011
Assistant Moderator Sid Burkey: 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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Central Plains Mennonite Conference · P.O. Box 101 · Freeman, SD 57029 · USA

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