I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God.  Ezekiel 11:19-20

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.

February 17, 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, February 21

Pray for the Central Plains Conference Board as they meet March 3 to work on financial shortfalls and budgeting for next year.

For Sunday, February 28
Today, Josh Lundberg, associate pastor at Kalona Mennonite Church, will be licensed toward ordination.  Pray for Josh, lead pastor Scott Swartzendruber and the congregation in their shared ministry.

For Sunday, March 6
Pray for the Mennonite Church USA Constituency Leaders Council meeting in Goshen, Indiana, Monday through Wednesday.  Pray for God's guidance as these representatives of the area conferences meet. Pray for wisdom for David Boshart as he facilitates the meetings.

For Sunday, March 13
Pray for those planning our 2016 Central Plains Annual Meeting to be held June 16-19 on the campus of Grand View College in Des Moines.  Pray too, for our worship speaker, Leonard Dow, as he prepares. 
Next month, The Sower will be dated March 16.  Send submissions to 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

   Three months to go and we have some ground to make up!  The Central Plains budget reversed course in January, increasing the overall deficit and creating a steep hill to climb before the end of the fiscal year on April 30.  Income for the month came in at $30,636.08, an amount that is $13,000 to $19,000 lower than what we have seen come in January for the last three years. This is the first time in four years that we've ended January with a deficit. Expenses for the month came in at $37,218.63.  As a result of this monthly loss of $6,582.55, we now have an overall fiscal year deficit of $17,383.60.  We do give thanks for your contributions and also invite you to prayer as we seek to end the year in the black.  –Stewardship Task Group

Staff News

February 21  Dave preaches at Salem-Zion Mennonite Church, Freeman, South Dakota.
23-25  Shana attends Values-Based Leadership Program as a member of the resource team.
March 2  Tim has his third chemotherapy infusion.
3  Conference Board meets by teleconference.
7-9  Shana and Dave attend Constituency Leaders Council in Goshen, Indiana, with Moderator Margie Caraballo.
12-13  Dave attends the Shalom Mennonite Church Partnership meeting in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
15  Dave attends the Iglesia Torre Fuerte Partnership meeting in Iowa City.

Dear reader,

    Please take a moment to consider who you know who would be interested in hearing what is happening in our conference.  Would you please forward this newsletter to them and encourage them to subscribe?
    Pastors and church secretaries, please stop and consider: to whom do you forward this newsletter?  We hope you are forwarding it to your conference delegates, elders or deacons, church council, youth sponsors and other formation leaders.  

    This is the second issue of The Sower to be sent via Mail Chimp. I apologize to those who received the newsletter late last month--we are working the kinks out!  I'm eager to hear your feedback, so feel free to ask questions or send comments to me at  Thanks!  --Shana Boshart

A year ago on March 20

   ...was the sad day when Pastor Max Villatoro was deported.  This year on March 20 and 21, Gloria Villatoro, David Boshart, Shana Boshart and others plan to travel to Washington DC to advocate with lawmakers and Obama administration officials on behalf of Pastor Max.  The Mennonite Central Committee Washington Office and Church World Service are planning the schedule and setting up appointments. 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 DHS Director Jeh Johnson and meetings with legislators.  If you are interested in going along, contact Shana Boshart right away.  It would be helpful to have more people along.  Please join us in praying that God would use these visits to make a way for Max to return to his family and congregation.

Annual Leaders Retreat

Central Plains credentialed leaders, plan to attend the Annual Leaders Retreat April 22-24, 2016, at St. Benedict's Center near Schuyler, Nebraska.  Debra Hirsch will speak on the theme, "Missional Discipleship: Following Jesus into the hard places."  Deb is the author of Redeeming Sex and co-author with her husband Alan Hirsch of Untamed: Reactivating a missional form of discipleship. 

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  The Application deadline is March 31. Questions can be directed to Joetta Schlabach, or 651-290-2185. Some travel scholarships are available through the partnership.


Youth Escape 2016: Inside Out!

      Youth and sponsors, we are excited to invite you Youth Escape 2016!  An invitation, a take-home flyer, and the first part of a three-part poster will soon arrive in congregations.
     Come to Youth Escape July 15-17, 2016, to discover how you can live “Inside Out.” Questions? Contact Shana at or 319-936-5905.
     Be sure to check out our video on the Youth Escape 2016 Facebook page or on the Youth Escape web page.

For your Covenant Study

      Many churches are currently doing the covenant study.  Remember, there are teaching videos and several new worship resources on the Covenant Resources page of our website.
      Being God’s Faithful Community, the four-session study of the covenant of spiritual practices, is available for just $3.59 per booklet at Each congregation is encouraged to do this four-session study sometime before our 2016 Annual Meeting. 
      The Spanish translation of the covenant study guide, Ser una comunidad fiel a Dios, Un pacto de practicas espirituales, can also be found on or as a download on the Covenant Resources page of our web site. 

At-home family devotions

      Living Ink, the 2016 Lent At-Home devotionals from Mennonite Church Canada, is available here as a free download.  This fully illustrated devotional will appeal to families with children ages 3 - 12 and includes scripture, prayer, activities, songs, and much more.  Created by Elsie Rempel, this booklet is perfect for at-home, but also could be used for Sunday morning worship (children's time) or for a special Lent emphasis for children on Wednesday nights.  

Support the Max Villatoro Family

      Let us be persistent in praying for Max’s return to his family and congregation. 
Other things you can do: 

WDC Library

     New books, new books!  In the last three months, the WDC Resource Library has added over 250 new items!  We now have the latest from MennoMedia (including Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew Hart, Rewilding the Way by Todd Wynward, and four volumes of the Abundant Faith Women's Bible Study Series).  Visit our online card catalog to review these titles and the other 11,000+ resources we have available for checkout at  
     Also available are Lent and Easter resources for worship planning, personal devotion, and family celebration.  To request books: reserve online (requires library card), email or call 316-283-6300.  I look forward to helping connect you with the right resource.  --Jennie Wintermote, WDC Resource Library Director

A message from MCC Central States

     Mennonite Central Committee Central States has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with churches, conferences and individuals in the northern part of our region for many years and we look forward to continuing to build and expand those relationships. Recently, MCC closed our Northern Tier Office in Freeman, South Dakota. MCC is re-envisioning how our work continues in the northern part of our region for these areas to be sustainable and adhere to MCC's strategic plans. We are looking to stay engaged and in relationship with the churches, conferences, alumni and individuals in a variety of ways going forward. We value the relationships, generosity and engagement we have and will continue to work at building those connections in the future. Please contact Maynard Knepp with questions or concerns at or 316.285.3820.

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

Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute

Restorative Justice 101: Training for Practice in Everyday Life (RJ 101) Saturday March 19, 2016, Seward Neighborhood, Minneapolis.  RJ 101 teaches the principles, philosophies, and practices of Restorative Justice via lecture and experiential education methodologies for the empowering of our communities.  Everyone is welcome.   Optional 6.5 hours of Continuing Education (CEs) have been approved for Nurses, Teachers, and Mental Healthcare Providers and 5.5 hours CLEs for Attorneys.  Early Tuition is $140.  Standard Tuition is $155.  Group discounts and scholarship assistance are available.  Space is limited to 16; Register now at:
STAR: Trauma Awareness Training
      Monday-Friday August 8-12, 2016 in Minneapolis   Details at:
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 Pastor Meghan Good and the Matter of “Spiritual Warfare” - Conversation 3
Thursday, March 3, 2016 1:00-2:30 pm CST
Presenters:  Greg Boyd, PhD and Meghan Good, MDiv.  
Moderator: David B. Miller, AMBS

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
Editor: Shana Peachey Boshart:
Spanish translation by Steven Rhodes: 319-930-7303

Office: P.O. Box 101, Freeman, SD 57029
         Monica Clem, Office Manager: 605-925-4463;
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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