...welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. --James 1:21b-22
a newsletter for Central Plains Mennonite Conference leaders
Please forward to Pastors, Elders, Deacons, Central Plains Delegates, Church Council, Christian Education Committee, Missions Committee, Church Librarian, Youth Sponsors, Sunday School Superintendents.
January 17, 2018
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 21 Today is World Fellowship Sunday. Each year, Mennonite World Conference encourages Anabaptist-related churches around the world to worship around a common theme on a Sunday close to January 21. On that date in 1525, the first Anabaptist baptism took place in Zurich, Switzerland. World Fellowship Sunday provides an opportunity to remember our common roots and celebrate our worldwide fellowship.
For January 28 Today, Larry Nail is being installed as pastor at Julesburg Mennonite Church in Julesburg, Colorado. Pray for Larry and for the congregation as they proclaim the Good News together in their community.
For February 4
Pray for David Boshart and Linda Shelly as they travel to Venezuela for partnership meetings to encourage emerging Mennonite communities in the face of political and economic upheaval. We also invite you to pray and fast on Tuesday for the Max Villatoro and Alejandro Huesca families.
For February 11
Pray for the churches in the Nebraska cluster as they prepare to host Central Plains Annual Meeting 2018 June 21-24 in Lincoln. Pray especially for the host committee, chaired by Seth Miller, a pastor at Bethesda Mennonite in Henderson.
For February 18
Pray for students, faculty and staff at Freeman Academy and Iowa Mennonite School.
Next month, the Sower will be dated February 21. Send submissions to Shana at firstname.lastname@example.org before noon on February 13.
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.
Nebraska Women's Retreat hosts Sister Care March 3-4, 2018, in Aurora, Nebraska. Annual Leader's Retreat will be April 27-29, 2018, at Saint Benedict Retreat Center in Schuyler, Nebraska. Central Plains Annual Meeting will meet take place June 21-24, 2018, in Nebraska. Youth Escape 2018 will take place July 20-22 in central Iowa.
The Central Plains budget continued its upward trend with a solid month in December as income exceeded expenses for the second consecutive time this fiscal year. Thanks be to God! Income for the month came it at $57,311.09. Meanwhile, expenses came in at $32,984.26. As a result, this created a monthly surplus of $24,326.83 and decreases the overall deficit to $25,761.54. We still have a ways to go, but we are thankful for this outpouring of financial support and hope to continue this through the first months of 2018. Thank you again. —Stewardship Task Group
Staff News January 17 Dave, Shana and Monica will be in Lincoln for Annual Meeting Task Group.
18 Shana and Monica will be at Youth Escape Planning Team near Dayton, Iowa.
28 Tim will install Larry Nail as pastor at Julesburg (CO) Mennonite Church; Dave will preach at Bellwood in Milford, Nebraska.
February 4-13 Dave will be in Venezuela for Partnership Meetings.
12 Tim be in Chicago to attend Lombard Mennonite Peace Center board meeting.
Escape the Midwest winter in Ecuador! More workers are needed to join the Central Plains work team heading to Ecuador February 23 - March 5, 2018! This is a great opportunity to escape the cold here in the upper Midwest and travel to a warmer climate to work with our brothers and sisters in Quito to help with the renovation of their recently acquired building. Couples and individuals are welcome to come work on light construction, painting and other renovation tasks, all wile developing friendships with the folks in Ecuador who are eager to host this group. If there are not enough members to form a work team, this trip will not happen.
If you are interested in participating, or helping with the costs of this work, contact Doyle Roth as soon as possible at email@example.com or by phone at 402-641-0266.
Conscientious Objection resources
Find the resources you need to help youth and adults decide whether Jesus' disciples participate in war. Check out this blog or go to the CO Resources page of AnabaptistFaithFormation.org.
Sister Care at Nebraska Women's Retreat
"Sister Care," equipping women for healing ministries, comes to Nebraska March 3-4, 2018 at the Leadership Center in Aurora. Sister Care seminars are a ministry of Mennonite Women USA. Past director of MWUSA, Rhoda Keener, and psychotherapist, Carolyn Heggen, have been leading Sister Care seminars in the USA and around the world. This retreat will be the last one that they lead before passing it on to others.
Registration information will be sent out to Nebraska churches in January. All women are welcome. If you are not a Nebraska church and would like info, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call #402-366-6598.
Annual Leaders Retreat theme and speaker Bryan Moyer Suderman, musical artist and Bible teacher from Kitchener, Ontario, will guide our reflections around the theme, “Reading Scripture with Neighbors & Strangers.” With Bryan’s focus on reading the Bible with Jesus and engaging all ages in the scriptural story of God’s love, he is an excellent resource for helping us reflect together on spiritual practice #5 in our Covenant of Spiritual Practices for Central Plains Mennonite Conference, We will study the Bible with neighbors and strangers, inviting them to become disciples of Jesus.
Plan now to attend Annual Leaders Retreat April 27-29, 2018, as we allow the familiar Emmaus Road Story in Luke 24 to open up doors for exploring “Scripture and the Stranger” in our times of worship. In our three retreat sessions, Bryan will help us reflect on ways we use and engage “Scripture with Neighbor and Stranger” by looking at stories and examples from scripture.
Annual Leaders Retreat is a place for pastors, chaplains and spouses to come together for renewal, resourcing, conversation, building relationships with peers and for finding space to relax. More information and registration material will be posted on our Central Plains Conference website at http://www.centralplainsmc.org/annual-leaders-retreat.html. I hope to see you in Schuyler! --Tim Detweiler
Update on Max Villatoro and Alex Huesca --Alex and Max are both in Ensenada, Mexico.
--To help the Huescas, donate on theirGoFundMe page.
--To help the Villatoros,Donate here.
--We invite you to set aside one meal on the first Tuesday of every month to fast and pray for the Villatoro and Huesca families. Congregations, please remember these families in prayer on the first Sunday of every month.
Pastors: create a financial plan A Lilly Endowment Inc. grant is helping pastors create a financial plan that matches their faith and values. As part of the grant, all but $200 of the cost is subsidized by Everence throughout 2018, as long as funds allow.
Joel Beachy, pastor at East Union Mennonite Church near Kalona, Iowa, says, “We were able to reflect on goals for college saving, retirement, and other needs. We also looked at more mundane aspects like life insurance and powers of attorney. Our planner affirmed decisions we’ve made and encouraged us in ways will benefit our family in the future. I highly recommend this opportunity.”
Active pastors of all ages have taken part. For more information, contact Stewardship Consultant Lyle Miller (email@example.com).
Everence offers college scholarships
Everence® is accepting applications for college scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year through the end of February. Eligible students can be chosen to receive scholarships of $750 from their area Everence office. Three of those recipients then are chosen for additional, national scholarships – one of $1,250 and two of $250 – which means the top three will receive grants totaling $2,000 or $1,000. Recipients are chosen based on academics, leadership, community involvement and responses to an essay question. Download an application at https://www.everence.com/college-scholarships.
AMBS Pastors week to focus on hope
In a time when many people are experiencing anxiety, trauma and upheaval, how can church leaders sustain hope among the people they serve, even when they might struggle with fear, hopelessness and exhaustion themselves?
Pastors and Leaders 2018 — an annual leadership conference formerly called Pastors Week — aims to help participants explore how “fear of the Lord” prepares them to live confidently and speak courageously at this moment in history, as well as to ground themselves in Christian practices that keep faith and hope alive.
“In our conversations as a planning team, which includes people from a wide variety of churches and locations, we realized that the widespread anxiety in society these days is really taking a toll on churches and leaders,” said Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, AMBS dean of Lifelong Learning. “Leaders find themselves wondering whether they have what it takes to step up in the face of the pressure — or in some cases, real danger. They wonder whether they should be leading, and what they have to offer.
“Our hope for the conference is that participants will be reminded that throughout history and today in many other parts of the world, God’s people have faced incredibly difficult situations — situations that both parallel and go beyond our own — and that even in the face of this great difficulty, the Church has deep, dependable resources and many sources of strength to lead with courage,” she added.
Seminary Preview Day
Know people with leadership gifts, a heart for ministry or a passion for theological study? Encourage them to check out AMBS's Seminary Preview Day, Friday, March 9 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will meet students and professors, attend classes and join us in worship. Visiting campus is an ideal way to get first-hand information on academic programs (including options for learning at a distance), financial aid and scholarships, and to experience life in our learning community!
Prospective students are also welcome to schedule a campus visit on another date. Send them to ambs.edu/visit for more details.
The Sower is published the third Wednesday of each month for Central Plains pastors, delegates, conference leaders and other interested persons. Please include items from this newsletter in your church bulletins and newsletters. Find back issues at www.centralplainsmc.org. Click on Publications > The Sower.
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.