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.

February 15, 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 February 19: 
In this time of upheaval where immigration is concerned, pray that the religious worker visa for Pastor Max Villatoro will be approved so that he can return to his family and leadership position at Torre Fuerte.

For February 26: 
Pray for the outreach ministries of our conference congregations as they seek to offer grace, joy and peace to their neighbors.

For March 5: 
Prayer for the Mennonite Education and Health leaders of Mennonite Church USA who will be gathering in Jacksonville, FL for the annual convention.

For March 12: 
Pray for the Tim, Margie Mejia Caraballo and Sid Burkey who will be gathering for the Constituency Leaders Council in Elkhart, IN next weekend. Also pray for Dave Boshart has he leads these meetings.  

For March 19: 
Pray for our conference pastors, chaplains, and spouses who will gather for the Annual Leaders Retreat in Schuyler, NE today through Tuesday noon. Pray that this will be a time of renewal and mutual support.  


Next month, The Sower will be dated March 22.  Send submissions to Erin at by March 14.

El Sembrador, the Spanish version of The Soweris 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 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 

   Central Plains budget continued its positive trend for the second month in a row.  Income for the month came in at $47,765.54.  Meanwhile, expenses of $31,833.11 continue to be lower than the normal range.  As a result, the fiscal year deficit continues its downward trajectory to $5,770.98.  We give thanks for all the generous support and gifts and invite you to join us in seeking a third positive month in a row!  —Stewardship Task Group

Staff News

February 11-25: Dave and Shana will be vacation
February 12: Tim will be at Salem-Zion Mennonite Church for Corey Miller’s installation
February 19:  Tim will be visiting First Mennonite Church in Mountain Lake, MN
February 27: Tim will be attending board meeting at the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center
February 28: Dave will be hosting the first session of Tuesdays with Dave
March 5: Dave will be preaching at Wood River Mennonite Church
March 12: Dave and Shana will be attending the Education Leaders Gathering of Mennonite Church USA in Jacksonville, FL.
March 16-18:  Dave and Tim will be attending CLC meetings in Elkhart, IN
March 19-21: Dave and Tim will be attending the Annual Leaders Gathering in Schuyler, NE
March 22-28: Dave will be in Venezuela for Partnership meetings.

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)

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

Elaine Kauffman Retirement Party

   The community is invited to an open house party for E. Elaine Kauffman, pastor of First Mennonite Church in Mountain Lake, MN. The event will take place on Sunday, February 19, 2:00—4:00pm at the Mountain Lake Community Center. Faspa (Sunday afternoon lunch) will be served, and a short program with singing and sharing will take place at 3:00pm.

   Kauffman has served as pastor of First Mennonite Church in Mountain Lake for 17 years, beginning in 2000 and ending with her retirement later this month. She plans to retire to her hometown of Kalispell, Montana this spring.  All are heartily welcome to come celebrate her work and life among us!

High School Retreat at Crooked Creek Christian Camp
   Attention all youth groups (grades 9-12)!  Save the date for Crooked Creek’s 1-night High School Retreat: Body Mind & Soul: Living and Loving!  April 1-2, 2017.  Hesston College psychology professor, Kevin Wilder will be speaking on   Living and Loving: You were made for relationship. You were made to connect. You were wired for commitment, emotional intimacy and passion. Kevin will share wisdom from Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes and Proverbs as it connects to our relationships.  More information can be found at

The Gathering Place

   This month, The Gathering Place will explore a variety of ways to empower and equip volunteers in the Church.

    ▪    Webinar: Dalene White, volunteer coordinator and motivator extraordinaire from Bethel College will offer best practices and tips on how to call, train, and lead volunteer teams.

    ▪    Podcast: Mark DeVries, author of “Sustainable Youth Ministry” talks with Rachel in tGP podcast about how to get 100% of the volunteers you need, without guilting, shaming, or going nuts.

    ▪    Study Circle: Randy Keeler, Professor of Religion at Bluffton University will lead a discussion on Chapter 10 of Mark DeVries book, Sustainable Youth Ministry.

Vacation Bible School Curriculum for 2017

   Digging for Treasure: Parables Revealed!  Dig into a VBS that’s all about Jesus’ parables and the treasure to be found in his words. At first, Jesus’ parables seem simple. But it takes listening and digging deeper to discover the treasures of the kingdom of heaven.

   The Digging for Treasure: Parables Revealed starter kit from MennoMedia comes with everything you need to help children dig deep into the parables and uncover truths about God’s constant love and care for them. Each day’s story and theme are rooted in the Bible and will help the parables come to life in age-appropriate ways through dramas, playing games, making crafts, sharing snacks, and other fun activities.   Order before March 1, 2017 and receive 20% off the starter kit.  Use code VBS2017 at checkout.

Lent-At-Home Devotionals now at

   Celebrate Lent and Easter at home with your children from March 1 through April 16 with this practical guide! Download this free resource here. Do the parts that fit your life or everything suggested. There is a daily Bible reading, a short daily litany, activity suggestions and questions to ponder together. Brought to you by Anabaptist Faith Formation Network in cooperation with Common Word Bookstore and Resource Centre. 

AMBS Webinars

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

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. 

Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute 

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

Mennonite Church USA Convention 2017

   Registration opened January 17 for the 2017 Convention and Delegate Assembly.  Housing registration opens TODAY, February 15. You will receive a link to the housing reservation system with your registration confirmation.

Friends of Pastor Max

 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:
    •    Donate to the Villatoro Family Fund at
    •    Follow Friends of Pastor Max on Facebook.
    •    Visit or

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 Click on Publications. 

Editor: Shana Peachey Boshart:

Spanish translation by Steven Rhodes: 319-930-7303
To subscribe or unsubscribe, email

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.

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Central Plains Mennonite Conference · P.O. Box 101 · Freeman, SD 57029 · USA

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