From the Staff Congregation Relations Committee
The Staff Congregation Relations Committee (SCRC) of the Bethel College Mennonite Church (BCMC) serves as a bridge between BCMC staff and the congregation. We hold within our vision the mutual care and growth of both staff and congregation. SCRC advocates for each side while working to enhance and strengthen the whole.
BCMC is part of the Corinthian Plan, which is the MC USA health insurance plan. The Corinthian Plan publishes a Pastor Wellbeing Checklist, which SCRC is in the process of reviewing. As described by The Corinthian Plan, the checklist is an invitation for congregations to enter into discussions with their pastors about how to create a healthier and more fulfilling work environment. The checklist includes an invitation for congregational leadership to remind the congregation of important boundaries to protect the well-being of our pastors. To that end, SCRC wishes to remind BCMC of important ways we can respect the boundaries of our staff in order to ensure they have a healthy and fulfilling work environment and that they can enjoy healthy work-life balance.
1. Our pastors and staff have dedicated working hours. Unless there is an emergency, care should be taken to respect our staff’s working hours and personal time. By way of reminder, below are the days our pastors and staff are away from the office:
Pastor Dawn Yoder Harms – Mondays off
Pastor Renee Reimer—Fridays off
Pastor Nathan Koontz—Mondays and Wednesdays off
Monica Lichti, Office and Facilities Manager—Friday afternoons off
Mike Crawford, Custodian—Tuesdays off
SCRC has encouraged our staff to use their days off to rest and recharge and to avoid reading and responding to emails or addressing other church business. For our pastoral staff, Sundays are working days, so their Sabbath day must come on another day. It is our belief that these days of Sabbath are critical to our staff’s well-being and we hope you will join us in respecting these important boundaries.
2. Another way we can support the well-being of our staff is to be mindful of the ways in which we communicate with one another. It takes a tremendous amount of time and energy on the part of our staff to keep the everyday life of our church running smoothly. Email can be a helpful tool for engaging in ordinary communication that furthers this end. But on top of the daily tending to the functioning of our organization, our staff are dealing with the deeper, human and spiritual needs of our congregation. Email is usually not an effective tool to communicate in this vein, nor is it an effective tool for expressing frustration, disappointment or disagreement. If you are frustrated or upset about something in your life or the life of the congregation, SCRC encourages you to pick up the phone and call the church or schedule and in person meeting. It is healthier for everyone involved to engage in conversation rather than to send an email that might be misinterpreted or sent in anger.
In the last year, we have been through a long season of fear, uncertainty and change as we learned to adjust to living in a pandemic. Much of what we hold dear has been stripped from us, whether it be worshiping together in our church, hugging our friends and family, or visiting with loved ones in person. We are all tired and weary, including our pastors and our BCMC staff. They have borne the responsibility for navigating our congregation through these unprecedented times. And they have done it with grace and compassion. As we look forward to the light at the end of this long tunnel of separation, let’s be mindful of the ways we can show care and respect for those who have been so dedicated to caring for us.
The Staff Congregation Relations Committee: Heather Zerger, SCRC Chair, Dave Linscheid, Mary Goering
As the Reopening Task Group makes plans to increase the number of people participating in in-person worship, your feedback is important. Please take two minutes to complete this two question survey. Hit the “submit” button when you are finished:
Looking for an opportunity to sing or play an instrument in church this summer? BCMC is seeking musicians of all ages, individuals or small groups, to assist in leading worship this summer. If you are willing or want more information, email Barbara Thiesen, BCMC Music Coordinator, at email@example.com. Please indicate dates you would be available. If you are a singer, indicate if you are a soprano, alto, tenor, or baritone/bass; if you are an instrumentalist, indicate your instrument.
Spring Congregational Meeting: This year, due to the Leonard Pitts lecture scheduled by Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) on April 25 at 2 pm, the BCMC Congregational Meeting will be held on May 2, at 1 pm, via zoom. Mark your calendars now! To the chairs of commissions and committees: This is just a reminder that if you have not sent your report for the Annual Report booklet yet, the deadline is April 19.
BCMC Camp Mennoscah Weekend Retreat
Dust off your tents, string your fishing poles, and prepare your hearts for worship at one of the best settings south-central Kansas has to offer! That’s right… it’s the BCMC Camp Mennoscah Weekend Retreat! This year’s event will be held May 15-16, and will only include BCMC – not Halstead First Mennonite as has been the case in the past (due to COVID). We plan on eating, fellowshipping, playing, worshiping, and seeing each other – safely, outdoors – as a way to be in community with each other. We’ll follow Camp’s safety protocol as we do this, of course, but would love to have as many folks out as can come – whether for Saturday evening, Sunday morning and lunch, or a whole weekend of fun! If you/your family is interested in attending, please fill out the link here: https://forms.gle/hr72BEDmvyXsayTKA And, if you have questions about the retreat, pricing, COVID-friendly protocol, etc. OR would like to help out in some way, please reach out to Adam Robb (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Pastor Renee and they’ll do their best to be helpful! Looking forward to being together, in nature, to worship our God!
JOINING SCN SURVEY RESULTS:
Final results of the Congregational Survey regarding joining Supportive Communities Network (SCN) are:
TOTAL RESPONSES 131
YES 121 (92.4%)
NO 10 (7.6%)
SCN is a program of the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests. It is a network of Mennonite and Church of the Brethren communities who are publicly affirming of gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual members.
The survey was sent to people who attend and participate in the life of BCMC and was not restricted to voting BCMC church members. The survey was sent electronically via email, and also by post mail to participants who do not communicate electronically.
The Church Board reviewed survey results at its meeting on April 9, 2021. The number of YES responses significantly exceeds 75%. The Board is taking next steps to join SCN.
May we continue learning and following Christ together on pathways of justice, mercy, and walking humbly with God and neighbor.
Elizabeth Schmidt, Moderator and Board Chair
March 28, 2021: General Fund $8,026; Media Supplies $55; Sr Hi Youth $20; Caring Fund $100; Living Stones $325; Transfer-Funeral $175; Hymnals $20; Women’s Fellowship $775
April 4, 2021: General Fund $7,735; Sr Hi Youth $150; Transfer-General $4; Living Stones $715; Rosalind Andreas Memorial $275
April 11, 2021: General Fund $10,056.30; General Fund 2022 $12,017.72; Caring Fund $25; Living Stones $330.Rosalind Andreas Memorial $275; Helen Ruth Unruh Memorial $275
Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale will be having their 2021 sale for MCC on July 2 and 3 this summer. They are asking the churches for help with expenses, so if anyone would like to help contribute on behalf of BCMC, please let one of our church liaisons know. By the first of May would be preferable, but of course contributions would be welcomed at any time! Contact people are Dale and Margo Schrag 316-283-6031, and Dennis and Kathy Campbell 316-416-5156.
Mennonite Central Committee Announcements
From the MCC U.S. Washington Office, an invitation to take action: Prevent future war—repeal the Iraq AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) The 2002 Iraq AUMF authorized war against the Saddam Hussein regime and has been used to justify military action for 19 years without additional congressional approval. Two bills repealing the AUMF in the House of Representative and the Senate have growing bipartisan support. Repealing past AUMFs will return authority to engage in militarized force to Congress, creating greater accountability for military actions. Send a message to your members of Congress calling on them to support the repeal of the 1991 and 2002 Iraq AUMFs.
MCC dignity kit informational webinar, April 20 at 7 p.m. Yes, MCC has a new kit that has been in development for years and now we’re ready to teach you how to help us bring dignity to young women around the world! The dignity kit includes hygiene items and a reusable menstruation pad system. Join Kate Mast for this webinar to learn about the kit and how to sew the base units for the reusable system. Email email@example.com for the Zoom link.
Responding to disaster: MCC’s response to hurricanes Eta & Iota webinar April 21 & 22 at 7pm
MCC is pleased to bring you, via Zoom, the people and stories directly impacted by this disaster response that you generously supported. Register here for this two night webinar to hear directly from MCC partner organizations and church partners in Honduras and Nicaragua. They will share about MCC’s disaster response as well as how climate change impacts migration and poverty in Central America.
MCC is hiring a multimedia producer! Check out the job description and apply today!
Bethel College Announcements
Sunday, April 25, 2 p.m. – Award-winning syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr., who packed out Memorial Hall at Bethel College in September 2017 with a lecture titled “America in an Age of Trump,” makes a return engagement, live online, speaking on “Is America Possible?” This is part of the Peace Lecture Series from the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR). Register for the Zoom link at kipcor.org
Kauffman Museum’s spring fundraiser is FaspBox – faspa in a box. Faspa is a light evening meal traditional among Low German-heritage Mennonites. Each box serves one and costs $50. Reservations must be made by Monday, April 26 (for pickup or delivery on May 2), by going to the Kauffman Museum website, then click on Visit, then click on Events, or by contacting the museum with credit card information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-283-1612.
April 29-May 1 (including Saturday matinee): Bethel College spring play, I and You by Lauren Gunderson, planned for Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – and there is a livestream option! Call or stop by Thresher Shop in Schultz Student Center, Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 316-284-5205, for tickets for either in-person or livestream. Please note: This play has adult content and is not suitable for children. Face coverings must be worn and physical distancing will be enforced for in-person performances.
Sunday, May 2, 4 p.m.: Spring choral concert, featuring the Bethel College Concert Choir, Woven and Open Road on the steps of the Administration Building on campus. Bring your own chairs/blankets. Please note that face coverings must be worn and physical distancing practiced on the Bethel campus.
Sat., April 24, 7 p.m. – Caleb Abbott senior saxophone recital, Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center at Bethel College, featuring classical and jazz pieces by Glazunov, Morosco, Shorter, Wood & Mellin, and an original composition. Those planning to attend must wear masks and sit physically distanced or in family groups. Seating is limited, with priority given to members of a pre-concert list of family and friends.
Western District Conference Announcements
1. Church Replanting – Discerning God’s Call to Change
God is continuing to call God’s church to change so that we can better embody our Jesus-given mission. Perhaps the Spirit is already moving in your heart: Have you been longing to implement changes resulting in deeper discipleship, while inviting and welcoming others into the way of Jesus? But how can we do that if we have become stuck in what was and what has been? How can we prayerfully approach healthy changes as a community for the sake of the Gospel? Join members of the WDC Church Planting Commission for a Zoom conversation and discussion on these topics and more on April 21 at 11:00 am (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84445430211?pwd=Y3A4V2toK3YxUEVhZGtVcEQzU21nQT09, Meeting ID: 844 4543 0211, Passcode: 173971). Tim Amor, pastor at Beatrice (NE) Mennonite Church, will share his congregation’s ‘replanting’ story and engage our own exploration into how God’s Spirit is moving within us and the congregations we serve, considering guiding questions such as:
· What are you willing to change so that you and your church can better embody and share the love of Jesus?
· What are you not willing to change?
· How can we better disciple and invite others to join with us in orienting all of life toward the radical love of Jesus?
Camp Mennoscah Announcements
1. Men and Boys Retreat, April 16-18, at Camp Mennoscah! Come to Camp Mennoscah for time for fishing, canoeing, worshiping, sitting by the fire, or visiting with friends in fellowship. No pre-registration. Registration and payment will take place upon arrival at the shelter. For more information contact Kevin Neufeld at 316-322-5515.
2. Camp Mennoscah is cleaning house! Anyone visiting will notice a “display” of items in the field in front of the maintenance shed. When the shed was cleaned out, the items were placed there until we could find new locations for them. It’s messy, as many big cleaning projects are, and we’ll continue to find places to store those items!
3. Camp Mennoscah is seeking to fill a part-time custodian/housekeeper position. Hours average 10 per week and are flexible, dependent upon the camp schedule. For more information, contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 or email@example.com
4. Camp Mennoscah is seeking a full-time Director of Development, Marketing & Communications to lead our ongoing operational and advancement needs. More information at www.campmennoscah.org. Applications accepted until the position is filled; early submission encouraged. Please send application materials (resume, cover letter, references and salary requirements) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mennonite Church Announcements1. Come build communities of peace with the Colombia Youth Venture experience. Youth participants in both countries come together (virtually) to collaboratively explore that which makes for peace in their own, respective contexts. Visit MennoniteMission.net/YouthVenture to learn more. Deadline is May 1!
2. Looking for a non-traditional pastoral role? Become a unit leader for Service Adventure, a gap-year program for ages 17-20 from Mennonite Mission Network. Unit leaders, who are at least 24 years of age, serve as mentors to the young adults in the Service Adventure household. Leaders are needed in Colorado Springs, CO and Johnstown, PA. Learn more by contacting SusanN@MennoniteMission.net.
3. Pastor Jon Carlson of Forest Hills (Pennsylvania) Mennonite Church has been nominated as Mennonite Church USA moderator-elect for the 2021-2023 biennium. Read more here: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/carlson-elect
4. Hendy Matahelemaul sheds light on the dramatic increase in hate crimes and acts of racism against Asians in the United States in his blog, “Difficult things in difficult times.” Learn more here: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/difficult-things-times
5. In her blog, “Let us lay down our economic weapons,” Katerina Parsons explains the impact that U.S. economic sanctions have on the people in the countries that have experienced these sanctions. Parsons calls us to advocate against these sanctions, in order put our love for people around the world into action. https://www.mennoniteusa.org/economic-weapons
6. As a young man, Alfonso Alvarado dreamt of leaving his home in El Salvador and moving to the United States. Read about his journey, which led him to become a pastor and church planter at a Mennonite church in “Beyond that ocean is North America.” In English: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/menoticias-alfonso-alvarado/ En español: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/menoticias/posts/alfonso-alvarado/.
Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp Announcements
RMMC SPRUCE BEETLE PACKET WORKDAY NOW APRIL 24TH – With the coming of snow and cold (ah, Springtime in CO), the workday has been moved to April 24. Please signup to come help with this year’s distribution by visiting our Volunteer page and select “Signup for Maintenance“. Friday night accommodations are offered by request and breakfast will be served Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. and lunch at 11:30 a.m. Hope to have you join us!
SPRUCE BEETLE TREE CUTTING AT ROCKY MOUNTAIN MAY 23-29, 2021 – Mennonite Disaster Service and RMMC continue their critical partnership in the work to remove beetle infested Engelmann Spruce trees from camp. Ten volunteers (approximately) needed each day. Volunteers for foodservice are also encouraged to help in support of the week’s efforts. Please visit the volunteer page at www.rmmc.org and select “Signup for Maintenance” or “Signup for Foodservice” for 1 or 2 days or the whole week if you can. For additional information, please contact Paul Unruh (email@example.com, 316-772-6308) or Marc Yoder (firstname.lastname@example.org, 719-942-3276).
ROCKY MOUNTAIN SUMMER YOUTH CAMPS – Another year of coronavirus impacts and we are all anew hoping for a successful summer camping season. While guidance from the state is yet to come, we are working toward offering our resident camp programs at 50% capacity and our wilderness camp programs at 100%. Currently, four out of our eleven youth camps (2 resident camps and 2 wilderness camps) have reached capacity with waitlists. Camp is excited again for the group of summer staff who are looking forward to serving the campers and guests anticipating their time here at Rocky Mountain this summer. Special thanks to our donors and churches and conference who have ensured the opportunity to offer a summer camp experience in 2021.
Buhler High School Choral Department Announcement (under the direction of Greg Bontrager)
Buhler High School Choral Department will present the musical GODSPELL, April 28, 30, May 1 and 2!. Music and Stage Direction by Greg Bontrager with Choreography by Katelyn Stoss and Rock Combo Direction by Rich Toevs. In this tale of building a community, friendship, loyalty, and love, a small group of disciples help Jesus tell a variety of parables through song, dance, and humor. But at its core, it’s the story of all of us, how we need to take care of each other, how we are all, in essence, a family. Godspell will be performed at the Buhler High School Auditorium April 28, 30 at 7:00 p.m.,
May 1 at 7:30 pm. and a matinee, May 2 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for K-12 students and are available by calling BHS at 620-543-2255. Tickets will also be available at the door or at this website: file:///Users/gbontrager/Desktop/Godspelltickets.html
Mennonite Mission Network Prayer Request: Mennonite Mission Network requests prayer for the two-day Sent Network conference that begins on Thursday, April 23. Pray that all who participate in this virtual church-planting summit will be inspired, energized, and given the tools necessary for encouraging the growth of Jesus’ church.
Western District Conference Prayer Request: Give thanks for farmers and gardeners, and pray for all those in WDC congregations working to be faithful stewards of God’s creation.