Announcements for August 14–21, 2020

The BCMC staff are beginning to make weekly “Hello” videos. Check out this week’s hello from Pastor Renee to learn more about what is going on at BCMC and to meet some special guests. 

Larry Friesen passed away at his home on Saturday, August 8 after a long struggle with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD).  A private inurnment service will be held at Greenwood Cemetery in Newton on Friday, August 14.  A larger memorial service will be held at Bethel College Mennonite Church at a later date in 2021.  Please keep his wife Donna June and daughter Katy June-Friesen and son-in-law Christian Samaniego, and brother Duane K. Friesen and Elizabeth Friesen and all of the extended family in your prayers as they grieve his loss.  Memorials can be given to Bethel College Department of Social Work, 300 E. 27th Street, North Newton, KS, 67117 or
Good Shepherd Hospice, 301 N Main, Suite 300, Newton, KS, 67114 or
Mennonite Central Committee,  121 E. 30th Street, North Newton, KS, 67117. 

Pastor Nathan Koontz will be on vacation next week from Monday, August 17 through Saturday, August 22.  For pastoral care needs, please contact Pastor Renee Reimer or the church office.   

We offer sympathy to Mel and Mary Sue Voth on the death of Mel’s brother, Roy Voth of ElDorado, Monday, August 10.  He had recently moved to Homestead Retirement Center in ElDorado.  Roy became critically ill about 10 days ago, and after several days of hospitalization at St. Joe Hospital in Wichita, returned to Homestead for Hospice Comfort Care.  Roy had increasingly worsening of his Dementia Symptoms as well as general declining of his health.  Due to COVID RESTRICTIONS services will be limited to visitation at Carlsen Funeral Home in Eldorado, Friday, August 14 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm with family present from 5:00 to 6:00.  Private burial service will be in Tabor Mennonite Church Cemetery on Saturday morning.

The family of Dorothy Harder invites you to “shower” her with cards in honor of her 90th birthday on August 22, 2020.  Send cards to Dorothy Harder, 3012 Ivy Drive, N. Newton, KS 67117.  Thank you!

Western District Conference Annual Assembly Reflection
Western District Conference Annual Assembly was held virtually this year on Saturday, August 1 over Zoom. This year, Bethel College Mennonite Church had 14 delegates in attendance at the assembly: Patty Shelly, Dale Schrag, Rosalind Andreas, Frank Stucky, Dianne Epp, John Waltner, Dick Koontz, Vern Preheim, Norma Johnson, Jim Robb, Jeanette Leary, Marlene Faul, Nathan Koontz, and Renee Reimer. Below are a few reflections about the assembly.

Western District Conference – Webinar, August 1, 2020
“Growing in Faith Wherever You Are: Boxes, Bundles, or Books Which is Right for You?” by Jennie Wintermote, WDC Resource Library Director
During Western District Conference I tuned in to the webinar about the Western District Conference Resource Library led by Jennie Wintermote.  In addition to a general overview of the library she spent some time sharing about the “Books in a Box” program in which churches can apply to receive a box of books from the library for their use.   When enrolling in the program the congregation fills out a survey providing information on  congregational demographics as well as general information on the types of books they would like to receive.  She showed a box with 25 typical books that she might send to a church.  Another interesting program which she has recently begun is to acquire multiple copies of a title so that churches can borrow a set of books for small group study such as for a Sunday School class. Particular titles of interest recently have had to do with immigration, race relations and creation care.  ~ Dianne Epp
Western District Conference – Webinar, August 1, 2020
“Real Live Faith” a panel of 4 young people facilitated by Asia Frye
The four young people were very diverse in their congregational experiences from being the only high schooler in his church to a gal from a fairly large youth group. Trust is very important especially relating to a youth pastor.  For congregational members youth would love to have members be interested in their activities and visit with them about that.  One gal said she was neither in sports nor music and adults did not seem to know how to relate to her.  She felt left out.  She said young people communicate by social media and are interested in promoting racial equality. Her communication on social media is mostly with her peers. In social medial you can express your beliefs and rally support.  An advocate for faith and integration is needed. Adults need to listen to youth as they do have ideas and want some power.  Adults are to provide more than money.  Relationships are very important and youth want to be included and be trusted. ~ Marlene Faul
Western District Conference – August 1, 2020—Delegate Session
The Western District Conference Assembly was a unique experience this year. Many people have been experiencing online work now for quite a few months which has included virtual meetings with co-workers. I have only had a few experiences with Zoom meetings and was curious how the whole WDC Assembly would play out. I was pleasantly surprised!
The delegate assembly on Saturday morning was very well organized and technically brilliant! While listening in, I heard a term that I had not previously come across and it made me want to learn more. Someone asked a question about whether the Church Planting Commission has done much work with “Replanting” churches with reference to the many established legacy churches that exist in our area. The answer was “yes” and we were encouraged to check out the video snapshots that have been posted on the WDC website and, in particular, the Beatrice Mennonite Church. They are undergoing a “replanting” which is basically saying that “ideas and practices related to church planting can be applied to existing churches as a renewal strategy”. (from WDC Church Planting Commission video snapshot) I was thoroughly inspired by watching this and all of the other short, 1-3 minute, videos from many of the churches in the WDC! I challenge you to take an hour out of your day to see what congregations around the area are doing to bloom right where they are “RE” planted!    ~ Jeanette Leary

This year we’re looking forward to hearing stories through video of our WDC congregations, Commissions, Committees and task Forces.  Each group has been asked to share a single “snapshot” of some ministry they’ve been passionately engaged in this past year. 

Mennonite Mission Network Prayer Request:  Nemi Chigoji provides leadership for the Nigerian Anabaptist Resource Center, a Mennonite Mission Network partner. Pray for Rev. Chigoji as he works in California and Nigeria, training Anabaptist pastors in peacebuilding, mediation, and holistic ministry.

Western District Conference Prayer Request:  Pray for WDC congregations in pastoral transition, as they discern God’s direction for future leadership and priorities in the midst of the uncertainties of today’s world.

Offering at BCMC for August 9-16, 2020:  General Fund $11,997; Gen Fund 2021 $11,589.14; Caring Fund $325; Organ Fund $500; Living Stones $1,380; Elevator Repair $625

Porch Project 
Thanks to those of you who have participated in the Porch Project.  Keep your photos coming!  You can send them to Pastor Renee at Follow this link to see the faces of 60+ BCMCers:
PLEASE NOTE: these photos are meant to be enjoyed by our church community. Please do not share them (via social media, etc) unless you have received permission of the people in the photo.

Bethel College Student Donations
The Bethel College Relations Team is seeking nonperishable items to give to Bethel College students during their first week of class. We are looking for items such as: ramen noodles, microwavable meals (like mac and cheese), popcorn, etc. We would also welcome masks and travel size hand sanitizer to hand out to students who may need some. Please bring your donations to church and leave them by the white table outside of the church office. Contact Pastor Renee if you have questions. 

Other Announcements
Hesston Mennonite Church, Hesston, KS seeks a part-time Office Manager. The Office Manager provides administrative duties that promote teamwork and efficiency in support of the pastoral staff, church governing body, its commissions and other church ministries. This position serves as the church receptionist and coordinates the overall functions of the church office to include bulletin and newsletter creation, coordination of volunteers within the office and for special events, and keeping the in-house data management system up to date with congregational changes. This position has some financial responsibilities to include accounts payable.   Ideal candidates will have a high school diploma or some college, and two years working in a similar administrative position. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are important. Candidates should be familiar with Microsoft Office and be willing to work in other computer programs as needed. Soft skills include a friendly, calm approach to church visitors and the pastoral staff, ability to organize and create efficient processes for the church office, and attention to detail. Must be capable of maintaining strict confidentiality in regard to office matters.  Please send cover letter and resume to

Learning opportunities from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary:
Deepen your understanding of Anabaptism through six-week, online short courses from AMBS! Explore Anabaptist history, theology, current practice, commitment to peacemaking, approaches to scripture, and how to transform congregational conflict and communication. These non-credit courses feature optional weekly Zoom conversations with professors along with readings and written discussion forums. No papers and no grades! Sign up for individual courses or for the “short course bundle” at
Prepare to lead worship and singing drawing on the vast resources of the Voices Together hymnal through two new AMBS online short courses–one for worship planners and leaders and one for song leaders. Both courses will feature guest instructors Katie Graber and Anneli Loepp Thiessen. Sign up at

The 2020 issue of Mennonite Life, Bethel College’s online journal, is live at, with articles and reviews by Alain Epp Weaver, Ben Nobbs-Thiessen, Ben Woodward-Breckbill, Cheryl Denise, Christopher Reed, Emma Beachy, Jason Schmidt, Joanne Lehman, Joyce Zuercher, Julia Kasdorf, Keith Sprunger, Lisa Schirch, Marc Gopin, Melanie Zuercher and Raylene Hinz-Penner.

Preschool Story Hour at the Conference Resource Library returns this fall with VIRTUAL LIVE story hours full of stories, rhymes, and craft ideas on Tuesdays at 10:00 am and Thursdays at 3:30 pm. Tuesday and Thursday sessions will be different, join us for one or both sessions each week.  Story Hour will start Tuesday, September 8 and be geared toward ages 3-5.  Story Hour will be led by Library Director Jennie Wintermote and will be shorter than our Summer Story Hour.  Register at and contact Jennie with any questions at   

Camp Mennoscah announcements
Mental Health Spiritual Retreat at Camp Mennoscah will be a one-day event on Monday, September 7.  This retreat is for those affected by mental illness, including friends and family.  Activities will be outside.  We will follow social distancing and mask guidelines.  Please bring a mask with you.  Those interested in attending the retreat should contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290.
Men and Boys Retreat at Camp Mennoscah has been canceled for 2020.  Men and boys (with adult supervision) and families are invited to contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 about overnight stays or day visits.  We’ll see you soon!
Camp Mennoscah welcomes guests!  Camping areas and cabins are open to guests/groups for overnight stays and day visits.  Spend time in the river, have a campfire cookout, and enjoy the open spaces of the tallgrass prairie and the Ninnescah River!  Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 to make a reservation and to inquire about use of additional facilities.  We can’t wait to see you!
Camp Mennoscah’s main phone number (620-297-3290) will be answered between the hours of 8:30 am and 5:00 pm on weekdays.  Emails will also be answered within the same basic time frame, depending on staff work hours.  Outside of these hours, you may be able to reach camp staff, but there are no guarantees.  Please leave a message or send an email and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.