Announcements for January 30-February 6, 2022

Congregational Meeting is Sunday, January 30 
The Jan. 30, 2022 congregational meeting will start at 1 p.m. and will be held by Zoom.  It will not be a hybrid meeting.

Following is the agenda for the meeting and the Zoom link.  
For the Financial Report booklet click here 
If you have questions about the financial report, please contact Treasurer Mike Claassen.

There are copies of the Financial Report booklets at the church on the ledge by the church mailboxes. BETHEL COLLEGE MENNONITE CHURCH
Congregational Meeting Agenda
Sunday, January 30, 2022, 1 pm – Via Zoom
Zoom Link is:
Meeting ID: 813 5299 9266
Passcode: 004219

1.  Call to Order and Centering Prayer – Elizabeth Schmidt, Moderator

2. Approval of September 12, 2021 congregational meeting minutes and November 21, 2021
special congregational meeting minutes – prepared by John Kliewer, Interim Clerk

3.   Report from the Auditing Committee – Diane Born, Auditing Committee

4.   Presentation of 2021 Financial Reports -– Mike Claassen, Finance Manager

Zoom poll:  Do you approve the 2021 Financial Reports?   Yes        No

5.   Presentation of 2022 proposed budget – Mike Claassen, Finance Manager

The Church Board recommends the following:  It is moved that the congregation approve the proposed general fund budget of $522,681 for 2022.  During the year, if income is less than expenses, the first $10,000 will be covered by general fund reserves, then from benevolences up to $8,000.  Any additional amount necessary will be taken from general fund reserves.

Zoom poll:  Do you approve the 2022 proposed budget?    Yes        No

6. Pastoral Transition Update – Elizabeth Schmidt, Moderator, & Ada Schmidt-Tieszen,

7. Faith Formation Report:   Plea for Volunteers! – Mary Ellen Hodge, Faith Formation

8.   Columbarium Expansion Project Report – Glen Ediger, Columbarium Expansion Task Group

9.   Other business

10.  Closing Prayer – Pastor Nathan KoontzThis week at BCMC

This week at BCMC
Sunday, January 30, 2022
9:30 am     No In-person worship today—please join the service by live-stream
1 pm          Congregational Meeting via Zoom
Monday, January 31, 2022

Tuesday, February 1, 2022  
9—11 am  Community Playschool
7 pm          Creation Care Committee
Wednesday, February 2, 2022
7 pm          Menno Ringers in B7
Thursday, February 3, 2022 
9—11 am  Community Playschool
6:15 pm    Chancel Bells in Room B7
7 pm         Church Board Meeting via Zoom
Sunday, February 6, 2022 
9:30 am     Worship Service in the Sanctuary—Installation
of Pastor Todd Schlosser
10:30 am  Safe Sanctuary Training in Fellowship Hall and by Zoom

The Deacon Commission would like to thank all the members of the congregation for their care for each other and others outside the congregation. You have continued to connect to each other in various ways, meeting outside in nice weather, wearing masks and distancing in Fellowship Hall, gathering in smaller groups in neighborhoods and sometimes visiting over Facetime or Zoom. You have stayed connected through your Sunday school groups, quilting groups, community events, common interest groups, volunteer jobs, and church meetings and events. You have emailed your friends, sent cards to people you are thinking about, and called people on the phone just to chat. Thank you for continuing to be a church community together, sometimes in new and creative ways.
–Deacons Commission

Save the date for the next Safe Sanctuary training on Sunday, February 6th from 10:30am-11:30am. This training will take place in the fellowship hall but will be available over zoom too. Please email Renee for a link if you’d like to join via zoom. Please plan to attend if you are a mentor, youth/child Sunday School teacher, sponsor, or Wednesday night club leader and did not attend a training this past fall. 

The new Library Theme is focusing on the state of Kansas.  Check out the many books that celebrate Kansas. Also, a couple of 2000 piece puzzles in excellent condition have been donated to the library. We are using them as a fundraiser. We are asking for a minimum donation of $5 for one puzzle. Just place your donation in the basket or give it to the committee person on duty. We look forward to seeing you in the library and let us know of any addition you would like us to add to our collection. Library Committee

N95 Masks Again Available at BCMC
We again have high quality N95 masks available for those who need them.  They are available inside the south entrance of BCMC. These masks are particularly useful if you are at high risk of severe COVID 19 and you need or want to participate in a more high risk activity. While no mask creates absolute safety, wearing a well-fitted N95 mask can reduce your risk and make activities safer. This includes activities such as a trip to the grocery store, watching a basketball game, or going to the doctor’s office. Part of the rationale behind these masks offered at BCMC is to provide N95 masks for those who may not be able to navigate online purchasing options.  N95 masks are not readily available in our local stores.  If you know of someone who would benefit from an N95 mask, please pass this information on to them, or stop by the church and grab one for them. 

A Reminder about potential Spam calls, emails, or texts
This is just a reminder about possible spam calls, emails, or texts that look like they came from pastors or others in your contact list.  Look carefully at the phone number the message comes from.  If it is not familiar then it is possibly spam. Don’t answer these messages.  If you have questions about a message, please feel free to call the church office.

An Article from the BCMC Inclusion Task Group
Solving Gender Confusion

Several weeks ago, I drove through Starbucks to try one of their holiday cold brew coffees. After ordering, I approached the window to pick up my coffee and, based on the voice through the speaker, expected to see a young man. I have no idea the gender of the person I saw at the window! They presented as female in clothing, makeup, and jewelry, but appeared to be otherwise male and spoke with a deep voice which sounded male. They were friendly and engaging, and seemed like someone I would enjoy having as a friend.

I was curious about that person’s gender identity and told a friend about my experience. But my friend asked me, “What difference would it make to know their gender? Would it change how you treat them?” And that is what matters. How we treat others is what really matters, not our confusion about their identity.

Fortunately, there is a way to alleviate the confusion we feel. The LGBTQ+ community has started identifying themselves by name and by pronouns to help resolve the confusion. And it helps if the rest of us follow their example as a way to include ourselves in community with them. 

Some people use the traditional male and female pronouns and it’s consistent with their appearance. For someone who is transgender and is still in the process of changing their gender, their preferred pronoun may not match our expectations based on their appearance. Others with more fluid gender identify, who may not feel they are being honest if they limit themselves to one gender identity, prefer pronouns which we have always understood to be plural. Again, we may feel confused. A plural pronoun for an individual? That’s a grammar problem, right?

It not as big a problem as we might think, however. Our language has been solving this problem for centuries. We have been using the plural pronouns “they” and “their” to refer to an individual person when we are speaking about an anonymous individual. For example, “Someone lost their car key in the Dillons parking lot, so I turned it in to Customer Service. I hope they get it back.” Clearly this is a single key belonging to one individual, yet this is an example of how we commonly use plural pronouns to refer to an unknown individual. (See this column from NPR:

We also have used male pronouns with the understanding that they include both male and female. Until they really refer to males only. As we have learned, all men are created equal until we don’t include women or people of color.

As a bit of a grammar geek, how we use words and grammar is important to me. I continue to remind myself that language is fluid and changes with the needs of the people who use it. As we learn more about other foods and cultures, we add words to our language, some words acquire new meanings, and some words are no longer appropriate. It may annoy me that a coworker used the word “literally” in ways that were clearly NOT literal, but I learned to accept that is part of how language changes and it is becoming acceptable use. In the history of the English language, other words have changed to mean the opposite of their original meaning and humanity survived! I am trying to be comfortable with the idea that grammar “rules” are more descriptive and prescriptive. My parents had to learn to accept the use of the word “cool” in ways that didn’t mean “slightly cold” and I can learn to use words new ways also. I am learning to feel more comfortable using plural pronouns to refer to an individual even when I think I know what gender they should be. We all have the right to our own identities. It is appropriate to clarify how our names are pronounced and it is becoming appropriate to identify our preferred gender.

So, when you see or hear someone listing their preferred pronouns when they identify themselves, remember that it can mean one or all of the following:  They are choosing to share how they see themselves. They are trying to alleviate confusion they know they may be caused by their appearance. They are telling you that they are supporting and identifying with a community that may include those whose gender is confusing to others.

As a supporting congregation, it is a way we can celebrate the diversity in the people around us!

Karen Ediger (she, her)
Inclusion Task Group

Click here for a pdf of the above article:  Solving Gender Confusion

Bethel College Announcements
Now in the Regier Gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center at Bethel College – Ernest Vincent Wood III, “Redefining,” 
through Feb. 24 (closing reception Feb. 24). Gallery hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 5 – Kauffman Museum first-Saturday bird walk, 8 a.m. start time in the museum parking lot at the corner of Main and 27th streets in North Newton. Experienced birders lead a walk of 1-1.5 hours in Chisholm Park and on Sand Creek Trail (terrain is mostly wood-chip path and sometimes uneven/sloping).

Tues., Feb. 8 – Bethel College Organ Recital Series with Dr. David Pickering of Kansas State University, 7 p.m., Administration Building chapel. Current Bethel COVID protocols require masking indoors regardless of vaccination status.
Fri., Feb. 11– Guest recital with Bethel College Professor Emeritus of Music Don Kehrberg, oboe, 7 p.m., Administration Building chapel. Current Bethel COVID protocols require masking indoors regardless of vaccination status.

For Mennonite Creation Care Network newsletter click here
Mennonite World Conference click here
Mennonite Mission Network News from Around the World
 click here
Mennonite Mission Network News and Beyond click here
Mennonite Mission Network Urgent Prayer Request for Burkina Faso
 click here

Mountain States Mennonite Conference Men’s Retreat at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp is coming March 4-6, 2022. Despite last years cancellation, John Sharp has agreed to return and lead our weekend theme of “Bearing Witness in Places of Violence and Other Stories”. Retreat sessions include: “The MJ Sharp story” (to learn more, see recent book release, “Disarmed: The Radical Life and Legacy of Michael Mj Sharp”), “Stories of Humor, Humanity and Humility: Laughing so we don’t cry”, and concluding Sunday morning with “The Stories We Become”. Additionally, good music, food, fellowship, work (Friday workday projects) and play will be part of our time together. Whose up for a couple of “sheets” of Human Curling (an RMMC original)? While we look forward to gathering again in person with precautions, the goal is to livestream or record the worship sessions so the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic is not a barrier to experiencing even some of Men’s Retreat this year. As a result, online registration ( will include both in-person and virtual (worship sessions only) options.

Western District Conference invites you to visit our website to read the latest news, stories and announcements and share them with your congregation!

Mennonite Central Committee Announcements
Please join MCC in praying for peace and safety for everyone in Burkina Faso and Ukraine.
 MCC staff and partners are safe in both countries and are following security protocols. In Ukraine, there are two SALT participants from Kansas Micah Epp from North Newton and Aaron Ensz from Buhler, please keep them and their families in your prayers as well.
MCC is hosting a Young Adult Peacebuilders Training in Colorado from March 6-11! Young adults ages 18-30 are invited to participate in a rich, week-long experience that will provide opportunities to build new relationships, visit organizations doing powerful work in and around Colorado Springs, and apply Anabaptist, Biblical foundations of peace and justice to real world issues. This training will touch on themes of racial equity, immigration, mass incarceration, gun violence and conflict transformation. The gathering will take place at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp with visits to RAWtools and Casa de Paz. The participant fee is $200. All other costs (including travel, lodging and meals) will be covered by MCC. Register here. Questions? Contact
Take Action with MCC: Urge the Biden Administration to reverse the expansion of harmful “Remain in Mexico” policy. Find background information, a faith reflection and send a message to President Biden on this topic today.
MCC Central States Annual Meeting will take place virtually on Saturday, February 26 from 1-2:30 CST. Please email for a link to the Zoom meeting.
MCC SALT applications are due by February 15! Are you interested in learning a new language, visiting a new country and joining a new community abroad? SALT applications are now open! Through SALT, practice your skills in education, peace building, agriculture, community health care and more while connecting with the global Anabaptist community of faith. For priority consideration, submit your application by February 15th! Learn more at or contact Abby Endashaw, Young Adult Programs Coordinator at MCC Central States

Mennonite Mission Network Prayer Request:  Mennonite Mission Network requests prayer for Mennonite Bible School (formerly Bethany Bible School) in Mthatha, South Africa. Praise God for the visionary leadership of Reuben Mgodeli, and pray for the 41 church leaders who graduated this year.
Western District Conference Prayer Request:  Pray for the WDC Annual Assembly planning team looking ahead to preparations for our annual conference gathering, July 29-31, 2022.