Supportive Communities Network
Why Should BCMC Join SCN?
BCMC is discussing the possibility of joining the Supportive Communities Network. There are a number of reasons to join SCN and some advantages. We have had a Welcoming Statement in our church bulletin and on our website for almost 20 years, but there is more we can do to live up to that statement. The statement itself relates primarily to membership and it is time for us to think in terms of participation and how our language and the building itself reflects our affirmation of welcome.
Why should BCMC join SCN?
Because it matters. Unfortunately, many churches of all denominations, as well as some Mennonite churches, actively discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer+ people in their congregational life and in the institutional practices of the denomination. Potentially, this means that the church is experienced as a harmful place by many LGBTQ+ people. As a result, they have to assume that church is not a safe place for them unless we specifically let them know that we are open and affirming of LGBTQ+ people. Joining SCN lets them know we are a safe place for them.
This is especially important for young people, including Bethel College students, who may be in the process of “coming out.”
These are the reasons suggested by SCN and others for church communities to join SCN:
- “Coming out” as publicly affirming identifies the community as a “safe space” for LGBTQ+ individuals and their families. It provides LGBTQ+ people and the people who love them with some assurance that they will not be subjected to overt harm. It is an act of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. It is an invitation to those who may want to learn more about affirming LGBTQ+ persons within a Christian framework.
- Being publicly affirming suggests that the community has educated itself about issues of sexuality, so that an openly LGBTQ+ person knows they will not suddenly become a topic of controversy and discussion or that their presence in the congregation or community will suddenly be questioned.
- Being publicly affirming indicates to questioning or struggling youth, young adults, and Bethel College students that the church or community is a place where it is safe to discuss issues related to sexual identity. This is very important as LGBTQ+ youth have a statistically higher incidence of suicide because of their lack of mentors and support.
- Being publicly affirming shifts the onus of responsibility for explaining their position away from the LGBTQ+ community and onto those who would challenge the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in the community.
- Being publicly affirming indicates a concern about the institutional church, MC-USA, and BCMC in particular. The level of hostility and fear that the church frequently exhibits towards LGBTQ+ people damages and diminishes the soul of the institution. Dissenting from the church’s fear and rejection of LGBTQ+ people is an act of faithfulness and hope because it witnesses to a more loving way of being church together.
- Being publicly affirming is a symbolic act of prophetic witness to MC-USA and to the broader community, indicating a commitment to justice, hospitality, and the dignity of each human individual.
- Being publicly affirming connects a community with other communities who are serious about welcome, creating a network of support and encouragement.
- SCN provides experience, wisdom, and resources in advising us on how to become more open, affirming, and supportive to better understand LGBTQ+ perspectives, struggles and gifts.
- By partnering with SCN, we will better be able to network with other regional Mennonite churches who advocate for LGBTQ+ interests.
- By learning how to partner with SCN and its work with LGBTQ+ communities, BCMC will better be able to partner with other organizations and learn a fuller welcoming, affirming, and supportive stance towards other groups who have been marginalized by society and the church.
- Being publicly affirming allows us to raise the youngest generation of our congregation to value all others and the gifts they bring.
Supportive Communities Network: https://www.bmclgbt.org/scn
With open and affirming heart, soul, and mind,
Inclusion Task Group—
Support the BCMC Sr High Youth Group in their annual Soup Fundraiser (COVID style) on Sunday, March 7th!
This year, we will be doing a drive-thru soup fundraiser between 11:30am-1:00pm. Two kinds of hot and ready to eat soup will be available as well as bread and dessert. Click here to pre-order your soup and support this year’s youth group on a civil rights learning tour this summer! Email Renee as email@example.com if you have any questions.
Thinking about Becoming a Member at BCMC?
If you have been thinking about becoming a member of Bethel College Mennonite Church, please contact Pastor Nathan or the church office. We simply want to gage interest and discuss possible timeframes and educational formats for new members. I hope you will consider this small step towards possible membership. As our Welcoming Statement says, “Bethel College Mennonite Church welcomes into fellowship and membership all persons who confess faith in Jesus Christ, without regard to their race, ethnic background, gender, age, sexual orientation, education, ability, and other factors which give rise to discrimination and marginalization.“ May you feel welcome here.
As we get acquainted with our new hymnal, Voices Together, it’s natural to be curious about a few things. For example, where do the songs in Voices Together come from? In case you are wondering: 293 songs have text and tune from the Hymnal Worship Book (HWB); 94 songs have text and tune from Sing the Journey and Sing the Story (STJ and STS); 63 songs have text or tune from HWB, STJ, or STS; 17 songs come from the Mennonite Hymnal; and 293 songs are new to Voices Together (from ecumenical hymnals, newly written, etc.) Let Pastor Dawn and the Worship Commission know what you are wondering about!
Until the end of March, the Library Committee is highlighting books on Healthy/Unhealthy Relationships. New books have been purchased that fit into this category, some of which were recommended by our Pastors and will soon be ready for checkout. And, as a reminder, a Library Committee member will be staffing the Library every Tuesday from 10-Noon. New book titles, including donations are: When the Center Does NotHold by David Brubaker, Trauma and Grace by Serene Jones, Let’s Talk About Body Boundaries and My Body! What I Say Goes both by Jayneen Sanders, Walking the Bridgeless Canyon by Kathy Baldock, Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller, If I Were You by Lynn Austin and The Bridge to Bell Island by Julie Klaassen. Happy reading everyone!
February 12, 2021 offering at BCMC: General Fund $24,945; Jr Hi Fund $10; Living Stones $2,633.33
February 18, 2021 offering at BCMC: General Fund $12,635; Living Stones $1,065
Final week to see “After the End of the End of the World,” a collaboration between Rachel Epp Buller and Derek Owens, in the Regier Art Gallery, Luyken Fine Arts Center, at Bethel College. The exhibition closes Friday, March 5. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri. (Because of the pandemic, there will be no public reception for this exhibit.) Please note that face coverings must be worn and physical distancing practiced on the Bethel campus.
Weds., March 3, 7 p.m. – Bethel College’s two small a cappella ensembles, Open Road (men) and Woven (women) will be featured in the monthly concert series at Plymouth Congregational Church in Wichita, via livestream. To view, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NjlrPGFuTM (Plymouth Congregational Church, Wichita, on YouTube).
Western District Conference Announcements
1. WDC Gifts Discernment Committee seeks nominees: Do you know persons who can contribute to the ministry of WDC? The Gifts Discernment Committee invites suggestions of names to consider for positions on the Executive Board and Commissions. All suggestions are recorded for consideration in this or future years. For more information about the work and current members of these groups, see http://mennowdc.org/executive-board-commissions/. Nominees will be presented for affirmation by delegates at the WDC Annual Assembly, July 30-Aug. 1, 2021. Please contact WDC at firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-283-6300 to offer suggestions. Thank you!
2. Now What?! Post Pandemic Faith Formation: Do you want to talk with other people who care about faith formation? What have we learned about new ways of sharing the Jesus story in the past year? What will we lay aside? What questions remain unanswered? Join Kathy Neufeld Dunn and Resource Library Director Jennie Wintermote for a virtual dialogue Saturday, February 27, 9 am CST. To register, please email email@example.com for the Zoom link.
3. First Mennonite Church, 1161 E Ave A, McPherson is having a drive-thru verenika (with ham gravy and sausage) dinner on March 6 from 1-7pm or until the food runs out. This will be a free-will donation event with the proceeds going to the McPherson Housing Coalition. Phone: 620-241-4040
4. Save the date! Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 8 at 7:00pm for the Western District Women in Mission 2021 Spring Soiree! In lieu of our annual Spring Supper, gather with us for a virtual night of worship, music and a reflection on “Faith in Turbulent Times” offered by special guest speaker and freelance minister, Georgia Metz, M. Div. More details to follow soon.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
1. Verenike Casserole Fundraiser for Camp Mennoscah on March 13!Reserve your meal of verenike casserole, seasoned green beans, zweiback, and peach crisp online before March 7. You can also call 620-297-3290. This fundraiser supports the vital faith formation for youth and young adults that happens at camps and retreats. Pick up meals at Moundridge High School on March 13. Join in the fun to help make this return to summer youth camps as smooth and amazing as possible!
2. We are ready to rock! Preparation for the Amphitheater Improvement project was completed in the Summer of 2020 and we are ready to finish this project up. Work days are scheduled for the following days: March 12 to 13, March 26 to 27, April 2 to 3, April 9 to 10, May 14-15. These opportunities to get involved are on Fridays and Saturday, come on out for one or both days, and part or all day. Ask about lodging if you would like to stay overnight. A team of five volunteers will work from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm each day installing the the new stone benches. There will be stone to cut, move, clean and set along with a whole lot mortar to mix up. Bring a lunch and water bottle with you when you come, and plan to arrive at the North cabin area to check in around 9:00 am. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 620-297-3290 to volunteer for this project.
3. There are volunteer opportunities for you! Camp Mennoscah continually has year-round work to support the maintenance and upkeep of the campus and facilities. We can accommodate every group size, skill set and length of project you would like to tackle. Check out these ways to Get Involved! Email email@example.com or call 620-297-3290 to volunteer.
4. One Day Event for Grades 7-12! Camp Mennoscah’s Youth Volunteer Weekend is one full day of service projects, worship, lunch & socially distanced fellowship. Register online, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 620-297-3290. Masks are required.
5. Looking for kitchen staff and nurses! Camp Mennoscah is filling volunteer and stipend positions for kitchen staff and nurses for the upcoming 2021 summer. Contact Camp Mennoscah at email@example.com or call 620-297-3290 for available weeks and details. Kitchen staff can receive a scholarship up to full camp fees for their camper.
Mennonite church announcements1. Travel to three different locations all within the coastal region of Colombia with your Youth Venture team. Serve and play as you learn about history and peacemaking in Colombia. Visit MennoniteMission.net/YouthVenture for more information.
2. Service Adventure is accepting applications for the 2021-2022 service term! Grow in leadership and faith, as you spend a year serving and living in community with others your age and with unit leaders. Visit MennoniteMission.net/ServiceAdventure to learn more!
Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp Summer Youth Camp Programs – Goodness, what will the coming summer camp season look like? Well, we know we will continue to follow state and local guidelines in ensuring the safety of our campers and staff today, tomorrow and for the coming summer. Based on our CO COVID dial color (blue), we should all plan for our resident and wilderness youth camps to operate at a reduced capacity (40 for resident, normal for 10 for wilderness), a reduced length (Sunday arrival to Friday morning departure), and with amended practices/activities (i.e. mask wearing when inside, meal time separations, etc). Thankfully, being outside is our friend related to the coronavirus pandemic (always has been hasn’t it?). And the good news is that there is plenty of God’s creation and sunshine in the outdoors here at Rocky Mountain to go around. So have your sunscreen and your rain gear at the ready and let’s all breathe in the fresh mountain air together! With MANY moving parts and coordinations involved in offering a summer camp program (i.e. health care, housekeeping, camp registration, transportation, etc.), join us in taking things one step at a time, hoping, praying and planning to offer a fun and meaningful experience to our youth campers this summer.
Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp Summer Staff – Join us in looking forward to the summer ahead. Despite the unknowns of how the summer may play out, we know the safety of our campers, guests and staff will be a priority. We know camp will have sufficient funds to offer/subsidize our summer camp programs thanks to the Paying the Legacy Forward Campaign (only $15,000 more to go!), and we know those funds will allow us to hire the summer staff necessary to carry on the ministry of Rocky Mountain this summer. Join us staffers as we share the fruits of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control with all who come, fulfilling our mission to be a place of retreat and community in God’s creation. Apply today and or encourage others to apply online (rmmc.org) by visiting “Summer Staff Opportunities” page on the camp website under the “About Us” tab.
Mennonite Central Committee Alumni Gathering, July 9-11 at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp! All MCC alumni are invited to Colorado to relax in the cool mountain air this summer. We realize there is still uncertainty about summer activities due to COVID-19. At this point, we are planning to have this gathering, all registrations will be refunded if the event gets cancelled. We ask that you still go ahead and register if you plan to attend. Find all the details, including COVID-19 protocols that the camp is following and REGISTER at mcc.org/alumni-gathering.
Dear Prayer Partners,
The March 2021 Mennonite Mission Network PRAYER VINE is now available for download. The PDF is posted in theprayer resources section of our website and can also be downloaded directly by clicking the link below:
Download this month’s Prayer Vine (PDF)
The link to the March issue of Prayers for Mennonite Education is below. This is a monthly prayer resource prepared by Mennonite Education Agency (MEA), the education agency of Mennonite Church USA. These prayer requests were gathered from across Mennonite education, from early childhood – grade 12, undergraduate schools, graduate schools and seminaries, and MEA’s Hispanic Ministries Education programs. By partnering with these schools and helping them flourish, MEA works to strengthen the church through education. Thank you for joining us in prayer for our schools.
Prayers for Mennonite Education – March 2021
Mennonite Mission Network Prayer Request: Pray for Martine Audéoud as she teaches one of the first offerings in Mennonite Mission Network’s new online institute for peace studies in the French-speaking world.
Western District Conference Prayer Request: Pray for WDC congregations reaching out to support members and neighbors suffering economic hardship during this time.