December 25, 2022 — January 1, 2023


Based on CDC Guidelines Harvey County is back to yellow status indicating medium risk for COVID. You are invited to choose whether you wear a mask or social distance.  Both are optional.

To livestream the worship service:
On Sunday morning, around 9:20, go to BCMC’s webpage at and click the green button labeled LIVE STREAM on the right side of the screen, which will take you to the worship service. If you get a message in the black box that the video is unavailable, click the gray box belows that says “View Live Stream on YouTube”.   Anytime after the service concludes, you can watch a recording of the service at your convenience by clicking the same green LIVE STREAM button.  Again, you will probably have to go to the gray box that says “View Live Stream on YouTube”.  That will transfer you to the BCMC YouTube Channel.  You will have to click on the tab “Videos” to see all of the BCMC videos. Click the red button to see the bulletin/order of service. 
OR – click on this link for this Sunday’s worship service:

December 24, 2022 – Christmas Eve Services

The early Christmas Eve service will begin at 4:30 pm in the Sanctuary.
Live Stream Link is:

The Lessons and Carols Candlelighting service will begin at 11 pm in the Sanctuary.  Live Stream Link is:

December 25, 2022 – Worship Service for Christmas morning will beging at 10 am.  You are invited to bring snacks or Christmas goodies to share in a fellowship time after the service.  Coffee/water/tea will also be available.

Christmas Day December 25, 2022
Sing for joy: Your God reigns

Prelude— Mark Kreider
Advent Candle Lighting—Rebecca, Aaron, and Theo Tschetter
*Hymn—Hark! the Herald Angels Sing—VT 247
Welcome—Matt Schloneger
Call to Worship
Leader: Sing and shout; how great is our God!   The heavens praise your name; the earth proclaims your glory!
People: How beautiful are the feet on the mountain of those who bring good news.
Leader: Great is your peace, and great are your promises.
People: Your good news brings comfort to my soul. In my heart a new song cries out.
Leader: Sing hallelujah!
All: Our God reigns!
*Hymn—Oh, How Joyfully—VT 254
Hymn—Infant Holy, Infant Lowly—VT 243
Children’s Conversation—Esther Koontz
 *Hymn— O Come, All Ye Faithful—VT 241
Piano Solo—Mark Kreider
Scripture Readings—Isaiah 52:7-10; John 1:1-14—Adah Hodge, Barb Koontz
Meditation—Nathan Koontz
*Hymn—In the Beginning—VT 270
Prayers of God’s People
*Hymn—Angels We Have Heard on High—VT 249
*Benediction—Nathan Koontz
Postlude—Verlene Garber
* You are invited to stand
VT = Voices Together
Audio visual—Ben Lichti
Pastor—Nathan Koontz

The worship services on Jan. 1, 2023 will begin at 10 a.m.  There will be no Sunday school.   The congregation is encouraged to bring snacks/Christmas goodies to  share and enjoy after the service.
   —Hospitality Commissio

The Church office will be closed between Christmas and New Year’s day this year.   The Church office and building will be closed on January 2, 2023.  
New’s Year Reflection in Worship
We welcome Doug Penner to share his reflections on Micah 6:8 next Sunday on New Year’s day!  As we prepare for a new year, let us be thinking about ways that we seek to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. 

As we are in the holiday season that brings joy with the promise of new life and love birthed into our world, there is also grief as we miss those who have passed from this world in 2022.  In order to recognize and mourn the loss of our loved ones from 2022, Bethel College Mennonite Church is hosting a Service of Remembrance on January 8, 2023 at 4 pm, in the BCMC sanctuary.

Thank you to all who purchased poinsettias and made our church more festive for the Christmas season.  Thanks also to the many people who have contributed to the Advent and Christmas visuals at BCMC this year!  A special thanks goes to Susie and Bill Swartley for the sanctuary and entryway decorations; to Carol Peters for the outside Advent banners; to Kathy Stucky for the sanctuary poinsettias; to Matt Koontz and Josh Brubacher for hanging the Sanctuary banners each week; to Brenda Turner for the Gathering Space window decorations; and Glen Ediger for the Gathering Space nativity scene. The nativity set in this scene was donated by Rex and  Connie Esau.   Thank you so much for your contributions to enrich our holiday season! 

Thank you to Verlene Garber who is retiring as accompanist to the Chancel Choir, a position she has filled admirably since 2014!
Welcome to Will Wiebe-Friesen who begins in January as accompanist to the Chancel Choir.

Menno Ringers—All students 4th grade through 8th grade interested in ringing handbells are welcome!  Rehearsals begin Jan. 11, 2023, 6:30 pm in Room B7. 

The Finance Committee thanks you for your contributions to BCMC and its ministries throughout 2022.  Contributions received in today’s offering and before December 31 will also be counted for 2022 giving. 

Announcements From the Board:

Welcome to Elizabeth Schmidt, Congregational Care Coordinator!
 The BCMC Board is excited to welcome Elizabeth Schmidt as our Congregational Care Coordinator!  In addition to being our recent past church moderator, Elizabeth is a Bethel College graduate, has taken coursework for an MA in Theology at Illiff School of Theology, and has completed one unit of Extended Clinical Pastoral Education at Wesley Medical Center.  She was also Executive Director of Harvey-Marion County Community Developmental Organization from 2007 to 2019.  In this  new half-time position, Elizabeth will develop ways we can support each other, coordinate visitation for those in need of care, and work at welcoming and integrating those new to our congregation and at all stages of life.  Elizabeth will begin work on January 1. 

Preparations Underway for Roger Neufeld Smith, our Interim Pastor
January 1 will mark the beginning of work for Roger Neufeld Smith, our new half-time Interim Pastor.  He comes with 30 years of experience as pastor at Southern Hills Mennonite Church in Topeka and has recently been an interim pastor in Beatrice, Nebraska.  We will welcome him officially during the worship service on January 8 with his first sermon planned for January 15.  In addition to preaching about once per month, he will also work with committees and commissions and be involved with visitation in collaboration with Pastor Nathan and the Congregational Care Coordinator.  We are so pleased to begin our work with him!

Credence Report Task Group
The BCMC Board is constituting a small task group to oversee decisions and implementation of recommendations from the Credence and Company consultants.  Their work will begin after the first of the year.  If you would like to be involved with this group or a specific part of the recommendations, please feel free to contact Ada Schmidt-Tieszen, Moderator, or Brad Kohlman, Moderator-Elect.  Your input is always welcome.

The Library Theme for the month of December is Advent and or Christmas.
Adult books are displayed behind the Library desk and Everybody/Junior books are displayed on the cart in the Children’s Library.  Speaking of the cart, all the puzzles are currently located on the west wall of the library. So, come on in and check them out. And, we’ve received a large donation of books recently. Look for new books added to our collection in the next couple of weeks and displayed on the west wall.   Happy Holiday Reading!

I’ve been asked by The Etcetera Shop to ask for some extra volunteers for the next few weeks. Several volunteers have not returned to the shop,  one staff member has left and two are on emergency leave. If you could help out even for a few hours in the next few weeks, it would be very much appreciated. If you have not volunteered before, we could arrange orientation.  If you have questions,  call Elaine Schurr, 402-980-1809

Registration is beginning for the 2023 season of Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus (KMMC).  Those who sang last year will find a registration form in your church mail box.  We are working to recover after the pandemic.  Numbers were significantly down last year.  Please consider joining this year.  Please contact Joe Peters for registration forms.  We sing that others may live.

Raylene Hinz-Penner’s book East of Liberal released December 1.  
“Through elements of memoir, history, and philosophy of land use, a lover of her Mennonite farm childhood looks critically at farming’s impact on the land, comparing settler values of land ownership to those of first people who see themselves as owned by the sacred homeland.”  East of Liberal is published by Cascadia Publishing House.  It is available through Amazon and in the Kauffman
Museum  store.

College scholarships available:   Everence offers college scholarships for Everence members and their children. Eligible students receive scholarships up to $3,000 for the 2023-2024 academic year. Applications are accepted Jan. 1 through Feb. 28.Visit for eligibility guidelines and application.  Information is also available by contacting Jim Robb.

Everence Opportunities:   In this season of joy, find ways to give back and support your favorite charity.  Everence makes it easy. My Neighbor Card:  Everence donates 1.50% of every purchase you make to the charity of your choice.  Donor Advised Funds allows you to grow funds intended for charitable giving at any time. Please consider a charitable gift this holiday season.

Roots of Justice Anti-Racism training is being held January 13-15, 2023 at the Newton Rec Center.  If you would like to help support this event by bringing snacks, or helping with snack setup and cleanup, please sign up at the following link:
If you want to help but don’t want to use the link, call Margaret Toews at 316-258-8900, or email at

The Bethel College campus is closed from Dec. 22-Jan. 2 (reopening with regular business hours Tuesday, Jan. 3). Reverie Coffee Shop will be open during most of that time — see “Reverie Roasters at Mojo’s” Facebook page for hours and any updates. Advancement Office staff welcome visitors on Friday, Dec. 30, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Leisy House (corner of 23rd St. and Goerz Ave. in North Newton).

Now at Kauffman Museum on the Bethel College campus: “Reeds and Wool: Patterned Screens of Central Asia,”
 revived from 20 years ago in memory of the late John Sommer, who collected the screens, made by nomadic Kyrgyz women, and organized the original exhibit. Regular KauffmanMuseum hours are Tues.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 1:30-4:30 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays, so it will be closed today (Christmas Day) as well as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. There is a small admission charge for non-members. The museum store is open during exhibit hours with no charge to visit. See or the Kauffman Museum Facebook page.

Mennonite Central Committee Announcements

Project Coordinator-Burkina Faso / Voir la version française ci-dessous
 MCC is seeking a Project Coordinator responsible for mentoring and building capacity of local partners towards greater independence and sustainability and, alongside the MCC Burkina Faso Country Representatives, will assist in all planning, monitoring, and evaluating activities for various projects related to conservation agriculture, peace building, education, health, and emergency assistance. If you or someone you know might be interested, read more and apply by December 31, 2022 at

Seed Guatemala-El Salvador Coordinator (Español abajo) MCC is seeking a Seed Coordinator who will coordinate the second SEED Cohort for Guatemala and El Salvador. This position involves the planning, organization and implementation of a service, reflection and peacebuilding program with an intercultural team of young adults in the complex and enriching context of Guatemala and El Salvador. This position will be based in Guatemala and will be supervised by the MCC Representatives for Guatemala and El Salvador. If you or someone you know might be interested, read more and apply by December 31, 2022


I’m writing with the news that the winter issue of Intersections: MCC Theory and Practice Quarterly is available now on-line here and here. Compiled by Wade Snowdon, the issue features articles about how MCC develops young adult leaders.

As always, we welcome any feedback you have about this or other issues of Intersections! Send any thoughts, affirmations, critiques, and counsel you might have to Thanks for being a loyal reader!

Warm regards,
Alain Epp Weaver

Mennonite Church USA Announcements

Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) has named John Stoner and Clara Weybright as this year’s #BringThePeace awardees. Stoner received the Legacy Peacemaker award, and Weybright received the Young Peacemaker award. The awards are sponsored by MC USA’s Church Peace Tax Fund. Read more about the awardees here:

Save the date! Hope for the Future, an annual gathering of Black, Indigenous and people of color leaders from across Mennonite Church USA, will be held February 3-5, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more here:


Being transformed by moving across state lines while trusting in God’s plan for your life can cause one to realize that they are in fact not fully in control. Read more about Rachel Ringenberg Miller’s journey to serving as denominational minister for ministerial leadership for Mennonite Church USA:

Stay in the know about what’s happening in Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) by subscribing to PeaceMail, MC USA’s official news source. Subscribe to the weekly newsletter here: 

For Mennonite Creation Care Network press here

For Mennonite Mission Network News and Beyond press here

For Mennonite Disaster Service On the Level press here

For Mennonite Mission Network News from Around the World press here

Merry Christmas from Mennonite Church USA press here

Merry Christmas from Mennonite Mission Network press here

Merry Christmas from Mennonite Central Committee Central States press here

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

For Mennonite World Conference press here

Mennonite Mission Network Prayer Request:   Mennonite Mission Network offers a blessing for each member of your congregation on this Christmas Day. May we encourage one another to follow Jesus’ example and become incarnations of God’s love and peace in our communities, today and in the coming year.

Western District Conference Prayer Request:   On this Christmas Day, give thanks for the gift of Christ’s presence made tangible through the life and witness of WDC congregations.