Retreat at Camp Mennoscah – April 28, 2024

APRIL 28, 2024


There will be no worship service in the Bethel College Mennonite Church building this Sunday, April 28  Please come join the worship service at Camp Mennoscah at 10 a.m.  If you are coming for breakfast, it will be served from 8 to 9 a.m.  Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m.  The service from Camp Mennoscah will not be live-streamed.

There will be 3 baptisms in the Ninnescah River at the worship service this Sunday.  Their faith statements appear below.

A complete schedule of the BCMC Camp Mennoscah Retreat can be found at this link: BCMC Mennoscah Retreat Information.

Faith Statements of Bethel College Mennonite Church Baptism Candidates

Justin Zerger

Bethel College Mennonite Church has always been a place for my family to call home. Being able to officially join this community and commit to nurturing my faith while walking on the path God has set before me is an opportunity that I hold with great regard. BCMC is a community that laid the foundation of my faith journey and has guided me and watched me grow as a person and Christian. BCMC led me to Camp Mennoscah, a place where I first understood to invite God into the lead of my life, and one of the places this relationship still feels the strongest today. My decision to get baptized is my commitment to following Jesus as an example and incorporating the values of peace, love, forgiveness, and non-violence that the Mennonite community has instilled in me, into my everyday life. As a member of the Mennonite Church, I hope to be a nurturer of faith, a lending heart and hand, and a loving neighbor, as a gardener of God’s creation.

Lucy Burch

I’ve attended BCMC my whole life and found it to be a loving and welcoming community. There have been churches that I’ve visited, but BCMC has definitely been the church I’ve enjoyed the most. The friends I’ve made here have been very encouraging and helpful. My relationship with God has mostly been confusing my whole life. I wasn’t able to connect with God in my daily life but it was totally different at Camp Mennoscah and Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp. I’ve always felt God at Camp Mennoscah, usually while we’re singing or just enjoying nature. It has been an important place for me as it helped me to begin exploring my faith deeper. At RMMC, I see God through the relationships while people are playing games, working in the kitchen, or enjoying the mountains/nature. The environment there is very cheerful and it has also played a big role in my faith journey. Working in the kitchen at RMMC was very exciting for me. I got to work with some amazing friends and we saw our work pay off when everybody sat down to eat. I love being able to give back to my community by volunteering. It really puts in perspective how helping someone a little bit can go a long way. As I continue my faith journey, I would also like to give back to the church. I want to be as kind and as welcoming as the rest of our community has been to me. 

Mara Oswald

When I was younger, I attended New Creation Fellowship Church in Newton. New Creation began the foundation for my faith journey. From music, to worship, to prayer, I started to develop my understanding of the way I wanted to follow Jesus. In elementary school, I attended my first year of Camp Mennoscah. Camp has become one of the places in which I feel the strongest connection to my faith. Every year I attend camp, I continuously learn more about myself through music, food, nature, and fellowship.  Around 5th grade, my mom suggested I begin attending Wednesday night activities at Bethel College Mennonite Church. I started by attending cherub choir, then bell choir, now youth group, and Sunday services. BCMC welcomed me as I created new friendships while strengthening my connection with the church. Wednesday nights offered experiences I’d never had before, and the opportunity to grow my community came at a time when I needed it most. I especially value the time of year when we have supper in fellowship hall. Getting to spend time with my grandparents and other members of the church has particularly helped me in grounding my faith with BCMC. I cherish the moments in which I get to learn new things. These activities better lead me in the direction of how to become more established in the beliefs I have been connected to since birth. As I’ve grown older I’ve begun to pay closer attention to sermons, and I can achieve a better understanding of the structure of church. Without my participation in attending Camp, New Creation, and BCMC, I would not be able to develop my faith as it is today. I’m grateful for the practices I have learned, the beliefs I hold, and the community I have built while getting older. I am particularly excited to see where this step in my faith journey takes me, and I thank everyone who helped me get here.

Roger Neufeld Smith’s Whereabouts
Roger will be back in Newton on Wednesday, May 1 and return to Topeka on Sunday, May 5. Roger checks his email and phone regularly.  Feel free to contact him via email, text or phone (785-220-1968.)

The Next Week at BCMC:  April 28-May 5, 2024
Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, 2024—Camp Mennoscah Retreat

BCMC Retreat at Camp Mennoscah—There will be no worship service in the BCMC building on Sunday, April 28
Tuesday, April 30, 2024
4:30 p.m.    Abuse Prevention and Response Committee meeting in Rm 14
Wednesday, May 1, 2024
7:30 p.m.   Chancel Choir rehearsal in the Sanctuary
Thursday, May 2, 2024

4 p.m.         Staff Congregation Relations Committee meeting in Room 14
7 p.m.         Church Board meeting in Room 14
Saturday, May 4, 2024—Candidating Weekend
Sunday, May 5, 2024—Candidating Weekend Continues
9:30 a.m.    Worship with sermon by Joanna Harader; music by
Chancel Choir; Sharing and Q & A with Joanna 
4 p.m.          Woven and Open Road (a cappella women’s and men’s
ensembles from Bethel College) Concert in the Sanctuary

BCMC Offering for April 21, 2024:  General Fund $9,722.50; Caring Fund $790; Kitchen Fund $32; Women’s Fellowship $550; Solar Fund $1,500.

Thank you, Barbara Thiesen! 
A huge THANK YOU to Barbara Thiesen for her eight years as BCMC Music Coordinator (the last two as co-coordinator with Verlene Garber). We have appreciated your attention to detail as you gave leadership and scheduling oversight to special music, organists, ensembles, maintenance of instruments, and so much more. Barbara will be leaving this position as of May 31.

Music Co-Coordinator Position at BCMC — BCMC is looking for a Music Co-Coordinator. This is a 12-month part-time position that is shared with Music Co-Coordinator Verlene Garber. This position is responsible for overseeing and scheduling keyboard maintenance, music ensembles, organists, special music, etc. We hope to have the position filled by June 1. Inquiries may be addressed to Esther Kreider Eash, Chair, BCMC Worship Commission at Application forms are available from Monica Lichti, BCMC Office/Facilities Manager at 316-283-3667 or  

Living With Loss Support Group
Living with Loss support group will be offered May 7th through June 11th.  The support group is open to all who have experienced the death of a loved one, divorce, unemployment or any other life experience that has created grief.
Living with Loss support group is co-facilitated by Elizabeth Schmidt, Pastor for Congregational Care at Bethel College Mennonite Church, and Dr. Gary Blaine.  Dr. Blaine is a retired chaplain and certified in grief counseling and grief group facilitation, as well as palliative care and hospice care.
The meetings will last six weeks, beginning at 5:30 P.M. at Bethel College Mennonite Church.  The support group is open to anyone and requires a minimum of six participants for the group to form.  The cost is $10.00 per week.  The group will gather for six weeks.  The group will be closed to new participants after the second session.
To register, please call Pastor Schmidt at (316) 283-3667 or Dr. Blaine at (316) 239-5474.
— Elizabeth Schmidt

Candidating Weekend is May 3-5, 2024

Candidating weekend for our pastoral candidate, Joanna Harader, will be May 3-5. Below is a biography of Joanna Harader, and a schedule of candidating weekend events. We encourage all to participate in the opportunities to get to know Joanna and her husband, Ryan Ellett. The congregational vote on whether to call Joanna as our Co-Pastor will be May 19, during the congregational meeting. The vote has been scheduled for two weeks following Joanna’s candidating weekend because Sun., May 12 is Bethel College Baccalaureate at BCMC. 
BCMC Pastor Search Committee
Joanna Harader to Candidate at BCMC May 3-5, 2024 
Joanna is currently the pastor at Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, Kansas where she’s served as its pastor since June 2006 – just shy of 18 years. She is a gifted preacher, teacher, and advocate for the marginalized, and skilled at making Scripture relevant to our lives today. Those who know her well describe Joanna as authentic, compassionate, and patient. She is well-grounded in Anabaptist beliefs and is an active and accomplished writer. Generating worship materials that echo Scripture in a contemporary setting gives her joy.
Joanna grew up in the American Baptist tradition, the child of two pastors. She was drawn to the Mennonite faith while in graduate school, when she and her husband became members of Peace Mennonite. It was her experience at this congregation, along with teaching Bible and theology classes at Ottawa University (Ottawa, KS), that drew her to Mennonites and to being a pastor. Joanna holds a BA in creative writing from Emory & Henry College (now Emory & Henry University at Emory, VA), a Master of Theological Studies from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Theological Seminary at St. David’s, PA), a Master in English Literature from the University of Kansas at Lawrence, KS, and a Master of Divinity from Central Baptist Theological Seminary at Shawnee, KS.
Joanna and her husband, Ryan Ellett, have served as foster parents and currently have three young adult children and one 3-year-old granddaughter. James and Jasmine, along with granddaughter Camilla, live and work in Lawrence. Grace is in her second year of college, currently studying abroad in Chile. Ryan, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in curriculum and development, works with the Lawrence school system and plans to remain in his current position for the immediate future, which means Joanna and Ryan plan to maintain two households. If BCMC calls Joanna, she will be full-time with BCMC.
Joanna joyfully relates to college students and at the request of some students from KU formed a Bible study group on campus. She enjoys playing board games and has a soft spot for her cat and her dog, Toni, who would move with her to Newton. Joanna allows you to be yourself without being judged and without fear that your problems, personality, or questions will overwhelm her. She is grounded in prayer and has chosen the Mennonite expression of faith.  Below is a picture of Joanna and Ryan

Candidating Weekend Schedule
Joanna Harader at BCMC
May 3-5, 2024

Friday, May 3
7:00 p.m. Dessert with Indigenous Justice group at Doug and Raylene Penner’s 
(25 Lakewood Circle, North Newton)*
Saturday, May 4
7:30 a.m. Breakfast with Search Committee at Ron & Lois Preheim’s (3005 South Kansas Rd, Newton)*
9:15 a.m. Meet with Monica Lichti at Church Office, BCMC
9:45 a.m. Meet with church staff, Room 14, BCMC
10:30 a.m. Meet with Staff Congregation Relations Committee, Room 14, BCMC
11:15 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m. Meet with Worship Commission in Chapel, BCMC
12:15 p.m. Lunch with Church Board in Fellowship Hall
1:45 p.m. Tour church with John Waltner, Jeanette Leary (Community Playschool) and Facilities Committee representative*
Meet and Greet Sessions with Sunday School classes, Gathering Place, BCMC
2:30 p.m. Open Circle and Seekers SS Classes
3:15 p.m. Fine Arts and Fellowship SS Classes 
4:00 p.m. Break
4:15 p.m. Issues and Christianity and Catacombs SS Classes
5:00 p.m. Bible Study SS Class and anyone unaffiliated with a SS class 
6:00 p.m. Supper with Deacon Commission and spouses, at Wes and Ada Schmidt-Tieszen’s (209 SE 2nd St, Newton)* 
7:30 (ish) View potential housing option in North Newton 
Sunday, May 5
9:00 a.m. Mic check
9:30 a.m. Worship at BCMC, Joanna will preach and provide the Childrens’ Conversation
10:45 a.m. Sunday School elective, Joanna will share her faith journey and there will be a Q&A time, Sanctuary*
12:00 p.m. Lunch with Agape class and Youth, Fellowship Hall*
1:30 p.m. Meet and greet with BCMC members at Kidron (Classroom A)*
3:00 p.m. Closing session with Search Committee (Classroom A)*
*Ryan Ellett will join these sessions.
The vote to call Joanna to BCMC will take place during the congregational meeting on May 19, 2024.

Bethel College Announcements
TODAY (Sun., April 28) – Masterworks concert at Bethel College, 4 p.m.
, featuring the Bethel College Oratorio Chorus, orchestra and soloists, performing Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, with Dr. Henry S. Waters conducting; Memorial Hall
Tues., April 30 – Bethel College Voice Studio recital, Soyoun Chun, instructor, 7 p.m.Administration Building chapel
Weds., May 1 – Jazz on the Green at Bethel College, 7:30 p.m. (rain venue: Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center)
Sat., May 4 – Kauffman Museum bird walk, 7 a.m. start time in the museum parking lot at the corner of Main and 27th streets (2801 N. Main St., North Newton 67117). 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).
Sun., May 5 – Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum with Stan Senner of the National Audubon Society, 3 p.m.Kauffman Museum auditorium. Senner will speak on “Birds and Birding Connect Kansas to the World.”
Sun., May 5 – Woven and Open Road joint concert, 4 p.m.Bethel College Mennonite Church (NOTE TIME CHANGE)
Now in the Regier Gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center at Bethel College – Senior Art Exhibit II, featuring the work of Morgan Marsh. Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 2-4 p.m.

Hesston College Announcement

May 10 – International Chorale Concert 

The Hesston College International Chorale kicks off their biannual European tour with a performance at Hesston Mennonite Church on Friday, May 10 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The chorale consists of members from the Bel Canto Singers and the Global Voices choir. The performance is free to the public and available via livestream at

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp Announcement
Volunteer opportunities for RMMC
. Rocky Mountain is seeking volunteers to assist with camps this summer. The ministry at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp is possible because of the dedication of countless volunteers. Available short term positions are typically two weeks or less with help needed in food service, maintenance and housekeeping. Our goal is to do our best at matching the needs of the camp with the ability, gifts and talents of our volunteers. Please call us to discuss your willingness and desire to join us or visit our volunteer page Thank you for your support!

Come join us for “A Century of Mennonite Quilts” at the Wellness Center at Pine Village by Moundridge on Saturday, May 4 from 9:00 to 4:00 and Sunday, May 5 from 1:00 to 4:00 for a display of 110 years of Mennonite art expressed through fabric. We will have quilts representing all the decades from the 1920’s to the 2020’s, and most of the reasons, methods, and sources of materials. This is one of the events celebrating 150 years since our ancestors came to the US from the Ukraine in 1874.  All are welcome to appreciate the beauty and talent of many resourceful people who used fabric they had or created new designs.  Donna Zerger and her Quilt Committee are bringing over 50 quilts to show you. 

For Mennonite Mission Network “News and Beyond” press here
Western District Conference invites you to visit our website to read the latest news, stories and announcements

For Mennonite Mission Network “News from around the world” press here
For Mennonite World Conference “Info” press here

Mennonite Church USA Announcements

The Mennonite Church USA Executive Board, meeting via Zoom on March 15-16, 2024, affirmed a clean audit and a new strategic plan that seeks to reimagine church in new ways. Read more here:

The Schowalter Foundation, North Newton, Kansas, has provided $10,000 to fund up to four semester-long internships at the Mennonite Church USA Archives and to help digitize fragile resources in 2024. Oscar J. Murguia, a third-year history major at Goshen (Indiana) College, has been awarded the 2024 spring semester internship. Read more here:

Menno Snapshots

Dr. Lesley F. McClendon presented this devotional at the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board meeting recently. She reflects on what reimagining the church means and how we can stay true to the gospel message, while also accommodating our rapidly changing needs as a culture. Read it here:

Request an MC USA staff person to speak at your assembly, congregation, Sunday school or event. Learn more here:

Mennonite Mission Network Prayer Request:  Mennonite Mission Network requests prayer for Jonah and Memee Yang, who minister in Thailand from a base in Minnesota. Pray for them as they travel to Thailand twice per year to teach Hmong and Thai students in Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary’s Journey Program (Jonah) and through Mennonite Women’s Sister Care seminars (Memee).
Western District Conference Prayer Request:  We welcome the season of Spring this month. It is a time of planting seeds, the leaves and perennials returning, new birth, and the fresh restoring rains. Please pray with us for our church plant pastors and leaders. We ask for them to be filled with the joy, love and energy for their work. We ask for showers of blessings. -WDC Church Planting Commission


Bethel College Mennonite Church is an open and affirming congregation
centered in the life and teachings of Jesus. Embracing the divine within each person, we warmly welcome any and all into fellowship without regard to race, ethnic background, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability,
economic status, marital status, or age.