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This week at FMC

August 12-18, 2020

We need to lament, mourn, wail, and grieve.

During the past few years, as I have studied trauma, I realized that our culture tends not to lament and grieve. I think the lack of lament creates more trauma because “our bodies keep the score”–our bodies remember what has happened to us. If we do not express lament, it comes out in different forms: anger, depression, addictions, blame, fear, and/or fleeing difficult situations – emotionally or physically. The lack of lament can make us dis-eased.

I received a devotional book on the stages of spiritual transformation this spring. Lament and pruning, epiphany and illumination, and union and invitation are some of the phases for spiritual transformation. We grieve and lament what is going on around us and/or within us; we wait for a movement of God or a new understanding; and if this understanding is from God this new understanding will deepen our relationship with God and create a desire for unity with others.

The danger of lament is if we do not experience a Godly epiphany, we can seek to blame others for our feelings of anger, fear and desire for self-protection. This is described by Michael McRay in the book I Am Not Your Enemy” which we are reading together. “We humans tend to do our worst when we’re afraid. Fear leads to hatred and hatred leads to violence and violence leads to fear, which leads to hatred, which leads to violence. If we don’t address this deadly cycle, it can loop forever.” (25)

Healthy lament and grieving stories involve waiting in pain and sadness. Then there is a moment that we can not create, that comes from God, of experiencing a new understanding; this leads us to sharing with others, to help or to be with others in a healthy way. Unhealthy stories lead to fear of the “other,” which creates blame and division with others.

There are many lament stories in scripture – some healthy, some not. In my opinion, the middle of Job is not healthy, but the end of Job is healthy. Paul summarizes a healthy process in 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 — we have a ministry of reconciliation.

One of the roles of the church is a ministry of reconciliation, which I believe means being with people who are struggling and hurting, inviting folks to stay with the process, not seeking the easy path of fear and blame, celebrating the movement of God, and joining God by returning to others who are struggling and hurting.

Last week, I was sharing this process with a friend who was hurting. After I encouraged her to stay with the process, her eyes lit up. She said, “I remember a time when I was hurting, and I felt a healing touch from God, and then I wanted to go out and be with others who were going through this. I have done this before, I can wait to have it happen again.”

Let us lament together. Let us wait for God together. Let us go forth together.

—- Pastor Jim

Calendar for this week

Check your email each week for the coming Sunday’s live-stream (email if you need help!)

Sunday, August 16: UNRAVELED: Seeking God When Our Plans Fall Apart

Job’s Lament & Loss – Seeking Understanding When Everything Has Fallen Apart

Job 28:12-28

Preaching: Tyler Gehring
Worship Leader: Jim Unruh
Children’s Time: Stephanie Gehring
Scripture Reader: Jim Unruh
Pianist: Tonya Ramer Wenger
Sound: Jasper Nisly
Live Stream: Jonathan Wenger


During each worship service, you are invited to text your prayer joys and concerns – usually to Pastor Tonya but sometimes it will be someone else, and we’ll give you that info at the time!! Please continue to send announcements ahead of time if you can, and it’s just fine to call or send your prayer concerns ahead of time too.


We are ready for a few more individuals to be present on Sunday mornings during our live stream of worship in addition to those leading worship. Masks and physical distancing required. Please let Pastor Tonya know if you’d like to come on a particular Sunday (let her know by the Friday before the Sunday you want to come so she can plan accordingly). For the next few Sundays, we will keep the total number of people in the sanctuary fairly small (around 15). Decision making about possibly increasing this number will be on the August 20 CMT agenda, and will be informed by recommendations from the Re-Opening Taskforce (Carol Moore, Joretta Martens, Dohn Fast, Todd Esau, and Pastor Tonya).

Deepening in Christ


On Tuesdays and Thursdays between 11:00am-2:00pm, you are welcome to come to pray on your own in the sanctuary, following the procedures posted in the sanctuary.


This Sunday, August 16, we’ll consider “Job’s Lament and Loss (Job 28:12-28) – Seeking Understanding When Everything Has Fallen Apart (Tyler Gehring preaching). Job searches for an explanation for his suffering. How do you seek to make meaning of your own pain? What might you want to hear from a friend in the midst of inexplicable grief?

Prayer Prompt:

“God, when everything falls apart and I have no answers, provide ……………….. for me so that my great unraveling can turn into awe for the wonders of your expansive mystery and presence. AMEN.”

Send your completed prayer prompts to Pastor Tonya to be woven into our prayer medallion on the communion table.


Pastor Tonya and Julie Goering will be in touch with those participating in this group about plans for discussion. What we’re looking toward is an opportunity to gather in-person once toward the end of August and then to meet weekly on Zoom beginning in September to discuss each chapter. So, keep reading, pondering and noting your thoughts and questions as you go! If you haven’t picked up or paid for your book yet, remember to do that as well.

UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! devotional magazines

The new issues of both magazines to begin in September are available above the mailboxes.


Pastor Tonya will be participating in a week-long virtual Clergy Spirituality and Leadership retreat August 13-20. She will be available for emergencies, will respond to emails/texts/calls, and will be spending most of her time that week on retreat. The retreat includes extensive class/resourcing time, peer group reflection, and 24 hours of silence August 17-18. The focus is on deepening in spiritual practices, discernment, Spirit-led leadership, and worship. This opportunity is offered through the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation which Tonya is a graduate of (completing their 18 month Clergy Spirituality and Leadership Program in 2008-2009).

Strengthening Community Connections


Let the church office or Pastor Tonya know if you are willing!!

Stretching to serve as Christ served


The Salvation Army and Inter-faith Housing Services are currently accepting donations on behalf of First Call for Help. Personal care/hygiene items such as these are appreciated: toilet paper, laundry detergent, bath soap, Kleenex, deodorant, disposable razors, paper towels, shampoo, dish soap, hand/body lotion. Travel size – new & unopened – are desirable.

Food bank donations may be brought to the Salvation Army. At this time the Food Bank is particularly in need of the following: tomato soup, cream of mushroom soup and green beans.


Racial Justice from the US to Palestine: The Western District Conference Israel-Palestine Task Force invites you to a virtual conversation on racial justice. Palestinians Alex Awad and Jonathan Kuttab join US citizen Sarah Nahar. They’ll share their own experiences of injustice and hope and discuss the similarities in both contexts. Join us for this free live event on WDC’s Facebook page on September 21, 7 pm Central Time. You’re welcome to donate to WDC at:


Men and Boys Retreat 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!


Support Mennonite Central Committee and celebrate MCC’s centennial with a new shirt, hoodie, tea towel, bag or hat! Check out this online store set up by the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale to place your order today (pssst, it’s never too early to start Christmas shopping!). and start shopping to support MCC!


MCC is hosting virtual alumni gatherings for four of the world regions where MCC works: Latin America and Caribbean, Asia, Europe & Middle East and Africa. And you are invited! Join us for this special time to hear updates from Area Directors about current programming, share stories of service experiences and engage in small group discussions to connect with your MCC friends or meet others who served in the same world region. Find out specific dates, times and register Questions? Please contact or call 316.283.2720.

MENNONITE LIFE 2020 issue – online journal available

The 2020 issue of Mennonite Life, Bethel College’s online journal, is live, 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.


Do you have skills with a sewing machine? If so, you can help provide a safer campus for our students, faculty, and staff by making masks.

Click here to find the CDC pattern for an easy project, or use any simple mask pattern you already have.

You can drop masks off at Thresher Shop in Schultz Student Center, or send them to:

Masks for Threshers

Bethel College Advancement Office

300 E. 27th St.

North Newton, KS 67117

If sewing isn’t your thing, you can donate to the Masks for Threshers fund here.


Everence will host a Social Security and retirement income planning webinar, on Tuesday, August 11 at 6:30 p.m. Attendees will learn about Social Security strategies, risks that can impact retirement savings and strategies to help income last throughout retirement. The workshop is free. Register soon by contacting our office at 316-283-3800, 877-467-7294 or


During these trying times, our thoughts go out to you and your congregation as you navigate the ever-changing landscape caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We pray for you and ask that you continue to pray for us and God’s mission around the world.

Due to the current challenges and in-person limitations brought about by COVID-19, we have decided to send Beyond Faith in Action flier to you electronically rather than the usual printed version. You can link to the online version here: Beyond: Faith in Action | Mas Allá: Fe en acción

(or at this link: and click on the publication Faith in Action).