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This week at FMC

December 8-14, 2021

Bread for Our Journey offers this prayer by  Bishop Desmond Tutu to help guide us in the second week of Advent (you can access the entire devotional here:  This prayer reminds us of what we might need to sweep out of our hearts and lives in order to make room for hope, peace, joy and love to grow.

Disturb us, God,

when we are too well-pleased with ourselves

when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little

because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, God,

when with the abundance of things we possess,

we have lost our thirst for the water of life

when, having fallen in love with time,

we have ceased to dream of eternity

and in our efforts to build a new earth,

we have allowed our vision of your eternity to grow dim.

Stir us, God,

to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas

where storms show your mastery,

where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

In the name of the One who pushed back the horizons of our hopes

and invited the brave to follow.


ALSO …. don’t forget about the invitation this week to gather with Maggie Pounds in the Common Grounds Room (on Wednesday from 5:30-6:00pm) for: “Housing the Holy”: A Time of Guided Prayer and Meditation.  This is an opportunity to take a gentle pause in the middle of the week and holiday season, to make space for the Holy in our hearts and in our lives through prayer and meditation.

—-Pastor Tonya

SUNDAY MORNING Worship In Person & Live Stream @ 9:30am

The link for Sunday morning worship (as well as archives of past worship services) is found on our website:! Join at 9:25am to see the announcements! 

REVISED STATEMENT (11/28/21) FROM CMT (Congregational Ministry Team) to the congregation regarding COVID precautions. 

This statement is based on recommendations from our COVID Response Team (Carol Moore, Joretta Martens, Todd Esau, Dohn Fast).

The COVID virus isn’t tired of us yet even though we all would like to be done with it.  Just this week we learned of a new variant named Omicron that is spreading globally and we don’t know yet how transmissible it is nor how well our vaccinations will protect us.  Hopefully that information will become available within the next two-four weeks.  Remember, right now the increase in cases reported are caused by the Delta variant and we know that being fully vaccinated and boosted reduces the seriousness of a COVID illness.  Therefore, CMT recommends that we continue to wear masks and practice social distancing while in the church building, especially during this time of increased exposure because of the holidays.

SUNDAY, December 12:  The Inn: Housing the Holy.  “How Much is Enough? (Joy)”

(Isaiah 12: 2-6; Luke 3: 10-14)

  • Preacher:  Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader & Scripture Reader:  Delon Martens
  • Children’s Time:  Stephanie Gehring
  • Pianist:  Peggy Stucky
  • Ushers:  Russ Wedel & Diane Ziemer
  • Nursery attendant:  Glenda Hooper
  • Sound:  Earl Ediger
  • Live Stream:  Jonathan Wenger

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES MEET @ 10:45am; no Sunday School on December 26.


During each worship service, you are invited to text your prayer joys and concerns – usually to Pastor Tonya.  You are also welcome to send prayer joys & concerns during the week.  The recording of our worship service is public, so let us know if you’d prefer your request to only be shared via email during the week.


Announcements are scrolled Sunday mornings before (beginning around 9:25) and after the worship service.  There will be no spoken announcements unless there are pressing announcements that did not make it into the PowerPoint.  Please send any announcements you’d like to have included by Thursday each week. 


  • December 17 – Alma Thiessen Memorial Service @ FMC (10:30am)
  • December 19 – Lessons and Carols worship
  • December 24 – 7:00pm Christmas Eve Worship for all ages

DEEPENING in Christ…


  • A Prayer group meets Thursday mornings from 10-11am in the Prayer Room.  All are welcome. 
  • A small ecumenical Centering Prayer group meets on ZOOM Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30-1:30pm.  If you’d like to learn more and receive the link to participate, contact Pastor Tonya. 


The pandemic has laid bare, and widened, economic disparity locally and globally. As we enter the Advent season, how can our churches become houses where the Holy will be born anew–offering respite, sustenance and care, opening the doors ever wider to those seeking shelter from the onslaught of life? No one church can do it all, but each can do something. As we study the biblical prophets that call us to care for our neighbors and “make room in the inn,” the lonely and frightened spaces within us are filled with the light of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. (created by Worship Design Studio)

This Sunday, December 12, we explore “How Much is Enough (JOY)” … As John baptized new converts, he invited them to live with “changed hearts and lives.” When asked how to do that, his answers all point to making sure no one is cheated or left without the basic necessities of life, including the right to not be harassed. A full life of joy, which the prophet Isaiah describes as an everflowing spring, is the birthright of all children of God. May we act to make it so.

  • December 12     Advent 3: “How Much is Enough?”
  • December 19     Advent 4: “A Room with a View”  (with Lessons and Carols)
  • December 24     Christmas Eve: “The Inn”
  • December 26     Sunday after Christmas: “Dwelling”

Check the STRETCHING section below for an announcement about a special ADVENT giving opportunity to Horizons Child Advocacy Center that will be coordinated with the Children’s Times in worship, but is for everyone to participate in!


  1. “Housing the Holy”:  A Time of Guided Prayer & Meditation led by Maggie Pounds.
    Wednesday, December 8, 5:30-6:00pm . . . Common Grounds Room @ FMC.
    This is an opportunity to take a gentle pause in the middle of the week and holiday season, to make space for the Holy in our hearts and in our lives through prayer and meditation.
  2. Bread for the Journey “At Home” resource for all ages, based on our “The Inn: Housing the Holy” worship series, will be made available via email on Friday of each week.  Let the church office know if you want to receive the link but are not currently on our email list! This week’s devotions can be found here:
  3. There is a lovely Musical Advent Calendar available online from Paraclete Press.  Each day there is a different musical selection.  You can find it here:  Musical Advent Calendar

FALL 2021 SUNDAY SCHOOL @ 10:45am

CHILDREN & YOUTH: Meet Jesus, the Messiah (SHINE Curriculum from MennoMedia)

  • PreK-Kindergarten (basement, room 3 – or outside)
  • 1st-5th grade (basement, rooms 1-2 – or outside)
  • 6th– 7th grade (all the way upstairs in the Jr Youth room – or outside)
  • 8th -12th grade (all the way upstairs in the Sr Youth room)


  • Younger Adults Class – meeting in the basement adult Sunday School Room
  • Adult Bible Study/Discussion – meeting in the basement fellowship hall.

Reminder: No Sunday School on the 5th Sundays of the month!! Also no Sunday School December 26.

UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! devotional magazines

REJOICE! and UPPER ROOM . . . new issues are available above the mailboxes.  Please let us know if you would like a copy mailed to you. 

STRENGTHENING Community Connections…


Thank you for your generous donations to the Senior Youth fund (coming in around $1600) and your participation in the Budget/Annual Meeting.  The 2022 Budget was approved as proposed, along with the Gifts Discernment slate.  Minutes from the meeting will be included in our weekly email (hard copies in the circular display next to the mailboxes) as soon as they are ready. 


We need your stories about life at FMC!  They can be stories from yesterday or 50+ years ago.  And … do you have pictures you could share?  We welcome pictures from the past, but more recent pictures as well! 

You can submit photos and stories easily on our website: where you can access a form to fill out and submit. Please share the above link freely with those you know who were at First Mennonite once upon a time and might have a story and/or pictures to share … maybe friends, relatives, children, etc.??   You can also email your response or put your stories and/or photos in the respective boxes available at church in the foyer.   

BEAUTIFUL SALT CITY PODCAST                                    

A future story tells us what we want (vision), why we want it (values), and how we will create it (resources). Our own Pastor Jim Unruh talks with people in our community to learn their life stories and to dream together for a future story for our beautiful salt city.  Find it here:  While new episodes are not being added right now, this is your chance to catch up on previous conversations!


  • Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am – 2:00pm  
  • Wednesday 10am-1pm 


  • Monday: Sabbath Day
  • Tuesday-Friday: generally working 9:00am-5:30pm  
  • Office Hours:  9-2 Tuesday and Thursday; 10-1 on Wednesday
  • Available other times by appointment.
  • Available evenings and weekends (cell phone is most reliable)

REMINDER:  If you are last one out of the church building, be SURE the doors lock behind you when you leave.  Go out, watch the doors latch, give both door handles a tug, and make sure they are locked!  Thank you.

STRETCHING to Serve as Christ Served…

CHRISTMAS GIVING OPPORTUNITIES . . . sharing Christ’s love this season with those near and far!


FMC children and families are specifically invited, as part of the Advent Children’s Times (but EVERYONE is welcome to participate!) to donate new or gently used toys to Horizon’s Child Advocacy Center (CAC) for their waiting room.  Bring your items (see below for suggestions) throughout Advent, and by the first Sunday after Christmas when we will bless the items to be donated.  There will be a box in the foyer for you to put your donations throughout Advent.

Horizons CAC is a program of Horizon’s Mental Health Center. This partnership allows for child victims of abuse to be immediately linked to therapeutic services upon their first visit to the CAC. They also offer the Personal Safety Awareness Program which partners with dozens of area school districts to inform the public of body safety strategies.  Some suggestions for donations (the target age is kids age 2-10 and items can be new or gently used):  popits or other small fidget toys, large size puzzles, Thomas the Train items, and picture books. The CAC encourages a variety of cultures represented in the toys and books. They would also welcome packaged snacks for the children and their siblings visiting the center. This program depends on grants and donations, so your support is much appreciated!


During Advent we’ll have a tree in the foyer to collect hats and mittens.  These donations will be taken to Salvation Army for distribution to persons in our community.

INFANT CARE KITS – 50 of them are ready for MCC

Dedication is planned for CHRISTMAS EVE.  Take a look at the two bundles on display on the table in the foyer.  Deanna Mace and Jane Kroeker have already done the shopping for you and have 50 bundles ready.  Your gift of $25.00 covers the cost of a bundle and shipping.  Make your check payable to FMC with memo line reading Infant Care Kits before Christmas Eve! On Christmas Eve we will bring the bundles into worship for a prayer of dedication.  Thank you for helping bring comfort to families around the world who are caring for new babies amid the struggles of conflict, poverty, displacement, famine and natural disasters.

FIRST CALL for HELP TEEN CHRISTMAS . . . contributions needed by December 9:  New , unwrapped Christmas gifts appropriate for teenage boys or girls, or gift cards or monetary contributions.  Specifically requesting hoodies (especially in need of X-2XX), PJs and fun socks.  May be dropped off at 17 West 2nd Avenue, Tuesday and Thursday 9am-3pm, or Wednesday 9am-noon.  Or mail contributions to First Call for Help, PO Box 2203, Hutchinson KS, 67504-2203. A community member will be matching monetary donations received no later than December 9.

CHRISTMAS CONCERTS and EVENTS around the community . . . inspiration and sharing.

The McPherson Community Brass Choir under the direction of Jerry Toews will give their Christmas Brass Concert Sunday, December 12, at 7:30pm in the Goessel HS gym.  This event is sponsored by the Goessel Ministerial Alliance and a free will offering will be taken.  Note the location change accommodating for social distancing.  Come and enjoy a festive brass Christmas concert!

Christmas Concert – Hope Mennonite Church, Wichita , Sunday, December 19, 4:00pm. 

Hopeful Blues (an eclectic instrumental group based at Hope) will host Doxology Ensemble (a 12-voice male acapella ensemble from the Anabaptist community near Hutchinson) in a concert of sacred music.  Donations are welcomed.  The Hope Mennonite is located at 868 N. Maize Road, Wichita.


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, tooth paste and tooth brushes.  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.

CAMP MENNOSCAH announcements

  • Christmas Gathering on Dec. 18 at 2:30pm!  Join us in the Dining Hall at Camp Mennoscah for afternoon fun–bring games to play indoors or out.  Camp will provide popcorn and generic pop.  (Masks recommended and encouraged for inside activities.) 
  • We are grateful for you!  We continue to get calls from volunteers and receive gifts of items off the Wish List.  These items and projects help with the faith formation that happens at Camp Mennoscah.  The list has more wishes and there are more projects to do.  We can accommodate every group size, skill set and length of project you would like to tackle. Check out these ways to Get Involved! and support camp’s ministry.  Email or call 620-297-3290 to volunteer.  See the Wish List for other ways to support Camp Mennoscah!

BETHEL COLLEGE announcements

Tues., Dec. 7 – Bethel College Steel Drum Band concert, 7 p.m.Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. Bethel’s current COVID-19 protocols require physical distancing to the extent possible and mask-wearing indoors with groups of 10 or more. 

Weds., Dec. 8 – Singalong to Christmas portions of Handel’s Messiah returns in-person, 11 a.m.Memorial Hall, with chamber orchestra, soloists and student conductors. Scores provided. Bethel’s current COVID-19 protocols require physical distancing to the extent possible and mask-wearing indoors with groups of 10 or more. 

Fri., Dec. 10 – Christmas Gala Jazz concert, 8 p.m.Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. Bethel’s current COVID-19 protocols require physical distancing to the extent possible and mask-wearing indoors with groups of 10 or more. 

Sun., Dec. 12 – Lighting of the Green returns in-person this year; 8 p.m. on the Bethel College campus.


Have yourself a honkin’ good holiday, December 17 from 4-6 p.m.! MCC is thrilled to host this drive-thru event again this year. Order your charcuterie box(es) today to enjoy in the comfort of your home, spread Christmas joy and order extra to give as gifts! Suggested donation per box is $25. We’re also collecting items for MCC hygiene kits at this event. PLACE YOUR ORDER by 5 p.m. on DECEMBER 9.  Details and order form are on  Questions? Please call 316.283.2720.

The MCC Comforter Blitz Committee is looking for additional committee members! Would you be interested in assisting the making of comforters for Mennonite Central Committee, and helping to plan the annual three-day comforter making event in Yoder, Kansas? If so, we would love your skills and your voice! If interested, please reach out to Committee Chair, Kara Klingenberg at or call her at 620-983-9003 for more information. We are currently looking for a treasurer, advertising help, and anyone else who is interested in helping.