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This week at FMC

December 9-15, 2020

Table of Contents

Our hearts are empty without You
Barren and cold
But for the bold
Hope that You Yourself
Planted within

In the mighty name of God
In the saving name of Jesus
In the strong name of the Spirit
We come
We cry
We watch
We wait
We look
We long for you

Sometimes we long for the morning
For a refrain
From etchings in pain
Yet our loneliness
Draws us to You

This song, by Jim Croegaert, evokes something of the longing and desire I imagine might have been stirring in the hearts of the all who went out to the wilderness in search of John the Baptist.  And it tugs at the deep longings in my own heart, reminding me of God’s presence right here, now.  Quaker Thomas Kelly (in A Testament of Devotion Harper & Brothers, 1941) beautifully describes this awareness, which we can return to anytime:

“Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continuously return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself. Yielding to these persuasions, gladly committing ourselves in body and soul, utterly and completely, to the Light Within, is the beginning of true life. It is a dynamic center, a creative Life that presses to birth within us. It is a Light Within which illumines the face of God and casts new shadows and new glories upon the face of men. It is a seed stirring to life if we do not choke it. It is the Shekinah of the soul, the Presence in the midst. Here is the Slumbering Christ, stirring to be awakened, to become the soul we clothe in earthly form and action. And He is within us all.”

I offer both the song lyrics above and this quote from Thomas Kelly for your reflection and meditation this second week of Advent.  I also found this lovely acapella choral version of “We Come” on YouTube for your listening enjoyment:

People of God, people of the road … keep awake and alert!  The Lord is near!  Hope is real.

With love and prayers …  Pastor Tonya

SUNDAY MORNING Worship Live Stream @ 9:30am

The link for Sunday morning worship (as well as archives of past worship services) is found on our website:!


Based on recommendations of the FMC Re-Opening Taskforce (Carol Moore, Dohn Fast, Joretta Martens, Todd Esau) and the Reno County Health Department regarding the current increase in community spread of COVID-19, the CMT (Congregational Ministry Team – Russ Wedel, Delon Martens, Julie Esau, Kevin Martin Nisly, Mike Dirks, and both pastors) has decided to limit in-person gatherings at the church to 10 (preferably less).  This includes worship and Sunday School.  We encourage everyone who can to join in worship via the live stream and Sunday School by Zoom.  Masks, physical distancing, and handwashing are required of everyone in the building.  We realize this is not the situation any of us want to be in, and feel it is an important step to take as we care for each other and our neighbors in the community.  CMT and the Re-Opening Taskforce will continue to evaluate this policy, based on data from the Reno County Health Department.

Sunday, December 13:  (ADVENT 3) On the Road to Restoration

  • Preacher:  Jim Unruh
  • Worship Leader:  Stephanie Gehring
  • Children’s Time:  Susan Combs
  • Scripture Reader:  Delon Martens
  • Organist:  Shelley Kauffman & DeAnna Goering
  • Sound:  Allen Yoder
  • Live Stream:  Jay Gehring


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!!  You are also welcome to send prayer joys & concerns during the week.

Since our worship link is now public, when you submit prayer requests be sure to let us know if you’d prefer it NOT be shared on Sunday morning.  We can keep requests more private by only sharing them in the weekly prayer email sent out on Tuesdays. 


We will now be scrolling printed announcements prior to the service (beginning around 9:25) and after worship.  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 9 @ 7:00pm – FMC Budget/Business & Annual Meeting  (Youth Fundraiser Meal delivered to you or picked up @ church during the day – see details below!)
  • December 21 – Longest Night Service (livestream)
  • December 24 – Christmas Eve Service (livestream)
  • December 27 – NO Sunday School

REMINDERS . . . HIGHLIGHTS . . . details below

  • FMC 2020 Annual Reports (printed copies) are available on the table in the foyer
  • Contributions for Infant Care Kits for MCC will be received through Christmas Eve
  • Gift giving ideas that support MCC ministries around the world
  • Smithsonian traveling exhibit “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” @ Kauffman Museum thru Jan. 17

DEEPENING in Christ…


This group meets Thursday mornings from 10-11am in the library (with masks and distancing).  All are welcome. 


Our Advent Theme this year, “On the Road…” is intended to create a feeling of movement.  While many of us are experiencing less physical movement in our lives, perhaps we’ll discover in this Advent season new possibilities of inner spiritual movement opening up.  Each week we’ll set out on a new leg of our ongoing journey toward Christ. 

  • Advent 3 (Dec 13) takes us “on the road to restora­tion,” where we recognize that God will ultimately overturn the injustices of our world.  Pastor Jim preaching.
  • Advent 4 (Dec 20) sends us “on the road to revelation,” where we learn that Jesus is the culmination of ancient promises.  Nine Lessons and Carols will guide us in celebration of Jesus’ revelation in the world. 
  • Livestreamed Longest Night Service @ 7:00pm (December 21)
  • Livestreamed Christmas Eve Service @ 7:00pm (December 24)
  • The Sunday after Christmas (Dec 27), we are “on the road to rejoicing,” inspired by the psalmist to praise God for the birth of Jesus Christ.  Pastor Tonya preaching.
  • On Epiphany (Jan 3) we are “on the road to radiance,” basking in the glow of God that shines for people of all nations.  You will receive “Star Words” to guide your journey into 2021.  Pastor Tonya preaching.

In the end, the sin­cere hope is that when this Advent journey has been completed, we will be closer to the heart of Jesus than when we began.  May it be so for each of us!!  Many thanks to Pauline Buller and Esther Regier for creating our Advent visual this year.


While Lessons and Carols will look different this year, Pastor Tonya is excited to offer an adapted version that will include both live and recorded portions.  Our college students will be reading scripture via video and the music will feature a Guitar Quartet along with music from others at First Mennonite and congregational hymns.  Be sure to join in!!


Join Pastor Jim and Pastor Tonya in a livestreamed time of worship inviting your expressions of lament and grief as we remember those in our lives and community who have died, as well as the many losses we have experienced in 2020.  Woven into our lament will be invitations toward hope despite the loss. 

UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! devotional magazines

The January/February issue of UPPER ROOM has arrived and copies are available above the mailboxes.  Please let us know if you would like a copy mailed to you.


  • Kindergarten – 6th grade:  Sunday @ 4:00pm on ZOOM
  • 7th-8th grades:  Sunday @ 11:30am on ZOOM
  • High School youth:  Sunday @ 11:00am – currently meeting online


Adult Sunday School @ 11am on Sundays on ZOOM  (Meeting THIS SUNDAY December 13!)

Below is the schedule for the rest of December for this Adult Bible Study using the Salt and Light discussion guide written this quarter by Timothy J. Geddert, professor of New Testament at Fresno Pacific University (copies available at the church, or can be sent to you):

  • DEC 13 – In God’s Image: Imitate Christ (Philippians 2:1-11)  Pastor Tonya facilitating
  • DEC 20 – In God’s Image: Becoming God’s Children (John 1:10-18)  Pastor Jim facilitating

Check your email for the ZOOM link or contact Pastor Tonya.  If you are unable to access ZOOM and want to participate, you may come in person. 

Masks and physical distancing practices will continue for all in-person gatherings at the church.

STRENGTHENING Community Connections…


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.  Visit our website ( Keep checking back because more conversations are coming!  And don’t forget to tell your friends about these conversations aimed at creating a future story for our beautiful salt city. 


We look forward to meeting on Wed Dec 9 @ 7:00pm on ZOOM.  A fundraiser meal will be provided/delivered by the Senior Youth – see details directly below!!!  The 2020 Annual Report book has been sent out by email with attachment on Tuesday morning 11/24.  If you did not receive it, please call the church office.  Also, please call if you would like a printed copy.  The report book includes an agenda for the Dec 9 meeting and the complete treasurer’s report and proposed budget.   Finally, if ZOOM is a challenge for you, let Pastor Tonya know what kind of help you need and plan to join the “Test Meeting” on Dec 2 at 7:00pm.  Watch your email for the ZOOM link for both meetings. 


Thank you for your participation!!  If you are planning to pick up your meal at the church, please bring your own container for soup.  Those of you who are having meals delivered, please also have a container ready to be filled with soup.  The meal will also include bread and cookies.  Questions?  Contact Jonathan Wenger.


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


Let the church office or Pastor Tonya know if you are willing.  We’d especially like to have more male voices!

STRETCHING to Serve as Christ Served…

INFANT CARE KITS for MCC – please make your contribution by Dec 24

Adopt a bundle!  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 (ICK).  Please make your contribution to adopt one bundle – or several – by Christmas Eve.  Through the blessings of careful purchasing and generous donations, Jane and Deanna have prepared the bundles and wrapped them for us.  Cheryl Warkentin has donated her time and talent to crochet the tiny hats for the baby bundles.  Thank you to all who have generously shared their gifts for the well-being of children around the world. 


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.

If you would like to participate, please call (leave a message with your email address).   Louise Mcintire:          620-869-1770.  You will be sent an email with an invitation to attend the Zoom meeting.  She will only send an invitation to those that really want to attend to keep the meeting private.


If you would like to participate, please call (leave a message with your email address).   Louise Mcintire:   620-869-1770.  You will be sent an email with an invitation to attend the Zoom meeting.  She will only send an invitation to those that really want to attend to keep the meeting private.


Saint Francis Ministries would love your help to bless children who may not have items under the tree this year. Gifts will be distributed by local staff to families working with family centered treatment staff, and we hope every child will have a gift under the tree.  Any new items/toys (unwrapped) would be greatly appreciated. 

Many parents and children are in need of help to have nutritional food on hand.  Please bring your donations to the church no later than Tuesday, December 15.

  • Canned/jarred fruits and vegetables
  • Dry grains:  rice, pasta, oatmeal, cereal, granola
  • Peanut/Nut butters, jam/jelly
  • Baby toys
  • Winter gloves
  • Make-up kit/make-up bag for teen girls
  • Gift cards for groceries


Sunday, Dec. 13, 8 p.m. – All are invited to take part in Bethel College’s annual Lighting of the Green, from wherever you are. This long-standing Bethel Advent tradition celebrates the Light that shines in the darkness, the life and light of Christ who came into the world giving light to all humankind. Normally held on the Green in the center of campus, the gathering will take place virtually this year, live online (links follow) with some parts pre-recorded.

YouTube: or Zoom:

Kauffman Museum at Bethel College is hosting the Smithsonian traveling exhibit “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” through Jan. 17. 

Accompanying it is a local companion exhibit, “Of Land and People: Our Community at the Crossroads,” created from the museum’s permanent exhibit “Of Land and People.” The museum is open 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Tues.-Fri; 1:30-4:30 p.m., Sat.-Sunday; and closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission to the “Crossroads” exhibit is free on Saturdays.

Sunday, Dec. 13, 3 p.m. – Gene Chávez, Ed.D., Shawnee, Kan., will give a virtual presentation on the rich history of Mexican immigration to Kansas and the journey of the humble but important flour tortilla. This Kauffman Museum “Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum” program is connected to the museum’s current special exhibit, “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” Visit the museum website ( and/or Facebook page for registration instructions.


Sandra Montes-Martinez will began December 1 as an Associate Conference Minister for WDC serving as liaison with the Church Planting Commission and congregations and pastors in Texas. She will continue ongoing leadership with Academia Liderazgo Misional Anabautista – a missional leadership initiative of Iglesia Menonita Hispana (IMH).  Sandra has served in various ministerial leadership roles including a WDC Administrative Assistant in Texas.  As Sandra moves into a new leadership position in WDC, Lee Lever (Pastor at Austin Mennonite Church) ends his volunteer role as Interim Conference Ministry Liaison. Thank you, Lee! And best wishes and prayers for you, Sandra!

Read more in the current issue of WDC Garden at the following link:


A memorable, meaningful and unique MCC gift to give this Christmas! Grab a piece of MCC history to use in a modern day Mennonite feeding station – your home! Get one for yourself and order more for family and friends. Hang it on the wall in your kitchen or dining room, display it on a shelf or use it as a serving tray! Remember the kitchen at your church, too. Each tray was uniquely handcrafted by an artisan in Siberia using Siberian hardwood. The tray is 16” in diameter and 2” deep. Suggested donation per tray is $150. Full details and pictures are available at

Support Mennonite Central Committee and celebrate MCC’s centennial with a new shirt, hoodie, tea towel, bag or hat!  Check out this online store and support MCC!


Free resource from MCC: Learning about generosity! Help children learn about generosity with MCC printable worksheets including activities, a story, a craft to make and Christmas gift ideas that benefit global neighbors with colorable greeting cards, find it all at Explore the full list of Christmas giving options from MCC at

MCC asks for support for Central American hurricane recovery. Not one, but two hurricanes within two weeks have caused extensive flooding in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Hurricanes Eta and Iota have destroyed crops and forced people from their homes. MCC is working with churches and community organization to provide emergency food, hygiene supplies and cleanup support. Join us as we help these communities recover. You can donate online, by phone (888) 563-4676 or by mail at MCC, 21 S. 12th St., PO Box 500, Akron PA 17501.

Join MCC for a series of “MCC and me” webinars to hear more about service opportunities. Are you ready to step out and into service? To gain new skills and experiences while working for relief, development and peace in the name of Christ?

MCC is working to adapt our programming as the situation with COVID-19 develops. All sessions relate to anticipated service needs, though timing and some other details may be subject to change.

  • December 9 at 7 p.m. EST: Serving and Learning Together (SALT)
  • January 13 at 3 p.m. EST: Summer Service leadership program
  • February 25 at 10 a.m. EST: Sharing With Appalachian People (SWAP) summer staff
  • February 25 at 8 p.m. EST: International service worker
  • March 6 at 12 p.m. EST: International service worker
  • March TBD: Mobile Meat Canner

For more information and to register:


Camp Mennoscah is a wonderful place for family gatherings of whatever size!  A variety of facilities fit any number of family groupings.  Or maybe you only need a space during the day for walking the trails or playing disc golf.  There is plenty of outdoor space!  Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 or to reserve!  You are welcome here!

Looking for your next opportunity to come to Camp Mennoscah?  The Christmas Gathering is tentatively being planned as an outdoor event on Saturday, December 12 at 2:30pm.  Details forthcoming.


Everence will host a Social Security and retirement income planning webinar, on Monday, Dec. 14 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. This online workshop is free. Register soon by contacting our office at 316-283-3800, 877-467-7294 or  


SOOP (Service Opportunities with our Partners) is accepting applications! Use your gifts and skills to work alongside others in a network of ministries across the church. Flexibly designed for retirees, families, and adults over 25. Visit to learn more!


Henk Stenvers, Deacons Commission writes:

Mennonite World Conference and Anabaptists around the world are commemorating 500 years since this renewal movement began in 1525. We acknowledge moral failures of our faith predecessor in the past. Nevertheless, we also celebrate that God has raised up a global Anabaptist people whose highest loyalty is to Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Like early Anabaptists, may we be energetic missionaries, reaching across national and cultural barriers to call for repentance and teach the peacemaking way of Jesus. 
Read more:

Lord, have mercy! 
As a world-wide community of faith and life, we transcend boundaries of nationality, race, class, gender and language.  Empower us to live in the world without conforming to the powers of evil, witnessing to God’s grace by serving others, caring for creation, and inviting all people to know Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.  We seek to walk in peace by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we confidently await Christ’s return and the final fulfillment of God’s kingdom.  Amen