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This week at FMC

February 16-22, 2022

Table of Contents

“Here is the church.  Here is the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people.”  I can still remember forming ‘the church’ with my intertwined hands, sitting on a pew in Emmanuel Mennonite Church in LaJunta, CO.  And ‘seeing’ all the people as I gave my fingers each a name of a friend in our church.  My five year old self could not have imagined that nearly 45 years later I would spend so much time thinking about what the church is, why it exists, and what my role is as a church leader in the midst of SO many changes.

The church IS a group of people gathered together in a building (with or without a steeple!), typically on Sunday mornings.  There was a time, like the late 70’s and into the 80’s when I was a child, when Sunday morning church was central in many people’s lives.  Today that is less and less the case.  There are many social spaces where people find meaningful connection and community. This trend started long before COVID, and the past 2 years have certainly heightened it.

David Fitch puts it well in the very last paragraph of his little book I’ve been reading and re-reading this year (What is the Church and Why does it exist? Herald Press 2021):

“… We no longer have masses of people flowing into our church.  We have masses leaving it. We no longer live in a Christendom-based culture tasked with organizing Christians.  We are in a post-Christendom church tasked with organizing Christians into the mission of God in the world. Our call is different [than the emerging Roman Catholic Church of the fourth century and beyond]: We must recover the three circles of the New Testament church.  We must extend the practices [of Jesus central to church] from the one centralized gathering into all the circles of life.  We must recultivate the practices, not just to happen in one place but as practices cultivated in all three places of our lives.  This is the task before us.” (70)

What are the ‘three circles’ of the New Testament church?  Fitch identifies these from these verses in Acts 2: “Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.  And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”  (Acts 2:46-47)

“Here is the church…” in the building with those who have come to it to worship and engage in the practices of Jesus.  But, Fitch would say, ‘here is the church’ also beyond the building, in every social space we find ourselves: home, neighborhood, work, volunteering, playing sports, knitting groups, shopping, coffee shops … among all people … everywhere in the world, including the spaces filled with injustice, suffering, shame, all that is broken and in need of healing.

When we carry the practices of Jesus into every social space of our lives, we help create space for others to experience and recognize the presence of God, of the Risen Christ, in their midst.  You have probably heard the saying (I can’t recall who said it first!):  “The church doesn’t have a mission – God’s mission has a church.”  It is really important to remember we are joining God’s mission already in motion in the world.  Fitch summarizes God’s mission like this:  God’s mission is to restore all creation to God’s presence.  Presence is how God works, and because of this, God needs a group of people to be present to … and people to recognize and give witness to God’s presence, everywhere.

Perhaps we need some new hand motions to describe the church … or we need to add to the one we have.  “Here is the church – here is the steeple – open the doors, and see all the people …”  Maybe here we could unclasp our hands and have all those people (fingers) fly ‘away’ … spreading God’s love, making space to recognize God’s presence, everywhere they go. 

      —-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 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). 

CMT encourages you to protect yourself and your loved ones by wearing masks, social distancing, and washing your hands or using hand sanitizer in our church building and elsewhere.  


Mennonite Education Sunday – Excellence in Christ

Open Road men’s ensemble from Bethel College 

(Philippians 3:4b-14)

  • Preacher: Michael Unruh (recorded sermon)
  • Worship Leader:  Maggie Pounds
  • Scripture Reader:  Joel Iwashige
  • Children’s Time:  Jean Gaeddert
  • Pianist:  Shelley Kauffman
  • Ushers:  Dennis & Jennalee Boggs
  • Nursery attendant:  Susan Combs
  • Sound Tech:  Earl Ediger & Allen Yoder
  • Live Stream Tech:  Jay Gehring

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES MEET @ 10:45am – EXCEPT ON 5TH SUNDAYS when there is no Sunday School!!


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. 


  • February 17 – Congregational Ministry Team meet 4:30pm
  • February 20 – Mennonite Education Sunday
  • March 2 – Ash Wednesday Worship Service, and beginning of Lent
  • April 10 – Palm Sunday and beginning of Holy Week
  • April 17 – EASTER & ALL CHURCH PHOTO taken for the 100th anniversary … plan to attend!!

FMC CENTENNIAL . . . LightHouse Giving Opportunity

The LightHouse addresses the growing need of transitional housing for youths ages 18 to 21 in Hutchinson. The property at 1005 N. Washington Street is currently being renovated into eight one-bedroom apartments. 

Interfaith Housing & Community Services is leading this community project.  Progress is underway thanks to the help of volunteers renovating this building, which was built in 1887.  The Centennial Committee would like for FMC to raise $22,000 by October 2022 to help with these expenses. These dollars will help with construction costs, furnishings for the apartments and ongoing maintenance expenses. 

A big thank you to those of you who have already donated! You can see the progress that has already been made on our LightHouse thermometer in the foyer. Checks may be made out to FMC, with “LightHouse” on the memo line.  Thank you for your support!

DEEPENING in Christ…


  • February 20 –MENNONITE EDUCATION Sunday with Open Road from Bethel College and a recorded sermon from Campus Pastor Michael Unruh
  • February 27 – The Man Born Blind (John 9:1-41) Pastor Tonya preaching

LENT 2022 – TURNING (Gospel of John)

Our Lent worship theme will continue to guide us through the Gospel of John, using worship resources created by a group called WorshipWell.  The series theme, TURNING, is explained like this: 

“Pouring over the Lenten texts from John’s Gospel, we are dizzied by all of the turning: God turning toward humanity’s pain as Jesus weeps at raw and unbearable grief; Jesus turning the stench of Lazarus’ death into something confusingly hopeful; Jesus turning into a servant, stooping to wash feet, turning clear water

brown with the disciples gathered dust, turning them toward loving and serving their neighbor. Then humanity’s turning away: Peter turning his back on his best friend; Pilate turning and twisting the truth for political gain; The fickle and riled up crowds turning from “hosanna” to “crucify.’’ Then the turning of the earth as grave becomes garden, death turns to life, mourning to dancing.

John’s Gospel invites us into a season of intentional turning. Our hearts turn with compassion for those who grieve. Our lives turn toward our neighbor in acts of solidarity and service. Our eyes turn toward the cross and we see Jesus turning the world upside down with love.”

Pastor Tonya is also working on some ideas to help cultivate intentional prayer and reflection during Lent, so watch for more details as the Lenten season draws closer.  Lent begins on March 2 with our Ash Wednesday service, held jointly with the Community Church of the Brethren.


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


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.  This group is using The Bible Project’s Reflections Bible Study to guide study and conversation, which includes a short video on a Biblical theme, topic, or book.  Check it out here: and feel free to watch the videos during the week if you choose in preparation for shared discussion. 


  • What:  An additional Adult SS. Class. Salt & Light MennoMedia S.S. material will be used for basis of interaction and discussion.
  • When:   Meet Feb. 27th to get acquainted and pass out S.S. books.
  • How Long:  We will meet for one quarter, March – May. 
  • Where:  Prayer Room (right beside elevator in basement)
  • Time:  11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. on first four Sundays each month.

Reminder: No Sunday School on the 5th Sundays of the month!!

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…


Plan to attend our Easter worship service on Sunday April 17, which will include taking an all church photo.  We plan to have a photographer join us to take this ‘snapshot’ of history in our 100th year!

ADDRESS, PHONE, EMAIL, BIRTHS and DEATHS  . . . the church office needs updates for you and for your children!!

Please send us changes as soon as possible.  A new directory will be printed soon.


Thanks for your support of the Youth Group!  We hope you enjoyed your subs!!


FMC is allotted two adult delegates to the Mennonite Church USA special delegate session called for May 27-30, 2022.  If you are interested in being a delegate, please speak to Pastor Tonya in the next week.


Contact Pastor Tonya anytime to learn more!  A membership class will be offered if there is enough interest.

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…

DRIVE-THRU VERENIKE SUPPER – First Mennonite, Halstead – February 26

Drive thru and pick up your meal(s) 4:00-7:00pm on February 26, at First Mennonite Church in Halstead (427 West 4th).  The menu is verenike, ham gravy, sausage, pickle and cookie.  Cost is by donation – proceeds benefit Harvey County domestic violence services and homeless shelters and the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale.


The Food Bank is particularly in need of the following:  tomato soup, cream of mushroom soup and green beans.

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.


WANTED for the Kansas MCC Sale General Auction:  Cars, Trucks, Tractors, Motorcycles, Campers, etc.   Call Jerry Toews, 620-367-8257, for details and pickup NOW so we have time to get them cleaned up and ready for the sale in April.  ALL proceeds go to MCC.  We usually get GOOD prices for your donations.  Help make a difference in the lives of those struggling around the world through MCC.  Thank you!

BETHEL COLLEGE announcements

Now in the Regier Gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center at Bethel College – Ernest Vincent Wood III, “Redefining,” through Feb. 24 (closing reception Feb. 24). Gallery hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 20 – Trae Gehring, senior tuba recital; 4:00pm Ad Building chapel.

Sat., Feb. 19 – Grand opening of Kauffman Museum’s 125th-anniversary exhibit, “The Magic of Things.” Come-and-go, 2:30-4:30 p.m., with remarks by lead curator Reinhild K. Janzen at 3 p.m. Current Bethel COVID protocols require masking indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Other Bethel Fine Arts Events:

  • Sun., Feb. 20 – KIPCOR Film Series, Citizen Ashe, 2 p.m., with audience discussion to follow, Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center
  • Tuesday, Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m., Memorial Hall, Jolliff Auditorium — Orchestra concert
  • Fri., Feb. 25 – Bethel College presents its first in-person forensics showcase since 2019, 11 a.m., Memorial Hall (part of the regular convocation series). Livestream option on Bethel’s YouTube channel.
  • Sunday, Feb. 27, 4 p.m., Ad Building chapel — Junior recital: Julianna Schrag, soprano
  • Monday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m., Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center — Wind Ensemble concert


Mennonite Friendship Communities is looking for friendly persons to serve as a concierge. This very part-time, fill-in position is in the evenings from 5-10 pm and on weekends.  The concierge greets people as they enter the front doors and assists them through the screening process and helps direct them where they need to go.  There’s even time to work on homework, watch Netflix or read a book.  If you are willing to be flexible and are interested in making a little extra money, contact Stacey Frager – or apply online –

Other volunteer opportunities at mfc include the following:

  • Spa Day (independent living opportunity to engage with the women and polish nails – perhaps once a quarter)
  • Direct Chime Choir (independent living opportunity with practices perhaps once a week and a few concerts)
  • Ceramics coordinator who knows how to operate the kiln (greenware is purchased, prepared, painted, fired)
  • More information by contacting Susan Nisly at 620-663-7175


The WDC Israel-Palestine Task Force is sponsoring a Zoom book discussion of Jonathan Kuttab’s book, Beyond the Two-State Solution. This event will take place on Tuesday April 5, 2022 from 7-8 pm CT. The first 20 registrants will receive a free copy of the book. To register email or call (316) 283-6300 and provide your name, mailing address, and email address. Specific questions about the event may be referred to Bob Atchison, 785-313-2292 or by e-mail to Below you will find a flyer with more information about the event.

CAMP MENNOSCAH announcements

The 2022 Summer Youth Camps are waiting for you!  Registration is open!  Check out the website online here!   The adventure of the unknown is before us! We do not know exactly what to expect for the 2022 summer, but once again we will build on the Rock and play in the sand. While we continue to hope for a summer with minimal restrictions, the pandemic may change by June and camp guidelines will change with it. Campers and staff may be asked to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test and/or wear masks when indoors.

Registration for the Spring Scrapbook Retreat (March 18) and our Work Days (April 23 and May 21) are open! You can register for the Work Days and Summer Youth Camp at the same time!  More information can be found here. Please contact Camp Mennoscah with any questions. We will not have all the answers, but we will answer as best we can.


AMBS, a historic peace church seminary, offers 5 graduate-level degree and certificate programs as well as a wide variety of non-degree educational options to help students grow in faith and strengthen their leadership gifts. Our faculty members are experienced scholars and mentors, seeking to empower students for a continuous encounter with God and for creative Christian leadership.

Three new merit-based scholarships we are offering for new full-time or part-time graduate students from the U.S. or Canada – whether they pursue studies at a distance or on our campus:

  • The Multicultural Church Scholarship is for students who are serving in or preparing for ministry assignments in a multicultural context and/or who belong to historically underrepresented racial or ethnic groups within the Mennonite Church. 
  • The MDiv Connect Student Scholarship is for students who are beginning the distance-friendly Master of Divinity (MDiv) Connect program.
  • The Ecumenical Student Scholarship is for students from other-than-Anabaptist Christian traditions.

Deadlines are fast approaching! Applicants must have been admitted to AMBS to be considered for scholarships, so we recommend starting the admissions application process as soon as possible. Please encourage those interested in deepening their understanding of Scripture, faith and Anabaptist theology and to grow in leadership through AMBS to apply for our Merit Scholarships by March 15th.


Please join MCC in praying for peace and safety for everyone in Burkina Faso and Ukraine. MCC staff and partners are safe in both countries and are following security protocols. In Ukraine, there are two SALT participants from Kansas Micah Epp from North Newton and Aaron Ensz from Buhler, please keep them and their families in your prayers as well.

Take Action with MCC: Urge the Biden Administration to reverse the expansion of harmful “Remain in Mexico” policy. Information here:

Central States (MCC) Annual Meeting will take place virtually on Saturday, February 26 from 1-2:30 CST. Please email for a link to the Zoom meeting.

EVERENCE® announcements

The Everence® Sharing Fund provided $1,998.66 in matching funds to support special needs in our church and community last year.  As individuals and families at FMC, our use of Everence financial services/products directly determines the amount of money available to us from the sharing fund program to help with these needs.  Susan Combs serves as the Everence advocate for our congregation.  Please contact her for more information about the wide range of services Everence provides.

Everence® will hold an informative Social Security and retirement income webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 15, starting at 6:30 p.m. Specifics will include Social Security strategies, including when to begin taking benefits, risks that can impact your retirement savings plus strategies to help your income last throughout retirement. There will also be plenty of time for questions.  Information will be presented by staff from the Everence offices in Central Kansas.  To register contact Everence at 316-283-3800, 877-467-7294 or


Wildfire survivors in Okanogan, Washington and Paradise, California—some of them living in sheds, some in cars—need homes. Can Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteers finish the homes they’ve started? Some of these survivors have been waiting for more than three years. In Okanogan, MDS, working with the Okanogan Long Term Recovery Group, committed to building four homes, and would like to start another four, said MDS Project Coordinator Kevin Dorsing. The project is scheduled to run from January through March—and many of those weeks don’t have a single volunteer signed up.  Learn more