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This week at FMC

January 6-12, 2021

“Star the New Year!”  I’m curious if any of you caught my typo in the email I sent last week about the Personal Compass Journaling Exercise?  It took me awhile, but then I saw it:  “Personal Compass Journaling Exercise to star the New Year?”  Then I kept noticing the trouble I was having with typing “star” when I wanted “start” and vice versa.  Even Sunday I was having to decipher my own notes to replace ‘start’ with ‘star’ in various places!!

Given the “Star Words” year-long prayer exercise we are embarking on (if you so choose … and for some of you, this may not strike you at all!) perhaps it’s not out of place to turn “star” into a verb.  To consider what it might mean to ‘star’ the new year!  To ‘star’ the new year with our Star Word, or perhaps seeking ‘stars’ from God in other ways. 

Ann Weems has a lovely prayer in her book Kneeling in Bethlehem titled “Star-Giving” … it came to mind as I considered how I might ‘star the year.’  I offer it for your prayer and meditation as we consider the stars words we carry, the stars we follow, the stars we wish upon, and the stars calling us to action, shaping a whole new year. 

STAR-GIVING by Ann Weems

What I’d really like to give you for Christmas is a star …

Brilliance in a package,

something you could keep in the pocket of your jeans

or in the pocket of your being.

Something to take out in times of darkness,

something that would never snuff out or tarnish,

something you could hold in your hand,

something for wonderment,

something for pondering,

something that would remind you of

what Christmas has always meant:

God’s Advent Light into the darkness of this world.

But stars are only God’s for giving,

and I must be content to give you words and wishes and packages without stars.

But I can wish you life

as radiant as the Star

that announced the Christ Child’s coming,

and as filled with awe as the shepherds who stood

beneath its light.

And I can pass on to you the love

that has been given to me,

ignited countless times by others

who have knelt in Bethlehem’s light.

Perhaps, if you ask, God will give you a star. 

— 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, JANUARY 10:  Jesus in the Temple @ age 12

  • Preacher:  VIDEO: David Boshart (AMBS President)
  • Worship Leader:  Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Scripture Reader:  Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Pianist:  Shelley Kauffman
  • Sound:  Allen Yoder
  • 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!!  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. 


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. 


  • January 6 – Study Group: Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0 (Brenda Salter McNeil) begins (details below)
  • January 10 – Gospel of Luke Worship Series begins
  • January 11-13 – contact Pastor Jim with any pastoral care emergencies (Tonya at Ministry Integrity Circles)
  • January 24 – Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday & “One Lunch” Offering (see details below)

DEEPENING in Christ…


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


On January 10, 2021 we’ll return to the Narrative Lectionary to dive into the Gospel of Luke.  We’ll follow Luke’s story of Jesus all the way through Lent and Easter. Here’s a look at upcoming worship themes in January:

  • January 10: Jesus in the Temple @ age 12 (Luke 2:41-52) – Utilizing Worship Resources provided by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.  AMBS President David Boshart preaching (via video) 
  • January 17: Sermon at Nazareth (Luke 4:14-30) Pastor Tonya preaching
  • January 24: Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday: Following Jesus Together Across Barriers (Luke 5:1-11; Isaiah 55:1-6; Philippians 2:1-11).  Pastor Tonya preaching.  ONE LUNCH OFFERING (see below)
  • January 31: Healing on the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-16)


As part of our observance of Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday (Jan 24), you’re invited to contribute to the One Lunch Offering to support the ministries of Mennonite World Conference (MWC) – our global faith family.  During January, donate what you would spend on ‘one lunch’  – send your check made out to FMC with “One Lunch for MWC” in the memo line.  Thank you!!

UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! devotional magazines

The January/February issue of UPPER ROOM is available above the mailboxes.  Please let us know if you would like a copy mailed to you.  REJOICE! magazine (December – February issue) copies are gone.  Please let the office know if you would like for us to order one for 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  (Meets next January 10, 2021)

Below is the schedule 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):

  • JAN 10 – Jesus Announces Good News (Luke 7:11-35) Calvin Buller facilitating
  • JAN 17 – Hope Because of Christ (1 Peter 1:1-12) Tonya Ramer Wenger facilitating
  • JAN 24 & 31 – NO SUNDAY SCHOOL unless someone volunteers to facilitate a conversation; call the church office for a leader’s guide and more information

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.


Building on the fall discussion of Michael T. McRay’s book, I am Not Your Enemy, we’ll be reading, Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0, by Brenda Salter McNeil.   This group meets Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:00pm.  Facilitators are Pastor Tonya and Julie Goering.  Focused on ‘getting practical,’ we’ll glean insight from Salter McNeil about how to move ‘communities into unity, wholeness and justice.’  This week’s discussion (Jan 6) delves into definitions of reconciliation, recognizing that even if we may agree that reconciliation is important, we may not agree on what reconciliation really means.  Salter McNeil offers this definition:

“Reconciliation is an ongoing spiritual process involving forgiveness, repentance and justice that restores broken relationships and systems to reflect God’s original intention for all creation to flourish.” (26)

You can still join in this study if you are interested!  Contact Pastor Tonya for more information.

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.  Find it here: and check back each Saturday/Sunday to listen to a new conversation! The MOST RECENT EPISODE is a conversation Pastor Jim had with high school and college students about “Student Life During a Pandemic.” 


  • Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am – 2:00
  • Wednesday 10am-1pm
  • (Pastor Tonya will be gone Monday-Wednesday January 11-13)


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


Pastor Tonya will be attending (virtually) the second of 4 gatherings in the Lily funded program from AMBS, “Ministry Integrity Circles,” January 11-12 (and is adding on a extra day for reflection, reading and prayer). Please contact Pastor Jim with any pastoral care emergencies Monday morning Jan 11-Wednesday afternoon January 13. 


The Faithful Stewardship Coordination Team definitely wants to thank Dohn Fast for helping both with “putting up and taking down” the outside Christmas lights.  Dohn has also donated two spools for the lights that are then placed on his homemade custom apparatus to wind and unwind the lights.  Saves a lot of time and effort.  Thanks again.  Allen Yoder

STRETCHING to Serve as Christ Served…


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.


The Soup Kitchen is open again.  We have all the applesauce we need, but could use two volunteers to help with food prep and three drivers for delivery routes on the 23rd.  Please volunteer directly to Jane or Eldon Wagler to volunteer.


Sun., Jan. 10, 3 p.m. – Florence Schloneger, North Newton, and Pauline Sharp, Wichita, will give a virtual presentation, sharing their family stories related to land ownership, economics, education and identity. This is in connection with the Kauffman Museum special exhibit “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” Schloneger’s ancestors immigrated to Kansas in the 1800s while Sharp’s relatives, members of the Kanza tribe, lived in central Kansas for centuries before the arrival of Europeans. Schloneger is a retired Mennonite minister. Sharp is a Kaw tribal member and board member of the Kanza Heritage Society. Sign up for the Zoom link at The event will also be on Facebook Live.

Mon., Jan. 18, 6:30 p.m. – Bethel College’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration will feature spoken word artist M’Vyonne Payne and former pro athlete and motivational speaker Chris Singleton. The event will be held in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center, with COVID protocols in place, and will also be live-streamed via YouTube at Sponsors are the Bethel College Diversity Council, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Student Life Office, with support from the Bethel College Women’s Association.

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.


We invite you to share a gift with WDC to help our congregations Witness & invite others to faith in Jesus Christ, Dwell in just & loving relationships, and Connect to God’s mission in the world. Your generous gifts are appreciated as we look toward our fiscal year end on January 31 and meeting our budget goal! You may make an online contribution by sending a check to Western District Conference, PO Box 306, North Newton KS  67117. You may also give securely online at  Click on the Donate to WDC button – top right.  Thank you for your generosity!      


Canner Operator: MCC is looking for new canner operators! This two-year service term is unique and offers the opportunity to travel around the U.S. and Canada, working as a team while meeting new people! Check out for details!

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.

  • 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!

2020 Camp Mennoscah Winter Newsletter link is here:

In this issue, read about:

— Our 2021 plans for Camp Mennoscah!
— Sharing baptism at Camp Mennoscah
— Getting out for Scrapbooking Retreat
— Our Donors from November 1, 2019-October 31, 2020
— Meet our new Board members
— Other news we hope you will find interesting!

Reopening for summer camps will mean extra precautions to keep the campers safe.  Your donation today will  help camp prepare for the 2021 summer camping season.  Thank you for supporting Camp Mennoscah!


Seeking the Beloved Community: From Racism to Reconciliation

As part of God’s reconciling work, we are called to dismantle racism and build relationships across racial divides. On Saturday, January 23, 2021 from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. EST, Mennonite Men will be hosting a zoom meeting, open to all genders, with members of Seeking the Beloved Community, a group of Black and White men in Elkhart, Indiana, who have been engaged in this work for seven years. A number of these are pastors and members of Mennonite congregations.  If you have questions, please contact Chris Fretz by email at

To learn more about the event click this link: C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Temp\mso48CF.tmp (

To register for the event click this link:


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. This program is flexibly designed for retirees, families and adults over 25. Visit to learn more!