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This week at FMC

July 28-August 3, 2021

Table of Contents

Arms wide open.  The posture of crucifixion.  The very posture we are invited into in the last stanza of both the Peace Prayer and Jesus’ Beatitudes:

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Jesus said: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (Matthew 5:11-12)

In my experience, it takes deep roots and solid balance to extend an ‘arms wide open’ posture to the world.  And a willingness to be vulnerable, to experience suffering and pain for the sake of others.  Such a posture is perhaps only possible when we’re cultivating life with God every day so we have with us radical love to share with the world.  This posture also touches for me on Miles’ sermon this past Sunday inviting us to see the eternal in what appears temporary, the love threading through death.  Paradoxically, all of who Jesus is – and especially his crucifixion – urges us to step with confident hope into the mystery of life emerging out of death. He taught us: in order to save your life you have to lose it.  Impossible and counterintuitive … yet, so very possible where the powerful love of God shows up, which is everywhere and in everyone. 

Richard Rohr, in his book Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, begins the second chapter with this question from Johann Baptist Metz (a German Catholic theologian):  “Might the authority of those who suffer bring the diverse cultural and social worlds together?”  Just think about that … the authority of those who suffer. What do you think that means? This quote reminds me of Donald R. Clymer’s book on the beatitudes I took with me to Honduras and Guatemala in 2018, and these words in the first chapter I really never got past:  “Most cultures, including our own, do not value the poor.  They hold up the rich, the powerful, the successful, no matter how their riches or power were obtained. … On the other hand, the kingdom of God values the poor.” (Meditations on the Beatitudes: Lessons from the Margins 23)

Rohr believes Metz’s question captures the “religious breakthrough that Christ has offered humanity. It is also foundational to understanding the unique Franciscan view of the world.  True gospel authority, the authority to heal and renew things and people, is not finally found in a hierarchical office, a theological argument, a perfect law, or a rational explanation.  What the crucified has revealed to the world is that the real authority that ‘authors’ people and changes the world is an inner authority that comes from people who have lost, let go, and are refound on a new level.” (19)

Neither the Peace Prayer or Jesus’ Beatitudes allow us to choose to be blind to each other and all of creation.  We must keep the ‘other’ fully in view … it is only there we can console, understand, love, give, pardon, and die to self … so that we may live.     -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! 

Masks and distancing are now optional in the church building for those who have been fully vaccinated and are 2 weeks past their last shot.  In keeping with CDC guidelines, we ask that unvaccinated people continue to wear masks.  In addition, we ask any adults working with children to also wear masks while in the building.  Recognizing that not everyone is eligible to receive the vaccine, including children, and that there are some with immune-compromised people in their lives, we ask that we work together to be sensitive to the needs, decisions, and well-being of all. 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 1:  Cultivating Life with God for the World:

(Matthew 5:11-12; Philippians 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 1:17-25)

  • Preacher:  Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader:  Calvin Buller
  • Children’s Time:  TBA
  • Scripture Reader:  Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Organist:  Pauline Buller
  • Ushers:   Glenda & Rick Hooper
  • 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!!  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. 


  • July 28 – Centennial Planning Committee meets – 5:00pm
  • July 29 – Congregation Ministry Team meets – 4:30pm
  • July 30-August 1 – Western District Conference Annual Assembly – see announcement below
  • August 1 – Sunday School after worship

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.

DEEPENING in Christ…


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. 


Guided by the Peace Prayer of St. Francis and Jesus’ Beatitudes we’ve been digging deeper in our life with God, discovering how such a life is not just for us, but for the sake of this world God loves.  We’ve considered what it might look like to sow seeds of love, pardon, faith, hope, light and joy.  This Sunday, August 1, we’ll close out the series as we explore the last stanza of the Peace Prayer and the last beatitude in Matthew 5:11-12. 

Mark Scandrette (author of the recently published book The Ninefold Path of Jesus: Hidden Wisdom of the Beatitudes) invites us to live with these intentions:

  • Live with open hands (open hands)
  • Mourn what’s broken (head in hands)
  • Serve with self respect (palm flat on heart)
  • Use my power for good (clenched fists crossed)
  • Look with compassion (make heart with hands)
  • Walk in honesty (jazz hands)
  • Reach past difference (stretch out and clasp hands together)
  • Suffer for love (hands crossed, ready for arrest)
  • And live fearlessly
  • Following the way of radical love (arms outstretched, in posture of a cross).

(The Ninefold Path Learning Lab Group Guide. Mark Scandrette with Danielle Welch)


The legacy and legends of Saint Francis have inspired many to care more deeply and intentionally for all of creation as our ‘brothers and sisters’ sharing planet Earth with us.  And so, as we bring our ‘Cultivating Life With God for the World” worship series to a close on August 1, we will turn next to a worship series created by an ecumenical group of Christians each year, inviting us to explore how our life with God impacts ALL of creation and asking what we can do to truly make this a home for all. 

  • AUG 8:  Season of Creation – A Home for All? A Just Home for All People
  • AUG 15:  Season of Creation – A Home for All? Wisdom From Our Home Planet
  • AUG 22:  Season of Creation – A Home for All? Peacemaking as Home-Building
  • AUG 29:  Season of Creation – A Home for All? Praying for Our Home Planet & Its People
  • SEPT 5:  Season of Creation: A Home for All?  A Home and a Hope for the Future


On Sunday August 15, in anticipation of the fall school year starting, we will offer during worship a ‘blessing of the backpacks’ for all children, youth, and even college students!  Bring your school backpack or equivalent if you’d like, but it’s not required. 

UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! devotional magazines

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


All groups except Senior High meet from 10:45-11:30 (Sr High meets at 11:45am)

  • August 1
  • August 15

Adult Sunday School CLASSES @ 10:45AM (See summer schedule below)

  • YOUNG(ER) ADULT Class (studying “What is the Church and Why Does it Exist?) – this group meets in the basement Sunday School classroom and is facilitated by group members. 
  • BIBLE STUDY:  You are invited to join this class on ZOOM or in person in the Common Grounds room.  Below is the schedule for this Adult Bible Study using the Salt and Light discussion guide.  Copies of the summer study guide are available on the table in the foyer.  Please call the office if you would like a copy sent to you.  The summer theme is, Facing Life’s Challenges, written by Wilma Ann Bailey. 

                     August 1 – “Job’s Response to Suffering: Worship”  – Jim Unruh, facilitator

                     August 15 – “Job’s Response to Suffering: Protest” – Calvin Buller, facilitator

Check your email for the ZOOM link or contact Pastor Tonya. 

The sign up sheet is up on the church’s “Sign Up” bulletin board!!  We are seeking groups of at least 4 teachers to sign up to teach on a rotation (likely 3 Sundays at a time, but that is negotiable!) for each of these classes:  PreK-Kindergarten, 1st-5th grade, and 6th-7th grade.   

This rotation system would result in each person in the group of 4 teaching roughly three 3 week stints between September 2021 and May 2022. We also need to have helpers for at least the Pre-K-Kindergarten class,
which is a good option for those of you who prefer not to teach but are willing to give love and attention to
our kids!  Please prayerfully consider this opportunity to be involved in the faith formation of the youngest in our congregation, who are truly delightful and a gift to us!!  We will again be using the SHINE Curriculum from MennoMedia.  And, if you’d be interested in helping teach the Youth Group, please talk with Jonathan Wenger to volunteer. Questions? Talk with Cheryl Warkentin or Pastor Tonya.

STRENGTHENING Community Connections…


Plan to stay after worship for a more extended fellowship time with coffee/tea (and maybe treats!) on the second Sundays of the month through the summer.  We’ll plan to gather outside in the columbarium area for this time of fellowship, weather permitting.


Youth 8th-12th grade are invited to the Youth Group Kick-Off with Jonathan Wenger, Tanya Martin Nisly and Pastor Tonya on Sunday August 22.  Timeframe is approximately 2:00pm-7:00pm with dinner included.  Watch for more details very soon!!!  We will plan to carpool to and from the church.


Plan to remain in the sanctuary on August 29 after worship for a short congregational meeting regarding changes/updates to FMC’s bylaws and constitution, specifically related to integrating our “new” organizational structure.  The updated documents will be available two weeks prior to this meeting.  Following the meeting, the Senior Youth will provide a fundraiser Hamburger Fry lunch.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend the meeting, however only members and associate members will cast votes.   


All of our Coordination Teams (Faith Formation, Faithful Community, Faithful Service and Outreach, and Faithful Stewardship) will gather with the CMT on WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 1 at 7:00pm!!  This gathering will provide resourcing and support as these groups, together, support the congregation in living out the mission and purpose of First Mennonite Church to DEEPEN, STRENGTHEN, AND STRETCH.  Specifically, as we look toward Fall 2021 and who we are becoming in this post-COVID reality, we’ll explore some fundamental questions of church – What? Why? and How?  Pastor Tonya will help guide this time using David E. Fitch’s little book, What is the Church and Why Does it Exist?  

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: and check back each Saturday/Sunday to listen to a new conversation. 

CHURCH OFFICE HOURS – may vary from this schedule during the summer

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


  • Monday:  Sabbath Day
  • Tuesday-Friday:  generally working 9am-5:30pm(ish)
  • Available evenings and weekends (cell phone is most reliable)


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


Al Penner –

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.


School supplies (new items only) are needed as families in our community prepare for school this fall.  Pick up the list of needed supplies from the table in the foyer.  We have a basket in FMC’s foyer to collect school supplies, or you may drop them off at 12 West 2nd Ave. (Tue or Thu 10am-3:30pm; or Wed 9am-noon). 

Cash donations are appreciated and a philanthropic donor has offered to match all financial donations.  Checks payable to First Call for Help (memo – School Supplies), mailed to PO Box 2203, Hutchinson KS 67504. 


Western District Conference invites everyone to Free Family Fun! 

  • Sno-Cones . . . Friday, July 30, 8:00-9:00pm (following WDC Annual Assembly Worship which begins at 7:00pm)
  • Storytelling & Popcorn . . . Saturday, July 31, 7:00-8:00pm

Faith Mennonite Church – 2100 N. Anderson Ave, Newton KS

These free family fun events are part of the WDC Annual Assembly.  Plan to attend and bring your family and friends!  It’s not too late to register for the entire assembly.  Go to WDC Annual Assembly at:  

WDC Women’s Retreat . . . September 11-12 (in-person) – mark your calendar

EVERENCE announces Gifts that give back webinar

Tuesday, August 3 at 6:30 p.m.  Many make charitable gifts to support their favorite causes and organizations. Some choose to extend their charitable giving further by designating dollars for charity in their end-of-life plans. But did you know there is another type of gift plan that generates income for the donor and then sends a gift to charity at a later date? Come to this workshop to learn more about “Gifts that give back” and whether it is a strategy for you!  This webinar will be hosted by Mitch Stutzman, Everence Stewardship Consultant.  This webinar is free. Please register by contacting our office at 877-467-7294, 316-283-3800 or

BETHEL COLLEGE announcements

Thursday, July 29 – Grand Open House for the new Kauffman Museum exhibit, “Vapes: Marketing an Addiction,” 2-6 p.m. This new exhibit examines what is known about e-cigarettes, and includes selections from a previous Kauffman Museum exhibit, “Better Choose Me: Collecting and Creating with Tobacco Fabric Novelties, 1880-1920.” “Vapes” has been on display at NMC Health in Newton since the beginning of June and moves to Kauffman Museum July 29-Jan. 9, 2022.

The 2021 issue of Mennonite Life, Bethel College’s annual online journal, is now live at, with articles and reviews by Brad Born, Rachel Epp Buller, Peter Goerzen, Raylene Hinz-Penner, Mark Jantzen, Jim Juhnke, Nate Kroeker, Alec Loganbill, Jacob Miller, Bethany Powls, Rich Preheim, Darrin Snyder-Belousek, Tara Schwartz, Anne Marie Stoner-Eby and Melanie Zuercher.

CAMP MENNOSCAH announcements

Summer Youth Camps will end on July 30 and the tents and bunks need to be taken down in preparation for fall groups. Volunteers are needed in abundance for both July 30 and 31 to lower the tents and break down the bunks for storage. On Friday, July 30, work will begin at approx. 1:30pm (after the end of Senior High Camp) and go until 6:30pm. We’ll begin again on Saturday at 8:30am and work until we’re done. A simple noon meal will be offered on Saturday. There is the option of staying overnight between the two work days–make it a service holiday! Let us know you are coming for one or both days so we can plan accordingly! Contact us at 620-297-3290.

Work Day at Camp Mennoscah is planned for August 28.  Save the date. You make camp great!


Colorado Peaches are coming to MCC in North Newton! Get your Colorado Peaches this summer and support MCC at the same time. Beth-El Mennonite Church in Colorado Springs is organizing a fundraiser to cover expenses related to the annual Rocky Mountain Relief Sale, which is being planned for October 15-16 in Rocky Ford, Colorado. Peaches are available in 10-pound boxes for $25 and 18-pound boxes for $35. Deadline for orders/payment is Monday, August 2. Checks or cash are accepted, checks are made payable to Beth-El Mennonite Church with “Peaches” in the memo line. Please contact Patsy Dirksen at MCC Central States Office for orders/payments at Pick-up date for peaches is tentatively scheduled for Monday, August 23 at the MCC Central States in North Newton.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic impact globally on health, economic well-being and inequality. Many countries lack the resources to access COVID-19 vaccines or therapeutic treatments and are struggling to recover from a global economic downturn. Join us for a webinar on Thursday, July 15, at 1:00 p.m. EDT to explore the issue of vaccine justice and the need for an equitable pandemic response by the U.S. government. 

Register for the webinar 

 (If you cannot attend, you will receive a link to the recording).


Do you know a gifted piano player? The Nickerson High School and Reno Valley Middle School choir programs are in great need of a rehearsal accompanist this upcoming school year. Having an accompanist, even for a few days a week, would make a world of difference to the students there. At most, the job would involve 15-20 hours a week, with hourly pay and gas paid for those commuting long distances. If you know someone who may be interested, please email director Kendrick Weaver at, or give him a call at (620) 951-4825. Thank you!