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This week at FMC

March 2, 2021

Centered, not bounded.  This is one way to describe how we orient ourselves as people of faith.  We are centered on Jesus, the Christ, instead of patrolling the perimeter – the boundaries.   We choose to turn our whole lives toward Jesus so we keep him in view and allow him to be the primary influence and teacher.  We are followers of Jesus who desire to draw closer and closer to him – to be with him.

However, this ‘centeredness’ is not just about what we do.  Fundamentally this centeredness is the power of Jesus – still – in the world.  Jesus (who IS with us, in the Spirit) is the ONE pulling us together, the force keeping us centered.  This is the mystery Paul describes in Ephesians … that God, in Jesus, is gathering all things together in heaven and on earth.  Jesus’ sacrificial work and love on the cross has the result of destroying hostility between former enemies.  Think of it!  A power able to destroy the hostility separating groups of humans!! What transformation this brings to our lives.

Of course, we know the pull toward the boundaries, the perimeter, and the temptation to think what’s most important is keeping ‘those’ people out whose sin, or perspective, or life choices might have a polluting or tainting effect on us.  Indeed, boundaries are important.  What I wonder is if they are as important as we have imagined them to be, or if we prefer to focus there because we have more control and power?  When we fully turn toward Jesus, we are no longer in control.  We, with Jesus, set down our power and pick up our cross of vulnerability and love for God and neighbor. 

Then Jesus said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?  (Luke 9:23-25)

The reading today in the Lent devotions I’m reading, written by Walter Brueggeman, focused on this text.   I’ll close by sharing from his reflections calling us to a healthy sense of denial, and a ‘centeredness’:

“The call to discipleship is not a program to make us feel bad or impoverished or uncomfortable.  Or pressed more deeply, to deny self is too often taken to mean you should have some self-hate, feel bad about yourself, ponder your failure and your guilt, and reject your worth.  But that surely is not what Jesus is talking about. 

Rather, he is talking about coming to see that God – the generous creator who gives good gifts – is the center of your life and that the self-taken-alone does not have the resources or the capacity to make a good life.   To deny self means to recognize that I cannot be a self-starter, cannot be self-sufficient, cannot be self-made or self-securing, and that to try to do so will end in isolation and fear and greed and brutality and finally in violence. It will not work because we are not made that way. …. 

The alternative to self-focus is to move ones attention away from self to know that our life is safely and well-held by God, who loves us more than we love ourselves, to relish the generosity of God and so to be free of the anxieties and needs and hungers of those who are driven by a mistaken, inadequate sense of self.  The self who is denied is the self who is received from God and given back to God in obedience and praise.

God at the center of our lives, our true life is found only in you.

May we let go of all that is not life, all that is not you, that we may live

in that freedom granted through the cross.  AMEN.”   

                           (A Way Other Than Our Own.  Westminster John Knox Press. 2017.  Pg 28-29)

— 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:!


The 2021 Congregational Ministry Team (Delon Martens-chair, Jennalee Boggs-chair-elect, Julie Esau, Kevin Martin Nisly, Carol Moore, and the pastors) affirms the recommendations of the RE-Opening Task Force – Carol Moore, Dohn Fast, Joretta Martens, Todd Esau, Pastor Tonya).   We will continue to lean toward caution, keeping in place the precautions of masks, physical distancing, hand washing and no gathering in the foyer. 

Between now and March 21 please continue to call or email in to the church office (620-662-9385; the week before (preferably by Thursday afternoon) to let us know if you plan to come to worship in-person.  With physical distancing we can accommodate around 30-35 in the sanctuary.  Beginning March 28 (Palm Sunday) you no longer have to call ahead, but the same precautions are in place, including the distancing which will continue to limit the number in the sanctuary.  By March 28 we will have some overflow options prepared elsewhere in the building, as well as ushers to help.  And, we’re tentatively considering an outside worship service on Easter, April 4.  We also will continue to be livestreaming worship, so that is an option for those who choose to worship from home.  CMT and the Re-Opening Taskforce will continue to monitor data from the Reno County Health Department, and make decisions accordingly. 

SUNDAY, March 7:  The Jesus Way leads to the Cross: COMMUNITY REJOICING  (Lost Sheep, Coin, Son)

Luke 15:1-32

  • Preacher:  Pastor Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader:  Pastor Jim Unruh
  • Children’s Time:  Susan Combs
  • Scripture Reader:  TBD
  • Organist:  Pauline Buller
  • 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. 


  • March 18 – Congregational Ministry Team @ 5:30pm
  • March 17 – Faithful Community Coordination Team @ 10:30am
  • March 31 – Faith Formation Coordination Team @ 4:00pm

DEEPENING in Christ…


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

LENT 2021: The Jesus Way Leads to the Cross

Our Lent worship will focus on the theme “The Jesus Way Leads to the Cross” as we continue our study of the Gospel of Luke and the ‘Way of Jesus.’  Each worship theme invites a different kind of movement, action, or area of growth. Our goal always is to become more mature disciples (learners) and apostles (sent ones) of Jesus.  My prayer is our Lenten worship will encourage just that!

  • Lent 3 (March 7) – The Jesus Way Leads to the Cross: COMMUNITY REJOICING (Lost Sheep, Coin, Son)
  • Lent 4 (March 14) – The Jesus Way Leads to the Cross:  MERCY REACHING (Rich Man & Lazarus)
  • Lent 5 (March 21) – The Jesus Way Leads to the Cross: LOST SAVING (Blind Man & Zacchaeus)


  • March 28 – Palm/Passion Sunday (Luke 19:29-44)
  • Stations of the Cross during Holy Week – stay tuned for details!
  • April 1 – Maundy Thursday with Community Church of the Brethren
  • April 2 – Good Friday
  • April 4 – EASTER SUNDAY

UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! devotional magazines

New issues of both UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! are available above the mailboxes.  These magazines offer daily devotional readings beginning March 1.  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  (Meets the first three Sundays of the month)

If you wish, please join us in person in the fellowship hall.  Below is the schedule for this Adult Bible Study using the Salt and Light discussion guide.  This quarter, beginning March 7, focuses on Living for God, written by Leonard Beechy, retired English teacher and member of Eighth Street Mennonite Church in Goshen, IN.  (Copies of the study guide available at the church, or can be sent to you):

  • MAR 7 – Relating to One Another, Pastor Tonya, facilitator
  • MAR 14 – Faith and Actions, Calvin Buller, facilitator
  • MAR 21 – Godly Fasting, Pastor Jim, facilitator

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

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

STRENGTHENING Community Connections…


New Directories will be available after March 2 in the circular rack by the mailboxes and on the table in the foyer .  Please call or email the church office if you would like a copy mailed to you.

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.  The most recent is with Ken Moore.


  • Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am – 2:00
  • Wednesday 10am-1pm 
  • NOTE:  Pastor Tonya is taking a vacation day on Wednesday, March 10.


  • 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!

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.


Western District Conference extends prayers and encouragement for all congregations and communities impacted by recent weather-related crises in our region. The resulting power outages, water shortages, need for emergency shelter, and loss of work and income are also exacerbating the vulnerabilities and risks of the ongoing COVID pandemic.  In the face of these needs, congregations may apply for assistance grants of up to $2,500 from the WDC Hope Fund, and donations to the fund are also invited.  Grant applications and contributions may be made online at Hope Fund, or sent to WDC at PO Box 306, North Newton, KS 67117.  In the future, we will be discerning a broader purpose for the Hope Fund, to continue to respond to congregational needs as we anticipate moving beyond the COVID pandemic. Further announcements will be made as that is determined.  May God strengthen the church’s witness, caring and fellowship as we share together in this way.  


First Mennonite Church in McPherson is having a drive-thru verenika dinner on March 6th from 1pm to 7pm or until the food runs out. This will be a free will donation event with the proceeds going to the McPherson Housing Coalition.

First Mennonite Church
1161 E. Avenue A 
McPherson KS 67460
Phone: 620-241-4040     

CAMP MENNOSCAH announcements

Click here to Reserve your meal of verenike casserole, seasoned green beans, zweiback, and peach crisp online before March 7.  Or call 620-297-3290. Pick up meals at Moundridge High School between 5:30-6:30pm on March 13. Watch Camp Mennoscah’s Facebook page and check your email for information and any changes. Camp feeds your soul and this favorite youth camp meal will feed your belly!  Minimum donation per meal is $15. Additional donations are welcome!

Summer Youth Camp registration is open!  We are bouncing in our boots with excitement for the 2021 Summer Youth Camps and can’t wait to have campers!  This is a pandemic-impacted summer.  All aspects of camp from activities to meals to where campers sleep will be affected.  We are striving to have the best possible balance of fun and safety! Register online here!

Spring Scrapbook and Crafts Retreat at Camp Mennoscah March 19-21!  Once the retreat is full, sign up on the waitlist.  Register at!

Nothing’s better than a summer at camp!  Watch this video created by Mennonite Camping Association about why you should work at camp.  Applications for Camp Mennoscah Summer Staff positions are now being accepted!   

We are ready to rock – the Amphitheater!  Preparation for the Amphitheater Improvement project was completed in the Summer of 2020 and we are ready to finish this project up.  Work days are scheduled for the following days: March 12 to 13, March 26 to 27, April 2 to 3, April 9 to 10, May 14-15.  These opportunities to get involved are on Fridays and Saturday, come on out for one or both days, and part or all day. Ask about lodging if you would like to stay overnight.  A team of five volunteers will work from 9:00am to 4:00pm each day installing the new stone benches. There will be stone to cut, move, clean and set along with a whole lot of mortar to mix up.  Bring a lunch and water bottle with you when you come, and plan to arrive at the North cabin area to check in around 9:00am. Email or call 620-297-3290 to volunteer for this project. 

Looking for kitchen staff and nurses!  Camp Mennoscah is filling volunteer and stipend positions for kitchen staff and nurses for the upcoming 2021 summer.  Contact Camp Mennoscah at or call 620-297-3290 for available weeks and details.  Kitchen staff can receive a scholarship up to full camp fees for their camper.

Volunteer opportunities at Camp Mennoscah!  We continually have year-round work to support the maintenance and upkeep of the campus and facilities. We can accommodate every group size, skill set and length of project you would like to tackle. Check out these ways to Get Involved! 

Email  or call 620-297-3290 to volunteer. 

Camp Mennoscah – year ‘round opportunities!  Camp Mennoscah is a wonderful space for families and groups needing space to spread out!  Facilities for differently sized groups are available with a variety of gathering areas.  Trails and fields are waiting to be hiked and used for fun activities, too!  Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 or to reserve.  You are invited to enjoy this sacred space!


Bohne Berrogi Sales – one day only – April 3.

 As with many things related to the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale, the usual order of business will not be possible due to Covid-19.  To make sure that people have the opportunity to purchase and take home some bohne berrogi, the Bohne Berrogi Committee will be making and selling this ethnic delight at Moundridge High School on April 3.  The Bohne Berrogi will be sold, by the dozen, from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM . The cost will be $20.00 a dozen, NO sauce will be provided.  No advance orders will be taken. This will be the only opportunity to purchase Bohne Berrogi unless some are not sold.  Left overs will be froze and sold at a later date or at the Relief Sale in July.  Come to Moundridge High School between 9:30 AM and 10:30 AM on April 3 and support the MCC Relief Sale with your purchase.

Plants and Things – one day only – April 10.

One of the most popular booths at the KMRS is “Plants and Things”.  As many of you know, this is the place to purchase a variety of things for your gardens. You traditionally have been able to buy flowers, shrubs, and garden plants.  Many people have counted on being able to get their tomato plants, cabbage starts, melon seedlings, annual flowers, bulbs, etc. at the KMRS.  Because July 2 and 3 is a bit late to be thinking about purchasing plants and starting or adding to a garden, the Plants and Things” booth will be open on April 10,  the time our sale is regularly scheduled.  “Plants and Things” will be set up at the MCC Building in North Newton utilizing the parking lot and the warehouse facilities.  Some things are yet to be decided such as opening and closing times, drop off hours, flat pick up, etc., but we wanted you to know that we will be accepting the plants that you wish to bring to the sale. So please start the seeds that will become a part of your contribution to MCC and the sale event.  More information will follow, but we want to encourage you to start those plants to donate to the KMRS Early Plants and Things Sale.

For more information and answers to questions, please contact Kristi Unruh at 620-345-6867or by email at or you can contact Jim Robb at 620-747-0186 or by email at

Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale will be held July 2 and 3, 2021, at the Kansas State Fair grounds. 

BETHEL COLLEGE announcements

Wednesday, March 3, 7 p.m. – Bethel College’s two small a cappella ensembles, Open Road (men) and Woven (women) will be featured in the monthly concert series at Plymouth Congregational Church in Wichita, via livestream. To view, go to (Plymouth Congregational Church, Wichita, on YouTube).

Now on display through March 5 in the Regier Art Gallery, Luyken Fine Arts Center, at Bethel College: “After the End of the End of the World,” a collaboration between Rachel Epp Buller and Derek Owens. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri. (Because of the pandemic, there will be no public reception for this exhibit.) Please note that face coverings must be worn and physical distancing practiced on the Bethel campus.

HESSTON COLLEGE announcements

Performing Arts Recitals – March 4, 5 p.m., Hesston Mennonite Church sanctuary – Free and open to the public

Bel Canto Singers Block Concert – Hesston College’s Mullet Drive parking lot, 301 S Main St, Hesston, KS – Sunday, March 28, 3 to 4 p.m.

Dyck Arboretum’s Conservation Stewardship in the Flint Hills (Online Lecture), March 30, 2021 – 7 to 8:30 p.m. – Register online at 

Watch this month’s Peacing it Together interview, hosted by Tony Brown, Hesston College’s peace ambassador and artist in residence. Tony interviews many influential Wichitans who have a heart for peace, like Victor Hogstrom: 

Western District Women in Mission 2021 Spring Soiree 

Thursday, April 8 at 7:00pm.  In lieu of our annual Spring Supper, gather with us for a virtual night of worship, music and a reflection on “Faith in Turbulent Times” offered by special guest speaker and freelance minister, Georgia Metz, M. Div. More details to follow soon.         



Mennonite Church USA has announced the registration rates for MennoCon21, its first hybrid convention, to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, and online on July 6-10. 2021. In-person attendance is $325 per person for the five-day event and online attendance is $99. For more details, visit

Menno Snapshots
In her blog, “Endings and beginnings,” Chantelle Todman reflects on her work with Mennonite Church USA’s Women in Leadership initiative and as an intercultural leadership coach with Mosaic Conference – and her exciting new beginning as the co-owner of a radical coffee and tea house in Philadelphia. Read more:
Support the peace and justice work of Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) by prayerfully considering a contribution to the Justice Fund, a mutual aid fund that assists MC USA congregations engaging in their communities to dismantle racism and build peace.


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!

YOUTH VENTURE is accepting applications for summer 2021! Discover and experience the work that God is doing in the world with a team of other young people, as you serve, learn, worship, and build relationships. Visit to learn more!

Looking for a non-traditional pastoral role? Become a unit leader for SERVICE ADVENTURE, a gap-year program for ages 17-20 from Mennonite Mission Network. Unit leaders, who are at least 24 years of age, serve as mentors to the young adults in the Service Adventure household. Leaders are needed in Johnstown, PA and Colorado Springs, CO. Learn more by contacting


MCC Comforter Blitz: At Home update – We are half-way through the blitz and have received 193 completed comforters. The goal is to receive 300 completed comforters at MCC in North Newton by the end of March! All the details and information on getting comforter making supplies from MCC are at Share pictures of your work on the MCC Comforter Blitz Facebook page. Contact or 316.804.8432 with questions. Need batting? Contact Charlotte’s Sew Natural for their special MCC batting price at 316.284.2547. And THANK YOU to everyone working to create beautiful comforters for MCC!

MCC Alumni Gathering, July 9-11 at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp! All MCC alumni are invited to Colorado to relax in the cool mountain air this summer. We realize there is still uncertainty about summer activities due to COVID-19. At this point, we are planning to have this gathering, all registrations will be refunded if the event gets cancelled. We ask that you still go ahead and register if you plan to attend. Find all the details, including COVID-19 protocols that the camp is following and REGISTER at