Skip to content
This week at FMC

November 17-23, 2021

Table of Contents

“For a lot of us, it’s awkward to talk about God. Or whether we believe in God, and if so, what kind of God we believe in. … when it comes to describing our faith or whether we relate to God in our daily lives, we clam up. … We’re not very tuned to how God may be active in our world and how we might watch for evidence of an animating force for good in our circles of connection. … What is rendering us incapable, embarrassed, or hesitant to talk about God? What tangled threads are tying our tongues in knots? Is a heartfelt, intelligible language of faith in danger of going extinct?”  (Sara Wenger Shenk.  Tongue-Tied: Learning the Lost Art of Talking About Faith. Herald Press 2021)

These are excerpts from the introduction to Sara Wenger Shenk’s new book, which was the topic of discussion for the Pastor’s Day Apart offered by Western District Conference this past Saturday.  I haven’t read the book (even though I have a copy of it!), and was grateful to have opportunity to hear Sara share about what she’s written.  The truth is our words matter.  They name something, evoke memories, stories, and realities.  In the language of faith, words have threads to foundational scriptures and to the stories of Jesus that shape and guide us today.  Words like: mercy, grace, judgment, sin, repentance, love, and more are words Sara wonders might be going extinct.  Have we forgotten what they mean and how to use them meaningfully?  For all the importance of our actions, she suggests the Christian faith cannot continue without words.  In my discussion group we wrestled too with how to talk about faith in a way that balances love and conviction well – this is something many of us are working on.

Connecting with our recent “I’ve been meaning to ask…” worship series, my ears perked up when Sara said: “Curiosity germinates faith talk.”  And “prayer and worship unleashes tongues.”

If anyone would like to borrow this book, you’ll find it with my collection of books from Herald Press available in our church library (look along the window and please sign out any book you take!).  There are others there you might also be interested in! I’d love to share my books with you and hear what you think about what you read.

— 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! 


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). 


UPDATED 11/16/21 – CMT meets this Thursday, 11/18/21 and will be discussing possible changes to this announcement.

In August, CMT recommended that everyone wear a mask while inside the church building and practice social distancing because we want to protect our children and those individuals at high health risk and/or are unable to receive the vaccine.  It was anticipated that the next 4-6 weeks would be critical in slowing down the spread of the Delta variant.  We are thankful there has indeed been a decrease in positive cases since then.  However, CMT is still encouraging the wearing of masks and social distancing to cover the time period for individuals to receive a booster vaccination and for children now eligible to receive their initial vaccinations.  CMT will revisit this recommendation again when children should have full immunity. The boosters for Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have all been approved.  The vaccine is now available for children ages 5 – 12.  Please consider obtaining your booster and your child’s immunization as soon as the vaccinations become available.

(CMT: Delon Martens, Jennalee Boggs, Julie Esau, Kevin Martin Nisly, Carol Moore, Tonya Ramer Wenger, Jim Unruh)

SUNDAY, November 21: Live in the Present and the Presence

(Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14)

  • Preacher:  Kathy Neufeld Dunn
  • Worship Leader & Scripture Reader:  Stephanie Gehring 
  • Children’s Time:  Diane Ziemer
  • Pianist:  Peggy Stucky
  • Ushers:  Don Wiens & Russell Goering
  • Sound:  Micah Wenger
  • Live Stream:  Jonathan Wenger



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. 


  • November 17 – We’ll Leave Our Lights On (Food Drive) 5-7pm; Centennial Committee 7:00pm
  • November 18 – Congregational Ministry Team @ 4:30pm
  • November 20 – Faith & Life Pop Up Shop @ FMC 10am-2pm
  • November 28 – Advent Worship begins
  • December 5 – FMC Budget & Annual Meeting, Senior Youth Fundraisers (silent auction & lunch)

DEEPENING in Christ…


  • A Prayer group 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. 


The pandemic has laid bare, and widened, economic disparity locally and globally. As we enter the Advent season, how can our churches become houses where the Holy will be born anew–offering respite, sustenance and care, opening the doors ever wider to those seeking shelter from the onslaught of life? No one church can do it all, but each can do something. As we study the biblical prophets that call us to care for our neighbors and “make room in the inn,” the lonely and frightened spaces within us are filled with the light of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. (created by Worship Design Studio)

  • November 28    Advent 1: “Making Room”
  • December 5       Advent 2: “A Place at the Table”  (Decorating the Christmas Tree & Annual Meeting)
  • December 12     Advent 3: “How Much is Enough?”
  • December 19     Advent 4: “A Room with a View”  (with Lessons and Carols)
  • December 24     Christmas Eve: “The Inn”
  • December 26     Sunday after Christmas: “Dwelling”


  1. Mennonite Church USA is again providing an “Advent At Home” resource, this year on the theme: Dare to Imagine.  You can access that resource at the following website:
  • Pastor Tonya has a number of Advent books she is making available for anyone to borrow during the season.  You can find them on one of the tall tables in the foyer – please be sure to sign the book out that you take, and enjoy (and bring back when you are done)!
  • Some of you participated in Jan Richardson’s online Advent retreat last year.  You can find more information here for this year’s retreat:

FALL 2021 SUNDAY SCHOOL @ 10:45am

CHILDREN & YOUTH: Living as God’s People (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.

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


We’re seeking volunteers beginning in December (at least one more teacher per class would REALLY be helpful – you would only need to teach one Sunday a month or less)!!  Please contact Pastor Tonya or Cheryl Warkentin if you would be willing, or sign up on the signup sheet in the foyer (on the “Sign Up” bulletin board).

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…


Please call Sara Blodgett with any pastoral care crisis needs while Pastor Tonya is gone in California this weekend (she leaves early Friday morning and returns late Tuesday night). 


Spread the word that Faith and Life Bookstore (Newton) will again set up a ‘pop-up shop’ at First Mennonite for all your Christmas shopping needs!!  Hours are 10am-2pm and refreshments will be served.  This is a really fun opportunity to browse and shop inspirational books, gifts, and more, and it’s open to anyone in our community.  Spread the word and invite someone to join you.  As hosts of this event, our church library benefits so that we can add to our own church library.


Mark your calendars and plan to attend FMC’s Budget & Annual Meeting Sunday December 5 + Fundraiser Meal & Silent Auction for Senior Youth!!  It’s going to a be a fun morning! All are welcome to participate in the meeting and discussion, although only members/associate members will cast votes. 

The morning schedule is as follows:

  • 9:30am Worship (Second Sunday of Advent, including Decorating the Christmas Tree)
  • 10:45am-12:15pm Budget & Annual Meeting (with Sunday School classes & activities for kids running concurrently)
  • Senior Youth Fundraisers: 
    • Silent Auction. Bring your items to donate anytime to the basement fellowship hall – just put them on the designated table.  Suggested items:  quality used items, baked goods (can bring the morning of if you prefer), gift certificates, and more!
    • Lunch: Watch for more details – at this point we’re planning on a take-home option, but that will depend on the COVID situation and what precautions we still have in place as a congregation.


We need your stories about life at FMC!  They can be stories from yesterday or 50+ years ago.

  • Why has it been important to you to be part of this congregation?
  • How has your journey with Jesus been shaped by being a part of this congregation?
  • What opportunities have opened up to you by being part of this congregation?
  • What is your favorite memory?
  • Does a memorable event stand out?  Or an ordinary event that really made an impression on you?
  • Is there something you helped plan, or participated in that you found meaningful?
  • Do you remember any “ah-ha” moments during worship or Sunday School?
  • Is there something that makes First Mennonite “First Mennonite” you want to make sure gets noted in the updated history book?

And … do you have pictures you could share?  We welcome pictures from the past, but more recent pictures as well!  We now have a quick and simple way on our website for you to submit your stories and photos!  Go to our homepage, or click on this link to access a form you can easily fill out and submit.  Or, you can email your response or put your stories and/or photos in the respective boxes available at church in the foyer.   ADDITIONALLY, Diane Ziemer has offered she is available most evenings and would be happy to have you call her and she will type and submit your story for you.

Please consider sharing your stories, even if you may think they are insignificant!  We need many voices and types of stories to make this book come alive with the spirit of First Mennonite Church.  Also, please share the above link freely with those you know who were at First Mennonite once upon a time and might have a story and/or pictures to share … maybe friends, relatives, children, etc.??

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)
  • UPCOMING VACATION SCHEDULE: gone November 19-23, 2021

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…

CHRISTMAS GIVING OPPORTUNITIES . . . sharing Christ’s love this season with those near and far!

INFANT CARE KITS for MCC are ready … dedication planned for CHRISTMAS EVE.  Take a look at the two bundles on display on the table in the foyer.  Deanna Mace and Jane Kroeker have already done the shopping for you and have assembled dozens of bundles.  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.  Please make your contribution to adopt one bundle – or several – by Christmas Eve.  Thank you to all who have generously shared their gifts in preparing these bundles and for all of you who contribute to send them to families around the world who are caring for new babies amid the struggles of conflict, poverty, displacement, famine and natural disasters.

SALTHAWK COMMUNITY SUPPORT is planning Santa Sacks for Hutch High and HMS8 Students to help them feel the love and support of our community.  The goal is to prepare 150 sacks for students facing extra needs at a cost of $100 per sack.  Each sack will include snacks, ear buds, and a gift certificate to purchase Salthawk merchandise in the new Sammy’s Shack store at HHS.  Please consider making a gift to purchase one or more sacks, or contribute what you can.   You can donate online through Trinity UMC’s donation link: or make checks payable to Salthawk Community Support and mail by December 1 to Trinity United Methodist Church, Salthawk Community Support, 1602 North Main Street, Hutchinson KS 67501.  If you prefer, you can also mail or drop off your checks (made out to Salthawk Community Support) at First Mennonite by Sunday Nov 28.  A letter with more information is posted on the bulletin board in the foyer.

HAT & MITTEN TREE: During Advent we’ll have a tree in the foyer to collect hats and mittens.  These donations will be taken to Salvation Army for distribution to persons in our community.


Help is needed on Saturday, November 27 to cook (starting around 2:00pm), deliver meals around 4:00pm, and serve the meal at 5:00pm.  Donations of applesauce and salad greens are also requested.  Bring to the church the Sunday before, or to the soup kitchen on the 27th.  A sign up sheet is posted soon on the “Sign Up” bulletin board in the church foyer.  Questions?  Contact Kevin Martin Nisly, Sadie Nisly, or Juliet Nisly.  We are also still seeking a volunteer to help with the administrative end of our involvement with this ministry (does NOT need to involve actually helping on the day of the event).


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.  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.


Support Mennonite Friendship Communities – did you know that when you shop at Dillons or Amazon, you could be supporting MFC? Each of these companies have programs that give a portion of sales back to local non-profits.  Check out Dillon’s Community Rewards – or Amazon Smile – to sign up. Call Susan Nisly at MFC 620-663-7175 with questions.

CAMP MENNOSCAH announcements

  • We’ll bring the marshmallows!  The brush piles from the tree trimming extravaganza this past spring are ready to burn!  Get a group together and schedule a day to burn (wind speed permitting).  Contact Camp Mennoscah at or 620-297-3290.  
  • We are grateful for you!  We continue to get calls from volunteers and receive gifts of items off the Wish List.  These items and projects help with the faith formation that happens at Camp Mennoscah.  The list has more wishes and there are more projects to do.  We can accommodate every group size, skill set and length of project you would like to tackle. Check out these ways to Get Involved! and support camp’s ministry.  Email or call 620-297-3290 to volunteer.  See the Wish List for other ways to support Camp Mennoscah!

BETHEL COLLEGE announcements

Bethel College Women’s Association is calling all bakers and craft makers to make items for 5 Places of Christmas on Saturday, December 4, at Goerz House on Bethel College campus.  They will again be selling baked goods , craft items, and poinsettias. Christmas candy, zwieback, peppernuts, poppyseed rolls and cinnamon rolls are always great sellers.  Please bring your items to Goerz House on Friday, December 3, from 1:30-4:30pm or Saturday, December 4 from 7:00-9:00am.  Thank you for your support of Bethel College!

Job opening.  Kauffman Museum at Bethel College seeks a visitor services coordinator: an organized, detail-oriented, social media-savvy, curious, friendly individual to work 75-100% FTE with visitors, school groups, volunteers and student staffers, and to do scheduling and internal office management. The VSC will be a part of a multitasking team of five. For the job description and to apply, visit For more information, contact Andi Andres at or 316-283-1612.


MCC in North Newton currently has over 800 sets of comforter tops and backs that need to be tied, as well as kits of fabric that can be sewn into more tops. MCC’s partners all around the world value these handmade comforters as useful, beautiful and tangible expressions of love. If you or your sewing group would be interested in tying or sewing for MCC, or if you have questions and are curious about how to make a comforter, please contact Kate Mast at the MCC Material Resources Center at, or 316-283-2720.

NEW Seek discipleship program for young adults: Seek is a new six-month intentional discipleship program from MCC which encourages young adults (18-20 years of age) to learn more deeply what it means to be an Anabaptist follower of Jesus. The program will include multiple discipleship and service opportunities with MCC partners in Palestine and Israel and Jordan. The Seek program begins in January 2022 and takes place in Palestine and Israel. To learn more and apply for the Seek program, visit

SALT applications are now open! Are you interested in learning a new language, visiting a new country, and joining a new community abroad? SALT applications are now open! Through SALT (young adults age 18-30), practice your skills in education, peace building, agriculture, community health care and more while connecting with the global Anabaptist community of faith. For more information, visit or contact Abby Endashaw, Young Adult Programs Coordinator at MCC Central States

MCC seeking SWAP Location Coordinators in Hindman, Kentucky: MCC Appalachia’s SWAP (Sharing With Appalachian People) program coordinates week-long service opportunities for young people and adults, to provide housing repair for low-income individuals and families. The Hindman Location Coordinators will plan and direct all aspects of the SWAP ministry in Hindman, Kentucky. MCC is also looking to connect with other ministries related to economic development and/or food security and would welcome location coordinators with these interests and backgrounds. Apply online for this opening by December 10 at For more information contact Amber Falcón at 574-534-4133 or