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This week at FMC

November 25 – December 1, 2020

I waited patiently for the Lord 

He turned to me and heard my cry  

He lifted me up out of the slimy pit

out of the mud and the mire.

He set my feet on the rock 

            He gave me a firm place to stand 

He put a new song in my mouth 

            A hymn of praise to our God

Many will see and fear the Lord

            And put their trust in him.

(Psalm 40:1-3)

How long do we have to wait patiently for the Lord? How long?

            I was moved Sunday by the words of thanksgiving in the video during worship. It was good to see people, it was good to hear a litany of thanksgiving. It lifted my spirits as we entered the Thanksgiving week. 

            As Heidi and I work on our plans this week, we struggle on how much time to spend with extended family and how much to delay spending time with them. We have loved ones who want to come visit and loved ones we want to visit. It is not if, but when, will we be able to visit them? How long do we wait? When will we be out of the slimy pit and mire? Should we just do it and trust God?

            For some folks, this week is easy to decide what to do. For Heidi and I, it has been a struggle. But I know that all of us have moments in our life, whether it is now or not, where we are waiting patiently for the Lord. And part of being a community of faith is sometimes we choose to wait with others as they wait patiently, so that together when the time is right, we can sing a new song of praise to our God. 

            But until then, we wait patiently for the Lord. 

—Pastor Jim


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) for the month of November.  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 reevaluate this policy during November, based on data from the Reno County Health Department.

Sunday, November 29:  (ADVENT 1) On the Road to Readiness

  • Preacher:  Tonya 
  • Worship Leader:  Sara Blodgett
  • Children’s Time:  Lona Willems
  • Scripture Reader:  Cheryl Warkentin
  • Organist:  Pauline Buller
  • Sound:  Jasper Nisly
  • Live Stream:  Jonathan Wenger


You have a few more days to send in your donation for our Mission Festival offering which will be shared with MCC Central States and MCC’s New Hope in the Name of Christ 100th Anniversary Fundraiser.  Make your check out to FMC, and put ‘Mission Festival’ in the memo line.  You can read more about MCC’s 100th Anniversary Fundraiser and donate online if you prefer at this link:


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. 


Beginning THIS SUNDAY (Nov 29) we will be scrolling printed announcements prior to the service (beginning around 9:25) and after worship.  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 29 – First Sunday of Advent
  • December 9 @ 7:00pm – FMC Budget/Business & Annual Meeting  (Youth Fundraiser Meal delivered to you during the day – see details below!)
  • December 21 – Longest Night Service (livestream)
  • December 24 – Christmas Eve Service (livestream)
  • December 27 – NO Sunday School

DEEPENING in Christ…


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


Let Pastor Tonya know if you’d like to join FMC’s Group Rate for Jan Richardson’s Advent Illuminated Retreat, beginning November 29.  The group rate is $60/person.  Check out the details  here:  We’ll also be exploring our small group gathering periodically to share about what we’re learning and discovering this Advent season. 


Our Advent Theme this year, “On the Road…” is intended to create a sense of movement.  The planning team from Ohio Mennonite Conference wanted to bring to mind movement coming from traveling from one point to another.  As they describe it:  In the story of the magi from the East, they literally took to the road and drew closer to Jesus with each passing step. This rich imag­ery sets the tone for the Advent season as we seek to move ever closer to Jesus, wherever we might find ourselves along the road of faith.  While many of us are experiencing less physical movement in our lives, perhaps we’ll discover in this Advent season new possibilities of inner spiritual movement opening up.  Each week we’ll set out on a new leg of our ongoing journey toward Christ. 

  • Advent 1 (Nov 29), we are “on the road to readiness,” staying alert for Jesus’ second coming.
  • Advent 2 (Dec 6), we are “on the road to repentance,” confessing our sins as John the Baptist taught.
  • Advent 3 (Dec 13) takes us “on the road to restora­tion,” where we recognize that God will ultimately overturn the injustices of our world.
  • Advent 4 (Dec 20) sends us “on the road to revelation,” where we learn that Jesus is the culmination of ancient promises.  This Sunday will also (if all goes well!) feature an adapted version of our traditional Nine Lessons and Carols.  While we cannot have the choir singing, we look forward to alternate options for music and scripture to guide us into celebration of Jesus’ revelation in the world. 
  • Longest Night Service (December 21)
  • Christmas Eve (December 24)
  • The Sunday after Christmas (Dec 27), we are “on the road to rejoicing,” inspired by the psalmist to praise God for the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • On Epiphany (Jan 3) we are “on the road to radiance,” basking in the glow of God that shines for people of all nations.  We anticipate once again receiving “Star Words” to guide our journey into 2021.

In the end, the sin­cere hope is that when this Advent journey has been completed, we will be closer to the heart of Jesus than when we began.  May it be so for each of us!!  And … many thanks to Pauline Buller and Esther Regier for creating our Advent visual this year.


Families with children and youth, watch for an email communication soon from Pastor Tonya inviting you, if you wish, to stop by the church sometime between Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 to have your child/youth put their ornament on the Christmas Tree in the sanctuary.  If you’d rather have us put it on the tree, we are happy to do that as well.  While we are having to adapt in many ways during this pandemic, we still look forward to celebrating Advent and Christmas together!!

UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! devotional magazines

New issues of both the UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! have arrived and are available above the mailboxes.  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  (NO gathering THIS Sunday, NOV 29)

This class meets the FIRST THREE SUNDAYS of each month, taught by Pastor Jim, Pastor Tonya, and Calvin Buller.  Other volunteers are welcome to volunteer to teach the 4th and 5th Sundays.  The class is using the Salt & Light discussion guide.  The winter study beginning December 6, is entitled, “In God’s Image,” written by Timothy J. Geddert, professor of New Testament at Fresno Pacific University.  If you would like a study guide mailed to you, please call or email the church office.  Check your email for the ZOOM link or ask the church office.  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.

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.  Visit our website (  The most recent conversation is with Delon Martens.  Keep checking back because more conversations are coming!  And don’t forget to tell your friends about these conversations aimed at creating a future story for our beautiful salt city. 


We look forward to meeting on Wed Dec 9 @ 7:00pm on ZOOM.  A fundraiser meal will be provided/delivered by the Senior Youth – see details directly below!!!  The 2020 Annual Report book has been sent out by email with attachment on Tuesday morning 11/24.  If you did not receive it, please call the church office.  Also, please call if you would like a printed copy.  The report book includes an agenda for the Dec 9 meeting and the complete treasurer’s report and proposed budget.   Finally, if ZOOM is a challenge for you, let Pastor Tonya know what kind of help you need and plan to join the “Test Meeting” on Dec 2 at 7:00pm.  Watch your email for the ZOOM link for both meetings. 


Typically, the Senior Youth provides a meal for our Annual Meeting for a donation to the Youth Fund.  This fund helps support the youth in attending service projects and MC USA Conventions.  This year the Senior Youth will be preparing a meal of soup, bread, and dessert to be delivered to your home or picked up at the church during the day on Wednesday December 9. 

Please contact the church office ( or 620-662-9385) by Wednesday DECEMBER 2 to indicate:

  • How many meals?
  • How many each: Russian Noodle Soup or Chili?
  • Would you like to pick up your meal(s) at the church between 2-6pm on Dec 9, or have your meal(s) delivered to your home between 2-6pm on Dec 9?
  • If you would like your meal(s) delivered to your home, what time frame would be best between 2-5pm?


  • Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am – 2:00pm (Closed Thanksgiving Day)
  • Wednesday 10am-1pm


Let the church office or Pastor Tonya know if you are willing!!

STRETCHING to Serve as Christ Served…


Thank you for your generosity!!!


Thank you for your very generous responses to this appeal!!  We were able to deliver 4 baskets to the hospital along with some bags of extra’s, and have two additional small baskets we’ll be taking to Mennonite Friendship Communities.  A BIG thank you to Maggie Pounds for putting the baskets together and delivering them.


Adopt a bundle!  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 (ICK).  Please make your contribution to adopt one bundle – or several – by Christmas Eve.  Through the blessings of careful purchasing and generous donations, Jane and Deanna have prepared the bundles and wrapped them for us.  Cheryl Warkentin has donated her time and talent to crochet the tiny hats for the baby bundles.  Thank you to all who have generously shared their gifts for the well-being of children around the world. 


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.


Service Adventure is accepting applications for the 2021-2022 service term!  Grow in leadership and faith as you spend a year serving and living in community with other 17-20 year olds and with unit leaders.  This is a great opportunity for students interested in a “gap year.”   Visit to learn more! 


Have yourself a honkin’ good holiday at MCC in North Newton! This drive-thru event on Dec. 11 from 4-6 p.m. is a unique way to safely enjoy some delicious Christmas cheer while supporting the worldwide work of Mennonite Central Committee. Each charcuterie box is composed of seasonal artisan meats and cheeses, olives, fruit, mixed nuts and seasonal treats with crackers served on the side. A box serves two generous appetizer portions. RSVP by 5 p.m. on December 4 to reserve yours! Share your Christmas joy by ordering extra boxes to deliver to family and friends. Take a moment and treat yourself this holiday season! Suggested donation per box is $25. Email to reserve your charcuterie box today! Find more information and photos at

Support Mennonite Central Committee and celebrate MCC’s centennial with a new shirt, hoodie, tea towel, bag or hat!  Check out this online store and support MCC!


Now on display in the Regier Art Gallery, Luyken Fine Arts Center, at Bethel College: “Noir + More,” recent work by Denise Brueggeman. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri. Please note that face coverings must be worn and physical distancing observed on the Bethel campus.


Camp Mennoscah Hoodies are coming soon!!  Hoodies will have the camp sign printed on the upper left front. To order a hoodie, go to the link below. To order more than one hoodie, please submit additional forms. Once we receive your order, we will contact you for payment. We expect shipping/pick up to start in mid-December, but there may be unexpected delays. Hoodies are available until sold out, but order by November 30 for the best options! After Nov. 30, you will need to contact Camp Mennoscah by phone.            

We are grateful for YOU!  Stay warm, happy and healthy this Thanksgiving!

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!

Looking for your next opportunity to come to Camp Mennoscah?  The Christmas Gathering is tentatively being planned as an outdoor event on Saturday, December 12 at 2:30pm.  Details forthcoming.