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This week at FMC

November 10-16, 2021

Table of Contents

“Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.” (John 11:1) So begins a story like so many of our stories.  Stories of unexpected and unwelcome crisis, of community, of family, and friends.  Stories of fear and loss, bewilderment and anger.  Emotions very real to us today.

Two years ago, when we observed All Saints Day in worship, I started out my meditation on this text with these words:  This is a story that does not shy away from how much death stinks.  Lazarus’ story is profound for us not only because Lazarus in the end, lives, even though he was dead three days.  What also moves me deeply is the way Jesus does not shy away from the gut wrenching pain of death and the separation it brings.  Jesus knows it; he feels is; he weeps with Mary and Martha, and with us. 

This Sunday we will once again pause to remember with gratitude losses in our lives, specifically loved ones who have died in the last year (or in previous years).  And we will turn again to this story in John 11, bringing our own bewilderment, tears, anger, and longing to see Jesus with us on this journey we’re on. 

I highly recommend anything Jan Richardson creates (, including her book The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief.  She writes this about blessings in the introduction to the book:  “A blessing does not explain away our loss or justify devastation.  It does not make light of grief or provide a simple fix for the rending. It does not compel us to ‘move on.’ Instead, a blessing meets us in the place of our deepest loss.  In that place, it offers us a glimpse of wholeness and claims that wholeness here and now.  A blessing helps us to keep breathing – to abide this moment, and the next moment, and the one after that.”

This is my hope in creating space for acknowledging our grief and loss … that we would experience the blessing of glimpsing the presence of Jesus with us, sharing our tears and our grief; helping us keep breathing and living into this moment, the next moment, and the one after that.  I hope you can join us.  If you are joining online, bring a candle (or two or three) to your worship space so you can participate fully. 

— 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 annoucements! 

NEW !!! 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):

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 14: All Saints Sunday

(Isaiah 25:6-9, John 11:32-44)

  • Preacher:  Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader & Scripture Reader:  Star Gipson
  • Children’s Time:  Cathia Krehbiel
  • Organist:  Pauline Buller
  • Ushers:  Jennalee & Dennis Boggs
  • Sound:  Earl Ediger
  • Live Stream:  Jonathan Wenger

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES MEET @ 10:45am (and M&M meets at 10:45am as well!)


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 14 – All Saints Worship Service with opportunity to remember loved ones who have died this past year, or in years past.  PLUS, M&M meets during the Sunday School hour and for lunch.
  • November 16 – Faithful Community Coordination Team @ 1:45pm; Faith Formation Team @ 4:00pm
  • 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. 


There have been many losses in the last year, including loved ones who have died.  On Sunday November 14 we will pause to remember the losses, recognizing their deep impact on us and many in our community.  The service will include opportunity to specifically remember loved ones who have died this last year as we light candles and write their names.


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”

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…


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.

HATS & 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!

Now in the Regier Gallery at Bethel College – “Voices Together,” a display of the original artwork featured in the new Voices Together hymnal, through Nov. 19. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. 

Sun., Nov. 14 – KIPCOR Film Series: A Home Called Nebraska2 p.m., Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center at Bethel College. Emily Haverkamp, an immigration and asylum lawyer from Wichita, will lead the discussion following the screening. Bethel’s current COVID-19 protocols require physical distancing and mask-wearing indoors with groups of 10 or more.

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.

HESSTON COLLEGE announcements

Hesston College Masterworks: Bach, Brixi, Mozart and Handel – Nov. 13, 7 p.m. at Hesston Mennonite Church

Join us for an evening featuring Baroque and Classical masterpieces! Bach’s cantata “Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seine,” BWV 148; Brixi’s “Organ Concerto in F,” featuring Kenneth Rodgers, organ; Mozart’s “Exsultate, Jubilate,” K165 featuring Dr. Holly Swartzendruber, soprano; and Handel’s “Hallelujah, Amen” from “Judas Maccabaeus.” Musicians include Bel Canto Singers, area artists, and professional orchestra. Program and livestream at


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


Mennonite Church USA encourages people and congregations to “Learn, Pray, Join” about the Cost of Poverty. We’ll explore the topic of poverty from theological and practical perspectives, addressing its intersectional nature and the impact of the pandemic.    “As stewards of money and possessions, we are to live simply, practice mutual aid within the church, uphold economic justice, and give generously and cheerfully. As persons dependent on God’s providence, we are not to be anxious about the necessities of life, but to seek first the kingdom of God. We cannot be true servants of God and let our lives be ruled by desire for wealth.” (from “Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective,” Article 21: Christian Stewardship)  

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  –Mark 10:21

Read more here:


The Kansas MDS Unit is sponsoring a Learning and Service trips to McAllen TX, February 19-26, 2022.  Participants will leave on Saturday morning traveling to San Antonio TX, staying overnight, visiting San Antonio Mennonite Church on Sunday morning, then traveling to McAllen TX for the MDS project.  Cost will be two nights lodging and meals on the two weekends while traveling.  MDS is covering the remainder of the expenses.  To make your reservations or for more information contact Cleo Koop at or call 316-282-0797.


Annual Meeting – November 12 and 13.  You will have opportunities to meet/greet some of the MDS binational staff and learn about MDS activities.  Online registration is at No registration fees.

  • Location:  Hesston Mennonite Church, 309 S Main St, Hesston, KS 67062
  • Meeting in a hybrid fashion (both local and virtual)
  • Local — masks and social distancing  … Virtual — zoom meeting at
  • Theme: MDS-Deep Roots-New Growth, A house is not always the answer