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This week at FMC

October 14-20, 2020

How are you experiencing all the changes we’ve experienced since March? 

What kind of spiritual community do you need now, in October?

Thirty one weeks.  For a gestating mother, this means her baby is now about the size of a bunch of asparagus, weighing a little over 3 pounds.  For a waiting congregation (community, country, world) it means we are so weary of COVID-19 and the sweeping changes accompanying its presence in our world.  I don’t know what kind of vegetable or fruit we could be compared to!!  Some of those changes are so confusing; our ability to come together as caring communities concerned about every neighbor’s well-being made all the worse, in my view, by our divided politics and upcoming election.  

What if we thought of ourselves as a gestating people right now?  Gestating simply means to develop slowly.  We all know it takes a long time for a human infant to grow in his or her mother’s womb.  It can feel like forever; the changes in a woman’s body are amazing and for some hard to endure.  And the weight of that fully formed baby waiting to be born is significant.  Some aspects of the woman’s body and life will be the same, and some are changed forever as a new life is welcomed, adjusted to, and grown with.

Thirty one Sundays we have been worshipping together in what we thought was a temporary way.  Now on Sunday mornings there are usually around 20 gathered in person in worship and somewhere around 50 households (it’s hard to know exactly, but our numbers are steady) joining via the live stream in real time (and more who watch the service later).  We have tried to adjust to connecting to each other in new ways – to care for and support each other.  And I know each of you in your own ways and abilities have been loving our neighbors in our communities.   Despite my own desire for things to go back to ‘normal,’ I am slowly coming to terms with the reality that some of the changes we have been ‘enduring’ are here to stay.  That’s sobering.  And.  Change always includes opportunity.  Possibility.  New vision, understanding, perception.  Even so, it’s unsettling, uncomfortable, and scary. 

Psalm 46 often passes through my mind when I feel overwhelmed and frightened by change … 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

Even in chaos and fear, God’s steadfast love and presence persists.  What’s challenging is keeping ourselves rooted deeply there; not tossed to and fro by everything going on around us.   We need each other even more right now, I believe, and we are challenged to forge new ways of being spiritual community when our old practices and patterns have shifted. 

And I need your help to know what you are most needing right now to nurture your connection with God, each other, and our neighbors.  So I’ll return to my opening question – what kind of spiritual community do you need right now? What are you longing for in this time?  What risks are you willing to take, changes you’d like to dig into more fully to see what the new possibilities are … where God might be doing ‘a new thing’ or where God is calling us to hang onto the old?

Jesus, in Matthew 13:52 said this:  “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”  While we may not see ourselves as scribes, in some ways we are all being trained ‘for the kingdom of heaven’ and so we too are invited to bring out of the treasure we’ve been entrusted with both what is new and what is old.  May God grant us all the wisdom and courage we need for the living of these days we are in!!  

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:

We are welcoming around 30 people to be present in-person during our live stream. In an effort to create the safest environment possible, we ask you to wear masks, observe physical distancing and try not to congregate in the foyer but to visit outside as much as possible.  Please contact the church office by Thursday each week to make a reservation to attend in person.  We will be glad to see you!


Reconciliation with Ourselves  –  Luke 19:2-10

  • Preaching:  Pat Peters via video
  • Worship Leader:  Delon Martens
  • Children’s Time:  Delon Martens
  • Scripture Reader:  Pastor Tonya
  • Pianist:  Peggy Stucky
  • 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 announcements and 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. 


  • October 25 – FMC Budget meeting – postponed .. see announcement below
  • November 15 – Mission Festival with Michelle Armster from MCC (date tentative)
  • November 29 – First Sunday of Advent
  • December 6 – FMC Annual meeting – tentative .. see announcement below

Pastor Tonya’s Schedule Week of October 12-18

Healthy Boundaries Training (required for Pastors in Western District Conference) – October 13 from 9-4pm

Vacation Days:  October 14-16 (except for evening meetings)

No Donuts this Halloween

Due to the CDC’s recommendation to not trick-or-treat this year, and the interactive and physically close nature of our donut event, we will not be handing out donuts this year on Halloween.  Instead, we will look forward to Halloween 2021!

DEEPENING in Christ…


Would you enjoy helping Pastor Tonya plan for our Advent and Christmas Worship this year, in these unusual times?  If so, let her know ASAP as she’d be glad for some conversation and planning partners!!


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


As we continue to explore “Anabaptist Essentials” our focus through November 8 is on different facets of “Reconciliation is the Center of our Work.” 

  • October 18: Reconciliation with ourselves (Luke 19:2-10)  Video sermon prepared by Pat Peters
  • October 25: Reconciliation with creation (Romans 8:18-25) Pastor Tonya preaching
  • November 1: Reconciliation with systems – Pastor Jim Unruh preaching
  • November 8: Reconciliation with others (2 Corinthians 5:11-21) Pastor Tonya preaching

We hope Sunday morning worship, whether you are joining in person or from home, provides a spiritually grounding and growing space for you as we travel through ongoing complexities of the pandemic and the upcoming Presidential election. 


All women who are interested are invited to begin gathering on October 20 on Tuesdays from 10:00-11:00am at the church with your masks (likely in the Fellowship Hall where we can spread out).  We’ll meet for six weeks, and will be watching and discussing a video series by Father Albert Haase on deepening the spiritual life.  There is no book or reading required – just come for the fellowship, input and discussion.  If there is a group (could be both men & women) who would like to meet at an evening time I would be happy to facilitate that as well – please let me know.  —  Pastor Tonya

UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! devotional magazines

The new issue of UPPER ROOM has arrived and is 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
  • Senior high:  Sunday @ 1:00pm on ZOOM

Adult discussion class book study, I Am Not Your Enemy, by Michael McRay:  Wednesdays 7-8:00pm on ZOOM.  Led by Pastor Tonya and Julie Goering.  Call the church office if you would like to join.

Adult Sunday School @ 11am on Sundays resumes on October 25 in person in the fellowship hall. In a recent REJOICE! devotional, the writer writes about a friend leaving a beautiful mountain setting sensing God saying, “Yes, where you have been has been beautiful, but what I have ahead of you is beautiful too.  There is so much more to come.”  

That sentiment can be applied to the Sunday School class previously taught by Harold Kroeker, given his and Jane’s recent decision to begin worshiping with another congregation.  Those who have attended this class have appreciated the challenges and learning opportunities Harold has provided over the years he has taught the class.  In looking forward, Faith Formation Coordination Team members, Delon & Calvin, visited the class this past Sunday.  Out of that conversation, came these (beautiful) decisions to move forward:

  • Continue meeting on Sundays at 11:00, beginning on October 25.  (The class will NOT meet on October 18.)
  • Pastor Jim will lead the discussion on October 25.  Calvin Buller and others may also lead the discussion in the future.
  • You are invited to attend in person in the fellowship hall and invite others to join us.  (If you are not able to attend in person, would you participate if the discussion were available on ZOOM?  Let us know.)
  • The class will continue using the Salt & Light discussion guide.  This quarter our study centers on, “Joining God: Relationship and Worship,” using a variety of Old and New Testament texts.  Study guides are available in the foyer or call the church and we’ll send you one).

We come together to study God’s Word. We connect to encourage each other and to support each other in our times of need and in our celebrations of joy. We praise God for opportunities to see the beauty God continues to place ahead of us.  There is so much more to come.

Should you have any thoughts, suggestions, questions, or concerns about the future of this class, feel free to visit with Pastor Jim, Calvin or Delon.

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


Mentors and Mentees … mark your calendars (in pencil!) for Sunday, October 25 at 1:00pm at the Dillon Nature Center for our next gathering.  And watch email for confirmation of that date and time.  We will of course also be dependent on the weather that day!

STRENGTHENING Community Connections…


Contact Pastor Tonya anytime for more conversation.  FMC offers two options:  full membership or associate membership.  The latter is a good option for those preferring to leave their full membership elsewhere but would like to express a membership commitment at FMC as well. 


CMT has decided that, due to Covid-19, it is best to reschedule the Budget/Business Meeting that would typically be held on October 25.  What is being considered is combining the Budget/Business Meeting with the Annual Meeting in December (date and time TBA).  It will be in-person, via Zoom or a hybrid.  CMT is planning to meet next week and further information will then be provided.  Additionally, a proposed budget and narrative will be put in mailboxes and emailed shortly after the CMT meeting. 

NEW FMC WEBSITE – same link:

Check out our new website!  From now on, you will be encouraged to go there for the link for weekly worship was well as the weekly email.  We’ll still send some email reminders, but you might want to bookmark so it’ll be at your fingertips!

CHURCH OFFICE HOURS – a few changes this week

Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am – 2:00pm (this week Thursday office hours will be unpredictable)

Wednesday – closed this week


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

STRETCHING to Serve as Christ Served…


The Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale is conducting an Online Quilt Auction.  The Quilt Auction began on Monday, October 12, 2020 and will run through Monday, October. 26, 2020.  There are 25 quilts that have been selected by the Quilt Committee.  

The Quilt Auction is on the Auctria website at   The link is now live and there are pictures of the quilts with a complete description of each quilt that would be in the MCC Sale Quilt booklet.  This includes title, dimensions, as well as the individual that donated the quilt if known. These are lovely quilts that are a representative of the more than 200 quilts that were donated in April.  Check out the pictures now and start bidding on Monday, Oct 12!

Please share this info with quilters and quilt lovers.  If you have questions concerning the quilts, please contact Charlene Driggers at 620-947-1749.


Keep Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 on your calendar for the Hutchinson (and surrounding area) churches annual food drive, We’ll Leave Our Lights On.  Our doors will be open from 5-7pm to receive food for the food bank.  People will also be able to leave food at the church during the week prior.

This will be our 3rd year of participating in this wonderful event. Because of COVID 19, the community assistance task force decided that we will not do the soup supper this year, but felt like it would still be a great way to continue participating with local churches and gather food for the Reno Co. food bank.  If you have questions about this event, call or email Star.


The needs list has changed!!  If you can provide any of the following, please drop them off at Trinity UMC (use the 16th Street office door) on Tuesday between Noon-3pm or Thursday between 10am-1pm, or bring them to the church and we will deliver them.

  • Black leggings – all sizes
  • Detergents – smaller sizes for carrying
  • Dryer sheets
  • Men’s deodorant (NO women’s)
  • Chapstick
  • Refillable water bottles
  • Packaged snacks for tutoring meetings
  • Wired ear buds
  • Girls’ underwear in XS – S (0-5 jean size)

Thanks SO much for helping the kids in our hometown!


The Salvation Army and Inter-faith Housing Services are currently accepting donations on behalf of First Call for Help.  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.


MFC is planning a socially-distanced and masked open house on October 17 for our Independent Living duplexes. Our housekeepers are very staff challenged right now, and we were hoping that some people in the churches might be willing to help clean some of the duplexes that we will show. It’s basically wiping down cabinets and counters, vacuuming, etc. The cleaning would be done in the duplexes away from residents and staff.  If you can help, please contact me.  Kristen Birket, or call 620-663-7175.

OUTREACH MEAL PACKAGING EVENT   — Saturday, October 17,  2020

Buhler Mennonite Church and IdeaTek are sponsoring this event and need 150 volunteers.  Our goal is to package 50,000 meals between 9am – 2pm (in two shifts).  This is part of a nationwide 1,000,000 meal challenge in honor of the 19th anniversary of 9/11.   All of the meals will be donated to domestic food banks, with 5,000 meals donated within Reno County. The event will be at the Sand Hills Event Center in Hutchinson. We will practice social distancing including provided masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.  Sign up and also pass the invitation on to other people you know.  For more information and to sign-up use this link:  or call 620.899.2733.


Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church’s annual Mission Supper will be a carry out meal this year due to Covid 19.  The meal will feature our traditional menu of German sausage, mashed potatoes, gravy, creamed peas, zwiebach, applesauce and pie on Saturday, October 24, 5:00 – 6:30.  To order meals call or text Barb (620-543-6863) or Teresa (620-242-2357) by October 18.  This will be a free will offering benefit with all proceeds going to support the Buhler Omega Project, an addiction recovery house for women.  The Buhler House opened its doors in February 2020.


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!

Celebration 2020: MCC at 100.  A live stream event commemorating a century of MCC’s ministry on Saturday, October 17 at 6:50pm (EDT).  Information and login is at mcc.celebration-2020 .


Share your thoughts! Mennonite Central Committee is partnering with the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions and we need your feedback. Please take 5-7 minutes to complete this survey to help MCC establish an understanding of how congregations are currently involved with creation care and advocacy. All results will remain confidential. Please share the survey link with others in your congregation. Thank you for taking time to help guide our future work in addressing issues around climate change. Click here to begin the survey Please email for more information.


Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy a socially distanced Bel Canto Block Concert. The Hesston College Bel Canto Singers will perform an outdoor concert in the Mullet Drive parking lot north of Hesston Mennonite Church on October 18, 4 p.m. Weather delay will be announced via the Hesston College website and rescheduled for the following Sunday. A limited number of drive-in parking spots will be available and can be reserved by emailing or calling 620-327-8141.


Due to Bethel College’s current COVID status, the Chamber Orchestra concert scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 13, has been canceled (it may be rescheduled, or recorded at a later date).

Now in the Regier Gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center at Bethel College: “Forthcoming,” photography by David Long, through Oct. 30. Gallery hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri. Face coverings must be worn on the Bethel campus; events subject to change according to current COVID color status.

2020 Menno Simons Lectures at Bethel College – For the first time in 68 years, this annual series will be delivered virtually. The speaker is César Garcia, general secretary of Mennonite World Conference, Kitchener, Ontario. The series title is “Towards an Anabaptist Catholicity.” Lectures are Sunday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m. (live online with Q&A to follow); Monday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m. (pre-recorded);and Monday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m. (live online with Q&A to follow). To register, go to All registered participants will receive the Zoom link a day or so before the series begins.

Virtual events from Bethel College’s Fall Festival, Oct. 2-4, can still be viewed on its YouTube channel, including No Cross, No Crown: Covid Edition, an original play by Karen Robu, based on the life of Antoinette Brown Blackwell, the first woman to be ordained in a mainline denomination in the United States, and an outspoken anti-slavery, temperance and women’s suffrage advocate. You can also see the 2020 alumni awards presentations to Doris Bartel and Barry Hieb and Todd Flory’s Young Alumnus Award convocation (after Oct. 9). Go to and click the “Videos” link.


Sarah Smarsh will kick off the 2020-2021 Peace Lecture Series, speaking in a live-streaming event on Thursday, November 5.  Smarsh will present, “Bridging the Cultural Divide in Difficult Times.”  Sarah focuses on socioeconomic class and rural America. Her book Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, an instant New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the National Book Award, examines economic inequality through her upbringing among the working poor on a Kansas farm.  Sarah is a regular political commentator in national media and has spoken internationally on poverty, rural issues, and cultural divides.  Check the KIPCOR website at


Camp Mennoscah volunteers will be removing the Camp Mennoscah dam on October 18 beginning at 3pm (after a morning baptism).  You are welcome to come watch the process (please bring a mask and/or expect to stay at least 6 ft. away from others).  If you would like to help in the removal process, please contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290.  Physical distancing and mask wearing may not be feasible for those in the water.

Camp Mennoscah’s Scrapbook and Crafts Retreat on October 30-Nov. 1 has only a few spaces available.  (Nov. 6-8 is waitlist only.)  Participants will stay in the Retreat Center with their own bathroom and scrapbook/crafts tables will be set up in the dining hall to provide more space and better ventilation.  Mask and distancing guidelines followed.  Register at!  Call 620-297-3290 for more information.

Last chance for canoeing before the dam comes out!  Come to Camp Mennoscah for a day or overnight retreat and spend those hours basking in a canoe.  You can also hike the trails in cooler weather, have a campfire cookout, and enjoy the open spaces of the tallgrass prairie!  Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 to make a reservation.


Everence will host a Social Security and retirement income planning webinar, on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Attendees will learn about Social Security strategies, risks that can impact retirement savings and strategies to help income last throughout retirement. This online workshop is free. Register soon by contacting our office at 316-283-3800, 877-467-7294 or  

The Everence Webinar Wednesday series on October 14, features , “Biblical basis for socially responsible investing.”.  Click here to register:

Coming up on October 21 is, “How, what and when: Social Security and retirement income.”  Plan now to participate.  For any questions, please contact Melissa Short at 800-348-7468 x3392 or