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This week at FMC

October 21-27, 2020

You are my God. I worship you. In my heart, I long for you, as I would long for a stream
in a scorching desert.
  (Psalm 62:1 CEV)

The youngest in our congregation are memorizing this verse in their online Zoom Sunday School this fall, and since I join in with Joanna each week it’s been in my mind, too.  I happen to find the desert one of the most beautiful places in God’s creation – its beauty is unexpected in the midst of what appears only harsh and dry.  Water is essential in the desert; you always need to drink more than you think necessary.  And when you don’t have it, you can’t ignore the longing – the thirst – growing in you.  This is how the psalmist describes his connection with God (his worship of God!) in his heart … as defined by a deep, deep longing.  Sometimes, that longing for connection with God our Creator gets confused and misplaced.  Fragmented and disjointed.  Or simply forgotten because we have taught ourselves to ignore it, and to look for connection and meaning elsewhere.

In Luke 10 is one of my favorite stories.  This may be because it was the text for one of the very first sermons I preached.  More likely its because I find it so engaging on multiple levels. 

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Mary and Martha belong together, and are found – together – in each of us.  We’re all capable of wild distraction and deep presence, moment by moment.  Gerald May points out that “the Greek word used to describe Martha’s state of mind is merimnao.  It means preoccupied to the point of distraction by many things, and comes from the root merismos, meaning being pulled asunder.  The problem is not Martha’s working, but that she is obsessed with working.  Indeed it is Mary who has the contemplative heart; she has chosen the one thing necessary, which is to attend to God.  It just happens that in this particular moment she does it by sitting still; in another time, perhaps even in the next moment, she could do the same thing while helping with the work.”  (The Awakened Heart. 210-211)

Falling into Martha’s headspace of being preoccupied to the point of distraction is easy to do these days.  Events, words, political rhetoric spoken and on signs, and more, tear us apart … in our own hearts & minds, and in our communities.  Again, and again the invitation and challenge before us is to remember to attend to God – to ‘return home to God’ as we talked about in the parable of the compassionate father and his two sons a few weeks ago (what we usually call the parable of the prodigal son).   Instead of getting hooked by whatever it is that most easily hijacks our thinking and feeling, perhaps something as simple as memorizing Psalm 63:1 with the youngest in our congregation might help.  Or some other word or phrase from scripture to call you back to awareness of God present with you, within you, and between you and others.  This most basic remembering might help to put us back together, to satisfy our deepest thirst and longings.  May God be our ‘stream of water’ in the wilderness we find ourselves 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 not congregate in the foyer but visit outside instead.  Please contact the church office by Thursday each week to make a reservation to attend in person.  However, in this time of increased community spread of COVID-19, if you are able to join on the livestream we encourage you to stay home.



Reconciliation with Creation  –  Romans 8:18-25

  • Meditations from:  Andrea Nisly, Russell Goering, and Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader:  Heidi Unruh
  • Children’s Time:  Lona Willems
  • Scripture Reader:  Andrea Nisly
  • Organist:  Pauline Buller
  • Sound:  Murray Reimer
  • 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. 


  • November 15 – Mission Festival with Michelle Armster, Executive Director of Mennonite Central Committee, Central States. 
  • November 29 – First Sunday of Advent
  • December 9 (Wednesday evening) – FMC Budget/Business & Annual Meeting

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…


The sanctuary will be open for your praying on Tuesday November 3 from 10am-4:00pm.  Scriptures and prayers to help guide you will be available. 


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 25: Reconciliation with creation (Romans 8:18-25) Meditations from: Andrea Nisly, Russell Goering, and Pastor Tonya

November 1: Reconciliation within human systems (Isaiah 65:17-25) 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. 


Mission Festival this year will feature Michelle Armster, Executive Director of Mennonite Central Committee Central States (in North Newton) as our guest speaker.  We invite you to send a donation during November to the church for a special “Mission Festival Offering” to 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:


Due to rising COVID numbers, this study will be put on hold for a couple weeks.  Stay tuned for more information.   Talk with Pastor Tonya if you have questions.

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

High School youth:  Sunday @ 11:00am at the church or online (decided week by week)

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. 

·         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.


Watch your email this week … the weather is not looking great for an outdoor event at Dillon Nature Center on Sunday.  —- Pastor Tonya

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. 


As announced earlier, CMT has agreed to combine the Budget/Business Meeting with the Annual Meeting in December.  Traditionally the Annual Meeting is accompanied by a noon fundraiser meal hosted by the Youth.  With possible restrictions concerning social distancing its probably not a good idea to host a meal as part of the meeting.  Therefore, we are moving the meeting to Wednesday evening, December 9th (exact time TBA).  Watch for more information about whether this event will be in-person, online (Zoom or livestream), or some combination of these options.  A draft budget will be shared with you in the next two weeks.  Thank you to all as we work our way through these very trying times together!  


Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am – 2:00pm

Wednesday 10am-1pm


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. 

We are seeking one or two volunteers who would be in our foyer during these hours to receive the food donations.  Call or email the church office if you can help.

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.


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.

MASK ASK!  MCC REQUEST on behalf of Northern Cheyenne

MCC is responding to a request from people on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in southeastern Montana for cloth face masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If you would like to sew masks, please use the following guidelines:

-Adult sized

-Use at least 2 layers of good quality cotton fabric (solid colors preferred)

-Elastic ear loops

-Nose wire/filter pockets optional

 Please ship purchased or completed masks to the MCC Central States Material Resources Center (Attn: Kate Mast) at 121 East 30th Street, North Newton, KS 67117, or drop off in the 24 hour donation room at MCC by November 15th. They will all be collected and transported to Montana in time for the winter season. Questions? Please contact

MCC’s SEED PROGRAM positions in Colombia, Guatemala and El Salvador!

The Seed program is perfect for young adults (18-30) who value service, community, and cultural exchange addressing systemic issues like food insecurity and climate change through grassroots, community-based initiatives. For more information, visit or email


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 was held  October 17.  Find the link to watch the recording here:  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.


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.


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’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.

Camp Mennoscah is a year-round campground!  Ask about winterized facilities or conquer the prairie wilds in a tent.  It’s a whole new world in the winter–and available for you!  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 21, features , “How, what and when: Social Security and retirement income.”  Register here.

Coming up on October 28 is, “Strategic generosity at year-end: Nine ideas to increase your charitable giving in 2020.”  Plan now to participate.  For any questions, please contact Melissa Short at 800-348-7468 x3392 or