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This week at FMC

October 7-13, 2020

Just a quick update on two things that I have been working on. 

I have been trying to figure out how to be a Minister of Outreach during this time. How do I hang out and listen to people, when everyone is very hesitant to interact? How do you dream together about what to create when folks are isolated? What experiment could I try? 

I love having conversations and hearing people’s stories–but I knew I did not want to be the “holder” of stories, someone who keeps these stories for myself. I always wanted to create a space where people could listen to one another’s stories. 

So in the last month, the idea came to me of recording one-on-one conversations and turning them into a podcast, so others could listen to these stories. With the launch of First Mennonite Church’s new website and the goal of increasing traffic to the site, many pieces were coming together. So–hopefully, later this week, there will be a page on that will hold these conversations.

I’m calling this experiment the Beautiful Salt City podcast. I will be having conversations that explore the future of Hutchinson and FMC, using the tool of “future story.” A future story has three parts: It is a vision for what we want life to be like; it tells the values or qualities that we want to guide that future, and it includes what resources we need to help us reach that future. Another way of putting it: a future story tells us what we want, which is vision; why we want it, which is values, and how will we create it, which is resources. 

So once a week I will be talking with folks in our community and at First, learning their life stories, listening to their dreams about what our community and church could be, and trying to find common values. My faith tells me that each person is made in the image of God and brings something unique and  important to our collective future story. I enjoy talking with people to discover not only what we have in common but also their unique piece of our story.

I’m inviting you not just to listen, but also to join in this experiment. What is your story? What do you want life in our community and church to be like? As we get started with this podcast, you are invited to think about these questions and share your thoughts with me at

In addition, this Thursday, I will be guided by the Sent network from MC USA. Sent is the Mennonite church planting and outreach program. I will be doing reflections, research, and planning through March as part of this program. Sent will provide tools to help us clarify a direction for our outreach. 

Thank you for these opportunities to listen, learn, dream toward the future story of First Mennonite Church and our community. Let’s do some thoughtful, Spirit-led experiments together.      – Pastor Jim

SUNDAY MORNING Worship Live Stream @ 9:30am

NEW!! The link for Sunday morning worship (as well as archives of past worship services) are 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 God  –  Luke 15:11-32

  • Preaching:  Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader:  Calvin Buller
  • Children’s Time:  Tanya Martin Nisly
  • Scripture Reader:  Diane Ziemer
  • Organist:  Pauline Buller
  • 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 now being sent out Sunday afternoons. 


  • 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 Confernce) – 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…


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


We are in Week 3 exploring Anabaptist Essentials which began with “Jesus is the Center of our Faith” and “Community is the Center of our Life.”  We continue on the theme of “Reconciliation is the Center of our Work”:

  • October 11:  Reconciliation with God (Luke 15:11-32) Pastor Tonya preaching
  • 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 others (2 Corinthians 5:11-21) Pastor Tonya preaching
  • November 8: Reconciliation with systems – Pastor Jim Unruh 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

Copies of both magazines 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
  • 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 class using Salt & Light study guide, “Joining God: Relationship and Worship”:  Sunday @ 11:00am in person in the Fellowship Hall.  Copies of the study are available on the table in the foyer near the east entrance.  If you would like a copy mailed to you, please call or email the church office.

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…


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!


  • Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am – 2:00pm
  • Wednesday 10:00am – 1:00pm


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

STRETCHING to Serve as Christ Served…


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.


Join with other volunteers for a day of service and fun on October 10.  The day begins at 8:30am and ends approximately 2:30pm.  Contact staff at 620-297-3290 or for details.  Please bring a mask!


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.


Now at KAUFFMAN MUSEUM (through Nov. 29) – “Sorting Out Race: Examining Racial Identity and Stereotypes in Thrift Store Donations.”  Regular hours are Tues.-Fr. 9:30am-4:30pm, Sat.-Sun 1:30-4:30pm, closed Mondays and major holidays, but with ever-changing COVID-19 protocols, you are advised to check the museum website,  or Facebook page or call 316-283-1612 before planning a visit.

Tues., Oct. 13 – The Bethel College Chamber Orchestra will present a short outdoor concert (weather permitting), 5 p.m., on the Green.Face coverings must be worn on the Bethel campus.

Do you have skills with sewing machine?  Consider making masks for the Bethel community.  Send them to Bethel’s Advancement Office.


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


The Everence Webinar Wednesday series features “Simplicity: Finding focus and decluttering our lives,”on October 7.  Click here to register:  Coming up on October 14 is, “Biblical basis for socially responsible investing.”  Plan now to participate.  For any questions, please contact Melissa Short at 800-348-7468 x3392 or