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This week at FMC

September 15-21, 2021

Table of Contents

“But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15–16).

This year’s theme for our annual PEACE SUNDAY (Sept 19, 2021) was prepared by Mennonite Central Committee, revolving around the theme “DEFENDING HOPE,” inspired by the scripture above.

The introduction to MCC’s packet of resources provides this explanation:  “In a world of violence and oppression, living into hope is a faithful, courageous witness.  Defense is usually associated with a nation or individual’s self-protection at the expense of another. But to defend hope is to offer life to all.  This packet pulls from experiences of churches in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East who have modeled speaking out against violence and defending hope in the midst of oppression. In these contexts, hope is strong and audacious, radically demonstrating the upside-down order Jesus embodied: a Kingdom where a sacrificial Lamb reigns (Revelation 7:17), children lead (Isaiah 11:6), the dead live, and the poor in spirit are blessed (Matthew 5:3). 

The voices in this packet invite us to defend hope rather than display power, defend hope rather than protect wealth, defend hope in place of hopelessness—even in the face of violence. As our fellow Jesus-followers in Palestine invite:  We call on Christians to remain steadfast in this time of trial, just as we have throughout the centuries, through the changing succession of states and governments.  Be patient, steadfast and full of hope so that you might fill the heart of every one of your brothers or sisters who shares in this same trial with hope—KAIROS PALESTINE DOCUMENT 5.3

Further, MCC provides this explanation of how this packet came to be:  “Leading into the 2020 U.S. presidential election, MCC-supporting churches were grappling with how to respond to the growing polarization and violence in the U.S. Acknowledging the godly wisdom in regions that have experienced decades of war, division or oppression, MCC reached out to partners around the world for formal peace statements they had written.  The result was a collection of previously written statements and stories on nonviolence from the Global Church. These statements form the basis of MCC’s 2021 Peace Sunday liturgy. They are examples of the ways the global church has stood up in defiance of violence and in defense of hope.”

This coming Sunday, September 19, we look forward to listening to and learning from our Christian brothers and sisters in Columbia, Palestine, South Sudan, and Korea about the ways they defend the Christian hope they carry in the midst of very challenging and often violent realities.   Check your email also for the 7 day devotional packet MCC put together for this week, helping us to prepare for worship.

— Pastor Tonya

NOTE:  THIS WEEK will be a day late next week.  Look for it to post on Wednesday, September 22.

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 announcements! 

STATEMENT FROM CMT to the congregation regarding the Delta variant:

We are a caring congregation. We recognize that health and life are gifts that we honor for ourselves and others. Because of the rapid increase in our community of the Delta-variant, the virus’ ease of transmission, and the recommendations from the CDC, we are strongly recommending that everyone wear a mask while inside the church building and practice social distancing as we did several months ago. We want to protect our children and those individuals at high health risk and/or are unable to receive the vaccine. It is anticipated that the next 4-6 weeks are critical in slowing down the spread of this mutant. Let each of us do our part to mitigate the potential serious consequences to our church family and our community during this time.   (Delon Martens, Jennalee Boggs, Julie Esau, Kevin Martin Nisly, Carol Moore, Tonya Ramer Wenger, Jim Unruh)

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19:   Peace Sunday:  Defending Hope

 (Isaiah 61:1-3; 1 Peter 3:15-16)

  • Preacher:  Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader:  Delon Martens
  • Children’s Time:  Jennalee Boggs
  • Scripture Reader:  TBD
  • Pianist:  Shelley Kauffman
  • Ushers:   Glenda & Rick Hooper
  • Sound:  Micah Wenger
  • 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 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. 


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. 


  • September 15 – Pastor Congregation Relations Committee meeting with pastor(s)
  • September 16 – Congregation Ministry Team meeting – 4:30pm
  • September 25 – FMC serves at the Soup Kitchen
  • September 26 – M&M meets 11:00am-12:30pm, including CROP WALK
  • September 28 – Faith Formation Coordination Team – 4:00pm

DEEPENING in Christ…


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. 


Our worship service on Sept 19 will include a sending blessing and prayer for Eldon and Jane Wagler as they are leaving for Mozambique on Sept 20.  Eldon and Jane have shared so many gifts and blessings with FMC and the wider community … we will miss them very much as we carry deep gratitude for their time with us, and we send them with joy and blessings into the next chapter of their lives!!


This worship series comes to us from A Sanctified Art (the same group who created the Unraveling series we used the summer of 2020), and grew out of observation and experience of the fraying of community in our country.  Their desire was to create a series focused on community – how we build it, repair it, restore it.  Realizing “all courageous conversations begin with simple questions and the curiosity to truly listen, [they decided to] shape this series around guiding questions that lead us deeper into the heart of the matter– and deeper connection with God and one another. [They] hope this series helps us disrupt assumptions, cultivate curiosity, foster listening, and God willing, find deeper connections to one another.”

I am excited to see how this worship series comes together!!  Here’s an overview of where we are headed.  The 6th Sunday (Oct 31) adds a question of our own!!

                Sept 26: I’ve Been Meaning to Ask…where are you from? Tonya preaching

                Oct 3:  I’ve been meaning to ask … an invitation to curiosity, courage and connection.

OUTDOOR WORSHIP (weather permitting) with COMMUNION and fellowship.

            Oct 10:  I’ve Been Meaning to Ask… where does it hurt?  Rebecca Shetler preaching

                Oct 17:  I’ve Been Meaning to Ask…what do you need?  Tonya preaching

                Oct 24:  I’ve Been Meaning to Ask… where do we go from here?  Tonya preaching

                Oct 31:  I’ve been Meaning to Ask… what would you love to do, create, contribute? Jim preaching

FALL 2021 SUNDAY SCHOOL @ 10:45am

Sunday School classes are now meeting every Sunday, with the exception of the 5th Sundays when we’ll hope to have some all-church fellowship time after worship instead of Sunday School!

CHILDREN & YOUTH: Living as God’s People (SHINE Curriculum from MennoMedia)

  • PreK-Kindergarten (basement, room 3)
  • 1st-5th grade (basement, rooms 1-2)
  • 6th– 7th grade (all the way upstairs in the Jr Youth room)
  • 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 – September 12, 19 and 26 gather in the basement Fellowship Hall to view and discuss sermons from MC USA Convention in July on the theme of “Bring the Peace.”  Each sermon uniquely explores aspects of peacemaking today in our hearts/minds, churches, and world?  At the end of September, this group will discuss options for October and beyond, including returning to the Salt & Light Bible Study, breaking into two groups, or ???

  • September 19: Trust the Peace.  Jon Carlson serves as Lead Pastor of Forest Hills Mennonite Church. A reluctant Millennial, Jon is fascinated by the intersections of faith, culture, technology, and tradition.  Jon is also the moderator-elect for Mennonite Church USA.
  • September 26: Bring the Peace.  Glen Guyton currently serves as the Executive Director for Mennonite Church USA. 


The teaching schedule for this fall is largely falling into place, although a few more volunteers would ease some scheduling dilemmas.  If you’d be willing to help, even as a sub or teaching every now and then, contact Pastor Tonya to see what the open dates and needs are.  Thank you!!


Pastor Tonya is seeking a few individuals to help with Advent planning, using worship resources prepared by Worship Designs (see synopsis below).  A variety of resources are provided for us to adapt and use as we wish, including visuals (involving a door!), music, words for worship, and more.  If you’d be interested in helping give shape to our Advent Worship services or some specific aspect of it, please let Pastor Tonya know ASAP.  At least 1-2 meetings would likely be involved. 

Advent 2021 Theme synopsis:  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 Designs, used with permission)


Do you have old magazines sitting around (National Geographic, Time, etc.) you’d like to donate for use in our Sunday School classes?  There is a box ready for your donations under the table outside the sanctuary.  Thanks!!

UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! devotional magazines

REJOICE! and UPPER ROOM . . . new issues beginning in September are available above the mailboxes.  Please let us know if you would like a copy mailed to you. 

STRENGTHENING Community Connections…

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 compelling conversations!


The Pastor Congregation Relations Committee (Stephanie Gehring, Dohn Fast, Jolene Yoder) will be meeting with the pastor(s) on Wednesday evening September 15.  This group generally meets quarterly with the pastor(s) to check in and respond to any concerns on the part of the congregation and/or the pastor(s).  If you have any feedback for the PCRC in anticipation of this meeting, please communicate with any of the committee members listed above.  Thank you!!


  • 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)

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…


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.


The Soup Kitchen is now serving on site and delivery. Here are volunteer positions needed for September 25.

  • Food preparation 2:00-3:30pm
  • Delivery route 4:00-5:30pm
  • Serve & clean up 4:45-6:00

Call Juliet Nisly, Sadie Nisly, or Kevin Martin Nisly directly to volunteer.

CAMP MENNOSCAH announcements

CHANGE!!  Camp Mennoscah’s Annual Meeting will be held September 26 at 3:30pm at Hope Mennonite Church (Wichita KS).  The dessert auction and hymn sing have been canceled!  If you wish to join the annual meeting virtually, watch for the Zoom link in next week’s announcements.  Join us to look back on our memorable past summer and look forward to where camp is going in the next year and beyond.

Fall Scrapbook and Crafts Retreat, November 5-7, at Camp Mennoscah! 

Register at!  There is only one Fall Scrapbook and Crafts Retreat.  Lodging will be in the Retreat Center and cropping/crafting will be in the Main Camp dining hall.  Space heaters will be available for both areas since the repairs for the furnaces will not be complete by the beginning of November.  Fees for the Scrapbook and Crafts Retreat have increased to $150 to meet higher costs and the use of multiple facilities.  For those who find the increase prohibitive, there is an option to receive up to $25 in scholarship funds per person as part of the registration process. 

We need help mowing!  The grass that is usually cut short is doing its best to compete with the tallgrass prairie in height.  Volunteer to mow (with a riding lawn mower) for whatever length of time you can offer or grab a string trimmer to chase back those wily weeds.  Contact Camp Mennoscah at or 620-297-3290.

There are volunteer opportunities for you (and a Wish List)! Camp Mennoscah has year-round work to support the maintenance and upkeep of the campus and facilities. We can accommodate every group size, skill set and length of project you would like to tackle. Check out these ways to Get Involved!  Email or call 620-297-3290 to volunteer.  See the attached Wish List for other ways to support Camp Mennoscah!

CROP Hunger Walk, Sunday, September 26 – NOW VIRTUAL!

You are invited to support the Reno County CROP Hunger Walk sponsored by Church World Service! The Reno County Food Bank and the Christian Soup Ministry receive a quarter of funds; the rest supports global ministries with people who need food, water, and shelter.  Our Mentor and Mentee group will be doing a symbolic walk on Sunday September 26 during their gathering.  We invite you to make a donation to support this important ministry.  By September 26, you can: (1) Write a check to “CWS-CROP.” Write “First Mennonite Church” on the memo line. Mail to our church, put your check in the offering plate on Sundays, or place in the designated envelop in the foyer OR (2) Donate securely on-line for the First Mennonite Team at:

If you have questions, contact Pastor Tonya.  With your generous donations we have already raised $620 … so, we are raising our goal to $1000!  Thank you!!


WDC announces new office hours . . . now open 8:00am – 4:30 pm, and remain open during the lunch hour.


Mennonite Central Committee has a variety of service opportunities all around the world and the following opportunities are especially important to fill at this time. Please contact Heidi Huber with questions at or 316.283.2720.

  *Organizational development and Racial Equity Director
This role will lead MCCs in the US (four regional entities and a national team) in racial equity work through organizational development and change management, toward the goal to reflect the full participation of our diverse constituents in every aspect of our mission, programs, policies and practices. This role will inspire, mobilize and coordinate practical and professional equipping to remove barriers and move MCCs in the US forward to more fully reflect God’s desire for God’s people. For more information or to apply, visit:

  *MCC Representative for Haiti
Are you interesting in providing leadership and programmatic direction to MCC’s work in Haiti? This role maintains relationships with MCC partners and is responsible for providing team leadership and support for MCC workers in Haiti. For more information or to apply, visit:

  *Seed Community Development Worker

MCC’s Seed program has positions available now in Bolivia! 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 or to apply, visit:

  *Canner Operator

Are you a traveler? Do you like to meet new people? Do you like to serve others? Every year MCC’s Mobile Meat Canner travels across the United States and Canada meeting volunteers who prepare cans of turkey, beef, chicken and pork to be sent around the world. More than 30,000 people a year volunteer to fill, weigh, wash and label every can. Apply to be a canner! For more information or to apply, visit


This new exhibit examines what is known about e-cigarettes, and includes selections from the exhibit “Better Choose Me: Collecting and Creating with Tobacco Fabric Novelties, 1880-1920.” Previously on display at NMC Health in Newton, “Vapes” will be at Kauffman Museum on the Bethel College campus through Jan. 9, 2022. Hours: Tues.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 1:30-4:30 p.m., closed Mondays and major holidays. There is a small admission charge for non-museum members.

BETHEL COLLEGE announcements

Thursday, Sept. 16 – Artist reception for Rick McNary and “Doing Good with Wood,” 6-8 p.m., Regier Gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center at Bethel College. Exhibit closes Friday, Sept. 17. Gallery hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, 2-4 p.m. Bethel’s current COVID-19 protocols require mask-wearing indoors, and physical distancing to the extent possible, regardless of vaccination status.

Thursday, Sept. 30 – KIPCOR Peace Lecture with Mark McCormick, “Peace: It’s a Choice,” 7 p.m., in Memorial Hall. McCormick is a former columnist for the Wichita Eagle and former executive director of The Kansas African American Museum in Wichita, and is currently director of strategic communications for the ACLU of Kansas. Bethel’s current COVID-19 protocols require mask-wearing indoors, and physical distancing to the extent possible, regardless of vaccination status.

Bethel College’s Fall Festival is Sept. 30-Oct. 3, with most activities taking place Saturday, Oct. 2, on campus. Features include music, food, class reunions, football, the comedy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), and the STEM Symposium honoring Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Richard Zerger. See for the complete schedule.

Bakers and Crafters Needed!  Help support Bethel College Women’s Association by donating pies for BCWA’s Pie-By-The-Slice booth or any baked item or craft item for the Market in the Round at Fall Fest 2021. Peppernuts, zwieback, cinnamon rolls, and coffee cakes are popular items! Pies will be needed on either Friday, October 1 or Saturday, October 2. Baked goods and craft items will be needed by Friday 1:30-4:30pm.  Check with Joretta Martens if you wish to donate items and need help getting them to Bethel.  All proceeds go to support Bethel College.

Voices Together:  Worship and the Arts  –  5th Biennial Symposium . . . November 5-8.  SAVE THE DATE!

More information at

HESSTON COLLEGE announcements 

Bel Canto Singers Fall Concert – October 24, 2:00 p.m. –  Hesston Mennonite Church

Sunflower Performing Arts: Sunflower Soiree – October 31, 3:00 p.m. –  Hesston Mennonite Church.  This is the first in the 2021-2022 concert series (formerly known as the Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts Series).

MC USA announcements

Mennonite Church USA offers a wealth of opportunities to learn about events in the wider church through on-line conversations that stimulate our faith development and engagement with folks across our country.   This link connects you to topics about faith, immigration, nutrition and health, accessibility for all in the faith family, handling our emotions of grief and anger, poverty, advocacy and power.  Join the conversation!

September Bulletin Announcements (

One highlight from the September Bulletin Announcements:

Join the denomination-wide “CommonRead.” Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Church Canada and Herald Press are partnering to encourage every Mennonite to read carefully selected books to equip the church during this time. This fall, the CommonRead book is “Tongue-Tied: Learning the Lost Art of Talking About Faith” by Sara Wenger Shenk. Learn more here:  NOTE: One copy of this book is available for you to check out in the church library from Pastor Tonya’s collection in front of the window.


The Kansas MDS Unit is sponsoring two Learning and Service trips to McAllen TX.  The dates are October 16-23, 2021, and 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.