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“From the hands of your earth and the lap of your sky, your gifts are poured on us each day. Your arms surround us with your care; accept our love and thanks, we pray. Amen, amen, amen.” (Jean Janzen HWB 97)
One of my favorite meal blessings, these words take me back to the kitchen table at Habegger House across the street from AMBS (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) in Elkhart IN where I practiced and learned this song with my housemates. While I wasn’t always sure about the food served (we took turns cooking for the household and some of my housemates had some rather strange culinary experiments), singing together was always a treat.
Back to the meal blessing … these words capture for me the root of my conviction we must do all we can to care for the earth we live on, even if it means we have to make changes and adjustments to the ways we become used to living. This is God’s earth and God’s sky. Gifts to us that in reality are the reason we can exist and thrive. Humanity and the complexity of the ecosystems, creatures, natural resources and more exist together – not separately. Sadly, I think we have forgotten how dependent we are on creation, and creation on us. Although I suspect in the end creation will endure even if humanity does not.
The poet imagines the earth as the hands of God holding us, the sky as the lap of God cradling us, the gifts of each like the arms of God surrounding us with care. Love and thanks are our response to God. With three ‘amens’ (may it be so!) to punctuate the importance of this prayer.
What does love and thanks look like today as the threats of climate change increase and are becoming harder to ignore?
One of the ways I have come to think about this crisis moment in our life with the earth is this: if our houses were falling apart and under threat of destruction, I think we would do all we could to make the changes necessary to make our houses as secure as possible. We might struggle to have the resources needed, but even so, I think we would do all we could to strengthen and protect the place we call home. The earth is our larger home and God has clearly called us to be stewards of this gift.
There are many groups of faithful Christians working hard to provide resources, education, and concrete ideas to help us learn what ‘love and thanks’ might look like. I mentioned Mennonite Creation Care Network in my Friday email last week. I’ve also been impressed with the work of Creation Justice Ministries whose mission is to educate, equip, and mobilize Christian individuals, congregations, denominations, and communions to protect, restore and rightly share God’s creation.
This year Creation Justice Ministries created worship resources for Earth Day titled “Weathering the Storm: Faithful Climate Resilience” focusing on the reality that climate crisis is no longer a future worry but is affecting our communities right now (consider the fierce wildfires we have experienced right here in Reno County over the past 5 years or so!). They write: “Record-breaking storms, extreme weather, and the slow violence of sea level rise are tearing at the physical and social fabric of our society. So-called “natural” disasters in the United States have increased in frequency and intensity in the last two decades. In 2021, there were at least 18 weather disaster events in the United States with losses exceeding $1 billion each, 11 events more than the average since 1990. At the same time, our political leaders and structures have failed to prevent climate change and prepare for its worst effects. It has become clear that climate change is not merely a problem for the church to prepare for in ten or twenty years; it is time for the church to prepare right now. Around us, God’s people and planet are facing the impacts of the climate crisis. As the world groans in travail, the church ought to partner with God in cultivating a redeemed, restored, and resilient creation.”
Their call to congregations is to prepare now to help our communities ‘weather the storms’ of climate change and crisis that are already upon us. One concrete suggestion they make caught my attention because it connects with conversations we’ve had in the past about how best to use our assets … in this case, our building: “Make room for people who might be displaced by disasters. Consider options like: Stocking cots, sheets, toiletries (including menstrual products), and non-perishable food, installing showers in some of your bathrooms, and working with local emergency management so that people know they can come to you.” This idea is also quite relevant as we have just experienced the Cottonwood Fire crisis here in Reno County, with many families displaced.
As the newly formed “Earth Matters” group right here in Hutchinson continues to meet I’ll keep you in the loop about opportunities you might have to learn and act to offer your ‘love and thanks’ for this amazing gift God has given us. And … if anyone wants to join this group, please let me know. 😊
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: www.hutchfmc.org! Join at 9:25am to see the announcements!
FELLOWSHIP TIME is back with coffee/tea/juice between Worship and Sunday School!!
A signup sheet is posted for you to sign up to host this social time.
SUNDAY, MAY 1: Terms of Resurrection Thomas
John 20:19-31; Psalm 145:13-21
- Preacher: Tonya Ramer Wenger
- Worship Leader: Maggie Goering Pounds
- Children’s Time: Deanna Goering
- Scripture Reader: Cheryl Warkentin
- Pianist: Eileen Porter (guest musician)
- Ushers: Jay & Stephanie Gehring
- Nursery attendant: Kevin & Tanya Martin Nisly
- Sound Tech: Micah Wenger
- Live Stream Tech: Jonathan Wenger
SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES MEET @ 11:00am – EXCEPT ON 5TH SUNDAYS when there is no Sunday School!!
SHARING JOYS & CONCERNS
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.
CALENDAR – LOOKING AHEAD
- April 28 – Faith Formation Coordination Team – 4:00pm
- May 1 – Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus – 7:00pm – Bethany College Presser Hall, Lindsborg
- May 12 – Pastor Congregation Relations Committee (PCRC) – 5:00pm
- May 19 – Congregational Ministry Team (CMT) – 4:00pm
- May 28 – FMC serves at Soup Kitchen
KANSAS MENNONITE MEN’S CHORUS (KMMC) . . . CONCERT May 1
“We Sing That Others May Live.” This motto of KMMC is an extension of MCC’s motto: “Relief, development and peace in the name of Christ.” KMMC seeks to raise funds for MCC as they raise their voices in praise to God. You are invited to attend their concerts and give generously to the work of MCC.
- May 1 @7:00pm – Bethany College Presser Hall, Lindsborg
FMC CENTENNIAL . . . LightHouse Giving Opportunity
The LightHouse addresses the growing need of transitional housing for youths ages 18 to 21 in Hutchinson. The property at 1005 N. Washington Street is currently being renovated into eight one-bedroom apartments.
Interfaith Housing & Community Services is leading this community project. Progress is underway thanks to the help of volunteers renovating this building, which was built in 1887. The Centennial Committee would like for FMC to raise $22,000 by October 2022 to help with these expenses. These dollars will help with construction costs, furnishings for the apartments and ongoing maintenance expenses.
A big thank you to those of you who have already donated! You can see the progress that has already been made on our LightHouse thermometer in the foyer. Checks may be made out to FMC, with “LightHouse” on the memo line. Thank you for your support!
DEEPENING in Christ…
EASTER SEASON WORSHIP – TERMS OF RESURRECTION
Our Easter Season worship will once again draw on worship resources provided by Worship-Well on the theme “Terms of Resurrection.” The authors write: “… In Jesus’ rising, death was unseated as the end of existence, the owner of the last word, and the hardest wall of absolute certainty. The empty tomb bears witness to a new truth. Now we live in a different world with different rules. Now we stand up. No longer bound by the limited laws dictated by death, we can live according to the terms of resurrection. We speak and sing and see the world with the language and lenses of this deep and destabilizing power that God has revealed in the risen Jesus.”
- MAY 1 – Terms of Resurrection: THOMAS (John 19:19-31) Pastor Tonya preaching
- MAY 8 – Terms of Resurrection: ASCENSION (Acts 1:6-17) Pastor Tonya preaching
- MAY 15 – Terms of Resurrection: PAUL’S CONVERSION (Acts 9:1-19a) Pastor Tonya preaching
- MAY 22 – Terms of Resurrection: PAUL & SILAS (Acts 16:16-34) Pastor Jim preaching. Recognition of High School Graduates & Blessing for High School & College Graduates
“I HAVE SEEN THE LORD!” – A CALL FOR STORIES SHARED DURING THE EASTER SEASON (MAY)
The first words out of Mary Magdalene’s mouth, fresh from the garden where the Risen Christ appeared to her, were: “I have seen the Lord!” Where have you ‘seen the Lord’ in the garden of your life? When have you realized, even just for a moment, you are not alone but rather accompanied by a presence and life much greater than you? Can you recall a time when you expected nothing, and instead received a surprising sign or gift of renewed life? When instead of seeing emptiness, you saw angels? Your story might be just a few sentences or a few paragraphs. Your sharing might call attention to a relatively insignificant moment where you caught a glimpse of God. Or you might reflect on a larger event in your life where you were bowled over by an awareness of God’s presence. God draws near to us in many different ways, and we would love to hear your story in worship sometime during May. If you’d be interested in sharing a story during worship, please let Pastor Tonya know ASAP (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule a Sunday. And if you are uncomfortable reading your story yourself, we can arrange for someone else to read it on your behalf. Thank you for considering this invitation!!
- A Prayer group meets Thursday mornings from 10-11am in the Prayer Room. All are welcome.
- A small ecumenical Centering Prayer group meets on Tuesdays (ZOOM) and Thursdays (in person @ FMC) from 12:30-1:30pm. If you’d like to learn more, contact Pastor Tonya.
SUNDAY SCHOOL @ 11:00am (NO SUNDAY SCHOOL on 5th SUNDAYS!)
CHILDREN & YOUTH: Becoming Disciples (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. This group is using The Bible Project’s Reflections Bible Study to guide study and conversation, which includes a short video on a Biblical theme, topic, or book. Check it out here: https://bibleproject.com/bible-studies/reflections/ and feel free to watch the videos during the week if you choose in preparation for shared discussion.
Adult Bible Study using Salt & Light – meets from 11:00-11:45am in the Prayer Room (right beside the elevator in the basement).
Reminder: No Sunday School on the 5th Sundays of the month!!
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…
TENTATIVE — MAY 11 – MORE DISCUSSION ABOUT the ‘REPENTANCE & TRANSFORMATION’ RESOLUTION to be considered at the MC USA delegate assembly in May. Watch for more information in next week’s post. Links are below for the resolution and accompanying webinar (which is well worth watching and considering).
CAMP MENNOSCAH YOUTH CAMP registration is open!!!
Check out the website and register online here! FMC offers half tuition for each child attending camp. https://www.campmennoscah.org/vnews/display.v/SEC/Programs%7CSummer%20Youth%20Camps The adventure of the unknown is before us! We do not know exactly what to expect for the 2022 summer, but once again we will build on the Rock and play in the sand. While we continue to hope for a summer with minimal restrictions, the pandemic may change by June and camp guidelines will change with it. Campers and staff may be asked to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test and/or wear masks when indoors.
SUNDAY MAY 1 FUNDRAISER LUNCH FOR FMC WEEKEND @ CAMP MENNOSCAH (June 19)
Stay for lunch after our May 1 worship service and donate funds toward paying for our opportunity to worship and play out at Camp Mennoscah (near Murdock KS) on Sunday June 19. Those interested in staying overnight on Saturday June 18 in cabins are welcome to do so (will need to plan/provide your own food). Sunday morning will include worship and lunch (please watch for more information about lunch details!!!). The cost for this event is not covered by our general budget, but is instead funded by donations from the congregation each year. We appreciate your generosity in supporting Camp Mennoscah through our ongoing rental commitment, and in supporting the opportunity for those who wish to spend time together at Camp that weekend!
PCRC (Pastor Congregation Relations Committee) MEETS THURSDAY MAY 12
Members are Dohn Fast, Jolene Yoder and Peggy Stucky. Contact any of them if you have feedback (concerns or affirmations) about any aspect of the relationship between Pastor Tonya and the congregation.
FMC YOUNG ADULTS PARTICIPATING IN MISSION NETWORK SERVICE PROGRAMS (FALL 2022)
This fall Michaela Esau and Micah Wenger are both participating in Mennonite Mission Network voluntary service programs. Michaela will be with Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) in Tucson AZ. Micah will be with Service Adventure in Colorado Springs, CO. We are asked as a congregation to provide various kinds of support for Michaela and Micah, including prayer and financial support. Each are asked to raise $4000 to help cover the costs of participation. If you would like to donate to either Michaela or Micah (or both!), you can:
- send a check to the church (note in the memo line who the donation is for),
- send a check to Mennonite Mission Network (718 N Main Street, Newton, KS 67114 … for Michaela put MVS and her name in the memo line; for Micah put SA and his name)
- or donate on their personal fundraising pages:
NEW!!! 2022 FMC DIRECTORIES . . . pick up your copy in the foyer.
If you would like an electronic version, please let the church office know.
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: https://hutchfmc.org/beautiful-salt-city-podcast/. While new episodes are not being added right now, this is your chance to catch up on previous conversations!
CHURCH OFFICE HOURS
- Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am – 2:00pm
- Wednesday 10am-1pm
PASTOR TONYA’S HOURS/SCHEDULE
- 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…
“EARTH MATTERS” ECUMENICAL WORKING GROUP
Pastor Tonya has been part of the formation of a new ecumenical working group in Hutchinson growing out of a shared concern for God’s earth and a desire to do what we can to help preserve and care for the little section of the earth we’ve been gifted with here in Reno County. The group has settled on the name “Earth Matters” and this mission statement: “To inspire, educate, and network with neighboring congregations and community organizations to respectfully and responsibly care for God’s gift of Creation.”
Still in formation stage (and no longer planning toward an October gathering – maybe Spring 2023!), the group is working on their own education alongside deciding on an action to promote to inspire and care for creation in Reno County. The desire is to have at least two representatives from each group and so the invitation is open to any of you out there who might want to join this group in its work moving forward. Meetings, right now, are Tuesday afternoons from 1:30-3:00pm. Please talk to Pastor Tonya if interested or you just want to learn more.
SUNDAY MORNING DONATIONS FOR RENO COUNTY FOOD BANK – ITEM OF THE MONTH FOR MAY
DURING THE MONTH OF MAY we invite your donations of pancake mix and syrup!!
Personal care/hygiene items such as these are appreciated anytime: 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.
KANSAS MENNONITE RELIEF SALE (KMRS) . . . mark your calendar for April 14-15, 2023!!
WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE announcement
WDC Resource Library is hosting a book sale on Saturday, April 30 from 8am -12pm outside the WDC offices at 2500 Place in North Newton. There will be a large variety of donated books and books removed from circulation. Donations will be accepted for your selections. Hope to see you there!
WDC annual assembly will be July 29-31! We invite WDC delegates, friends, and their families to gather with us at Camp Copass, Denton, TX. There will be lots of time for recreation for all ages, as well as sharing around tables about faith issues in our conference, congregations, and in our lives. Join us! More details coming soon.
CAMP MENNOSCAH announcements
Camp needs to prepare for groups using the dining hall and other main camp buildings this spring. Help is needed to make these spaces welcoming and ready for fellowship. We can work with your schedule, including evening and weekend hours. Tasks include basic cleaning, washing cookware and dishes and moving tables. Contact us at 620-297-3290 or email@example.com
Other events and happenings at Camp Mennoscah:
- Nurses needed for Summer Youth Camps! Your time and skill give campers a week of growing in Christian fellowship and experiencing God’s great creation. Nurses need RN certification or equivalent. Nurses are needed for June 12-18, June 19-23, June 23-25, July 3-9, and July 24-29. Contact us at 620-297-3290 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Kitchen helpers needed for Summer Youth Camps! Your time and skill give campers a week of growing in Christian fellowship and experiencing God’s great creation. Cooks need only willing hands and the ability to follow directions. Kitchen staff is needed for June 19-23, July 3-9 and July 17-23. Contact us at 620-297-3290 or email@example.com.
- Getting ready for outside fun! Camp Mennoscah needs to replace some outdoor sports equipment, including inner tubes, 4-square/Gaga balls, frisbees for ultimate, and inner tubes. Check out the Camp Mennoscah Wish List on amazon.com or the Wish List. Challenge your Sunday School class or youth group to help meet camp needs! We’ve got many more ideas. Contact us by replying to this email.
EVERENCE Medicare and retirement income workshops
This May and June Everence® will hold Medicare and Social Security workshops at its office in North Newton. The Medicare workshop (Tuesday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m.) will include, when and where to sign up for Medicare, what Medicare covers, plus an explanation of Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D. The retirement income workshop (Tuesday, June 7 at 6:30 p.m.) will cover, Social Security strategies including when to begin taking benefits, strategies to help your income last throughout retirement, and risks that can impact your retirement savings.
The in-person workshops will be held at the Everence office: 3179 N. Main St. Suite 1B, North Newton. Those interested in attending should contact the Everence office at 316-283-3800, 877-467-7294 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MCC response in Ukraine: MCC continues to be in communication with our program partners, many of whom have reduced capacity because of the conflict. Currently, partners are responding in some regions as they are able with supplies they can secure. This includes distributing food, blankets, medications and fuel as well as other emergency supplies. The changing situations in the various cities and regions in Ukraine where there is conflict makes this work difficult and at times dangerous. MCC will continue to determine how it can support short-term needs. However, MCC’s strength continues to be mid and long-term disaster response and we are working to formulate these plans for Ukraine. MCC has been working in Ukraine for 100 years and we will continue to serve in Ukraine long after the crisis disappears from the news cycle. Donate today to support these efforts at mcc.org/ukraine
Make your voice heard! Join MCC in urging President Biden to pursue peaceful solutions in Ukraine. MCC asks the United States government to continue considering approaches that do not rely on military intervention or military support. Engage with your elected officials on this topic and many others through MCC today!
RENO COUNTY COTTONWOOD COMPLEX . . . community response
The most tangible way to help the fire victims in our community is through financial gifts. Checks and/or cash need to be directed to United Way of Reno County, note VOAD Fire Fund in the memo. Funds and/or gift cards can be dropped off or mailed to: United Way of Reno County, 924 North Main, Hutchinson, KS 67501
Donations can also be made online at: United Way of Reno County |
HESSTON COLLEGE announcements
The Hesston College Chorale under the direction of Dr. Russell Adrian and Ken Rodgers will present a music program entitled “Shine the Light” at churches in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and France May 17 to June 7, 2022. The choir will perform a send-off concert at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 13 at Hesston Mennonite Church. A free-will offering will be taken to help offset tour expenses.
BETHEL COLLEGE announcements
Kauffman Museum at Bethel College is seeking, at three-quarter to full time, an organized, detail-oriented, creative individual to manage the museum’s bookkeeping and the museum store, plus other responsibilities as they align with the applicant’s qualifications related to the other five team members’ skills. For more information, contact Andi Andres at email@example.com or 316-283-1612.
For the job description and to apply, see https://www.bethelks.edu/about/who-we-are/career-opportunities/current-position-openings/kauffman-museum-assistant
Bethel’s Summer Camp Registration is now open! Summer Science Institute (high school age) and Kauffman Museum” Uncle Carl’s Camps (variety of ages), and Athletic Camps. Check out this link for more information: https://www.bethelks.edu/summer-camps
Thurs., April 28 – Kauffman Museum invites public input for strategic planning, 6:30 p.m., Newton Rec Center, 415 N. Poplar St., Newton; contact Andi Schmidt Andres for more information, firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-283-1612. No pre-registration required for the public forum.
Sun., May 1 – Masterworks concert at Bethel College, 3 p.m., featuring the Bethel College Oratorio Chorus, orchestra and soloists performing Requiem by Mozart, and Gloria and For the Beauty of the Earth by John Rutter, directed by Dr. William Eash; Memorial Hall
Tues., May 3 – Bethel College Steel Drum Band concert, directed by Brad Shores, 7 p.m., Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center
Weds., May 4 – Jazz on the Green at Bethel College, 8 p.m. (Memorial Hall in case of rain)
Sat., May 14 – Spring choral concert, including pre-Europe tour program by the Bethel College Concert Choir, 4 p.m., Memorial Hall. Please note that this is a change in date and time from some previously printed sources.