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This week at FMC

THIS WEEK @ FMC – December 20, 2023-January 2, 2024

Joy and weariness: two sides of the same coin. Our Advent series this year from A Sanctified Art has invited us to hold space to notice and experience both our weariness, and our joy.

“We believe in a God who hears our prayers,

who knows the shape and form of our weariness.

We believe in a God who wants joy and delight for us,

not just survival and existence.

We believe in a God who looks ahead,

who is not done dreaming for the world—

a God who sends hope in the form of people and change,

movements and Spirit.

And so …

We bring our joy and our weariness

like two sides of the same coin,

and we trust that God is already at work.

Yes, we believe in a God who hears our prayers.

Thanks be to God for a love like that.


(Rev. Sarah Speed. A Sanctified Art.  Affirmation of Faith from the First Sunday of Advent)

One specific opportunity to lean into weariness is our Longest Night service this Thursday Dec 21 @ 6:00pm – A Liturgy for the Weary.  This service creates space to hold grief over loss of loved ones along with other sorrows we carry.  Join us in the sanctuary or on livestream for this brief service including music, scripture and ample space for prayer. If you join on livestream, you will want to bring a candle (and a way to light it) into your worship space. Directly following the service (around 6:45pm) there will be a soup supper in the basement fellowship hall for all to join in. Then, we’ll lean toward joy as those who want to can stay for some Christmas caroling beginning around 7:30pm in our church neighborhood (we’ll be outside so dress accordingly!). Carolers should bring snacks/desserts to share after we go caroling. 

“We bring our joy and our weariness

like two sides of the same coin,

and we trust that God is already at work.

Yes, we believe in a God who hears our prayers.

Thanks be to God for a love like that.”

     Pastor Tonya

 ** This issue of THIS WEEK covers announcements for the next two weeks. Look for a new post on January 2.


Welcome to the annual “sickly” season!  It comes around every year but that doesn’t mean we should be complacent because even the common cold can be deadly.  You can become severely ill with an array of bugs other than COVID.  So protect yourself by following best health practices such as washing hands frequently, avoiding crowds or wearing masks, staying up-to-date with vaccinations, and staying home if not feeling well. 


The link to join is on our website:  Join 5 minutes early for announcements.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2023 – Advent 4

How Does a Weary World Rejoice? We sing stories of hope

Luke 1:46-55; Luke 1:67-80

  • Preacher: Jim Unruh
  • Worship Leader: Calvin Buller
  • Children’s Time: Peggy & Gardell Stucky
  • Scripture Reader: Anita and/or Bryan Kehr
  • Pianist: Peggy Stucky
  • Song Leader: TBA
  • Ushers: Don Wiens & Russell Goering
  • Nursery Attendant: TBA
  • Sound Tech: Murray Reimer
  • Live Stream Tech: Jonathan Wenger


How Does a Weary World Rejoice? We root ourselves in ritual

Luke 2:21-38

  • Preacher: Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader: Anita Kehr
  • Children’s Time: TBA
  • Scripture Reader: Cindy Kroeker
  • Pianist: Shelley Kauffman
  • Song Leader: Jon Miller
  • Ushers: Dennis & Jennalee Boggs
  • Nursery Attendant: TBA
  • Sound Tech: Earl Ediger
  • Live Stream Tech: Jonathan Wenger


During each worship service, you are invited to text your prayer joys and concerns – usually to Pastor Tonya.  You are also invited 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 and after worship.  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 to the church office by Thursday each week. 


We welcome, and are grateful for, your financial donations to our ministry here in Hutchinson.  Instead of collecting an offering during worship (except on special occasions), an offering box is placed at the back of the sanctuary for your Sunday morning donations.  You can also now make a donation directly from our website ( using a credit card or your banking account.  You are also welcome to send a check to 52 Rambler Rd Hutchinson KS 67502. 

Thank you for your donations recently on Mission Sunday (for LightHouse expenses related to mentoring) and the fundraiser our senior youth hosted for Mennonite Central Committee’s Gaza response!


  • Dec 21 – 6:00pm Longest Night Service (Liturgy for the Weary); 6:45 Soup Supper; 7:30 Christmas Caroling
  • Dec 24 – Fourth Sunday of Advent: How Does A Weary World Rejoice? We sing stories of hope               7:00pm Christmas Eve Worship: How Does A Weary World Rejoice? We make room
  • Dec 25-Dec 29 – Church office closed
  • Dec 31 – Worship @ 9:30am.  No regular Sunday School.  Journaling/prayer activity led by Pastor Tonya after worship – details below in the Deepening section. Childcare provided.
  • Jan 7 – Epiphany. How Does a Weary World Rejoice? We trust our belovedness
  • Jan 8 – Craft Night 6:30-8:00pm in the fellowship hall

REMINDER:  If you are last one out of the church building, be SURE the doors lock behind you.

DEEPENING in Christ…


A Prayer group meets Thursday mornings from 10-11am in the Prayer Room.  All are welcome. 

A small ecumenical Centering Prayer group meets on Thursdays (in person @ FMC) from 12:30-1:30pm.  If you’d like to learn more, contact Pastor Tonya.     

LPC: Listening-Prayer-Conversation Groups

  • The Tuesday group meets again at 1:00pm on Tuesday, January 9.
  • The Wednesday evening group meets at 6:30pm on the second Wednesday in January (Jan 10).

ADVENT 2023: How Does a Weary World Rejoice?

Our 2023 Advent series, created by A Sanctified Art, was created “to acknowledge the weariness of our world while also seeking real and daily moments of joy. We need to remember that all of life can be a prayer.”  And, thus, the theme: “How Does a Weary World Rejoice?”. Each week, an answer inspired by scripture is offered in response to this tender question. 

Opportunities for you to deepen your Advent Journey:

  • Read the Advent Devotional and/or the Daily Prompts for Joy on the Advent Calendar (you can still sign up with Pastor Tonya to receive these electronically, or pick them up in the church foyer!)
  • December 21:  Longest Night Service(6pm), Soup Supper(6:45pm) and Christmas Caroling(7:30ish)
  • Christmas Eve Service on Sunday December 24 (in addition to regular Sunday morning worship)
  • December 31 during Sunday School:  Journaling Prayer Exercise “At the Crossroads” of 2023 and 2024:  (no regular Sunday School; childcare provided)

DECEMBER 31 “At the Crossroad” Journaling Exercise (after worship)

On this last day of 2023, as we stand at the crossroad between 2023 and 2024, you’re invited to pause and take a look in a number of directions at your life.  Based on a journaling exercise created by Helen Cepero (in her book Journaling as a Spiritual Practice), we’ll draw the ‘compass of our lives’ as a way to reflect on who we are, who God is, and who we are together with God.  Materials will be provided.  Childcare will be available.  If possible, RSPV to Pastor Tonya by the Friday before (Dec 29).  However, RSVP is not required to participate!  


Handed out on Epiphany, the invitation of “Star Words” is to allow a word, randomly chosen, to speak to you throughout the year. We accept these words as a gift given, with the potential to reveal something true about us and God that we hadn’t realized before. If you participated in 2023, I invite you to return again to your word.  Maybe it’s been very present in your journey through 2023, or maybe it fell off your radar.  Either way, take the word out and consider it afresh now. I would love to share some of your reflections in the Epiphany 2024 Worship Service (Jan 7) when we’ll draw new words for a new year.  Please send your brief responses by Wednesday January 3!

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES FOR EVERYONE (no Sunday school on December 24 or 31)

  • CHILDREN’S CLASSES (preschool-6th grade) meet in the basement.
  • SENIOR YOUTH (8th-12th grade) meet upstairs.
  • ADULT BIBLE STUDY, using Salt & Light curriculum from Menno Media.  This class is facilitated by Calvin Buller and Marlene Thode and meets in the adult Sunday School room in the basement.
  • ADULT DISCUSSION CLASS meets in the Fellowship Hall in person and on zoom.  On January 7 this group will begin a new DVD based study: Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster.  Pastor Jim and Pastor Tonya will facilitate.
  • And, the YOUNGER ADULTS CLASS meeting in the library.  For more details, talk with Maggie or Adam Pounds. 


Join the Adult Discussion Class beginning January 7 for a DVD based study of Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline.  This classic book on spiritual growth was first written in 1978 and has stood the test of time in its relevance to people seeking a path of spiritual growth. This study will provide you with spiritual practices to explore and implement in your daily life, as well as a community to discuss with and learn alongside.  All are welcome! Participant guidebooks are provided. If you can help cover the $6.50 cost per book we’d welcome that. 

UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! devotional magazines

New issues of UPPER ROOM and Rejoice! are available above the mailboxes.  Please let us know if you would like a copy mailed to you.                

STRENGTHENING Community Connections…

CHURCH OFFICE HOURS – closed December 25-29; open regular hours beginning January 2

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


Office hours:

  • Monday: Day Off
  • Tuesday-Friday: generally working 8:00am-5:30pm 
  • “In 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)

Upcoming “Day Apart with God” dates (for silence, reading, prayer & journaling – will NOT be checking email or responding to texts/calls (except for emergencies).  Typically this is the 4th Wednesday of the month.  The next date is: Wednesday December 27 (8am-5pm)

Pastor Tonya’s Sabbatical dates (spread out between summer 2023-summer 2025)

Pastor Tonya has joined a study program called, “Transforming Community.” Retreats take place in Chicago. Her next scheduled retreat is March 10-13 (back in office on March 14).

FMC FAITH FAMILY DIRECTORY . . . request for information

Please provide updates for yourself and family members to the church office by January 1, 2023. Please include names of children in the household, mailing address, phone number(s) and email addresses. Send updates to the church office: We hope to print new directories the first week of January. Thank you for helping make this a useful tool of connection and community building.


If you worshipped with us in person on Sunday, perhaps you noticed that our fire doors are open again – this time held open by magnetic door holders. Wasn’t it wonderful to feel welcomed through open doors into our church spaces? These door holders are designed to release, allowing the fire doors to fulfil their function of mitigating the spread of flames in the event of a fire in our building. We are grateful for this added safety feature and for all who facilitated this improvement, including Allen Yoder (who coordinated the installation) and all who support our church budget.


Craft Night is on Monday, January 8, 6:30-8:00pm in the church Fellowship Hall. Bring your project – knitting, crocheting, other crafts – and enjoy this time of friendship and ministry together. Any questions . . . contact Cheryl Warkentin or Diane Ziemer.

ARMS WIDE OPEN – FMC’s history book

The amazing story of First Mennonite Church’s 100 years is told in the history book prepared for our centennial celebration. Copies of the book are available for $25.00 (cash or check). You can also purchase a book online at a price that includes the cost of shipping (click on the “DONATE” button on our website to find this option).   Check with the church office to pick up a book.

STRETCHING to Serve as Christ Served…


December: Pasta (January: Peanut Butter)

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, toothpaste and toothbrushes.  Travel size – new & unopened – are desirable.


*Salthawk Community Support:  The goal is to provide 200 sacks at Hutchinson High School and 30 at HMS8. These ‘sacks’ will include ear buds, warm blankets and gloves, gift certificates, and favorite snacks.  The estimated value per sack will be $100.  Checks can be directed to Salthawk Community Support and mailed to 1602 North Main Street Hutchinson KS 67501. Or, you can donate safely online at the giving page of or use Trinity’s Venmo account at Trinity UMC-Hutch. All donations are fully tax deductible.  Deadline was December 1, but you can still send your donations and if they aren’t used this year, they will be used next year!

*Hat, Mitten, and Simply Socks Tree will be set up at church to receive new hats and gloves for distribution at the Salvation Army.

*MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) Baby Bundles: 65 bundles have been assembled! A donation of $25 covers the cost of one kit. Make your donations by check or online to First Mennonite Church with “Baby Bundles” in the memo line.  These kits will be dedicated on Christmas Eve and then delivered to MCC in Newton to be sent around the world. Look for the basket on the table in the foyer to see what items are included in a baby bundle.


Thanks for your continued donations for the food pantry at LightHouse!  When we have an updated list of needs, we’ll post it here!


A specific need right now is women’s deodorant!


Interfaith Housing has a 75% tax credit available. This means that you can potentially reduce your state tax liability by a significant amount by making a contribution to Interfaith. You not only benefit financially but also contribute to the growth and sustainability of our savings match program. Your purchase of tax credits will directly impact the lives of individuals and families in need, providing them with housing, education, and small business opportunities. Contact Lacy Stauffacher, Chief Operations Officer, at 620.259.9919 or

CAMP MENNOSCAH needs volunteers for general maintenance

Volunteers are needed immediately to work (M-F) alongside the facilities director. Call or text Jordan at 316-613-1848.  Calls/texts will be answered between 8am – 5pm.  

M&M Project Update:  End of Year Giving!

Please consider giving to Camp Mennoscah and/or the M&M Project as part of your end-of-the-year giving. It’s not that we aren’t thankful for all you’ve done – but there is a lot to be done at Camp, and we already know that God has touched your hearts and called many to be part of Camp’s mission. Let’s not just finish the M&M Project strong – let’s finish the year strong! Thank you for being a part of Camp Mennoscah! 75 years – There is still so much ahead!

The application for 2024 Summer Staff at Camp Mennoscah is open!  Summer staff must be 18 years old or older.  The staff leadership positions receiving stipends are naturalist, crafts leader, lifeguard, grounds/maintenance, music leader, and office/media.  Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled. The 2024 summer camp season begins June 2 with orientation for summer-long positions and ends August 4.  We can’t wait to hear from you! 

BETHEL COLLEGE announcements

Kauffman Museum at Bethel College invites you to visit during the holidays. Open hours are Tues.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and weekends 1:30-4:30 p.m. (closed Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve). The permanent exhibits are “Of Land and People,” “Mirror of the Martyrs” and “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture,” and the museum store is also open during those hours, with books, games, art and other gift items for sale (see


Please consider a donation to OVM in this season of gift-giving.  Help us not only end this year well but also start 2024 positioned to expand!  As a 501(c)(3), all gifts are tax write-offs.  Here are the convenient ways you can contribute:

  • Personal check (to OVM) – mail or stop by our office (mailed checks require a postal date in 2023 to be receipted for tax year 2023)
  • Using a credit card – via PayPal HERE or through our office over the phone (316.283.2038)
  • Venmo – search ‘ovmks’ and look for us under the Charities heading
  • Qualified Charitable Distribution or Donor Advised Fund

Please note OVM’s Annual Meeting details:

  • Thursday, January 18, 2024, 6:00pm at the ‘Schoolhouse’ building on the grounds of Hutchinson Correctional Facility (outside the walls so NOT going though the gatehouse, NOT needing background checks)
  • Guest speaker: Sue Stoecklein, Chaplain at HCF
  • Dinner provided
  • Space will be limited.  
  • RSVP here:


Register now for the MCC South Texas Learning Tour, February 4-9, 2024! This immigration-focused learning tour presents a unique opportunity to engage directly with organizations making a positive impact on our neighbors. You won’t want to miss this opportunity. Details and online registration can be found at Deadline to sign up is Jan. 20. Please contact Abraham Diaz Alonso with questions,

MCC Material Resources Center in North Newton critically low on inventory: An MCC kit cannot be distributed until each item for the kit is assembled, but some supplies in the Material Resources Center are so low that kits cannot be processed for shipping. You can help by filling the following needs: new infant onesies and sleepers (6-12 month sizes); new bath towels (dark colored, light to medium weight); new hand towels (dark colored). Locally, MCC distributes prisoner care and returning citizen care kits, for those kits we currently need:men’s shirts (sizes XL, 2XL, 3XL — any color) and men’s underwear (sizes 2XL, 3XL — any color). Buy online and ship it to MCC or bring items to MCC in North Newton (121 E. 30th St, North Newton, KS 67117). Questions are always welcome, please contact or 316.283.2720. A full list of MCC kit contents can be found at

HESSTON COLLEGE announcements

Melva Kauffman Lecture Series: Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery

This year the Melva Kauffman Lecture Series is pleased to host Mark Charles who will present on the topic of Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery. Charles is the son of an American woman (of Dutch heritage) and a Navajo man. He teaches with insight into the complexities of American history regarding race, culture and faith in order to help forge a path of healing and conciliation for the nation. The public is invited to hear his presentation at Hesston Mennonite Church Sunday, January 21, 2024, at 7 p.m.

Take a Bible Class at Hesston College

Interested in auditing a Bible course beginning in January? This spring semester Hesston College has opportunities to audit Biblical Literature, Jesus and the Gospels, and Peacemaking and Justice courses. Acceptance is based upon availability of open seating. If you are interested in enrolling in or auditing a Bible course, please contact before Jan. 9 to register. Spring courses are in session Jan. 10 to May 9. Be sure and ask about discounted rates for senior citizens.


Urge Congress To Pass The Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act

Background: Critical minerals are essential components of solar panels, wind turbines and electric batteries—all important in the transition to cleaner energy sources. The mining for these minerals, however, can have enormous negative effects: polluted air, water and soil; the exploitation of workers; and the desecration of sacred Indigenous sites. Mining on public lands in the U.S. is governed by the 1872 Mining Law, which fails to protect our public lands and the surrounding communities. More than a century of reckless mining has poisoned our air, waters, and lands—and has disproportionately impacted Indigenous communities.

Urge Congress to pass the Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act  (H.R. 3495S. 1742) to mandate strong environmental protections for water and land resources, and also protect tribal sacred sites that have been disproportionately impacted by mining operations. Other bills, like the Mining Regulatory Clarity Act (H.R. 2925S. 1281), offer false solutions that would further weaken mining laws. Please encourage your members of Congress to support the Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act and oppose the Mining Regulatory Clarity Act.

Faith Reflection: We are entrusted with a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19). We can be climate peacemakers if we approach changemaking with an attitude of love, humility and listening, restoring right relationships as we restore God’s Earth.Action: Urge Congress to pass the Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act