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This week at FMC

THIS WEEK @ FMC – February 7-13,2024

Table of Contents

This coming Sunday (February 11) we’ll go ‘up the mountain’ with Jesus, Peter, James and John. This is the last Sunday before Lent takes us on its sacred downward descent of surrender to the cross. It’s a difficult spiritual journey; one we humans still struggle to understand, accept, and surrender to. Our continued confusion resonates with the disciples’ bewilderment, and accentuates the urgency of God’s voice from the cloud on the mountain, saying to us all: “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” (Mark 9:7)  God knows we are a people longing to listen to Jesus, to hear, understand, and faithfully follow.  We seek to live centered lives, focused always on Jesus.

Six days before their mountain hike, Jesus gave an invitation no one really wanted (or wants) to hear: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me…”(Mark 8:34)  As my friend Steve Garnaas-Holmes explores in the prayer poem below, this (and the promise of resurrection) is what the mountain top story is all about. 

— Pastor Tonya

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John,
           and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves.

                         —Mark 9.2

What’s six days earlier is what this story is about:
Jesus pointing to the cross.

Six days is a bit short, not a full week yet, without a seventh day,
a darkness-and-light, radiance and shadow, a dying and rising.

Jesus accepted the cross; Peter objected.
But God says, “Listen to him.”

This is not just glory,
this is the light of Easter.

Lit by the light of resurrection,
go the way of the cross.

The Risen One
is ready to be crucified.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


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. 


Since the IRS has raised the standard deduction threshold and those with IRA’s can send directly to charitable organizations to help meet their minimum required distributions, the need to receive your annual contribution report has been diminished for income tax purposes.  Therefore, instead of stuffing mailboxes with annual giving reports, if you would like your giving report from FMC, please let me know I will get you yours.  You can reach me at or 620-474-1224. – Mike Dirks


The link to join is on our website:  Join 5 minutes early for announcements.  The bulletin can be found under the BULLETINS tab on our home page.


Lord of light, as you were transfigured on the mountain, your followers were given a glimpse of your glory. Shine your light in our lives so that we will know how truly marvelous you are. Amen.

Mark 8:27 – 9:8; (Psalm 27:1-4)

  • Preacher: Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader: Maggie Pounds
  • Children’s Time: Heidi Unruh
  • Scripture Reader: Stephanie Gehring
  • Musicians/Song leaders: Shane Miller, Pastor Tonya, and perhaps others!
  • Ushers: Cheryl Warkentin & Marlene Thode
  • Nursery Attendant: Anna Crable & Jalen Crable
  • Sound Tech: Adam Pounds
  • 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. 


We’ve raised $3,050 toward our goal! At our 2023 Annual Meeting the congregation voted to pursue installation of solar panels to provide part of our building’s electricity usage, to update our fire alarm system, and to install magnetic door openers on the internal fire doors. Funding for all three of these projects will be through the Wedel Fund. Criterion for the use of money from the Wedel Fund is that 10% of the cost must be raised in advance. In order to move forward with these projects using Wedel Funds, we need to raise approximately $4,000. We are inviting contributions over the next few weeks in order to schedule these projects with our vendors. Contributions may be made online or by check with a designation for “Solar Panels & Fire Alarms.” A chart in the foyer tracks our progress toward reaching our goal.


  • Feb 11 – FMC leads worship at Mennonite Friendship Communities 10:00am
  • Feb 11 – Super Bowl Subs ready for pick up from Sr. Youth
  • Feb 14 – Ash Wednesday – 6:30pm service at FMC with Community Church of the Brethren
  • Feb 18 – First Sunday of Lent
  • Feb 23 – Mennonite Friendship Communities Liverwurst & Fried Mush Fundraiser dinner 5-8pm
  • Feb 28 – Choir rehearsals begin for Lent / Easter season (Wednesdays @ 5:30pm)

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

These groups meet for an hour once/month in the Common Grounds room and are facilitated by Pastor Tonya.  The format allows for time in prayer by yourself and also with the group.  Any are welcome to join, or to just come and check it out! It’s also possible to join on Zoom if you prefer.

  • The Tuesday group meets again at 1:00pm on Tuesday, February 13.
  • The Wednesday evening group meets 6:30pm on THURSDAY, Feb 15


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 began a new DVD based study: Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster.  Pastor Jim and Pastor Tonya facilitate. More details below.

And, the YOUNGER ADULTS CLASS meeting in the library.  For more details, talk with Maggie or Adam Pounds. 


Join the Adult Discussion Class 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 to join at any time! Participant guidebooks are provided. If you can help cover the $6.50 cost per book we’d welcome that.  We’ll pause this study for Lent (see next announcement) and will pick it up again after Easter. 

HANDEL’S MESSIAH – LENT STUDY during Sunday school hour

A study of Handel’s MESSIAH will be offered the six Sundays during Lent (beginning February 18). This study will be held in the fellowship hall during the regular Sunday school hour. The study will include hearing MESSIAH and learning how Handel paints pictures in sound. Calvin Buller will lead the study. All are welcome! (The “Celebration of Discipline” study will pause during this time and reconvene on April 14.)

LENT 2024: Formed, Filled & Sent: Encountering Jesus in the Gospel, at the Table, & on the Road

This year our Lenten journey will explore how we are formed, filled and sent as we encounter Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, at the Lord’s Table, and on the Road of our daily discipleship journey.  The 40 days of Lent offer many opportunities to encounter Jesus:

… in the Gospel (good news!) stories, alongside the disciples and all kinds of other characters

… at the Lord’s Table, where we believe the Risen Christ is revealed in the breaking of the bread

… and on the Road, as we encounter Jesus in our ordinary lives, growing as disciples here and now

Unique to this year’s Lenten worship experience will be the invitation to come to the Lord’s Table each of the first 5 Sundays of Lent (beginning Feb 18), and on Maundy Thursday.  We engage in this practice trusting in the witness of the disciples who walked the Emmaus Road with a stranger.  Along the road, this stranger opened the scriptures to them (forming them with good news!) and then agreed to join them for the evening meal.  It was there, when he took the bread and blessed it and broke it, that they recognized the Risen Christ. Jesus had been with them the whole time! Their immediate response was to get up and go, to share this amazing news: when the bread was broken, they saw Jesus, right there with them.  As people longing to faithfully follow Jesus in the world we live in today, the Table is a place where we encounter the living Christ, to be formed, filled and sent.  We go out into the world not primarily as individuals, but more importantly, as part of a global community stitched together by the very presence of Jesus with us, and within us.

“To eat the bread and drink the cup in remembrance of Christ is to recall the death and resurrection of our Savior with such vividness as to make ourselves present to these events not merely as historical occurrences but as present, living, and transforming realities in our lives today.”

(Rory Noland.  Transforming Worship. 144)


Gather with our friends from the Church of the Brethren on Wednesday Feb 14 at 6:30pm in the FMC fellowship hall to mark the beginning of Lent with our annual Ash Wednesday service.  This service includes prayers, scripture, music, imposition of ashes, and prayers around the cross.  We do plan to offer a livestream for those wanting to join remotely. 

BOOK STUDY GROUP – new study begins February 14

Ballot and the Bible: How Scripture Has Been Used and Abused in American Politics and Where We Go From Here, a new book by Kaitlyn Schiess, is our selection for our spring study. This group meets weekly on Wednesdays at 1:00pm. Members share the responsibility of leading the discussion. A book order will be placed on TUESDAY (2/6), so let Pastor Tonya know ASAP if you would like a book (anticipated cost $15-20). New members are welcome!

Here’s more about the author’s purpose in writing the book:  How do Bible passages written thousands of years ago apply to politics today? What can we learn from America’s history of using the Bible in politics? How can we converse with people whose views differ from our own?

In The Ballot and the Bible, Kaitlyn Schiess explores these questions and more. She unpacks examples of how Americans have connected the Bible to politics in the past, highlighting times it was applied well and times it was egregiously misused.

Schiess combines American political history and biblical interpretation to help readers faithfully read Scripture, talk with others about it, and apply it to contemporary political issues–and to their lives. Rather than prescribing what readers should think about specific hot-button issues, Schiess outlines core biblical themes around power, allegiance, national identity, and more.

Readers will be encouraged to pursue a biblical basis for their political engagement with compassion and confidence.


Pastor Jim will be leading worship at mfc on Sunday, February 11 at 10:00am. He would invite others to participate with him in leading the service. Contact him directly if you are willing to share your gifts in this way on behalf of FMC. Thank you, Jim, for carrying the ministry of FMC to the mfc campus.


All singers are welcome for our Lent/Easter choir season with five rehearsals in the choir loft. Plans are to sing on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.


The winter chill will be hanging around for a bit longer, so now’s the time to check out the great reads in our church library, including the books on the north window ledge, shared by Pastor Tonya. Listen to what contemporary authors are saying about questions and issues relevant to faithful witness in our world today. In addition to the books Pastor Tonya is sharing, the library has acquired many new books. Come . . . relax . . . find inspiration . . . take comfort . . . and be challenged to faithful Christian witness. There’s a book for every reader right here in our library!!

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…


  • Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am – 2:00pm – THIS WEEK Thursday 9:00am-noon
  • Wednesday – THIS WEEK – no office hours on Wednesday


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 February 28 (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). In addition, she has scheduled some vacation time prior to this retreat to visit family in Ohio (leaving Wednesday March 6).

A more extended chunk of sabbatical time will be taken in the summer of 2024: June 30-July 4 (for retreat) + July 23-August 9.


The 2024 issue is now available on the table in the foyer and in the circular rack by the mailboxes. Please continue to provide updates to your contact information throughout the year. Send to the church office If you would like to receive the directory by email attachment, please let the church office know.


Craft Night is on Monday, February 12, 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.


Sign up after worship on Sunday for your Super Bowl Subs prepared by our Senior Youth Group. Choose turkey or ham/salami ($10/sub). Every sub comes with a little baggie of veggies (but you provide your own condiments). Sign up by February 8 by contacting Jonathan Wenger or Tanya Martin Nisly. Pick up your sub(s) on Sunday February 11 after worship.


Join us for a 4 session series on Wednesday evenings (Feb 28, March 6, 13, and 20):

  • 5:30-6:30 Choir Rehearsal in the sanctuary (also on March 27!)
  • 6:00-7:00 Meal Served (donations welcome to cover expenses)
  • 7:00-8:00 Adult Program and Children’s Activities

The Adult program will be led by Pastor Tonya and Pastor Jim, on the theme: Centered on Jesus & Connected in Community. What does a Jesus-centered community look like today, in the realities we find ourselves in: heightened polarization, rise in Christian Nationalism, a contentious election year, and more?

We plan to interactively engage those gathered in exploring practical themes raised by Mark D. Baker in his book Centered-Set Church: Discipleship and Community Without Judgmentalism.

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…


February: Canned meat / tuna

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.


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


It’s time to start dreaming of Mennonite Friendship Communities Liverwurst & Fried Mush annual dinner as the date is quickly approaching!  Join us on Friday, February 23rd from 5-8 pm at the Journey Activity Center in Yoder for Liverwurst, Fried Mush, Whole Hog Sausage, Tomato Gravy and more!  This year’s proceeds will go to renovations to the South Entrance of Healthcare.  Come enjoy good food and fellowship!  For more info, call Susan Nisly at 620-663-7175.

CAMP MENNOSCAH announcements

Two volunteers are needed daily to help with Retreat Center HVAC work from Monday through Friday for the next 12 weeks.  Construction skills are not a requirement.  Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290, text 316-293-7313 or email Half days are fine.

Registration for 2024 Summer Youth Camps is open!  Staff is still adjusting to the big Retreat Center project and some details are sure to have been missed–but that will not stop you from registering for a great week of camp.  The theme for the summer is Linked By Love and looks at the many ways we experience God’s love through relationships.  Register online! 

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

Sun., Feb. 11 – KIPCOR Film Series presents Eroding History, 2 p.m., Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. Audience talkback follows the screening; a freewill offering will be taken to support KIPCOR and the film series.

Sun., Feb. 11 – Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum program at Kauffman Museum, 3 p.m., with Lorna Harder, Hesston, guest curator of the special exhibit “A Day with the Birds: Community Science and the Audubon Christmas Bird Count.” In “Sisters, Scientists, Birders and Friends,” Harder will explore the history of local birding pioneers Dwight Platt, North Newton, and the Ruth sisters of Halstead, how they’ve passed on their legacy through the Christmas Bird Count, and how birding brings people together.  

Tues., Feb. 13 – Bethel College Organ Recital Series presents Douglas O’Neill in an all-Bach program, 7 p.m.Administration Building chapel


Western District Conference invites you to a come-and-go Open House on Saturday, February 10, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm at the WDC office, 2517 North Main Street, North Newton, KS. This is in addition to the WDC Library Open House and Book Sale already announced. Check out what’s new in the Resource Library, browse the used-book sale, enjoy refreshments, chat with staff, and celebrate WDC’s newly renovated office spaces!


February 17, 4:30-7:00pm. Located at 427 West 4th in Halstead. Menu is verenike, ham gravy, sausage, green beans, zwieback, pie and assorted relishes. Dine-in and carryout available (west side of church on Santa Fe). Proceeds go to USD 440 school lunches and Halstead community utility bill assistance.


  • Class title: The Grand Story of the Bible – Genesis to Revelation
  • Instructor: Ted Weis
  • Dates: February 29, March 7, March 14
  • Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm
  • Location: Peel Center – 1 East 9th Street (on Main and 9th)
  • Registration: $45. Call 620-727-2791 or email


MCC Central States annual meeting, Saturday, March 2 at 10 a.m. You are invited to join the meeting in-person or virtually to hear MCC U.S. Executive Director Ann Graber Hershberger share an MCC update. Please email if you would like the Zoom link to join virtually. Otherwise, join us at MCC Central States, 121 E. 30th St in North Newton, Kansas.

Comforter Blitz – Monday, March 4-6, 2024, Journey Mennonite Church Activity Center, Yoder

If you can tie a knot, you can make a difference. Activity center located at 3605 East Long View Rd.

  • Monday, March 4 . . 9am – 4pm
  • Tuesday, March 5 . . 9am – 9 pm
  • Wednesday, March 6 . . 9am – 4pm

Questions? Please contact  

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

KANSAS MENNONITE RELIEF SALE – April 12-13, 2024 announcements

WANTED—Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles, RV’s, Campers, Tractors, Modern Farm Equipment, etc. for the KS MCC Sale. Items you no longer need can help Feed and Cloth Thousands in desperate living conditions. ALL donations are Tax Deductible. Call Jerry Toews for info: 620 367 8257. Help make a difference.   – KMRSale Committee


Everence will hold its popular Medicare workshop at its office in North Newton on Thursday, February 15 at 6:30 p.m. Topics will include, when and where to sign up for Medicare, what Medicare covers, plus an explanation of Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D. Attendance is recommended for those approaching retirement or those ready to sign up for Medicare. The in-person workshop 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


We are excited to announce SWAP is accepting applications for the upcoming year!  Would you consider coming to Appalachia?  Apply today to reserve your spot at

A service and learning program of MCC Great Lakes, SWAP provides meaningful volunteer opportunities for schools, universities, churches, families, groups and individuals. Participants should be 15 years or older. You can, however, call the office to inquire about younger participants. SWAP experiences often run in the summer. Experiences can also be arranged during non-summer months and are great options for retirees! 


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


For young adult (ages 18-30), Peace Camps offer opportunities to learn and explore dynamics of social change; experience personal transformation; and apply Anabaptist, Biblical foundations of peace and justice to real world issues. MCC covers all costs of travel, lodging and meals beyond the $250 registration fee.

read more about each peace camp and when to register.

MENNONITE CENTRAL COMMITTEE . . . more announcements

Feb. 23: High School Essay Contest  

Are you a youth who attends a Mennonite high school or an Anabaptist church? This is your opportunity to express your views in essay format on critical issues facing U.S. society. Submissions are due Feb. 23, 2024, and may be in English or Spanish. The grand prize is $1000! Find out more about the high school essay contest.

April 29-May 3: Immigration Law Training (Akron, Pennsylvania)   
Is your church or organization offering legal services to immigrants at low-cost? This 40-hour course will touch on all areas of immigration law and practice. It will provide the necessary training for individuals who wish to apply for accreditation from the U.S. Department of Justice. Early Bird registration ends March 15! Find out more about this training or email


October 15-28, 2024 with optional safari which extends the trip to November 1. Cost is $2,500, plus travel to departure city; the optional safari is $1,000. The South Africa Pilgrimage will explore the long history and legacy of colonialism and apartheid, which was a political social engineering project based on racial segregation. Registration deadline: April 15. More information here:  


Mennonite Heritage & Agricultural Museum, Goessel.  

As part of the 150th Anniversary celebration of the migration of Mennonites to Kansas, Dr. Mark Jantzen, professor of history at Bethel college, will present “Fifty-Three Years in the Russian Empire: The Context for Mennonites in the Years 1821 to 1874.”  The event will be held February 18, 2024, at 3 pm, at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, Goessel, Ks. Join us in person or by zoom. Zoom link:

Meeting ID 861 6791 1311

Passcode 473902