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This week at FMC

THIS WEEK @ FMC – March 22-28, 2023

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Since the end of January my Monday nights have been full of singing Handel’s Messiah.  All of that culminated with Reno Choral Society’s performance this past Sunday afternoon.  Monday morning when I woke up, I still had Messiah choruses running through my head, and I keep hearing the various members of my family who also sang singing snippets here and there. 

I think one of the most moving moments of Handel’s Messiah is at the very beginning when a single tenor voice rings out with these words of hope from the prophet Isaiah:

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem,

and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished,

that her iniquity is pardoned.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness;

prepare ye the way of the Lord;

make straight in the desert a highway for our God.   (Isaiah 40:1-3)

Just one chapter later (41:13), the prophet also delivers these tender and strengthening words:

For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
 I will help you.

Whatever help you need, fears or hurts you may be holding, may the strong presence of God come near to comfort, strengthen and uphold you. 

Pastor Tonya

SUNDAY MORNING Worship at 9:30am 

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

COLD,  FLU and COVID-19 safety suggestions

Along with recommending that everyone traveling on planes, trains, buses, and other public transportation wear masks, the CDC also recommends that as COVID-19 numbers and other illness spike, wearing a mask indoors in public spaces is a good idea. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Get tested if you have symptoms. Stay home if you are not feeling well. 


When was it we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick in prison?

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Matthew 25:31-46

  • Preacher: Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader: Maggie Pounds
  • Song Leader: TBA
  • Children’s Time: Stephanie Gehring
  • Scripture Reader: Jean Gaeddert
  • Organist: Pauline Buller
  • Ushers: Jay & Stephanie Gehring
  • Nursery Attendant: TBA
  • Sound Tech: Murray Reimer
  • Live Stream Tech: Jay Gehring


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. 


Our process is now in the hands of Rev. Lee Lever, our consultant provided through our connection with Western District Conference. Over the next few weeks he will review our responses and prepare a report. On April 30, Rev. Lever will be back with us in person to deliver his report.


  • March 25 – FMC serves at the Christian Soup Ministry
  • April 4 (Tues)-April 7 (Fri) – Stations of the Cross at FMC (exact times TBA)
  • April 6 – Maundy Thursday Meal/Worship with Communion @ 6pm
  • April 7 – Community Good Friday Service @ Noon (Trinity UMC)     
  • April 7 – Evening @ FMC – Stations of the Cross open for personal meditation and prayer
  • April 9 – Easter Breakfast Potluck @ 9am (bring dish to share and your own table service); Worship @ 10am

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

Two monthly LPC (Listening-Prayer-Conversation) groups are offered each month.  The April dates are April 11 (Noon) and April 12 (6:30pm).

LENT and EASTER 2023 WORSHIP – “Your kingdom come…”

This Lent we will continue listening to the Gospel of Matthew, exploring some hard teachings and confounding parables intended to help us understand what life in the kingdom of heaven is like.  

  • March 26 (Lent 5):  When was it we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick in prison? Matthew 25:31-46
  • April 2 – Palm Sunday
  • April 9 – Easter Sunday (Potluck Breakfast at 9am; Worship at 10am)


Everyone is invited to the Community Good Friday service on Friday, April 7, 2023, 12:00 noon in the sanctuary of Trinity United Methodist Church, 1602 North Main, Hutchinson.  We will be taking a special offering for Salthawk Community Support. The mission of SCS is to work together to remove barriers to education for students in need at Hutchinson High School, Hutchinson Middle School 8, and MidTown at Avenue A. Many of our local churches (including First Mennonite) serve as partners in this program.  Following the service, everyone is invited to experience meaningful prayer stations that will be set up in a quiet room near the sanctuary. This will be a personal time of private prayer and meditation.


All Western District Conference women are invited to join a virtual event sponsored by Western District Women in Mission on Tuesday, April 25. Jenny Gehman, spiritual director, retreat speaker, and writer, will present on “Holy Host: the Hospitality of God.” Join us in person or virtually. Our in-person gathering will be at First Mennonite Church in Newton, Kansas, beginning with a salad potluck at 6 p.m.  followed by Jenny joining virtually from Pennsylvania at 6:45 p.m. There is no cost to this event, but please register by April 23 by emailing so you can receive a Zoom link if joining virtually. Please email your RSVP if attending in person and bring a salad to share. Church groups can consider gathering together to watch the Zoom. For more information, contact Wendy Schrag at 316-841-5245. 

Easter Lilies to honor our loved ones – orders accepted through March 26.

This year we invite you to share in celebrating the joy of Easter morning with lilies in honor of those you love. You may order one or more lilies (each is in a 6” pot with decorative bow). The church will make a group purchase at a cost of $10.00 per plant. Order forms are available on the table in the foyer and must be returned with payment by March 26. The lilies will grace our sanctuary on Easter morning.  You are invited to order as many lilies as you wish and take them home after the Easter morning service.

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL  @ 11:00AM (except for the 5th Sundays of the month)

Preschool-8th Grade: SHINE! Curriculum:  Your Kingdom Come

  • Preschool-Kindergarten (basement – rooms 1&2)
  • 1st-5th (basement – rooms 5&6)
  • 6th-8th (upstairs to the right)

Senior Youth: 9th-12th grade (upstairs to the left)


Bible Study using the Salt & Light study guide meets in the Prayer Room in the basement. Copies are available in the classroom.

The Adult Discussion/Study class meeting in the fellowship hall and on Zoom (contact Pastor Tonya for the zoom link.      

“Younger Adults” Class meets in the adult education room in the basement.

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  
  • Wednesday – 10:00am – 1:00pm (NO office hours on the 4th Wednesday of the month)


  • 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)
  • 4th Wednesdays** (8-5pm) set aside as “Day Apart with God” for silence, reading, prayer
  •  & journaling – will NOT be checking email or responding to texts/calls (except for emergencies)             **MARCH ‘DAY APART’ WILL BE THE 5th WEDNESDAY instead of the 4th Wednesday**


Be sure to mark Wednesdays March 22 and 29 on your calendar to join your church family for dinner, fellowship and bible study!  Choir rehearsals will also begin on March 15.  The schedule is DIFFERENT from previous sessions, so take note:

  • 5:30-6:30pm Choir Rehearsal (begins March 15)
  • 6:00-6:45pm Dinner served
  • 6:50-7:50pm Bible Study (planning to offer childcare – volunteers needed – talk to Tonya!)

The Bible Study will be part of the Anabaptist at 500 Reading Scripture Together project sponsored by MennoMedia.  The invitation is to participate in creating the Anabaptist Community Bible, which will feature marginal notes and commentary from five hundred Bible study groups (including ours!) from a wide spectrum of Anabaptist faith communities.  Two sessions of our study remain. If you would like to join, please contact Pastor Tonya to receive the study text and question.  If you would like to join the Bible Study discussion via Zoom, please let Pastor Tonya know so she can send you the link.


We are looking for delegates from our congregation to attend MennoCon23 (Mennonite Church USA assembly in Kansas City) and/or Western District Conference Assembly, which will be held at Tabor Mennonite Church, rural Newton. Contact Pastor Tonya or Jennalee Boggs if you are interested. 

MennoCon23 is July 3-6, with the delegate assembly to follow July 7-8. Western District Conference annual assembly is August 11-13.


If you can stay after Sunday School on Sunday April 3 to help set up stations of the cross, please let Pastor Tonya know.  Many hands will make this a quick and easy process.  Volunteers are also needed to take down the stations on Saturday morning April 8 (time TBD).  The Stations will be available during Holy Week for your prayer and meditation (more details about the schedule will be shared closer to Holy Week).

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 now 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…


March: canned veggies (especially green beans)

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.


Our church has made a commitment to serve at the Christian Soup Ministry on the 4th Saturday of every other month. Our next opportunity to serve is March 18. Help is needed to cook (starting around 2:00pm) to deliver meals around 4:00pm, and to serve the meal at 5:00pm. Donations of salad greens are also requested. Bring to the soup kitchen on the 28th. A signup sheet is posted below the “Sign Up” bulletin board in the church foyer. Questions? Contact Kevin Martin Nisly or Sadie Nisly.


Donations of Chapstick and deodorant are always needed.  You can place these and other toiletries, along with any teenage appropriate clothing/shoes (a recent specific request was hoodies) in the basket at church or drop off directly at Trinity United Methodist Church.  Financial donations for ongoing program costs are also invited throughout the year. 


The Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, is encouraging Kansas residents to advocate for abolition of the death penalty.  As reference, see the Mennonite Church USA resolution from 2001 regarding the death penalty –

The 2023 Legislative session has brought with it new death penalty abolition legislation.  Forty-Eight legislators put their names on the House and Senate abolition bills. We have the opportunity to write our congressmen in support of this legislation even at this stage of the legislative session.  Here is the background for our action:

The growing Kansas legislative support for abolition is clear with the introduction of HB 2349 and SB 211.

In the House, Rep. Mark Schreiber and thirty three of his House colleagues sponsored HB 2349.  The Senate legislation, SB 211 has Senator Carolyn McGinn as lead sponsor and thirteen co-sponsoring Senators.  Both bills end the death penalty as a punishment for the most serious murders in Kansas which occur on or after the effective date of the legislation. 

Sponsors in both chambers are a mix of Republicans and Democrats with varying lengths of legislative service.  It is significant that nearly 30% of the legislature is willing to put their name ON the bill.  They, plus those who support abolition but did not decide to co sponsor, form an ever growing body of legislative support for ending the Kansas death penalty.

Contact Your Senator and Representative:

  • If your Senator and/or Representative is among the sponsors, please let them know your gratitude for their support for death penalty abolition.
  • If your Senator and/or Representative is NOT among the sponsors, please let them know it’s time for Kansas to end capital punishment.

To reach your State Representative, click here.   To reach your State Senator, click here.

To send a personal note through the postal mail, the address is State Capitol, 300 SW 10th Street, Topeka, KS 66612.  Need a talking point or two?  Check out the latest KCADP fact sheets.


CarePortal creates connections between children and families in need and those who would like to help them. Caseworkers identify the needs, submit requests through the online system known as CarePortal, local church and nonprofit representatives and individuals are notified of the needs, and then help is provided.   Russ Gaeddert is the new Care Portal contact person for our congregation. He has started forwarding the needs that he receives from local case workers to the FMC email group. If you would like to help, you will respond to Russ and he will assist with making the connection so that the family is helped.

Thank you so much for the tremendous aid that you all have given in the past and for the ways you will help in the future!

KANSAS MENNONITE MEN’S CHORUS . . . We Sing that Others May Live

Concerts: April 16 – 7:00pm at Tabor College; April 23 – 7:00 at Bethel College.


Everence will hold its popular Medicare workshop at its office in North Newton on Thursday, March 23 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. 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


Run For Relief. As we approach the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale in April, there are many ways in which to give to MCC. Please consider sponsoring a participant in the Run For Relief. Jean Gaeddert has participated each year, and is planning to do so again next month. Any amount donated would be appreciated! Thank you! (Cash or check made out to KMRS.)

The Bake Sale committee has requested 20 pies and 40 dozen zwieback from our church for the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale. Joretta and her crew will be baking the zwieback at church. Your contributions toward the ingredients is appreciated. Contact Joretta directly. Pie tins are available on a table in the foyer- there is no need to sign up. Just take what you need! Pies and any other baked goods that you’re willing to donate are to be taken to the fairgrounds by 10 am on Friday, April 14. If you aren’t able to deliver your foods, Todd and I will see that they get to the right place if they are at the church by 9:45 am on Friday. Please label your pies (for example: cherry) and other baked goods, especially type of bread. No cream pies can be accepted.
Thanks for sharing your time, resources and talents to help take care of people in need!  -Julie Esau

Invitation to make extra contributions to support earth-friendly containers for use at KMRS.

The KMRS Board of Directors affirms our desire to be good stewards of all of our resources including God’s creation. Towards that end the Board supports and encourages both the Purchasing Committee, as well as other agents of the KMRS, to use as many biodegradable and/or earth friendly products as is reasonably possible. We are aware and acknowledge that despite our best efforts some biodegradable/earth friendly products may not be available through established suppliers. We are also aware of the potential for increased cost and will encourage churches and individuals to make increased donations to the sale, earmarked for this endeavor, to reduce and eliminate over time the use of non-biodegradable products.

Donations for KMRS are welcome in various venues

Click here on the DONATE page and see how you can publicize items you wish to donate to the auctions or volunteer your TIME.


Put your faith in action by volunteering with SWAP this summer! MCC’s SWAP (Sharing With Appalachian People) home repair program provides short-term service and learning opportunities for churches, school and university groups, families, other groups and individuals. Now is the time to make your summer plans and sign up! More information and registration at or (606) 634-4418.

CAMP MENNOSCAH announcements

Summer Youth Camp Registration is now open! We welcome you to register here for the upcoming summer season!  Detailed information about our Summer Youth Camps and our Program Directors can be found here, on the Camp Mennoscah website.

Nurses and kitchen staff needed for summer youth camps.  Nurses are needed for the weeks of June 18-23, Junior I Camp, and July 9-14, Junior High II Camp. Head cooks needed for PreJunior I, June 11-15, and PreJunior II, June 25-29. Be part of an amazing, faith-filled camp experience! Contact us at 620-297-3290 or

HESSTON COLLEGE announcements

March 22 to 24 – Melva Kauffman Lecture Series. Hesston College will explore what restorative justice looks like and how it can be integrated into the world around us during the Melva Kauffman Lecture Series. Jonathan Swartz, director for Student Accountability & Restorative Justice at Eastern Mennonite University, will present. What does restorative justice truly mean? How can one apply it in their life? You can attend a part of the Melva Kauffman Lecture Series at Hesston Mennonite Church on March 24 at 11 am. The session is also available by live stream at

March 27 – Nature Book Club. Join the Dyck Arboretum on March 27 at 6:30 p.m. online for their Nature Book Club. They are reading Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy and Wild New World by Dan Flores. Learn more at

March 28 – Home on the Range: Breeding Biology of Prairie Chickens. Join the Dyck Arboretum on March 28 at 7 p.m. for Home on the Range. Dr. Jackie Augustine, Audubon of Kansas executive director, will discuss the biology of greater and lesser prairie chickens, species that she has studied for nearly 20 years. These charismatic birds perform impressive displays to gain mating opportunities. Come hear about the rolling prairie, the antics of prairie chickens, and the challenges of studying these declining species. Learn more at

March 30 – Music Department Recital. The Performing Arts department at Hesston College will present student recitals on March 30 at noon. Join in person at Hesston Mennonite Church or watch the live stream at

April 2 – Sunflower Performing Arts. Join the Sunflower Performing Arts on Sunday, April 2 at 3 p.m. to hear pax duo. Exceptional percussionists Micah Detwiler and Tristan Swihart will bring a multi-media percussion concert integrating acoustic percussion and lighting design. The concert will be held at Hesston Mennonite Church. Find more information and purchase tickets at (Two tickets available by calling the church office.)

BETHEL COLLEGE announcements

Fri., March 24, Sat., March 25, Sun., March 26 – Spring musical at Bethel College, tick, tick … BOOM! by Jonathan Larson; Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. Ticket purchase required (buy on campus weekdays at Thresher Shop, or online at – scroll to bottom of page).

Sun., March 26 and Mon., March 27 – Staley Lecture at Bethel College with Phuc Luu, a theologian, philosopher and artist based in Houston, author of Jesus of the East. Sunday: 7 p.m., Administration Building chapel; Monday: 11 a.m., Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center.

Tues., March 28 – Bethel College Jazz concert, directed by Joel Boettger, 7 p.m., Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center

Thurs., March 30 – “What’s happening in the statehouse?,” a forum on Kansas politics featuring journalists from the Kansas Reflector, moderated by Adam Strunk, managing editor of Harvey County Now, 7 p.m., Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center at Bethel College. Forum co-sponsors are the Bethel Department of Communication Arts and HCN. The Kansas Reflector is a nonprofit, online publication with Kansas’ largest statehouse bureau. The public is invited.

Fri., March 31 – Senior recital by Bethel College student Bryce Wilson, saxophone, 7 p.m., Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center

Fri., March 31 – The public is invited to the final round of Bethel College’s C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest, 7:30 p.m., Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. Sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee, the annual competition takes place on North American Mennonite college campuses, with an overall winner chosen from among the campus winners. The original speeches deal with contemporary peace concerns.

Now in the Regier Gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center at Bethel College – “Printing on the Plains: Woodcuts by Ian Huebert,” through Fri., April 14 (artist reception April 13). Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 2-4 p.m.

Jerusalem Seminar Returns! Bethel College and Tabor College are again collaborating on a trip to Jordan, Palestine, and Israel, from December 26, 2023 through January 15, 2024. The four emphases of the trip are to (1) understand the Bible in its context, (2) learn about the three major religions of the area (Judaism, Islam, Eastern Christianity), (3) understand the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and (4) take time for reflection, worship, and prayer together. The tour will include over two dozen biblical sites, including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, and beyond! There is currently room for additional persons to participate. If interested, contact Peter Goerzen ( or Doug Miller ( for more information.


The WDC Resource Library is looking for wrapping paper donations to be used in the summer reading program. Any holiday, any style–we’d be happy to use up some “vintage” odds and ends from your house. 🙂 Email Jennie at if you have some to donate.