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This week at FMC

THIS WEEK @ FMC – November 15-21, 2023

Table of Contents

“It is lovely to know that we are a family united by the Spirit of God, and that despite being spread across the whole world, we can bring our petitions for one another before God,” says Samuel Martínez Leal, Iglesia Evangélica Menonita de El Salvador.  This quote opens an email I received this week from Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Prayer Network.  (You can read the full email HERE.) 

Praying for the Middle East was of course one of the prayer requests in this email.  Although it is long, I urge you to take time to read the article below: “A Reconciling Response to war in the Middle East” (Oct 2023) written by Henk Stenvers, MWC President and César García, MWC General Secretary.

“At a time of increasing bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians, with mounting tension between nations of the Middle East and beyond, leaders of Mennonite World Conference make three urgent appeals:

That member churches of Mennonite World Conference pray and act for an end to the spiral of violence and injustice(1) in the Middle East, recognizing that favouring one nation or ethnicity to the detriment of another harms the gospel(2) and humanity;

That Palestinian militants cease their assault on Israelis, release hostages, and seek nonviolent ways to address their just concerns;

That Israeli government cease their current assault on Gaza and the West Bank and begin to redress the decades of occupation and dispossession perpetuated upon Palestinian people.

Caring for both Israelis and Palestinians

We as Christians are the “wild olive shoot” grafted into a Jewish root (Romans 11:17). Thus, we honour Judaism and respect the modern nation of Israel when it governs justly and treats all peoples equally. Likewise, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their need to live in safety and dignity in their own land. We grieve and protest the massacre of Israelis recently committed by Hamas. We also grieve and protest the constant loss and humiliation that Palestinians have suffered over the last seventy-five years of Israeli occupation.

We call on Christians, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to embody the wide embrace of the gospel (Matthew 28:19, 20) in which there is “neither Jew nor Gentile” (Galatians 3:28). Promises of land possession that God made to the biblical patriarchs have long been fulfilled (Joshua 21:43–45). The gospel is no longer good news if it means that Palestinians must sacrifice their lives and hopes for the well-being of Jewish people displacing them.

Modern Israel and ancient promises

Although we condemn antisemitism and support the need for Jewish people to live in safety today, we underscore that it is inappropriate to view the modern state of Israel simply as a continuation of ancient Israel. God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ equally embraces Jews and Palestinians. Christians place our hope for the future in the global New Jerusalem (Revelation 21, 22), not in any sequence of eschatological events focused specifically on the Middle East.

We remind Christians who do view the modern state as a continuation of biblical Israel that divine promises about the land have a condition: God’s people must obey covenant (Leviticus. 18:26–29; Deuteronomy 28:15). Remembering their own suffering in Egypt, Israelites were to treat vulnerable people fairly (Deuteronomy 24:16–22). Jesus’ last words before the Ascension were a warning against his followers doing end-times speculation about the future of Israel (Acts 1:7, 8; see also Mark 13:32). Instead, Jesus said, proclaim the gospel to all peoples of the earth.

Although they are a small minority today, there is an indigenous Christian presence in Palestine with roots reaching back to the apostolic church. These Christians suffer when fellow believers elsewhere in the world give uncritical support to Israel.(3)

Jesus embodies a global justice vision

When Jesus approached Jerusalem on the week of his Passion, he wept over the city saying, “If you only had known on this day the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:42). Jesus also acted: he entered the courts of religious and political power to confront those who abused their power. God intended the temple to be a “house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17). Jesus embodied the prophecy of Isaiah that all nations would stream to Jerusalem, that peoples of the world will beat swords into plowshares and not learn war any more (Isaiah 2:2–4). Today we remain committed to that reconciling vision for Israelis and Palestinians, and for peoples in conflict anywhere in the world.

We will speak to governments and religious leaders throughout the world, urging them to seek justice for both Palestinians and Israelis and not simply support one side or the other. We ask nations of the world to stop supplying arms to the warring parties, and to work with the community of nations to seek a just peace.

In the end it will be God who brings healing to the nations. We live into that hope by praying, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” – and by following the nonviolent way of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Until then we cry out “God, have mercy!”

Henk Stenvers, MWC President
César García, MWC General Secretary

1 Some scholars speak about three forms of violence that perpetuate the “spiral of violence”: Systemic Violence (Violence #1), Revolt (Violence #2), and Repression (Violence #3).

2 “Gospel” refers to a holistic, all-encompassing, liberating message of God’s peaceable (and, therefore, justice-filled) kingdom made known and visible in the world. This message overturns the logic of death and its different manifestations, including violence, oppression, injustice, and death itself, into that of life in abundance.

3 See “A Call for Repentance: An Open Letter from Palestinian Christians to Western Church Leaders and Theologians”

Pastor Tonya


SUNDAY MORNING Worship at 9:30am 

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


PRAYER OF THE DAY: Loving Lord, you have searched your people for evidence of goodness, the way fruit is sought in a vineyard. Send your righteous judge and find goodness in your faithful children. Amen.

  • Preacher: Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader: Maggie Pounds
  • Scripture Reader: Jennalee Boggs
  • Children’s Time: Ama Reimer
  • Pianist: Peggy Stucky
  • Song Leader: TBD
  • Ushers: Jay & Stephanie Gehring
  • Nursery Attendant: Diane Ziemer
  • Sound Tech: Earl Ediger
  • 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 offering on November 12 – Mission Sunday – was designated for LightHouse expenses related to mentoring (mentor training, life skill learning experiences, shared activities, etc.). If you would like to support LightHouse in this way, mark your contribution for LightHouse Mentoring.


  • Nov 15 – We’ll Leave Our Lights On – gathering shelf-stable items for the Food Bank – 5:00-7:00pm
  • Nov 15 – Chancel Choir rehearsals begin – Wednesdays @ 5:30pm (no rehearsal November 22)
  • Nov 19 – Youth Group Fundraiser Lunch (after SS) for MCC’s Palestine & Israel Response
  • Nov 25 – Eunice Esau celebration of life – 11:00am
  • Nov 30 – Pastor Congregation Relations Committee 3:30pm
  • Dec 3 – FMC’s Annual Meeting, Youth Fundraiser Lunch and Silent Auction
  • Dec 3 – First Sunday of Advent: How Does A Weary World Rejoice? We acknowledge our weariness        Worship includes decorating the Christmas Tree!!

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 the second Tuesday in November (Nov 14) at 1:00pm. December’s date is TBD.  The Wednesday evening group meets next at 6:30pm on the second Wednesday in December (Dec 13) as usual. 

ADVENT 2023: How Does a Weary World Rejoice?

Our 2023 Advent series, created by A Sanctified Art, is shaped by the Gospel of Luke’s story.  The people whose stories are told in Luke’s opening chapters experience the full scope of human emotions: isolation, fear, disbelief, as well as connection, trust and joy.  The writers of this series recognized that the Christmas season is often an emotionally-charged time when we feel many things deeply – sometimes all at once.  As they, and we, know full well, many of us experience emotional dissonance in the midst of joy-filled carols and festivities. This led to a desire “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 of this series: “How Does a Weary World Rejoice?”which does indeed seem very relevant for where we find ourselves in the world today. Each week, an answer inspired by scripture is offered in response to this tender question. 

Various resources and opportunities will be available for you to deepen your Advent Journey, including:

  • Advent Devotional booklet with art work, poetry, prayers, and questions for reflection. This will be available as a full color paper copy and also electronically.
  • Adult/Youth Advent Calendar and an Advent Calendar for Children
  • Christmas Caroling (date TBD – stay tuned!)
  • Longest Night Service on Thursday December 21 to give voice to lament and loss
  • Christmas Eve Service on Sunday December 24 (in addition to regular Sunday morning worship)
  • Last Day of the Year Journaling Prayer Exercise: Personal Compass during the Sunday School hour on December 31.


How have your 2023 Star Words spoken (or not!) to you this year? Pastor Tonya again invites your short reflections to be shared by her on Epiphany 2024 (January 7), when we will draw new Star Words.  Please submit your responses by Wednesday January 3, 2024


  • 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, meeting in the basement fellowship hall and on Zoom. Between October 22 and Advent (Dec 3), this group will be watching and discussing recorded sermons from Mennonite World Conference (Indonesia 2022). 
  • And, the YOUNGER ADULTS CLASS meeting in the library.  For more details, talk with Maggie or Adam Pounds. 

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 October 25)


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, but due to some scheduling issues, the next date is: Wednesday November 29 (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 for this year is December 10-13 (back in office on December 14).


Eunice Esau’s celebration of life will be held at First Mennonite on Saturday November 25 at 11:00am. We will also livestream the service; the link will be on the home page of our website.  As we hold our grief, we also look forward to celebrating Eunice’s life together with friends and family. Inurnment (with just family) at the FMC Columbarium will take place before the service, and lunch for everyone will follow the service.

We are looking for 2 adults (or 1 adult and 1 older youth) to staff the nursery for the little ones in Eunice’s family during the service! If that is something you’d be willing to do, please let Pauline in the church office, or me, know.


Recordings of the presentations are available (except for the first session).


The PCRC meets on November 30 at 3:30pm. If you have any sort of feedback about the relationship between the pastors and FMC congregation, please contact one of the following people: Jolene Yoder, Peggy Stucky, Kevin Martin Nisly.


Silent Auction youth fundraiser will be open:

  •  9:00-9:30am (pauses during worship)
  •  After worship till 11:00am
  •  Noon-12:45pm (when the auction ends!)

Senior Youth Fundraiser meal – 12:00 noon

Annual Congregational Meeting – 12:45pm (annual reports and agenda available on November 19)


Be thinking about what you might contribute to the silent auction and be part of the fun of bidding on items such as food, crafts, home décor, small furniture items or whatever might be donated.  Please bring your items by 8:45am on Sunday December 3.  Before Nov 25, you can drop off items to be stored in the Associate Pastor office; after Nov 25 please bring your items directly to the church basement.


All singers are invited to join the choir for the advent season. Rehearsals will be held on four Wednesdays at 5:30pm in the choir loft. (No rehearsal on November 22.) The Lessons and Carols service is planned for December 17. Talk to Calvin Buller if you have questions.

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…


November: Canned Fruit

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.

WE’LL LEAVE OUR LIGHTS ON . . . 6th annual drive for Reno County Food Bank

This year 19 area churches (including ours!!) are collecting food for the Reno County Food Bank and church pantries. On Wednesday, November 15, from 5-7 churches will shine their lights while collecting donations of non-perishable foods. The Reno County Food Bank suggests these items: pasta, peanut butter, mac & cheese, canned meats, fruits, vegetables, and soups.


The Senior Youth Group will be hosting a Middle Eastern lunch on Sunday November 19 after Sunday School as a fundraiser for Mennonite Central Committee’s response in Palestine and Israel. 


Our fund that pays for the meal we serve every other month at the Soup Kitchen is in much better shape, but we still would welcome financial donations to be in even better shape!! Make donations to First Mennonite with “Soup Kitchen” in the memo line.


Check out the signup sheets for serving at the Soup Kitchen. New opportunities are available! Volunteers are needed for food preparation (2-3:30pm), meal delivery (4-5:30pm), and serving and clean up (4:45-6:00pm). Donations of food are also appreciated – applesauce (jars), applesauce (cups) and sandwich cookies. The signup sheets are across from the mailboxes. Many volunteers are needed!


Thank you to those who wrapped baby bundles on Monday evening. Deanna Mace and Jane Kroeker have again purchased items to complete 65 bundles for families all over the world where Mennonite Central Committee serves. The cost of preparing each bundle is $25. Watch for more details about Baby Bundles and other opportunities to share your gifts during the coming holiday season.


Thanks for your continued donations for the food pantry at LightHouse!  We’re working on getting an updated list of needs to share here.


You are invited to donate financially to Salthawk’s annual Santa Sack project.  These ‘sacks’ will include ear buds, warm blankets and gloves, gift certificates, and favorite snacks.  The estimated value per sack will be $100.  The goal is to provide 200 sacks at Hutchinson High School and 30 at HMS8. Financial donations are requested by December 1!! 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 TrinityUMC-Hutch. All donations are fully tax deductible.

Additionally, a specific need right now is for women’s deodorant!


Mennonite Friendship Communities is hosting a Christmas Bazaar from 9-noon on Saturday, December 2.  Come enjoy a morning of shopping for Christmas gifts and fellowship.  We will have everything from items to eat, to cards and crafts to tumblers and mugs.  The To-Gather Shoppe will also be open during this time.  For questions or to have a table at the event, please contact Susan Nisly at


Right now we are anticipating welcoming a Christian (Pentecostal) family of 5 on November 29! One household item we realized we could use more of, given the time of year, are blankets (new or gently used are preferred). We have 4 twin beds and 1 queen.  If would like to donate a blanket please just bring it to church, and let Hilda or Tonya know!


If you would be willing to provide one or more meals in 2024 for the Circles of Hope meetings, please contact Pastor Tonya for more information.  Other ways to give to Circles of Hope include: serving as an Ally, sponsoring one of the members through the 12 week training class, giving cash or an in-kind donation of table service for the meals. The purpose of Circles of Hope is to work every day to end poverty in our community. 

CAMP MENNOSCAH needs volunteers for general maintenance

Volunteers are needed immediately to work (M-F) alongside the facilities director on general maintenance tasks.  Working on these regular maintenance tasks will allow more time for planning and preparation for the Retreat Center HVAC project.  The project is running behind and we need to make up time!  Call or text Jordan at 316-613-1848.  Calls/texts will be answered between 8am – 5pm.  Volunteer hours will also be 8am-5pm or a portion of that time.  Please bring a water bottle and your lunch.  


Get busy giving on Giving Tuesday at an Evening of Service at MCC! Nov. 28 from 6:30-8 p.m. at MCC in North Newton, KS. Bring new dark colored hand towels with you to pack hygiene kits (the more towels you bring, the more kits we can pack!). MCC partner Offender Victim Ministries will be here with supplies to write holiday greetings to prisoners, we’ll have comforters to tie and delicious snacks to enjoy. What a great way to give on Giving Tuesday!

Driving through Kansas on your way south this winter? Are you heading to South Texas? If so, MCC Central States in North Newton, KS is looking for your help! We need to transport 25 boxes of kits to a partner in McAllen, TX. Please contact Kate Mast at with any questions or interest. Thanks!

BETHEL COLLEGE announcements

All bakers and craft makers are invited to make items for 5 Places of Christmas on Saturday, December 2, at Goerz House, Bethel College. Bethel College Women’s Association (BCWA) will again be selling baked goods, candy, craft items and poinsettias.  Your home-baked cookies, zwiebach, cinnamon rolls, peppernuts and poppyseed rolls are always great sellers. This year we are especially asking for homemade candies such as peanut clusters, peanut butter balls, peanut brittle or fudge. Please bring your items to Goerz House on Friday, December 1, from 1:00-4:00 pm or on Saturday from 9:00-10:00 am. This event is a fundraiser for the many ways BCWA supports students at Bethel College. Thank you for your support of Bethel College.

Sat., Nov. 18 – Senior recital by Bethel College student Hayden Honomichl, voice, 4 p.m.Administration Building chapel

Now in the Regier Gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center at Bethel College – “Motherhood,” mixed media works by Eden Quispe, art teacher at Newton High School, through Fri., Nov. 17, with an artist reception Nov. 17. Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 2-4 p.m.


Everence will hold its popular Medicare workshop at its office in North Newton on Thursday, Nov. 16 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