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This week at FMC

THIS WEEK @ FMC – November 2-8, 2022

Jesus said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”  And again, he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”   Luke 13:18-21

The invitation I gave to each of First Mennonite’s former pastors for their part in our Centennial Celebration Worship service was to choose a scripture and offer a blessing.  The passage above was chosen by Pastor Nathan Koontz, associate pastor here from 2013-2019.  He followed his reading of the passage with these words, and a poem:

May you be blessed by the kingdom of God, here and now, not in some supposed future growth – hopes of the great big tree – the loaves and loaves of bread – but the kingdom already here, the mustard seed, the yeast.

The kingdom of God

is like a stitch in a quilt

a weed in a sidewalk crack

a zwieback slightly falling off center

a small bag of dusty clothes for the etcetera shop

light through stained-glass windows

a slow warm word, delivered with love

a handshake, a hug, even before our stories start

a patch in a pair of jeans

a tie in a comforter

the screw that slowly makes its way loose in the dining room table

the slight squeak in your car and the rambling conversation with the mechanic

the smile of a toddler across the aisle in the grocery story

the pumpkin plant growing out of the compost pile

the purring cat on your lap before the first cup of coffee

May we continue to awaken to the kingdom,

one little drop at a time

The cleansing waters eroding away

the walls we once thought we needed

To the kingdom of the cracks

to the kingdom of creativity

to the kingdom of loss and discovery

to the kingdom that mysteriously grow at the edges of fields

May it all continue to grow here

and all the places of our windswept seed

Mustard seed, wheat berry, salt, yeast

they come and they go,

they leaven and they grow.      

     –Nathan Koontz

       Pastor Tonya

SUNDAY MORNING Worship at 9:30am 

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

COVID-19 safety suggestions for ourselves and others

CMT affirms these recommendations offered by the CDC:  Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Get tested if you have symptoms. Wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19. Wear a mask on public transportation. You may choose to wear a mask at any time as an additional precaution to protect yourself and others. If you are at high risk for severe illness, consider wearing a mask indoors in public and taking additional precautions.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6: Elisha Heals Naaman 

(2 Kings 5:1-15a)

  • Sermon: Pastor Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader: Anita Kehr
  • Children’s Time: Heidi Unruh
  • Scripture Reader: TBD
  • Organist: Pauline Buller
  • Ushers: Don Wiens & Russ Goering
  • Nursery Attendant: Adam & Maggie Pounds
  • Sound Tech: Earl Ediger & Allen Yoder
  • 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 are also welcome to send a check to 52 Rambler Rd Hutchinson KS 67502. 


  • November 9 – Choir rehearsals begin for Lessons and Carols service on December 18
  • November 10 – Faithful Community Coordination Team – 10am
  • November 10 – FMC hosts the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale planning committees – 7pm
  • November 16 – “We’ll Leave Our Lights On” Reno County non-perishable food drive
  • November 19 – Faith and Life Pop-up Shop – 10:00am-2:00pm in our building
  • November 26 – FMC serves at the Soup Kitchen
  • December 4 – Budget and Annual Congregational Meeting; Sr Youth Fundraisers

CHOIR REHEASALS begin Wednesday, November 9 at 7:30pm

All singers are invited to join the choir. We’ll rehearse Wednesdays (no rehearsal November 23) at 7:30. Plans are to sing during two Sunday worship services – December 11 and 18.

VOICES TOGETHER Community Evensong Service – Friday, November 12 at 7:00pm

The public is invited to this Evensong Service, consisting entirely of congregational singing from our new hymnal, arranged around the 12 artworks found in the hymnal. Please bring your personal copy of Voices Together, if you have one. Copies will be available to borrow or to purchase on this evening. This event is part of Bethel College’s Worship and the Arts Symposium, featuring resource people who served on the hymnal committee. The event will be held in Memorial Hall on the Bethel campus in North Newton.

REMINDER:  If you are last one out of the church building, be SURE the doors lock behind you when you leave.  Go out, watch the doors latch, give both door handles a tug, and make sure they are locked!  Thank you.

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.     


Our November worship services will continue following the Narrative Lectionary which traces the ‘big story’ of Scripture.  In November we explore some of the prophets as we lead up to Advent.

  •             November 6: Elisha Heals Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-15a) – Pastor Tonya preaching
  •             November 13: Micah (Micah 1:3-5; 5:2-5a; 6:6-8) – Pastor Tonya preaching
  •             November 20: Swords into Plowshares (Isaiah 36:1-3, 13-20; 37:1-7; then 2:1-4) – Pastor Jim preaching  (Pastor Tonya preaching at Hope Mennonite in Wichita about Mennonite World Conference)


Sorting among many Advent & Christmas worship resources, we’ve finally settled on this year’s offering from A Sanctified Art: From Generation to Generation.  This theme follows our Centennial Celebration so nicely, and as usual the artwork and words for worship are inviting and grounding.  The creators of this theme describe how they longed for a “clear, chronological storyline of the events leading up to and following Christ’s birth. For the sake of Biblical literacy and narrative cohesion, we felt it could be meaningful to offer an Advent series that hones in on all the humans involved in the story. And so, sourcing from all the Gospel writers, we hand-selected scriptures in an attempt to tell the full scope of the Christmas Story.”  

The series itself is inspired by a line from Mary’s song:

            “Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

            for the Mighty One has done great things for me,  and holy is his name.

            His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.  (Luke 1:48b-50)

Again, from the creators of the series: “Despite the challenges and vulnerability she faced, Mary could glimpse the scale and scope of the good news she was part of bringing forth.  This good news transcends time and space – it was and is bigger than just her. Christ is coming for collective liberation: God’s redemption is at work for years to come.  Therefore, the promise is meant to be lived out and passed on from generation to generation. ….  The root word of ‘generation’ is ‘gen’ meaning ‘origin’ or ‘birth.’ Our theme is also a call to action: what are we being called to generate or bring forth? What have your ancestors and those who have come before you passed on for you to continue? Who are the spiritual elders in your community who planted the seeds for the things that are now blooming? What seeds are you planting for the future?”

       From Generation to Generation….

  • November 27 (First Sunday of Advent): There’s room for every story (Mt 1:1-17; Isaiah 2:1-5)
  • December 4 (Second Sunday of Advent): God meets us in our fear (Luke 1:26-38; Isaiah 11:1-10)
  • December 11 (Third Sunday of Advent):  We can choose a better way (Mt 1:18-25; Isaiah 35:1-10)
  • December 18 (Fourth Sunday of Advent): FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS & CAROLS
  • December 24 (Saturday – Christmas Eve) @ 7:00pm:  We tell this story  (Luke 2:1-20)
  • December 25 (Sunday – Christmas Day) @ 9:30am:  God dwells with us (John 1:1-14; Luke 2:15-21)
  • January 1 (Sunday – New Year’s Day) @ 9:30am: We keep seeking (Mt 2:1-12; Mt 2:12-23)

FALL WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL  @ 11:00AM (no Sunday School on the 5th Sundays)

Preschool-8th Grade: SHINE! Curriculum:  Fall of a Kingdom

  • 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). This group is currently learning about Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery.  You can learn more here:

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

UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! devotional magazines

REJOICE! and UPPER ROOM . . . new issues for November are available above the mailboxes.  Please let us know if you would like a copy mailed to you.                

LPC: Listening-Prayer-Conversation Groups BEGINNING January 2023

Pastor Tonya will be offering something new beginning January 2023 … an opportunity to participate in a monthly LPC group:  Listening. Prayer. Conversation.  The plan is for a once/month simply structured hour of listening to scripture and Spirit, praying with and without words, and conversation with God and others. More details and plans will be shared later in November. 

STRENGTHENING Community Connections…


We had a beautiful night for serving homemade donuts on the lawn last night to hundreds of people.  We served at least 500 donuts, probably more, and had to turn away those who came too late!  MANY THANKS to all of you who made it happen: setting up, rolling out and cutting donuts, walking up the steps with trays of donuts to be fried, and back down again to retrieve more, frying donuts, glazing them, and serving them to happy trick-or-treaters and their families!  So much fun was had, and a lot of work was done!

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). Check with the church office.


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


  • Monday: Sabbath Day
  • 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)

STRETCHING to Serve as Christ Served…


OCTOBER: Thanks to your generous donations, we MADE IT TO 100 SOUP CANS, and we collected nearly 100 POUNDS (98 to be exact) of food to be donated to the Food Bank!!

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, tooth paste and tooth brushes.  Travel size – new & unopened – are desirable.



We will again ‘leave our lights on’ Wednesday evening November 16 from 5-7pm for anyone to drop off items for the Food Bank.  This is a partnership with many area churches who will also leave their lights on that evening.  Plan to bring donations to our church, or to a participating church closer to your home (a poster with a list of participating locations will be up soon at church). 


We will also be collecting donations to contribute to “Thanksgiving Dinner Baskets” coordinated by Living Hope FWB Church, NAACP Religious Affairs and Hutch in Harmony.  This idea has emerged out of awareness of how hard the past couple of years have been for local families with COVID and recent inflation.  We have been invited to help bring a little light to our local families in need.  Please have your donations at the church by Friday November 18 (a basket in the foyer is designated for this project).  There is not a specific donation list at this point, but for now think about nonperishable items appropriate for a Thanksgiving meal, and we will get a list of suggestions to you if that becomes available.  The plan is to gather food items, package them and hand them out the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving (Nov 19), and the hope is to reach 50 families.   If you are interested in helping that Saturday, let Pastor Tonya know and she can get you the contact information. 


Thank you for your donations during October.  Diane Ziemer is willing to continue collecting Bibles needing a new home for Zoar Mennonite Brethren Church (where her mother is a member).  Watch for a box under the mailboxes at church where you can put your donations. 


Home for the Holidays Open House & Tree Auction will be held Saturday, November 19, 11:30am-2:30pm. Check their website for details


MCC Buckets of Thanks: This Thanksgiving season, show your gratitude and provide hope to those in need by collecting relief supplies for MCC. The supplies you donate will fill a Bucket of Thanks (aka an MCC relief kit) for people affected by conflict or disaster around the world. For more information, including supply lists and a ready-to-use curriculum for children, visit:

FIRST MENNONITE CHURCH – HALSTEAD . . . Mission Supper, November 12, 5-7pm

First Mennonite in Halstead announces their annual mission supper, served in person this year on Saturday, November 12, 5:00-7:00pm. Menu: German sausage, chicken borscht, fried potatoes, green beans, sauerkraut, zwiebach and pie. Donations for the meal benefit Care Portal and missionaries Dave & Rebekka Stutzman (Germany) and Joseph & Rachel Givens (France). The church is located at 427 W. 4th, Halstead.

FAITH & LIFE BOOKSTORE Christmas Pop-up shop – Saturday, November 19

Faith & Life Bookstore in Newton will be set up in our building on Saturday, November 19, 10:00am-2:00pm. This is a great opportunity to shop for Christmas, birthdays, and all occasions – books, inspirational materials, and so much more for all ages. This is open to the community, so plan to bring your friends and neighbors. Our church library benefits by hosting this event.

CAMP MENNOSCAH announcements

On Saturday, November 12, we will be playing in the dirt at Camp Mennoscah!  It’s the last step (we think) in finishing up the newly renovated amphitheater.  Dirt needs to be moved by hand between the rows of limestone seating.  We’ll start at 9am and work until the last tablespoon of dirt is in place.  Stay for as long as you are able.  Bring your water bottle, weather appropriate gear and we’ll provide a lunch.  (Call us at 620-297-3290 and let us know of any dietary considerations.)

Camp Mennoscah merch . . . make a purchase to support camp! The Camp Mennoscah online store has been refreshed and is ready for you to fill your need for that newest Camp Mennoscah tee shirt or water bottle. Plan ahead for Christmas gift-giving! Click here:  

There are a great many things for volunteers to do–come be one!  Any of the following are great options for groups of one or more:  cutting firewood, cleaning after groups, weekend hosting, being a committee member, mowing or other maintenance/grounds tasks, making a meal for a volunteer group, or recruiting people to volunteer at camp.  These are just some of the possibilities!  Call us at 620-297-3290 for more information.

BETHEL COLLEGE announcements

Sun., Nov. 6 – “Can We Sing the Darkness to Light?”: Bethel Sings, a concert featuring all Bethel College vocal groups, Henry Waters, director, 3 p.m.Bethel College Mennonite Church (2600 College Ave., North Newton 67117)

Tues., Nov. 8 – Bethel College Organ Recital Series presents Tyler Boehmer, Bethany College, 7 p.m.Administration Building chapel

Sun., Nov. 13 – KIPCOR Film Series presents John Lewis – Get in the Way, 2 p.m.Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. This film by Kathleen Dowdey tells the story of the late congressman and civil rights icon. Free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to support KIPCOR and the film series.

Now in the Regier Gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center at Bethel College – “Hidden Conversations through Portraiture,” paintings by Julia Olson,through Fri., Nov. 18 (artist reception Nov. 17). Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 2-4 p.m.


Multiple performances of the play “We Own This Now” written by Allison Brookins and performed by Ted & Co. are coming up in early November:

  • Wednesday November 2 at 7:30pm at Tabor College
  • Thursday November 3 at 7:00pm at McPherson Church of the Brethren
  • Saturday November 5 at 3pm at Hope Mennonite in Wichita

$20 adults/$10 students/indigenous people get in free. 

Freewill offering to support Kanza Heritage Society at the show.

What does it mean to “own” something? What is the relationship between “owning” and “taking” — and what is the relationship between “ownership” and (taking) responsibility?  … Chris has farmed the land his grandmother found as a home in Kansas after fleeing Russia almost 100 years ago. His daughter Riley is learning more about the people who were on that land before her Oma arrived, and the jarring connections she has to the fate of those people. Chris and Riley navigate their changing relationship to each other, the land they’ve been living on, and the stories they tell. Historical documents, absurd situations, and extended metaphors accompany Riley and Chris’s journey. They — and the audience — learn how the Doctrine of Discovery (the legal framework that justifies theft of land and oppression of Indigenous Peoples) is still being used and causing harm today.

GENERAL ELECTION – NOVEMBER 8, 2022 . . . Voter information

Advance voting is now open. To vote by mail, you may request a ballot online at Mail ballots with a postmark on November 8th will be accepted through Monday, November 14. There is also a drop box, available 24 hours a day, located in front of the Reno County Annex .

Early in-person voting at the Reno County Annex is open through noon on November 7 according to the following schedule:

  • Monday – Friday 8am-5pm
  • Wednesdays – 8am-7pm
  • Saturday, November 5 – 9am-1pm

You can preview your ballot at and also look up your voting location.


Quilter’s Corner is gladly accepting donations for the MCC sale which is April 14 and 15, 2023.  Bring your fabric, notions, quilts and quilting supplies to the MCC Center in North Newton clearly labeled for Quilter’s Corner.  If questions, contact Ann Yoder Smith at 919-604-3282. 

KANSAS MENNONITE DISASTER SERVICE (MDS) . . . Learning and Service trip

The Kansas MDS (Mennonite Disaster Service) Unit is sponsoring a Learning and Service trip to Jennings, Louisiana, January 28-February 4, 2023. Participants will leave on Saturday traveling to New Orleans, staying overnight, learning about long term recovery from disasters and visiting Laura Plantation on Sunday. Your cost will be one night lodging, two tours we will take and meals on the days we travel. MDS is covering the transportation, meals and lodging while on the MDS project in Jennings. We will be rebuilding homes with MDS from Monday through Friday. To make your reservations or for more information contact Cleo Koop at or call 316-282-0797.