Skip to content
This week at FMC

THIS WEEK @ FMC – November 29-December 5, 2023

“How Does a Weary World Rejoice?” (Advent 2023)

(Written by the creators at A Sanctified Art)

Joy is often a companion to many other emotions. We can feel joy in addition to feeling many other things at once: grief, anticipation, anxiety, excitement, disappointment, exhaustion. Perhaps many of us live with the myth that joy is not something we deserve—or that it is wholly out of reach. But our joy is rooted in the truth that we belong to God. Can you tether yourself to that deep truth? You deserve to feel joy—fully. The world needs your joy, even if you are weary. Our joy is better when it is shared.

This theme of course alludes to a line in the familiar Christmas hymn, “O Holy Night,” (3) which has an interesting history. The song was originally written by a French poet who was atheist, and the music was supplied by a Jewish composer. The hymn was later translated into English by an American Unitarian minister. In the 1800s, it became a popular hymn for Christian abolitionists due to its justice-focused language in verse 3.(4)

Like Mary’s song, the hymn reminds us that justice and joy belong together. Sometimes our joy is an act of resistance. And so, this Advent, we will hold space for our weariness and our joy. We will seek a “thrill of hope” in our hurting world. We will welcome joy—even and especially if, like the prophet Isaiah, we cry out for comfort (Isaiah 40:1). In this weary world, may we find many ways to rejoice.

3 “O Holy Night.” Author: Placide Cappeau (1847). Translator: John S. Dwight. Tune: CANTIQUE DE NOEL. Public Domain.

4 “Reminder: ‘O Holy Night’ Started Out as an Abolitionist Anthem.” Published by Relevant. December 9, 2020.




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


How Does a Weary World Rejoice? We acknowledge our weariness

Luke 1:1-23; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

  • Preacher: Pastor Tonya Ramer Wenger
  • Worship Leader: Stephanie Gehring
  • Children’s Time: DeAnna Goering
  • Scripture Reader: Jean Gaeddert
  • Organist: Pauline Buller
  • Song Leader: TBD
  • Ushers: Cheryl Warkentin & Marlene Thode
  • Nursery Attendant: Adam & Maggie Pounds
  • Sound Tech: Earl Ediger
  • Live Stream Tech: Jonathan Wenger


During each worship service, you are invited to text your prayer joys and concerns – usually to Pastor Tonya.  You are also invited to send prayer joys & concerns during the week. The recording of our worship service is public, so let us know if you’d prefer your request to only be shared via email during the week.  


Announcements are scrolled Sunday mornings before and after worship.  There will be no spoken announcements unless there are pressing announcements that did not make it into the PowerPoint. Please send any announcements you’d like to have included to the church office by Thursday each week. 


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

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


  • Nov 30 – Pastor Congregation Relations Committee 3:30pm
  • Dec 3 – FMC’s Annual Meeting (12:45pm), Youth Fundraiser Lunch (Noon) and Silent Auction (9:00- 9:30am; 10:30-11:00am; 12:00-12:45pm)
  • Dec 3 – First Sunday of Advent: How Does A Weary World Rejoice? We acknowledge our weariness             Worship includes decorating the Christmas Tree!!
  • Dec 8 – Christmas Singing Group @ Wenger’s
  • Dec 10 – Second Sunday of Advent: How Does A Weary World Rejoice? We find joy in connection
  • Dec 10-13 – Pastor Tonya gone
  • Dec 13 – 6:30pm LPC (Listening-Prayer-Conversation) Group
  • Dec 17 –  Third Sunday of Advent: How Does A Weary World Rejoice? We allow ourselves to be amazed. Lessons and Carols during worship; Eldon and Jane Wagler sharing about their work with MCC during Sunday School (Fellowship Hall)
  • Dec 19 – 11:00am LPC (Listening-Prayer-Conversation) Group
  • Dec 21 – 6:00pm Longest Night Service (Liturgy for the Weary); 6:45 Soup Supper; 7:30 Christmas Caroling
  • Dec 24 – Fourth Sunday of Advent: How Does A Weary World Rejoice? We sing stories of hope                7:00pm Christmas Eve Worship: How Does A Weary World Rejoice? We make room

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 on Tuesday December 19 at 11:00am (note the time change!!)
  • The Wednesday evening group meets at 6:30pm on the second Wednesday in December (Dec 13).

ADVENT 2023: How Does a Weary World Rejoice?

Our 2023 Advent series, created by A Sanctified Art, was created “to acknowledge the weariness of our world while also seeking real and daily moments of joy. We need to remember that all of life can be a prayer.”  And, thus, the theme: “How Does a Weary World Rejoice?”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 are available for you to deepen your Advent Journey, including:

  • Advent Devotional booklet with art work, poetry, prayers, and questions for reflection.
  • Adult/Youth Advent Calendar available as a large paper calendar, small cards, and electronically
  • Advent Calendar for Children
  • December 21:  Longest Night Service(6pm), Soup Supper(6:45pm) and Christmas Caroling(7:30ish)
  • Christmas Eve Service on Sunday December 24 (in addition to regular Sunday morning worship)
  • December 31 during Sunday School:  Journaling Prayer Exercise “At the Crossroads” of 2023 and 2024:  (no regular Sunday School; childcare provided)


Reno Choral Society Lessons and Carols

  • Sunday December 10 at 7:00pm
  • Trinity United Methodist Church
  • Featuring a community choir and scripture readers from various churches in Reno County.

Community Christmas Celebration

  • Saturday, December 9 from 4-7pm (come and go)
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – 518 E 43rd Ave
  • Nativity Exhibits, Live Music, Children’s Activities, and Refreshments
  • From the invitation:  “We believe that coming together as a community during this festive season is a wonderful opportunity to share the spirit of Christmas and strengthen the bonds that unite us. The event promises to be a joyous occasion filled with beautiful music, meaningful Creche displays, and a warm sense of fellowship. We are eager to create a space where our shared love of Christ can resonate with our community…”


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


  • 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. 

December 17 – Gathering to hear stories from Eldon and Jane Wagler about their work as Country Representatives in Malawi and Zambia through Mennonite Central Committee. (Fellowship Hall, 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 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).


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 (pauses during Sunday School)
  •  Noon-12:45pm (when the auction ends!)

Senior Youth Fundraiser meal – 12:00 noon

Annual Congregational Meeting – 12:45pm (annual reports and agenda available electronically and hard copy at the church)


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, and complete the top section of a bid sheet when you bring your donations. Please bring your items directly to the church basement.


You are invited to the Wenger’s for a Christmas Singing Group on Friday December 8.  Potluck (bring something to share – at least one main dish will be provided) at 6:00pm and singing beginning around 7:00pm.  We’ll sing from Voices Together and possibly other hymnals.  Bring your own or use the hymnals provided.   Instruments are also welcome!

 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 (December: Pasta)

Personal care/hygiene items such as these are appreciated anytime: toilet paper, laundry detergent, bath soap, Kleenex, deodorant, disposable razors, paper towels, shampoo, dish soap, hand/body lotion, toothpaste and toothbrushes.  Travel size – new & unopened – are desirable.


*Salthawk Community Support Santa Sacks (DEC 1 DEADLINE!!): The goal is to provide 200 sacks at Hutchinson High School and 30 at HMS8. These ‘sacks’ will include ear buds, warm blankets and gloves, gift certificates, and favorite snacks.  The estimated value per sack will be $100.  Checks can be directed to Salthawk Community Support and mailed to 1602 North Main Street Hutchinson KS 67501. Or, you can donate safely online at the giving page of or use Trinity’s Venmo account at Trinity UMC-Hutch. All donations are fully tax deductible.

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

*MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) Baby Bundles: 65 bundles have been assembled! A donation of $25 covers the cost of one kit. Make your donations to First Mennonite with “Baby Bundles” in the memo line.  These kits will be dedicated on Christmas Eve and then delivered to MCC in Newton to be sent around the world.


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


A specific need right now is women’s deodorant!


Mennonite Friendship Communities is hosting a Christmas Bazaar from 9-noon THIS 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


The arrival of the family First Mennonite’s team will be supporting is this week! Thanks for all the support and prayers. As we are free to share more details about the family, we will! For now, we are just really grateful for all the ways FMC folks have helped make this possible.

CAMP MENNOSCAH needs volunteers for general maintenance

Volunteers are needed immediately to work (M-F) alongside the facilities director. Helping on 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.  

M&M Project Update:  End of Year Giving!

Please consider giving to Camp Mennoscah and/or the M&M Project on Giving Tuesday – this year on November 28 – or as part of your end-of-the-year giving. It’s not that we aren’t thankful for all you’ve done – but there is a lot to be done at  Camp, and we already know that God has touched your hearts and called many to be part of Camp’s mission. Let’s not just finish the M&M Project strong – let’s finish the year strong! Thank you for being a part of Camp Mennoscah! 75 years – There is still so much ahead!

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


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!

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

HESSTON COLLEGE announcements

December 1 to 3 – Prairie Lights at Dyck Arboretum

Experience the quiet beauty of Kansas in winter: dormant native grasses shifting in the wind, lights reflecting in the pond and leafless trees lit from below like living sculptures. Observing tens of thousands of twinkle lights adorning the arboretum path and illuminating our grounds is a great way to kick off the holiday season and find renewed appreciation for the prairie landscape around us. Learn more at

December 2 – “A Christmas Carol” Performance

Hesston College Performing Arts will ring in the holiday season with a performance of “A Christmas Carol” on Saturday, December 2. The performance will be held in the Hesston Mennonite Church at 7 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served after the performance with a special photo opportunity with Scrooge and Tiny Tim. You can watch the livestream of the production at

Melva Kauffman Lecture Series: Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery

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

Take a Bible Class at Hesston College

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

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.


TODAY, Tuesday Nov 28 at 7pm we are invited to an emergency virtual meeting for Mennonites from around the world to join together to grieve the ongoing violence in Palestine, call for a ceasefire and an end to the occupation of Palestine, and build toward peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike.  The event is planned by an newly formed group called Mennonite Action.  This group, as described by its organizers, is imagined as a complement to the extensive work for Palestinian justice carried out by Mennonites for decades. In their planning they have consulted with staff, volunteers, pastors, educators and theologians from various Mennonite and Anabaptist groups.  They are inspired by the peaceful action already taken and are ready to build on that work.  During the call Tuesday, we’ll hear from speakers including Mennonite pastors, a Palestinian Mennonite leader, an allied Rabbi, a Palestinian in the West Bank, some of the leaders of Mennonite Action, and more. Together, they’ll speak to the crisis in Gaza and the West Bank, and call for Mennonites everywhere to join the worldwide interfaith movement that is taking public, nonviolent action to stop the war, to speak out against antisemitism and Islamophobia. Together we will pray and mourn. We will sing and learn. We will find community with each other and together, we will commit to taking prayerful, peaceful action. We mourn, but we refuse to mourn alone. Visit to sign up and learn more, or talk with Pastor Tonya.