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This week at FMC

September 23-29, 2020

September 23-29, 2020

There is a tradition in Christianity of choosing short ‘prayers of the heart’ to pray through the day.  It was an attempt to take seriously Paul’s admonition to ‘pray unceasingly.’  I’ve been reading about these prayers of the heart recently in Gerald May’s book The Awakened Heart.   Early on, these prayers were probably short verses of the Psalms.  For example:  Psalm 22:  God, make haste to help me.  Or, later, from Mark 10: Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me” along with the tax collector’s prayer: “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”  Over time, these two blended together to form the most widely known Christian heart prayer known as the Jesus prayer: 

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.”

Recently, two ‘prayers of the heart’ have emerged for me.  One is the Jesus prayer just mentioned.  This prayer requires such humility (if I am going to pray I honestly!), something that seems to be disappearing in discourse and relationship in our country right now, including among Christians.  As I feel the climate of hatred, cruelty and division start to sink into my heart, this is the prayer I pray.  It reminds me of my own sinfulness and invites me to allow for compassion for those around me.  It reminds me that Jesus is the Lord and source of my life, not any human leader or political party.  And, it ushers me into the marvelous mysterious mercy of God in Jesus for all of us, together.

The second is a short phrase based on the beginning of Psalm 46: “be my refuge and strength”

The writer of this psalm knew something of the anxiety we may be feeling today … that feeling that things are falling apart, are out of our control, are too big for us to manage.  In the midst of a convulsing earth and dissolving nations:  the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.  As God counseled the Israelites as they were escaping slavery in Egypt to be still and wait on God to act, the psalmist hears this command which should stop us in our tracks:

“Be still, and know that I am God!

    I am exalted among the nations,

    I am exalted in the earth.”

And reminds us once again, in case we forgot:

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Sometimes I do forget and become overwhelmed with what feels like increasing craziness and cruelty.  Here is where a heart prayer is helpful … it pulls us constantly back into awareness of the Lord of hosts who is our refuge and strength, who IS God.  No matter what.

Please know how deeply each of you matters to me, and that I am holding you in prayer as you come to my mind and heart.  Thank you for practicing patience with re-gathering in large groups here at church on Sunday mornings.  Our intent is to create the safest environment possible to minimize the possibility of even one of us becoming ill.  Do note, however, in the announcements below that we will start increasing our numbers in the sanctuary on Sunday morning to around 30.  Please continue to let us know the week before if you plan to come as it helps us plan.

      —Pastor Tonya

SUNDAY MORNING Worship Live Stream @ 9:30am

NEW!!  The link for Sunday morning worship is found on our website:!  For a few weeks I’ll still send an email with the details.  


Preaching:  Tonya Ramer Wenger

Worship Leader:  Sara Blodgett

Children’s Time: Deanna Goering

Pianist:  Peggy Stucky

Sound:  Murray Reimer

Live Stream:  Jonathan Wenger


During each worship service, you are invited to text your prayer joys and concerns – usually to Pastor Tonya but sometimes it will be someone else, and we’ll give you that info at the time!!  Please continue to send announcements ahead of time if you can, and it’s just fine to call or send your prayer concerns ahead of time too. 

Since our worship link is now public, when you submit prayer requests be sure to let us know if you’d prefer it NOT be shared on Sunday morning.  We can keep requests more private by only sharing them in the weekly prayer email sent out on Tuesdays.


We welcome more individuals to be present on Sunday mornings during our live stream of worship in addition to those leading worship.  While we’ve been keeping the group small, we’re ready to increase our numbers to around 25 beginning this Sunday, Sept 27.  As has become our practice in an effort to create the safest environment possible, we ask you to wear masks, observe physical distancing and try not to congregate in the foyer but to visit outside as much as possible. Please contact the church office  by Thursday each week to make a reservation to attend in person.  After Thursday, contact Pastor Tonya.  We will be glad to see you!


September 27 – Guess Who’s Coming to the Lawn, 6:30pm

October 4 – Dr. Joe Manickam, president of Hesston College (guest preacher via video), World Communion

October 11 – Draft Budget for 2020-2021 will be available

October 25 – FMC Budget meeting – tentative date depending on COVID situation

November 15 – Mission Festival with Michelle Armster from MCC (date tentative)

November 29 – First Sunday of Advent

December 6 – FMC Annual meeting

DEEPENING in Christ…


This group meets Thursday mornings from 10-11am in the Common Grounds Room (with masks and distancing).  All are welcome.  


We will be spending 7 weeks exploring Anabaptist Essentials:  Jesus is the Center of our Faith (Sept 27), Community is the Center of our Life (Oct 4 – guest preacher Dr. Joe Manikam; also World Communion), and Reconciliation is the Center of our Work (October 11-November 8).  We hope Sunday morning worship, whether you are joining in person or from home, provides a spiritually grounding and growing space for you as we travel through ongoing complexities of the pandemic and the upcoming Presidential election.

On October 4, if you are joining from home, please gather communion materials ahead of time (bread and juice, or whatever food and drink you have will be fine).  Those of you worshipping in person in the sanctuary that Sunday morning will be provided with communion elements.  


Hello Ladies!!  Tentatively plan on re-gathering on October 20 on Tuesdays at 10:00am at the church with your masks (likely in the Fellowship Hall where we can spread out).  Last week I included two books I’ve been considering (one studying the Psalms and the other a focus on Resurrection Hope).  I’m happy for your feedback!  And I have a few other ideas too. 🙂  Stay tuned, and feel free to weigh in!  Pastor Tonya

UPPER ROOM and REJOICE! devotional magazines

Copies of both magazines are available above the mailboxes.  Please let us know if you would like a copy mailed to you.


Kindergarten – 6th grade: Sunday @ 4:00pm on ZOOM

7th-8th grades: Sunday @ 11:30am on ZOOM

Senior high: Sunday @ 1:00pm on ZOOM

Adult discussion class book study, I Am Not Your Enemy, by Michael McRay:  Wednesdays 7-8:00pm on ZOOM.  Led by Pastor Tonya and Julie Goering.  Call the church office if you would like to join.

Adult class taught by Harold Kroeker using Salt & Light study guide “Joining God: Relationship and Worship:”  Sunday @ 11:00am in person in the Fellowship Hall.  Copies of the study guide are available on the table in the foyer near the east entrance.  If you would like a copy mailed to you, please call or email the church office.  

Masks and physical distancing practices will continue for all in-person gatherings at the church.

STRENGTHENING Community Connections


Our new website was launched last week.  We encourage you to visit the website.  From now on, you will be encouraged to go there for the link for weekly worship as well as the weekly email.  We’ll still send some email reminders, but you might want to bookmark so it’ll be at your fingertips!


Sundays September 27 and October 4, 2020 @ 6:30pm.  More GUESTS are needed!! 🙂  You can STILL SIGN UP to participate!!  We’d love to fill out a few more groups for these events.  Let the church office or Pastor Tonya know as soon as possible.  


Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am – 2:00pm

Wednesday 10:00am-1:00pm 


Let the church office or Pastor Tonya know if you are willing!!

STRETCHING to Serve as Christ Served…


If you can provide any of the following, please drop them off at Trinity UMC (use the 16th street Office Door) on Tuesday between Noon-3pm or Thursday between 10am-1pm,  or bring them to the church and we will deliver them.

Men’s deodorant (NO women’s)

Small girl’s bags to put personal feminine products in


Hair ties/brushes/combs

3-ring binders




The Salvation Army and Inter-faith Housing Services are currently accepting donations on behalf of First Call for Help.  Personal care/hygiene items such as these are appreciated: toilet paper, laundry detergent, bath soap, Kleenex, deodorant, disposable razors, paper towels, shampoo, dish soap, hand/body lotion.  Travel size – new & unopened – are desirable.  

Food bank donations may be brought to the Salvation Army.  At this time the Food Bank is particularly in need of the following:  tomato soup, cream of mushroom soup and green beans.


The presumptive walk date is Sunday, September 27: “The Walk is Virtual. The Need is Real.”  Your donations support the Reno County CROP Hunger Walk sponsored by Church World Service!  The Reno County Food Bank and the Christian Soup Ministry receive a quarter of funds; the rest supports global ministries with people who need food, water, and shelter.  By October 1, please (1) Write a check to “CWS-CROP.” Put [the name of your church] on the memo line. Send your check to Emanuel Lutheran Church (140 E. 30th Avenue, Hutchinson, KS, 67502) OR (2) Give securely on-line at Click “Donate,” then “General.” Every donation will be acknowledged.  Thank you for helping our neighbors—local and global!


This auction features donations that would have been sold at the silent or general auction at the KMRS event last April. Currently there are over 20 donations and items will continue to be added through the time period of the auction so check out the auction site often. Bidding ends on September 26. For more information click this KMRS link OR go directly to the auction page at

If you have questions, contact or call 620-747-0186.


Friday October 2, 9 am – 5 pm 

Saturday October 3, 9 am – 3 pm 

MCC Materials Resource Center, 121 East 30th, North Newton, KS 

Quilter’s Corner items that would have been sold at the annual KMRS in April will be available for purchase.  Come support the relief work of MCC and start or replenish a quilting stash.   Health protocols for Harvey County will be observed during the sale.  Questions?? Contact Rose Wiebe Haury at 316-288-0079 or


Register NOW for the MCC Flatlander Bicycle Ride! Due to COVID-19, the ride is a “virtual” event this year and open to EVERYONE.  Riders may register any time until September 29. Register online at Join us in raising money for MCC to fund the construction of new wells and repair existing water and sanitary systems at schools in Nicaragua. With these improvements, students will have safe water to drink and wash their hands. In this global pandemic, access to clean water is more essential than ever. Donations from non-riders are welcome! Checks to MCC Flatlander Bike Ride may be sent to MCC Central States, PO Box 235, North Newton, KS 67117.

Aid to Beirut, Lebanon. Mennonite Central Committee is accepting donations to support people in need of food and other assistance in Beirut, Lebanon. A massive explosion on Aug. 4 destroyed the country’s main port and silos filled with grain and worsened an existing economic crisis. You can donate online at, by calling (888) 563-4676 or by sending a check earmarked for “Beirut response” to MCC, 21 S. 12th St., Akron PA 17501.

If you can tie a knot you can help MCC! There are lots of comforters at MCC in North Newton that need to be tied and we’re looking for volunteers! If you would be interested in borrowing a set of sticks/stands from the MCC Workroom to set up and tie comforters at home, please contact Kate Mast at (, ‪316.804.8432). Thank you!


Support Mennonite Central Committee and celebrate MCC’s centennial with a new shirt, hoodie, tea towel, bag or hat! Check out this online store set up by the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale to place your order today (pssst, it’s never too early to start Christmas shopping!). Visit and start shopping to support MCC!

Celebrate with us! Mennonite Central Committee invites you to join Celebration 2020: MCC at 100, a livestreamed event commemorating a century of MCC’s ministry on Saturday, Oct. 17, starting at 6:50 p.m. (EDT). The event will feature photos, videos and storytelling that highlight MCC’s work over the years. Former MCC leader and pastor Leonard Dow of Philadelphia will inspire participants to walk boldly into the next century of MCC’s ministry while talented musicians will lead in prayer and thanksgiving. You can find more information about MCC’s centennial and log in for the livestreamed event at


The WDC Israel-Palestine Task Force hosted a virtual conversation, “Racial Justice from Palestine to US,” on September 21. Palestinians Alex Awad and Jonathan Kuttab joined US citizen Sarah Nahar.  They shared their own experiences of injustice and hope and discussed the similarities in both contexts.  The recording is available on the Western District Conference Facebook page. This is a timely and powerful presentation.   


Limited number of openings! Camp Mennoscah’s Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats will take place on Oct. 30-Nov. 1 and Nov. 6-8.  Masks and physical distancing guidelines will be followed and the facility used has been changed.  More spaces will be opened as determined safe and feasible, so put your name on the waitlist!  Register online at!  Call 620-297-3290 for further information.


Now at KAUFFMAN MUSEUM (through Nov. 29) – “Sorting Out Race: Examining Racial Identity and Stereotypes in Thrift Store Donations.” Regular hours are Tues.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 1:30-4:30 p.m., closed Mondays and major holidays, but with ever-changing COVID-19 protocols, you are advised to check the museum website,, or Facebook page or call 316-283-1612 before planning a visit.

Do you have skills with a sewing machine? If so, you can help provide a safer campus for our students, faculty, and staff by making masks.  Click here to find the CDC pattern for an easy project, or use any simple mask pattern you already have.  You can drop masks off at Thresher Shop in Schultz Student Center, or send them to:


Bethel College Advancement Office 

300 E. 27th St.

North Newton, KS 67117

If sewing isn’t your thing, you can donate to the Masks for Threshers fund here.


Collaborative storytelling project launched to capture 2020 through an Anabaptist lens:  The creators of Anabaptist History Today (AHT), a new collaborative storytelling project, are calling on Anabaptists across the United States and Canada to share their experiences during the remarkable historical, biological and social events of 2020.  The AHT website invites individuals, congregations, schools and organizations to tell their

stories of living during these changing times. “We hope this collection will offer a unique perspective on the lives of ordinary people and how Anabaptist faith and identity has shaped responses to the momentous

events of 2020,” says co-creator Jason Kauffman.  To learn more about the AHT project, visit


The Everence Webinar Wednesday series features “How to Enjoy Your Time in Nursing Care,” on September 23. Click here to register:   Coming up on September 30 is, “Scam proof your finances: Defending yourself.”  Plan now to participate.

For any questions, please contact Melissa Short at 800-348-7468 x 3392, 574-533-9515 x 3392 or