This Week @ FMC
December 11-17, 2019
If there is one thing our exchange students over the years have been struck by in the United States, its how big things are … big trucks, big food servings, big stores. Bigger is better, right? Pastor and author David R. Ray says not necessarily, and certainly not when it comes to churches. He calls our society’s obsession with size and giantism, “sizeism” and asks us to consider some of the synonyms for ‘BIG’ and ‘small’ to make his point: CONSIDERABLE - puny; LARGE-SCALE - piddling; GENEROUS - teeny-weeny; IMMENSE - stunted.
I’ve been reading Ray’s book, The Indispensable Guide for Smaller Churches, and find it a much needed reminder that smaller is not worse, or wrong, or bad. He points our attention to the many ways our society has grown too big, too complex, too anonymous, and too disconnected. He reminds us that for much of history a smaller church was the norm and well rooted in the early church’s practices. He unpacks how scripture shows us a God who “...affirms the few, the small, and the insignificant who live by grace, faithfulness, and courage. With few exceptions, biblical faithfulness does not come from or result in large numbers.” (55) His take is that the smaller church actually has at its fingertips great advantages that larger churches do not have, not the least of which is the ability to develop close caring community.
Just this past Sunday we heard the prophet Isaiah place strong hope in a ‘single shoot’ growing out of a dead stump. And in the gospel of Matthew, a ‘single voice’ in the wilderness (John the Baptist) calling for repentance, announcing God’s kingdom is here. And don’t forget a helpless baby boy born in a manger because there was no room in the inn.
First Mennonite Church, regardless of size, will always be called to faithfulness to God, which Ray describes as being “more concerned with intent, fidelity, and discipleship than with results.” The call to faithfulness never changes no matter how our numbers ebb and flow through the years. We are smaller than we were and that will mean changes. We can do that! This congregation is one that can adapt and adjust, with grace. I’ve seen it happen, and give deep thanks.
As we step into change, grieve losses and look toward the future with hope, ask what is ours to do and pray for others to join us … can we agree that we will not be embarrassed by our size, but rather put our energy toward embracing-learning-developing-risking what we can do well in our community for the sake of God’s kingdom? Let’s tell that story, and continuing writing together with the Spirit of the Living Christ the unfolding story of the engaged worship, community life, and mission of this congregation in Hutchinson KS!!
CALENDAR for this week
Chancel Choir 7:30pm
Prayer Hour 10am
Centering Prayer 12 noon
Senior Youth Lock-in @ FMC (5pm-10am Saturday)
Sun 12-15 ADVENT 3: WHAT CAN’T WAIT
JOY: Delight Can’t Wait … FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS
Pre-service carol singing led by Heidi Unruh
Coloring station is set up at the back of the sanctuary.
Our choir will lead our worship in singing and our college students will lead our scripture reading
Worship Leader: Sara Blodgett
Ushers: Steve Schrag, Russ Wedel, Cheryl Warkentin, Diane Ziemer
Greeters: Lorene Graber
Organist: Peggy Stucky
Nursery: Russell & Julie Goering
Fellowship Host: Carol Moore
CHRISTMAS CAROLING - 12 noon
DEEPENING in Christ...
SUNDAY SCHOOL SCHEDULE
Children’s classes for all ages - Shine: Journeys with Jesus
Senior Youth - Living the Anabaptist Story
Adult Uniform Lesson Study - Honoring God (Harold Kroeker, teacher - Room 102)
Adult Discussion Class - The Bible Unwrapped - Chapters 15-18. You are welcome to join us as we hear this engaging author, Meghan Larissa Good, give us new insights on understanding and appreciating the Biblical story.
ADVENT 2019 - WHAT CAN’T WAIT?
December 15 - JOY: Delight Can’t Wait … FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS
December 22 - LOVE: Courage Can’t Wait
December 24 - What Can’t Wait?
CHRISTMAS EVE CANDLELIGHT SERVICE
All are welcome to participate in our traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight service on December 24. Invite your friends and neighbors to join us for this celebration of God’s gracious gift in the birth of a Savior. Please bring a plate of sweet or savory finger foods for our fellowship time following the service.
STRENGTHENING Community Connections
SHARING ANNOUNCEMENTS & PRAYER REQUESTS DURING ADVENT
As is our practice, during the Advent and Christmas season we ask that you submit your announcements and prayer requests during the week or on Sunday morning for inclusion in the worship service. Look for the ½ sheet forms on the table outside the sanctuary door to fill out on Sunday morning, or send your announcements or requests to the church office during the week.
CHRISTMAS CAROLING - DECEMBER 15
Plan to stay after Sunday School on Dec 15 for soup/bread lunch (provided), after which we’ll go caroling and come back to the church for dessert. Please bring something to share for dessert, AND let Pastor Tonya know if you plan to come so we can better plan for lunch!!
STAN KENTON CHRISTMAS CAROLS - DECEMBER 15
A Kenton Christmas will be presented Sunday, December 15, at 3:00pm in the sanctuary of Trinity United Methodist Church, 1602 North Main, Hutchinson. The event is free and open to the public. A free will offering will be taken.
NIGHT IN THE BARN
Night in the Barn: Everyone is invited to come to Night in the Barn at Papa's Pumpkin Patch (372 70th, Newton KS 67114) on December 21 and 22 from 5-7pm (come/go). Interact with the characters, sounds, lights, and animals of this timeless tale and enjoy this walking tour with family and friends. A suggested donation of $5 per person includes a hot drink and a snack. Presented by Tabor Mennonite Church Youth, with part of the proceeds going to the Tabor Mennonite Youth Fellowship. Call 620-367-2721 with questions.
CHECK YOUR MAILBOX
For those who serve us by providing nursery care, the new 2020 schedules are in your mailbox. At this time of year there are many things in mailboxes that strengthen our communication. Check your box regularly! Thanks!
LET’S TALK . . . WOMEN, MONEY & FAITH
Western District Women in Mission in cooperation with Everence Financial will host a two-day conference "Let's Talk...Women, Money & Faith" on January 24 and 25 at Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, KS. Featured speakers, Teresa Boshart Yoder and Rhoda Blough, from Everence Financial will address money and faith topics for women of all ages and stages of life. More information and registration coming soon on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WesternDistrictWomen/?modal=admin_todo_tour or at our web page https://communicationswdwm.wixsite.com/wdwm.
PASTOR TONYA’S SCHEDULE
Due to some vacation time and the week of sabbatical reserved from summer, Pastor Tonya will be gone the following dates.
December 26-December 30: attending Febri Kristiani’s wedding in Elkhart IN
January 11-16: on prayer retreat in Atchison KS at Sophia Center for Spirituality
Verna Schrag - cell phone 620-694-7650
Please send your contact changes to the church office email@example.com) as soon as possible.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!
Safe Sanctuaries Training (for ALL who work with those under 18 @ FMC) - Sun, Jan 19 (Noon-1:30pm)
Coordination Team and Congregational Ministry Team members - Wed Jan 22, 2020 @ 5:30pm.
FMC Congregational Meeting - Feb 2 (TENTATIVELY immediately following Worship)
Second Annual FMC Women’s Retreat @ Bluestem (Camp Mennoscah) March 6 & 7, 2020.
STRETCHING to Serve as Christ Served
CHRISTMAS GIVING OPPORTUNITIES
Salthawk Angel Tree Christmas - BRING YOUR GIFTS to the church office by DECEMBER 15.
Infant Care Bundles are available in the foyer . . . the shopping has been done for you! Your payment of $25 will purchase a bundle to be donated to MCC for families displaced by war or disaster and are used in a number of other settings to help support mothers who lack the supplies they need for a new baby. Use the blanket to wrap the items into a bundle and bring your bundle(s) to church for the dedication service on Christmas Eve.
MDS WORKDAYS IN EUREKA, KS
Kansas Mennonite Disaster Service is looking for volunteers to help in Eureka, Kansas. This is work to repair damage from a 2018 tornado. Eight to ten volunteers are needed for any of these dates:
December 14: Saturday workday
December 16-20: window and door replacement
December 21: Saturday workday
Transportation, lodging, and meals are provided. Call, text, or email
Jordan Miller if interested or if you have any questions. (316) 217-4570 Jordanmiller795@gmail.com
Noel Lodge provides emergency shelter for women, men and families in our community. Here is a message about their financial need.
“Once every quarter, we hold a supply drive at 30th Street Dillion’s. For the most part this stocks NOEL as far as food and cleaning items go. If we are low on anything before the next supply drive, we list it on Facebook and it is usually covered rather quickly. The only true expense left in running NOEL is paying for staff time. It costs $60,000 a year to pay four staff members to cover the shifts between 5 pm and 7 am. Beyond that, we often have to pay for repairs to our aging washing machine/dryer, and dishwasher. We also had to have the camera system replaced this year. In all, if we were to be fiscally responsible, we would have a budget of $90,000 per year. We do not have that by any means. As the United Way has again fallen short of reaching its goals, its funding of NOEL will most likely be cut back yet again. Therefore, all financial donations are being used to pay staff so that NOEL will be able to remain open. Our current fundraising goals are all geared toward NOEL Lodge. We have no other way within New Beginnings Inc., to fund this project and the Lodge doors are becoming precariously close to closing. "
Here are OPPORTUNITIES for us to help: They just did one of their drives in December. They have ones currently scheduled in April and August. They could also use volunteer help to warm up and serve the food from 5-7 in the evenings. Currently, FMC’s community assistance fund is providing $100/month toward this project. Additional designated contributions may be made through our church offering.
OUR SUNDAY MORNING DONATIONS FOR FIRST CALL FOR HELP
These are items most needed at this time:
Toilet paper, laundry detergent, bath soap, Kleenex, deodorant, disposable razors, paper towels, shampoo, dish soap, hand/body lotion. Travel size - new & unopened - are appreciated.
FMC WORSHIP @ MENNONITE FRIENDSHIP COMMUNITIES (MFC)
Join the Chancel Choir and other FMC musicians for the 5th Sunday evening worship at MFC on Sunday, December 29, at 6:30pm. This is a great way for us, as an MFC sponsoring church, to connect with our church members and others who reside on the MFC campus.
CASA (COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATES)
This program provides advocates for abused and neglected children in Reno County, ensuring that these children have safe, loving and nurturing homes and a strong advocate voice to be heard in court. Volunteers work hard to mentor and support the children. Reno County currently has 4.6% (350) children in Out Of Home Placement. Statistics show that 85% of children assigned a CASA do not return to the Foster Care System! Reno County is in jeopardy of losing this valuable program. Let’s keep CASA in Reno County!! Consider supporting this valuable work with your contributions to Visions of Hope, Inc. Reno County, CASA/CRB 27th Judicial District, 206 West 1st Street 4th Floor, Hutchinson KS 67501.
CAMP MENNOSCAH ANNOUNCEMENTS
SUMMER STAFF RECRUITING. Recruiting is not over! Camp Mennoscah has finished visiting colleges for the season, but we are still on the lookout for many great and amazing young adults with leadership skills for our summer staff. The positions we fill are Crafts Leader, Grounds/Maintenance, Lifeguard, Media/Office, Music Leader, Naturalist, and Office. These positions receive a stipend of $250 per week. Apply online at campmennoscah.org under Summer Youth Camps!
KANSAS MENNONITE RELIEF SALE
Mark your calendar - April 17-18, 2020