Soon after Whitestone’s Lead Pastor Kurt Horst announced on January 6 his plans to retire on June 30, the elders discussed the process of appointing a Pastoral Search Committee of seven members. As a preliminary step, members of the congregation were invited to submit up to 5 names of members whom they would support if asked to serve. One hundred unduplicated names were submitted. Those with the highest number of votes moved to the top of the short list. The elders then individually named their own top choices, which again sharpened the focus on those who would be invited to serve. The invitation to each of the prospects consisted of a personal visit with the congregational chair, who also serves as chair of the Elder Team, and one other elder. In that process, only one person declined because of some schedule issues. So within about a one-week time frame, the committee members were confirmed and announced to the congregation. Some of the committee expressed not only interest, but eagerness, to serve in this important task. From the beginning of the process, the elders have gathered weekly for a time of prayer, acknowledging that God’s spirit has been evident from start to finish!
Crystal Springs is a rural congregation with the church building located several miles southwest of Harper, Kansas. With an attendance of 15-20, Crystal Springs functions in many ways like a small group, providing pastoral care for each other and reaching out to people in the community. Congregants include K-12 educators, farmers and medical professionals. Pastor Josh Patterson reports that the Adult Sunday School class recently completed a study of Hesston College Professor Michele Hershberger’s book God’s Story Our Story: Exploring Faith and Life which generated high interest and new insights. This class is now following up with an article by article of the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective.
–Howard Keim Regional Conference Minister
January 5th was a wonderful day for Iglesia Menonita Fuente de Agua Viva. Pastors Alejo and Alma Solis did not attend the meeting as they were scheduled to. They did not attend because they were doing something very important. Since the church began meeting they have used folding metal chairs because they could not afford anything else. For some time now the congregation has been saving to buy new chairs for the sanctuary. On this day seventy new chairs with a pocket and a shelf for hymnals arrived. It was a dream come true. They had been saving for the for the longest time. Then one day about a month ago, a member said I will put in some of what is needed, then another said I will do the same. Soon they had collected all the funds needed for the chairs. God answers prayers for those who trust in Him. Fuente de Agua Viva trusts in the Lord.
–Lupe Aguilar (Regional Conference Minister)
We are in the midst of replacing our carpet in the Community Center and the main hallways of the church. It almost seems crazy that we are having to replace carpet after just over 10 years, but for me this is a sign that our building is being used for a variety of things in addition to church activities and Hesston College events. There’s a reason why it’s called the community center: it’s a space that can be used for community events and needs. And the hallway carpet is being replaced because we value accessibility. The carpet was beginning to bulge in some places, creating a safety concern and access issues for those with reduced mobility. Despite the price tag for replacing all this carpet there was no question that it should be done and was accepted unanimously by the council without push-back.
We are also repainting our children’s wing after the Hesston Community Daycare was there for over a year while their facility was being rebuilt. Another sign of the building being used for more than just church.
If we are blessed to be a blessing, and part of that blessing comes in a spacious facility, then we are happy to share what we have for the benefit of all!
-Clayton Gladish– Pastor