What We Keep (MennoExpressions – Summer 2018)

Reading, especially fiction, is one of my highlights of being alive. Disappearing into a story, mulling it over while I’m away from it, reading far too late into the night because there is just no logical place to possibly stop, sharing the excitement with a fellow reader who was just as caught up in the story—all of these make me feel so grateful to simply know how to read and to be able to be immersed in someone else’s craft, someone else’s story so completely. And yet I rarely retain more from a book than the feeling I had while reading it. I’m often reading books for book club at the very last second because after a week or so, I can’t speak to details, plot points—just the overall feeling of how much I loved it or was completely annoyed by it. I keep the feeling.

There’s a lot of literal “keeping of stuff” in these pages. Somehow lids—you know, lids to yogurt containers—prompted a lively discussion in our planning meeting for this issue. We keep lids because… we’re frugal! They have many uses! You can use them to play kitchen hockey! They are great coasters and popsicle holders! We agreed: just because something has outlived its intended use doesn’t mean it has lost its value.

And yet, we hang on to so many things Just In Case. This goes beyond literal, tangible items: What friendships do you maintain over decades? What have you retained from cross-cultural experiences or international travel? Do you believe everything you’re “supposed” to believe as a Mennonite? Why have you kept certain traditions alive, but not others? What memories or stories are important to you to pass on to loved ones? And—just as important as what we keep—what would we be better off without?

Download MennoExpressions – What We Keep – Summer 2018

IN-MI Conference – June 14-16 Annual Session

FIRST MENNONITE CHURCH will be hosting Indiana-Michigan Conference Annual Sessions June 14-16, 2018. Our theme is “Offering Ourselves to God’s Renewing” engaging multiple spiritual practices. This conference will be represented by about 50 churches and as always promotes peace and justice.

Thank you for your prayers toward this gathering. We hope to have more volunteers to help with multiple tasks and welcome your help and hands and spirit. Reach out to the staff, here at First Mennonite Church and see how you can be of service.

Is it God? (MennoExpressions – Spring 2018)

I love the day that submissions are due for each issue. Before that point, the issue (and its theme) is only an idea. The editorial board has hashed out a plan for a theme, we’ve divided up who will ask whom to contribute, usually with a specific prompt in mind – but we don’t know who will actually write and what they will have decided to write about. And so deadline day comes, emails begin to hit my inbox, and I see the issue start to take shape, as reflections of the theme emerge. It’s exciting to see it come to life. Your stories are beautiful, as is the trust you put in the rest of the congregation as you share your truths.

Contributors weighing in on Is it God? include Evonne Swartzendruber, Maggie Girard, Michele West, Ethel Hartman, Dan Hess, Ben Tapper, Shari Wagner, Nancy Fletcher, Julie Monroe, and Beth Goering. They have offered up incredible stories, reflections, experiences, artwork. Which one resonates the most with your own experience of God?

Download MennoExpressions – Is It God? – Spring 2018

2018 IN-MI Mennonite Conference to be held here, at FMC

The IndianaMichigan Mennonite Conference is a regional conference of Mennonite Church USA that originate from 77 congregations throughout Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.

We welcome everyone to the conference June 14, 15, & 16th and look forward to hosting it this year.  Indianapolis is a wonderful city with lots to do and see.  We hope your stay will be the best one yet!    More to come…..

Patterns (MennoExpressions – Winter 2018)

The beginning of the year often brings intentions of reviewing habits and patterns in our lives, choosing which to discard, which to begin, which to emphasize. This issue brings reflections from Marcy Major on how her life has changed as her son has grown up and moved on, Erin Rodman on musical patterns, Hollins and Rachel Showalter on adjusting VBS schedules, Marie Harnish on designing quilting patterns, Mary Liechty on some of her life’s disruptions and learnings, Amy Bixler on following a pattern and what that does for her focus, and Heidi Boschmann Amstutz on her ritual of running. Woven through the prose is beautiful photography and artwork by Annabella Habegger, Dan Hess, and Emilie Walson.

Thanks for reading MennoExpressions!

 Download MennoExpressions – Patterns – Winter 2018

Power (MennoExpressions – Fall 2017)

Dovetailing with the theme of Indianapolis’ annual Spirit & Place festival, our fall issue centers on Power. How do power structures in the church help or hinder our faith? How does the power of community help us through difficult situations? What does the power of a Sabbath provide? Stunning photography, poetry, prose – this issue has it all. Thanks for reading MennoExpressions!

Download MennoExpressions – Power – Fall 2017

One day workshop on Oct 21, 2017 – Conflict Transformation Skills!

THE LOMBARD PEACE CENTER will be hosting the one-day workshop Conflict Transformation Skills for Churches on October 21, 2017 here at FMC.  This workshop will focus on the Biblical basis for conflict transformation, styles of responding to conflict, communication skills necessary to resolve conflict peacefully, strategies to prevent destructive conflict in churches, and a model for working at congregational decision-making in a win-win manner. For more information, visit the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center website at https://www.lmpeacecenter.org/workshops/cts/.

If you’re interested in participating in the Group discount you need to sign up on the kiosk, and turn in your completed registration into the church office by October 6.  If seven or more people sign up, the cost will only be $59 per person. Individual registrations will be collected and sent in together.

How Do We Respond to Hate?

In light of the hatred that is coming out into the light in our country we want to share this resource from the Southern Poverty Law Center on how we can respond to hate.  Please take some time to study and share this document.  As we try to Listen to Love – and specifically Listen to Ourselves – think about the spiritual and physical work we need to do to make drive hate out of our city and our nation.

To download the PDF document in it’s entirety click on this link.  If you’d prefer, you can access the document in web form from the Southern Poverty Law Center at https://www.splcenter.org/20170814/ten-ways-fight-hate-community-response-guide.