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Faith Connection
 
Monthly Newsletter
April 2017

Faith Mennonite Church is a Christ-centered community which seeks to be a place of welcome and nurture for all. Our lives are guided by the life of Jesus and the historic peace position of the Mennonite Church. Our members are people from varied religious backgrounds, and diverse cultures, gay and straight, young and old. We invite you to join usin being a sign of God's healing and hope in our community and world.

Pastoral Musings  
In the past month or so, I’ve heard two speakers talk about the large stories—the meta narratives—that shape who we are as Christian people and as citizens of the United States. Sr. Simone Campbell of “Nuns on the Bus” spoke at St. Catherine University, where she diagnosed four signs of sickness in our country: 1) Anger and Individualism; 2) Wealth as a measure of success; 3) Racism; and 4) Fear. She suggested four “virtues for the 21st Century” that she believes will help heal these ills. 1) We need a modicum of joy! 2) We must nurture a holy curiosity toward the “other.” 3) We should engage in “sacred gossip”—sharing stories that witness to the existence and strength of community. And 4) we each need to do our part—not everybody else’s—just our own! The underpinning of these virtues, according to Sr. Simone, is deep contemplation. She views communal contemplation as a way to create a space for the new to bubble up. When we quiet ourselves in contemplation we are able to let go of fear and hold a heart of welcome.
Christopher Montgomery is the pastor of Sermon on the Mount Mennonite Church in Sioux Falls, SD. Christopher led the input sessions at the annual Central Plains Mennonite Conference Leadership Retreat that my husband Gerald and I attended, March 19-21. Our retreat focused on several of the spiritual practices (prayer, fasting, and generous giving) that are part of the covenant that CPMC adopted at its annual meeting in 2016. Why do we practice prayer, fasting, and generous giving? Christopher suggested that these are how we stay in shape as Christians. These help us remember our first allegiance to Christ and to the Kingdom of God. Christopher reminded us that we live out our commitment to God’s story in the midst of other “nasty narratives” around us: nationalism, consumerism, and individualism. Since we typically spend only one to two hours each week in communal worship/fellowship/discussion, spiritual practices of prayer, fasting, and generous giving, throughout the week, help provide immunity from the infectious nature of the other narratives that surround us the other 166-167 hours of the week. Christopher concluded that “worship without disciplines and disciplines without worship result in a malnourished faith and an impoverished witness.”
 
Spiritual practices are something we can develop and do on our own, but as with physical exercise, we become better at them when we exercise with others. Those who are meeting in triads this year have the opportunity to regularly support one another through prayer and encouragement. (If you were not here—or were busy—in the fall when triads formed and would like to learn about them, please speak with a pastor or deacon). I have never practiced fasting on a regular basis, but I would like to begin fasting at least one meal each week. Would anyone like to join me in this? And wouldn’t it be exciting to meet with a couple other people once a month to celebrate the ways we are able to give—through our professions, volunteering, material resources, the arts … the list goes on!
 
Where do we begin? Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness/justice, and all that you need will be provided.” Longing for God’s kingdom of peace will draw us toward practices that help us see the kingdom around and within us. – Joetta Schlabach   
WHAT’S HAPPENING AT FMC
Holy Week at FMC
We are nearing the end of Lent. On Sunday, April 9 we will celebrate Palm/Passion Sunday. On Thursday, April 13, we will have a Maundy Thursday meal and service that will include communion and foot washing. For those who have never experienced foot washing, this is a ritual that recalls how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, recorded in the Gospel of John. This is an optional part of the service; no one is forced to participate but many find it deeply meaningful. Those who plan to attend are invited to bring soup, bread, or fruit to contribute to the meal. Children are welcome at this meal and service.
 
We will begin our celebration of Easter with a carry-in breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Our Easter worship will include a choral piece, for which singers are invited to rehearse and participate. We will not hold education classes on Easter Sunday.
 
Time is running out, to be included in the FMC Photo Directory!
Schedule your appointment now for April 21 or 22 to be included in the FMC Community Connect Photo Directory. To schedule your photo appointment online simply click on this link: Appointment Scheduler. As you schedule your appointment, we encourage you to create a username and password (as you will need that to make any scheduling changes), though it is not required. Keep in mind, that to receive a photo directory, you are required to be included in it. For your participation, you will receive a FREE 8 x 10 of the photo you choose for the directory! You will have the option to purchase additional photos, but it is not necessary. Call Mary Friesen Seitz at 717-468-4733, or Aimee, in the church office, if you have questions.
Learning about Mass Incarceration in New Orleans
Mennonite Central Committee Central States organized a Pipelines-to-Prison learning tour in New Orleans March 19 – 24, which I attended along with 18 others from around the country. The prerequisite reading was Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Our local guide, Endesha, survived Hurricane Katrina, waiting nine days on a bridge for rescue. He returned to his home and has turned it into a community gathering spot with an up-close view of “disaster capitalism” (Naomi Klein). While his desirably-located neighborhood has gentrified, he and his friends have remained. Their lived experiences have made them experts/intellectuals in understanding systemic racism. They took us to see how the sea walls along the Industrial Canal caved into the 9th Ward (black and poor) during Katrina to save the (wealthy and white) business and university districts that lay beyond. This also occurred during Hurricane Betsy in 1965.  We heard from lawyers Bill Quigley and Sister Alison McCrary about how incarceration is big business, and then toured Angola State Penitentiary. This prison sits on 18,000 acres of former plantations, where prisoners now farm the land for $0.02/hour. The prison/plantation hosts the Guts & Glory Rodeo every April and October. We listened to compelling stories from folks currently and previously incarcerated, including Dianne Jones, now working for Women With A Vision. Ron Chisolm of The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond gave us a taste of the anti-racism trainings his organization does around the country. His gently coaxed us to acknowledge our individual starting points and work together to move collectively to new understandings. I believe this work is key to recovery for our world.
 
I appreciate that MCC Central States offered this tour and the careful organizing work of Program Director Andrew Wright (a fine job, Andrew!). I hope others from FMC will be able to participate in future learning tours. - Karen Wiebe 

FMC Participant Feature: Scott Ziemer
In October 2016 Scott Ziemer ran his second marathon in the Twin Cities Marathon. About fifteen years ago he started working out to keep in shape and to slow the aging process. A friend working out suggested he take up running—which he did casually. But a couple years ago he started taking it more seriously, and now he can run a marathon.

Scott grew up on a farm in west central Minnesota, one of five siblings, and the only one to move to the city. Most of his life since graduating from Mankato State University has involved working as a paralegal. He works mainly with workers compensation claims (defense side). He says he is not a creative writer but enjoys the writing he does as part of his work. His interest in writing may come from reading the New York Times most days. In his spare time, Scott has enjoyed travel, especially the United States west coast and parts of Europe. He especially liked the cleanliness and interesting architecture of Switzerland.
 
Raised a nominal Lutheran, he started attending Faith about four years ago at the invitation of Steve Wall, who has since relocated in Elkhart, Indiana. (Probably each of us can think of conversations that have changed our lives.) He has never officially joined Faith but has found it a welcoming place. He appre­ciates that it is laid back, making it comfortable for him. Although he is gay, Scott cannot remember personal negative experiences connected with the church. But he does wonder, “How can Christianity cause so much division and sometimes even hatred?” Unfortun­ately, that is a question for all of us to consider, inviting each of us to show a better side of those who claim to follow Jesus.  - Hermann Weinlick

FMC to host a summer Ministry Inquiry Program student
Mennonite colleges and universities, in collaboration with Mennonite Church USA, facilitate a Ministry Inquiry Program. Upper level students spend a summer in a congregation where they can explore their interest and gifts in ministry. Faith Mennonite Church has hosted several MIP students in the past, but it has been more than ten years. In late 2016 our pastors were contacted by Eastern Mennonite University to see if we would consider hosting a young woman with interest in an urban church placement. Ry and Joetta took part in a Skype interview in February with Elisabeth Witmer, a social work major, who is studying abroad this semester in Guatemala and Colombia. Following the interview, all three agreed that Faith and Elisabeth will be a good match.
 
Elisabeth will be at our church for 11 weeks this summer, working under the supervision of the pastors. She speaks Spanish fluently and would like to get involved in the immigration/sanctuary activities. She has commitments to glbtq justice and enjoys working with people from diverse backgrounds. As a future social worker, she looks forward to meeting the social workers in our church and learn how they understand their work in relation to their Christian vocation. Elisabeth also has experience leading worship and music. Joan Kreider has offered to host Elisabeth in her home. The congregation will provide a stipend of $500. Elisabeth’s home church, her area conference, EMU, and MCUSA will also contribute toward scholarship support. – Joetta Schlabach
WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE AND THERE…
Everence® webinars presented in April
Exploring endowments: a visionary tool for your ministry: Monday, April 24 (2 or 8 p.m.) In this webinar for pastors and church leaders, we’ll discuss how an endowment fund can help your ministry articulate its mission and become more attractive to donors. We’ll also cover how endowments can help present an attractive “destination” for donations, encourage extra gifts without hindering regular giving, and provide long-term funding to extend your ministry’s work.
Insurance: who needs it, and at what age? Tuesday, April 25 (2 or 8 p.m.) In this webinar for individuals and families of all ages, we’ll describe the various types of insurance (health, life, disability, long-term care). We’ll cover which type of insurance you need, and at what age you need them. We’ll also have time for your questions.
Both webinars presented by Craig Foor, CLU®, ChFC®, CASL®, Financial Advisor. For more information or to register, contact Melissa Short at (800) 222-5054 or melissa.short@everence.com; or visit everence.com/direct. (All times Eastern Daylight Time.)
Growing Hope Farm has a new model!
For the past several years, Growing Hope Farm, a ministry of Emmanuel Mennonite Church and several community partners, has used rural farm space to grow the vegetables that they distribute through a traditional CSA as well as to families and food shelves in neighborhoods that lack access to fresh vegetables. This year they are hoping to grow all of their vegetables in the city! They are inviting families to grow food in their home gardens for sharing and/or to use community garden space that is available on the Urban Ventures property. Anyone who might be interested in participating should plan to attend a kick-off meeting on Tuesday, April 18 at 7 p.m., at the Urban Ventures garden plot, E. 29th Street and 5th Ave. S., Mpls. For more information, click on the image above, and watch the PowerPoint slideshow. The Growing Hope coordinators would like a list of interested gardening participants by April 10. If you’d like to participate, please contact Joetta or sign-up on the sheet in the church narthex.
April 4 is The 50th Anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Beyond Vietnam” Speech
Dr. King’s speech provides a timely reflection as we enter the final weeks of Lent. Beyond Vietnam
Copyright © 2017, Faith Mennonite Church, All rights reserved.
faithmc@faithmennonite.org

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2720 E. 22nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Phone: 612-375-9483

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Faith Mennonite Church · 2720 E. 22nd Street · Minneapolis, MN 55406 · USA

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