Update Newsletter

May 2019 Volume 42 Number 6

Ladies “High Tea”
Do you know the difference between high tea and low tea? The ladies of First Mennonite discovered the difference at their very own high tea on Saturday, May 11th, in the church patio. Committee members, Sheree Barkley, Cindy Reusser, Jennifer Reusser, and Kim Ringger prepared English scones, sandwiches, and desserts to be enjoyed by the ladies as they arrived. Ladies dressed for the event, some even donning hats and gloves which fit right in with the tableware. Each table was decorated with personal fine china brought in by ladies from the church, including teapots and tiered serving platters serving as centerpieces in addition to the potted fresh lilac plants. A trivia quiz containing questions about English tea time created a buzz at each table as they discussed possible tea history and etiquette. Earl Grey tea served with cream and sugar cubes, shipped from Great Britain, was a highlight of the high tea.
After enjoying a variety of typical English tea-time sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and a cupcake topped with edible flower petals, Lana Shoaf presented a message with more facts about Great Britain, this time with a focus on royalty. She shared wardrobe rules followed by the royal family of Great Britain and applied them to the armor of God in Ephesians. The women at the tea learned how they are equipped with tools to live as daughters of the King, just as royalty is equipped with specific accessories. The ladies were all reminded how their royalty extends far beyond any royalty found on the globe and are equipped with far greater power than any existing kingdom.
After the message, Jennifer Reusser revealed the answers to the trivia game, offering the winner at each table the fresh flower centerpiece. Ladies were dismissed to use the photo backdrop and available props like hats, fans, gloves, and an umbrella to capture their royal attire. Each woman was gifted a bag with a bookmark, recipe for English scones, tea, and a decorated sugar cookie in the shape of a tiara (with royal icing to boot!). The women of First Mennonite Church felt like royalty walking away from the high tea. And the difference between high and low tea? High tea is served at a table with food and low tea casually offered in a living room setting. The First Mennonite High Tea event was, as the Brits would say, “A smashing success!” †


VBS: “The Incredible Race”
The energy of Vacation Bible School will zoom through the church from June 3-7 with a race filled with fun clues to find, challenges to attempt, and a global scavenger hunt. “The Incredible Race” is the theme for VBS which is open for kids ages 4 through 5th grade.
First Mennonite Church intends to create a week long experience of engaging activities and lessons centered around a surrendered life to God as He reaches all the nations, tribes, and peoples with His love. Students will also learn about the beginning of the human race and God’s loving plan even as various people groups developed with different languages, cultures, and physical features. Adult leaders, teen helpers, and kids will have the chance to interact with each other and develop relationships, spurring one another on in the faith.
Theme based crafts, games, and snacks will help the kids explore various cultures around the world. They will be challenged to taste foods, identify flags and maps, build towers, and much more! Students will be collecting school supplies for the youth Dominican Republic team to deliver when they go the week after VBS. They will also collect funds for the Children’s Hunger Fund. Twenty-five cents provides a meal for a hungry child. How many meals can we provide in one week?
Items still needed to make VBS a success:
• Food (list is on the VBS table)
• Vintage suitcases and travel items
• Playtime Items: wireless phone w/base, maps & travel brochures, old computer keyboard, child-size suitcases/backpacks, play hard hats & goggles, 4-5 construction aprons
• Culturally relevant items to display from South America, Asia, Europe, and North America (Please label these so they can be returned.)

Pray that each child who comes to VBS will grow in knowledge and understanding of the Bible. Pray for all of the teachers, helpers, and leaders to have an extra measure of strength and grace, good health and JOY. Ask God to open the hearts and minds of children to grasp the message of salvation and their need for forgiveness of sins. Pray decisions will be made to follow Christ. †


Quarters and Zoo Passes
By Lana Shoaf
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:13-17
A friend took a trip to downtown Chicago to be a tourist for a day. The homeless people with outstretched, empty hands along the streets grabbed at her heartstrings, and she vowed to help them. She decided to drop her extra change into the open hands of the homeless when she would pass them by on the sidewalk. After seeing all the sights and dropping coins in several cups, cans, and hands, she headed home with her family. On the drive home, my friend realized she had given out several “Free Zoo Pass” tokens to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo instead of US currency when handing out coins to the homeless.
“What a bad deal!” she thought. Not only were the coins worthless to the people in Chicago, but now she was out of zoo passes!
What did those needy people think at the end of the day, counting out their coins, when they realized they had a shiny coin they could never use in Chicago?
My mom used to jokingly threaten to leave us at the zoo. It was a close second to the “circus” in our chaotic house with five children! When I heard my friend’s story about handing out zoo passes, I found much irony in those empty hands reaching out for real help when all they received was an invitation to a faraway zoo. They were longing for security and all they got was an invitation to the wild all caught up in cages.
Yet, sometimes, I choose this. When I have a real need, God offers His wisdom, which yields a harvest of righteousness. The world also offers a shiny version of help, but its result is caged chaos at best. When both are offered, sometimes I take the wisdom of this world because it seems shinier and more appealing for my immediate need. God longs to fill that need with lasting fulness, and I choose the counterfeit, the chaos, the zoo. James says wisdom of the world leads to disorder and every evil practice…not what I need or even ultimately want for my life.
Though my friend is out of zoo passes, she taught me a valuable lesson: Examine closely what is offered to me and choose God’s wisdom and His way. When I choose right, I am choosing a life that is “pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” The world is full of empty hands reaching for these exact things. Perhaps this is what motivated my friend in the first place. †



Check out some of the newest additions to our church library!

The Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson
Don’t Give Up: Faith that Gives You the Confidence to Keep Believing and the Courage to Keep Going by Kyle Idleman
The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey
Two Weeks: A Novel by Karen Kingsbury
The Tinderbox by Beverly Lewis
Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse
Mind Games by Nancy Mehl
Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey
Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey †

Senior Trip
Mennonite Seniors will be taking a late fall 2019 bonus two-day, one-night trip to the Hartville, Ohio experience, which includes a marketplace & flea market, hardware, kitchen with restaurant and bakery, collectibles, and Comfort Suites all in one campus. We will be leaving Thursday, November 21, and returning Friday, November 22. The Hartville complex has something for everyone.
Included is transportation by motor coach, a tour of the new chocolate factory, followed by the evening Thursday meal and lodging at Comfort Suites. The coach will be leaving the east parking lot at 6:30 a.m. and returning Friday afternoon at 5:00 p.m.
This shopping encounter will include the hardware store having their special semi-annual tool sale and beautiful Christmas decoration offerings. The hardware store is the largest independent hardware store in the USA.
You will enjoy lunch and snacks on your own at the various shops in the special indoor flea market.
The cost is $134 per person. If the coach is not full by May 18, the trip will be opened to friends. Reservations and payment are currently being accepted. Checks can be made payable to Mennonite Seniors. Contact Dick McKean 849-4130 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for additional details. †
MCC Meat Canner Update
Jeff Lehman received good news this month concerning the MCC Meat Canner’s schedule for the 2019-2020 canning season. MCC sent a letter informing First Mennonite Church of the full crew lined up to serve for the upcoming season. Four young men have stepped in to work and MCC set tentative dates for the meat canner to be in Berne January 24-25, 2020. This is great news for the church, but even better news for the people receiving canned meat from MCC. Praise the Lord! †


Et Cetera Ecke: Donate and Buy!
Spring cleaning? Downsizing? Donations of clothing and household items are welcome and appreciated at Et Cetera Ecke, a mission arm of our church. These donations generate funds to provide material relief, development, and peace through the Mennonite Central Committee. Feel like shopping? Every purchase is a gift to the world." Not only are there donated items to choose from, there are also new clothing, accessory, and gift items in a fair-trade section of the store. AND did you know... you can find Et Cetera Ecke on Facebook! †

Home Going
Catherine M. “Kate” Smith, 81, of Geneva, Indiana passed away on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, at Swiss Village in Berne. She was born on January 30, 1938, in Wells County, the daughter of the late Edgar Habegger and the late Savilla (Roth) Habegger. Kate was united in marriage to William “Mac” Smith at the First Mennonite Church in Berne on October 14, 1956. They were married for 53 years before Mac went to heaven in March 2010.

Kate was a lifelong member of the First Mennonite Church. She served the church in many different capacities.

Kate was a homemaker and worked at EP Graphics in Berne before retiring in 2000.
Her life had been a great adventure in faith and frequent travels to meet with and enjoy her family, relatives, and friends. Her children and her family were the ultimate joy and love of her life. She spent as many wonderful hours as she could with her family and extended family, always around laughter and lots of good food.
Survivors include two sons, Tony (Mary Ann Weis) Smith of Indianapolis and Fred (Lori) Smith of Fishers; daughter, Rebecca (Kent) Werst of Geneva; two sisters, Hannah (Richard) Amstutz of Berne and Sara (Robert) Amstutz of California; seven grandchildren, Michael (Maxi) Smith, Jessica (Matt) Marks, Jackson (Destiny) Werst, Isaac Werst, Jacob Werst, Parker Smith, and Logan Smith; two great-grandchildren, Hayden Marks and Rhett Smith.

Ruth Sommer, 97, lifelong resident of Berne, Indiana passed away Tuesday evening, April 30, 2019, at Swiss Village.
She was born on July 3, 1921, in Berne, Indiana to the late Elam and late Fanny (Zurcher) Steiner. She was united in marriage to Willis P. Sommer on January 16, 1943, in Berne and he preceded her in death on December 31, 2003.
Ruth was a faithful member of First Mennonite Church in Berne, where she was a former Sunday School Teacher and avid quilter for the Women’s Ministry Group. She was a former member of the Adams County Homemakers Extension. She was a homemaker and very active assisting on the family farm.
Ruth was a very talented quilter and made each of her grandchildren their own quilt. She enjoyed and was a very talented gardener. She volunteered many hours at Kinder Haus, rocking babies, which she was blessed being able to rock some of her own great-grandchildren.

She is survived by two sons, David (Gloria) Sommer of Berne, and Steven (Mary) Sommer of Berne; brother, Rev. LeVerne (Letha) Steiner of Tahlequah, Oklahoma; seven grandchildren, Lisa (Kevin) Girod, Leann (Denny) Schwartz, Lanette (Brent) Buchan, Lance (Nan) Sommer, James (Trina) Sommer, Brandon (Ashton) Sommer, and Justin (Molly) Sommer; and 11 great-grandchildren, Brandi (Luke) Liechty, Brady Girod, Bryan Girod, Conner Schwartz, Makenna Schwartz, Kaine Buchan, Trae Buchan, Hallie Sommer, Landon Sommer, Charlotte Sommer, and Declan Sommer.
Ruth is preceded in death by three brothers, Martin Steiner, Lawrence Steiner and Willard Steiner. †

Notes of Appreciation
My life has been blessed by the kindness of so many of you during my recent surgery and recovery. Thanks for your visits, cards, flowers, etc. and most of all, your prayers. May God’s blessings be on you in the service of our Lord.

Sue Carlson

Thank you, FMC family, for the prayers, support, kind words, and cards sent to the family of Ruth Sommer after her passing. Thank you to Pastor Jim Schwartz and Naomi Lehman for the many visits over the last several months and also for making her funeral service very special. Thank you to the ladies who provided food and served the wonderful meal.
David and Gloria Sommer, Steve and Mary Sommer, and families †

Among Our People
Sue Carlson had knee replacement surgery at ACMH on April 3. On April 5 she was transferred to Swiss Village for rehab.
Catherine Smith was a patient at ACMH from April 20-30. While in the hospital, she was placed on Hospice. On April 30 she transferred to Swiss Village where she passed away on May 1. †

MDS Reimbursement Guidelines
The Care Commission was recently asked to provide guidelines for reimbursement of funds for people from the congregation participating in MDS disaster relief trips through First Mennonite Church. The following guidelines were approved in the May 6 meeting:
“The Local MDS Volunteer Expenses Fund has been established to aid and encourage men and women of the church to become involved in serving with MDS. This is available to both members and regular attenders of First Mennonite Church who need help with expenses incurred while serving on MDS trips sponsored by First Mennonite Church.
Reimbursement is available for expenses such as meals, car rental, and other travel expenses.
Individuals requesting reimbursement may submit receipts to the church office. Any questions may be directed to a MDS church representative listed under the Care Commission in the Yearbook of First Mennonite Church.” †