Fall greetings and Happy Thanksgiving from Rainbow!
It has become my annual November tradition to connect by letter to the extended Rainbow community. Rainbow exists today because of the many people near and far, past and present, who give generously of prayers and resources. Thank you for being part of the Rainbow that stretches across many geographies and decades.
There is much to be grateful for in this time of changing seasons. Here are just a few of the highlights from this past year at Rainbow.
- The once vacant lot at the corner of Southwest Boulevard and Mill Street is now an orchard full of trees and bushes of all varieties—blackberries, jujubes, peaches, Asian pears and more!
- A Rainbow Butterfly Garden was planted on the east end of Whitmore Playground
- Under the Executive Director leadership of Ashton Wells, Sharing Community in Rosedale, Inc. is committed and poised to begin offering year-long youth educational opportunities in the Rosedale community, with the six-week summer program held at Rainbow Mennonite Church remaining a top priority. We continue to be grateful for this historic and vibrant collaboration between church and
- Personnel changes have included welcoming a new full-time Church Administrator, Carrie Parsons. Carrie and her spouse Ken and two children first started attending Rainbow in 2008. This year we also increased Renee Reimer’s hours and changed her job title to Youth and Outreach Ministries Director. Rosi Penner Kaufman continues in her role as Music Ministries Director and Terry Rouse is our
dedicated half time Maintenance Coordinator.
- This year we also marked the following 40th anniversaries: 1) Rainbow’s involvement with Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS); 2) Whitmore Playground; 3) The formation of Sharing Community in Rosedale, Inc. Thanks to a Vital Worship Grant Rainbow received from Calvin Institute of Christian worship, we had a big outdoor celebration in Whitmore Playground in June which we affectionately
called “Whitmore Jubilee.” And in terms of MVS, after a year sabbatical, we hope to be up and running again as an MVS site in August 2018.
- 16 people from Rainbow attended MCUSA Convention in Orlando, FL: 7 sr high youth (including 1 who served as a youth step-up delegate), 3 sponsors, 2 adult delegates, and 4 attendees/volunteers. 10 jr high youth volunteered around the church and at several local organizations for a service-inspired week at the end of July. 7 jr high youth made the trek out to Colorado in January to spend a long weekend worshiping and interacting with other youth at Snow Camp held at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp.
- A new communion table and prayer bowl table were commissioned and built
- Twenty-two members of the Rainbow Choir joined with over sixty singers from UMKC in a performance of Dona Nobis Pacem, a major choral work by Ralph Vaughn-Williams. This event was part of the opening of a Muted Voices Symposium at the WWI Museum.
- Thanks to a grant we received from Schowalter Foundation, after the Muted Voices symposium Rainbow hosted a traveling exhibit called Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War, built by Kauffman Museum. This exhibit lifts up the prophetic insights and the personal courage of World War I peace protesters, and suggests parallels to the culture of war and violence in our world today.
- Last but not least, on November 19 we marked our 60th year anniversary as a congregation. Charter Day was November 24, 1957, at which time 42 individuals became members. We’re fortunate to have a few charter members still active at Rainbow!
No year passes without difficulties. Violence and abuse continues to affect and sometimes destroy people’s lives, catastrophes and disasters happen at an alarming rate, we mourn the deaths of loved ones and Christians continue to fight over what it means to follow Jesus. And so as we move into this new year, we hope to set some new Rainbow goals—goals that will help us live out our mission with greater intention and courage: To maintain a fellowship of all who profess faith and a desire to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ, regardless of race, ethnic identity,gender, sexual orientation, age, economic or other life circumstances, and who will strengthen and express our faith by corporate
worship, study and teaching of the gospel, and who will seek to serve the spiritual and material needs of this and the larger community.
Hopefully some of you receive our weekly midweek email describing current events and happenings. Or perhaps you follow the Rainbow Facebook page or utilize our church website for audio recordings of Sunday services, or maybe you have made use of the online giving feature.
From all of us at Rainbow, may the year ahead be full of hope, joy, peace and love.
Ruth Harder, Pastor