A decade of art

by Berni Kaufman

A decade! Time marches on. In June, I completed 10 years of employment with Mennonite Women USA (MW USA). It has been a wonderful ride.

Each day I encounter challenges – technology, relational, time management. Each day I am greeted with joys – technology conquered, warm greeting from workers and/or constituents, tasks accomplished. Over the years it has been my privilege to administer this ministry with committed, Christian friends. The women who have served on the board have modeled strong, caring leadership. I am honored to know these many women.Crosstitch

Our logo with three leaves recognizes that all we do as an organization is made possible because of our connection to Jesus as the vine. The three leaves symbolize circles of connection with open spaces to include others in our circle. In 2001, Elaine Good, from ­­­­­­­­­­­­Lititz, Pa., created this lovely cross stitch for our office. Next time you’re in Newton, please stop in.

While it is difficult to name a favorite ministry, I want to use this blog to highlight one foci of Mennonite Women USA – connect globally. In that effort, I introduce you to the MW USA international art gallery. You find the pieces on display just outside the office door.

Africa 2MW USA has a fifteen-year history of supporting women through the International Women’s Fund (IWF). The Fund provides scholarships for women around the world who are pursuing theological and church leadership training. Through the years these women have organized to form country-wide groups.

In 2007 Rhoda Keener traveled to Kinshasa, Congoto meet one such group, the African Anabaptist Women Theologians (AAWT). She returned with this wood carving of a family. Credit to the artist Ngondo b. RDC ‘07.

Ecuador darkAt the Mennonite World Conference in Paraguay in 2009, former editor, Patty Burdette, attended the tea hosted by the Latin American Women Theologians (LAWT). Special guests included women from AAWT and others who provided support for travel and/or scholarships. Sandra Campos, IWF recipient, from Costa Rica, created a special hand-made card for MW USA.

This is her message on behalf of the LAWT.

We want to express our gratitude; LA cardfirst, for the support that you have given us by believing in this project; secondly, for the efforts you have made to increase our funds; and thirdly, for your prayers. We hope to see you represented and enjoy with us the miracle the Lord is allowing us to realize. May the prayers that you weave, be like nets that extend to reach many other women.

The doily and soap are gifts from Paraguay.

WallhangingMemee Yang, North Carolina, presented Rhoda Keener with the cross stitched piece after the Hmong Sister Care Seminar in Minneapolis, MN in May.

Mennonite women around the world are creating great things. Isn’t it great to be a beloved daughter of The Creator?

6 thoughts on “A decade of art

  1. Claire DeBerg on said:

    Berni! I am so glad to see these beautiful pieces. What a lovely way to collect these memories. Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to see them in person someday!

  2. Kathy Bilderback on said:

    Berni – Congratulations on your 10 year mark and thanks for sharing your gifts and your faithfulness. MW USA is blessed to have you as part of our ministry. These art pieces are wonderful as well and great to have the stories behind the art.

  3. Twila Yoder on said:

    Berni, thanks for sharing these beautiful and meaningful pieces! You are a tremendous blessing to Mennonite Women USA. Congratulations on 10 years of service! 🙂

  4. Marian Brendle Hostetler on said:

    Congratulations, Berni! It’s always fun to see your signature and sometimes a note on correspondence from the office, especially since we once lived on the same street (S 3rd in Goshen) and often carpooled to work (Elkhart,) It’s amazing what technology can do for us – sharing that art work you’ve collected from women in many places. Thanks!!

  5. Raylene Hinz-Penner on said:

    Berni,
    I am so thrilled for your travel adventure. Thank you for you wonderful work on behalf of women. I hope you can feel the joy and celebration undergirding you from so many of us who care for you and the work you do and wish for you new empowerment. I enjoyed reading “Ten Years of Art.” Thank you. Safe travels.
    Raylene Hinz-Penner

  6. Mary Mitchell-Trejo on said:

    Thank you for everything that you do for the Mennonite Women. I love art of all nations. I am from Chinle Navajo Nation Arizona. I attended Goshen College. I am very interested in join the the Mennonite Women to help in any way. I will be retiring as an art teacher in a couple of years. Safe travels. Mary Mitchell Trejo

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