Laura Bowman on Food Justice :: Timbrel Spring 2015

Laura Alysse Bowman is currently serving in Kathmandu, Nepal with MCC as the Mental Health Transit Home Activities Coordinator. She grew up in Archbold, Ohio, where she attended Zion Mennonite Church. In 2014, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Eastern Mennonite University. There she was involved with activities concerning women’s rights, mental well-being, and the environment. Laura likes to spend her time in nature, dancing, enjoying good food, and connecting with friends and family.

I sat in the sunlight, sipping a cup of Nepali tea. Overwhelmed with the day’s work, I appreciated this moment to sit and take it all in. I watched a woman, whose son was tugging on my coat, wander around the yard of the Transit Home, crying to herself. She had been in living in psychosis for a few weeks now, and no one had been able to talk to her without her repeating the same sentence over and over again. Months of living on the street, struggling to keep herself and her son alive, had made her confused and angry.

This sort of behavior is common in the work I do in Nepal. I volunteer with Koshish, an organization that rescues women with mental illness who are often abandoned on the streets or locked up in their homes. The women who are rescued spend some time at the Transit Home where they receive treatment and care and are then reintegrated back with their families or communities. I often see cases that make me want to close my eyes, bury my head, and forget that the horrible stories I hear actually happen. Continue reading

We Help Make the Circle Complete :: Hyacinth Stevens on MW USA

This article by MW USA board member Hyacinth Stevens, first appeared in AAMA News: African American Mennonite Association’s spring edition of their newsletter published in March 2015.

Prior to becoming the AAMA representative on the Mennonite Women USA Board, I had very little connection with the work of the organization.

Mennonite Women USA is doing some great things! The organization is diligently working to live out its mission to empower women and women’s groups as we nurture our life in Christ through studying the Bible, using our gifts, hearing each other, and engaging in mission and service. (Adapted from the Mennonite Women USA Mission statement.)

The vision statement of Mennonite Women USA gives an invitation for diverse voices of women to be heard and celebrated. However, I realized that there are some voices missing. Over the last few years, Mennonite Women USA as an organization has been shifting its image to match its vision. This is not an organization that is fashioned for a select group of Mennonite women, rather for all Mennonite women!

The vision of the organization invites women across generations, cultures, and places to share and honor our stories, care for each other, and express our prophetic voice boldly as we seek to follow Christ.

I would like to extend the invitation to our AAMA congregations and networks to explore some of the resources Mennonite Women USA is using to impact women on a global level. This invitation is not just to utilize resources but to contribute our voice, our hands and culture to the circle of global impact Mennonite Women USA desires to have. Continue reading

It’s Not Me…Or Is It? :: by Shannon Unzicker

Women_gatheringShannon Musselman Unzicker (pictured on left), Benson, IL, is an active member of the Mennonite Church of Normal where she presently serves on the Creation Care Committee. She teaches a primary Sunday school class and participates in the local Moms in Touch. A social worker, Shannon is presently a fulltime mother of four children.

About five years ago, the mother of one of my son’s classmates invited me to join a prayer group that was being formed for our elementary school.  She explained that she would be one of the group leaders, and that the group of mothers would be meeting two mornings per month in her home to pray for our children, their teachers and the other students.

I was flattered that she had asked me, and thanked her for the invitation. I told her I would let her know in a week or so, but in my head, I was already thinking, “Nice of her to invite me, but I just don’t know if that’s ‘me.’ I will probably have to pray out loud in front of a group…not something I am very comfortable with.” Continue reading

Picture Gallery of the Franconia Conference / Eastern District Women’s Gathering

written and compiled by Doris Diener

Saturday morning, March 7, approximately fifty women joined together at Nueva Vida Norristown to “set the day apart” for worship, learning, and fellowship. The theme of the day was “Shattering Our Mirrors”–releasing the false image we see and embracing the image God sees when our Creator looks at us.

Sandra Dresher-Lehman shared that God’s creativity in His creation of women may not always fit the mold the community has prepared for us and encouraged each to be authentic followers of Jesus. Christine Waanders challenged each to own her personality and to see positive possibilities in what may be considered our down-sides. Continue reading

Postcard & a Prayer :: March Email Newsletter

Enjoy March e-news from Mennonite Women USA!

It is an easy way to get all the latest information, reflections and images that cover all our national and international happenings from our Sister Care seminars to our upcoming Timbrel coverage and giving tree. We also include a pertinent prayer, excerpts from women in the greater church and content relevant to Mennonite women everywhere.

Sign-up today, stay connected each month!

MW USA March Email 2015

Kitchen Table :: March 2015

by Pam Risser

“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.”

These cold, frosty days of winter bring to mind the opening lines of the Christmas carol by Christina Georgina Rossetti, “In the Bleak Mid-winter”.  As the woodstove struggles to heat the air in the room around me while the wind howls outside my window and the temperature drops, I am led to think about those times when it has also felt like winter in my heart.  In the bleakness of my perceived circumstances, my spirit moans within me and my heart is heavy as stone.  Mystics refer to this as “the dark night of the soul”.

Continue reading

Postcard & a Prayer :: February Email Newsletter

Enjoy February e-news from Mennonite Women USA!

It is an easy way to get all the latest information, reflections and images that cover all our national and international happenings from our Sister Care seminars to our upcoming Timbrel coverage and giving tree. We also include a pertinent prayer, excerpts from women in the greater church and content relevant to Mennonite women everywhere.

Sign-up today, stay connected each month!

MW USA February Email 2015

The Birth of Anabaptism :: by Valerie G. Rempel

Valerie G. Rempel: Associate Dean, Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary and Associate Professor,  J.B. Toews Chair of History and Theology, Fresno, California. She wrote this article for Meetinghouse, a collective of Mennonite editors in the US and Canada. 

Sometimes, a single act can have enormous consequences.

In the religious ferment of 16th century Europe, a small group of Christians in the Swiss canton of Zurich gathered in a home on a wintry January day, 1525. One of them, George Blaurock, asked another, Conrad Grebel, to baptize him. Around the circle they went, baptizing each other in what they understood to be their first true baptism. It was a baptism performed upon their confession of faith in Jesus as Lord. It was a radical act that earned many of them a martyrs’ death.

The 16th century was a time of great change in the religious life and practices of many in Western Europe. A variety of voices from within the church were advocating for change. They were frequently critical of practices and theology that had developed over many centuries of church life.

In an earlier time, the criticisms of a few reform-minded individuals might have had little impact. Technology, however, had a hand in changing that. Continue reading