“We Remain Committed to You, Mennonite Women” MW USA Responds to CLC Question

by Marlene Bogard, Executive Director, Mennonite Women USA

Mennonite Women USA is a constituency group of Mennonite Church USA. Basically, this means we are strongly affiliated and collaborate with the denomination, but we do not receive any funding. MW USA has its own budget, mission statement, staff and programming. The MW USA Board Chair and Executive Director are invited to the twice-yearly gatherings of the Constituency Leader’s Council (CLC) for discernment of matters pertaining to the entire denomination. Prior to the fall gathering of CLC on October 19-21, 2015, all participants were asked to respond to this question:

To what extent has the delegate assembly (decisions) at Kansas City affected your group/conference’s relationship with Mennonite Church USA?

And here is our response: Continue reading

Sowing Sisterhood :: Volume 3 of Illinois Mennonite Women Quarterly

This is Volume 3 of the Illinois Mennonite Women Quarterly Newsletter Sowing Sisterhood.’ It was created and designed by Kim Litwiller and Shannon Unzicker. Kim is the Associate Conference Minister for Illinois Mennonite Conference and the Co-Coordinator for Illinois Mennonite Women. Shannon is the Great Lakes representative to the board of Mennonite Women USA.

Download the PDF of Sowing Sisterhood or read below!


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History Project Update from Anita Hooley Yoder

by Anita Hooley Yoder

Much of my research time is spent interviewing women, but I’ve also looked through many books, articles, and archived materials. Generally I find it much more interesting to talk to real people! But sometimes I come across a resource that I find incredibly helpful in providing context for this project. One of those resources is a new work (published in 2014) by Felipe Hinojosa called Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture.

Hinojosa devotes a whole chapter specifically to women (much more space than almost all the other conference or regional history books I’ve seen). Continue reading

Postcard & a Prayer :: October Email Newsletter

Enjoy October 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 October Email 2015



What Color is My Hair? by Audrey Ratzlaff :: Timbrel Autumn 2015

by Audrey Ratzlaff Audrey Ratzlaff lives near Peabody, Kansas, with her husband, Aaron, and daughter, Nadia. She graduated from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in 2007 with a Master of Divinity degree; served as pastor in Donnellson, Iowa for three years; then returned to her home state of Kansas. She is an active member of the leadership circle at New Creation Fellowship Church in Newton, Kansas. Audrey can be reached here: aaratzlaff@yahoo.com

Once, I led a Children’s Time during worship, asking the youngsters to share everything they knew about me: what they’d been told and what they could gather with their own senses. These were the most polite children—none wanted to mention my baldness. Finally I asked directly, “What color is my hair?” The hesitant and uncertain response: “Clear?”

At other times and places, I have appreciated the approach of young children: “What happened to your hair?” they ask with no assumptions or prejudices. I tell them that my hair was sick and fell out and got into everything (like my clothes, my food, my mouth).

I have alopecia areata. This means my immune system attacks my hair follicles and damages the growing hairs; the cause is unknown. The condition can be limited to the scalp, but sometimes spreads to other parts of the body in an unpredictable cycle of loss and regrowth. In my case, most of the hair on my head has fallen out in patches over the past 14 years, and I have lost most of my eyebrows and some of my eyelashes. Some patches have regrown in varying colors and textures, but if I would allow it to grow, there would still be damaged hair falling out, and the patchwork of color and texture is, to me, not manageable or attractive, so I have chosen to shave my head. Yes, I tried wigs and found them physically uncomfortable. I also felt that I would be more self-consciousness worrying that people could tell it was fake. Continue reading

Peggy Martin on How to Challenge the Reluctance to Change

Fall is definitely here. The date confirms it, my zinnias and cosmos are fading, as the mums and autumn joys are thriving and bursting with color. Days are fuller and more scheduled, and daylight is disappearing more quickly and coming later in the morning. I’m jealous every year of my friends who embrace this change and yearn for the cooler weather and all that fall brings. I cling to the 90-degree weather that continues these days, and miss the more carefree and unscheduled days of summer, with canning and freezing; eating fresh produce from the garden most meals; and having a freer schedule to visit grandchildren (and children too, of course).

Although I enjoy the busyness that comes with September; the beginning of Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), changes in Sunday School classes, the MCC Sale in October, and the holiday celebrations, I think one of the things I miss and can go by the wayside, is meeting with one or two friends for times of fellowship. Continue reading

Our Stories, God’s Story :: Mennonite Women of Virginia :: Fall Retreat

Join Virginia Mennonite Women for their fall retreat, “Our Stories, God’s Story”

Dates: October 30-November 1, 2015.

Speaker: Sharon Clymer-Landis. Sharon is a spiritual director and co-author of The Spacious Heart: Room for Spiritual Awakening

Location: Massanetta Springs Retreat, 712 Massanetta Springs Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Print a PDF of the registration form here.

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Growing (Up) Together in Christ :: IN-MI Mennonite Women and Girls Fall Retreat :: 10/9-10/11

Each year women from Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conferences and their friends gather at Amigo Centre to be refreshed and challenged. In addition friendships are rekindled and new friendships are formed…in this special place. 

God has given us the good gift of each other to help us grow up in faith. Reading the Bible is especially exciting and enlightening when we do it with people from other generations, congregations, and cultures. During the weekend, we will study and play with three to four biblical texts about women and girls, paying close attention to the unique contributions we each have to make to our joint reading of these texts and discovering together the wisdom that comes from both age and youth.

GUEST SPEAKER: A voracious reader, Rachel Miller Jacobs has loved the Bible ever since she discovered that it was a book. A former high school English teacher, former stay-at-homeparent, and former pastor, she currently teaches at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. She is especially interested in helping groups read the Bible together in lively and life-changing ways. She and her husband are the parents of three young adult sons; the youngest one was convinced, when he was six, that Jesus was really a girl.

Inviting girls in third grade and up to come enjoy an intergenerational time of worship and fellowship. Bring a Continue reading