Women Meet to Tell Their Sacred Stories

By Anne M. Yoder, Coordinator, EDC/FMC Sistering Committee

On March 12, 2016, over 35 women met together for a Day Apart, held at Towamencin Mennonite Church. A large group came from Centro de Alabanza de Filadelfia, a church located in South Philadelphia that is made up primarily of immigrants from Mexico, Central America, and Latin America; other attendees came from various Mennonite churches in Eastern District and Franconia Mennonite Conferences.

This gathering was a bilingual retreat that gave the opportunity to reflect on the theme “Sistering for Life.” The term “sistering” refers to a practice in carpentry in which structural repairs are made by attaching new wood beams to weak (sagging, cracked or twisted) joists to make the original stronger. All of us are strong at times and can help those who are weak; all of us find it difficult to make it on our own at times and need others to support us. Sistering is a gift that we embody as God’s women who are following Jesus throughout our lives.

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The program’s theme was fleshed out in various ways. Songs were led in Spanish and English by a team from CAF and by Dorothy Beidler. A meditation was given by Ana Rosa Hernandez on Proverbs 17:17 (“A friend loves at all times, and a [sister] is born for a time of adversity.”) and Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”) Four women — Linda Esh, Dania Hernandez, Ligia Canavan, and Jenny Duskey – were designated to tell a story of being sistered. From them came accounts of loss, sexual abuse, stepping into unknown territory during a move, and Continue reading

Postcard & a Prayer :: April Email Newsletter

Enjoy April e-news from Mennonite Women USA!

Check out our new format 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. We also include a prayer to bless your day, excerpts from women in the greater church and content relevant to Mennonite women everywhere.

Sign-up today, stay connected each month!

MW USA April Email 2016

Fundraiser for the IWF at Ten Thousand Villages!

We’re excited to announce another partnership with Ten Thousand Villages!

Our springtime Community Shopping Event hosted at Ten Thousand Villages in Goshen, Indiana offers 20% of the net of all sales during the event to go towards the Mennonite Women USA ministry: the International Women’s Fund—scholarships that support women around the world in school studying for church leadership.

The best parts? The Ten Thousand Villages artisans are receiving their income in full, you’re purchasing a beautiful piece of artistry AND you’ll give to the International Women’s Fund…all with one purchase!

EVENT DETAILS:

Store: Ten Thousand Villages

Location: 206 South Main Street, Goshen, IN 46526

Date: Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Time: 3:00-7:00pm

Can’t make it to the event but still want to give? Visit us online on Thursday, 5/5 and we’ll include your giving in our total donations: mwusa.org/give

Technology: The Third Space of Faith Formation

by Rachel S. Gerber 

According to the Barna Research group, studies show that people who consider themselves as “regular attenders” of church actually only show up one time every four to six weeks. As a pastor of faith formation, this is significant!

How, in this day and age, where Sunday morning attendance is less consistent, does one care for faith formation and work at building authentic relationships?

We often think of faith formation as happening in the home (parents as the primary influence) or at church. But with a decline in attendance, which also leads to a decrease in parent’s confidence in their own ability to provide and promote faith development, where does this leave us?

We can’t change the commitment levels of people but we can make the most of the various touch points we do have with them, utilizing resources to connect with them on a more regular basis. Technology is one way that this can happen. Technology can aid in making those connections still happen even when we can’t gather together physically. Obviously face-to-face connection is the best (always!), but technology helps to fill the gaps when that just isn’t possible.

Technology gives us 24/7/365 access into people’s lives. Why do we think that faith formation is only limited to a Sunday morning service or activities that take place in your church building? I want to encourage us to consider the “digital space” as a legitimate space in which faith formation can occur, in addition to home and congregation.

The possibilities to connect and form faith with 24/7/365 access is exciting and offers such potential to undergird what is already happening at home and church is limitless.

We already see this happening in our schools through a “flipped classroom” pedagogy approach. Continue reading

Former Amish Woman is Now CEO of Successful Heartfelt Creations

by Linda Bontrager 

The Discovery

I will never forget the day I picked up a rubber stamp for the first time. I had bought a little stamp set for my kids and I was showing them how to use it. I remember picking up the stamp, inking it and pressing it down on the paper. As I lifted the stamp and saw the image it was that “AH-HA!” moment. It was one of those moments in my life when I realized I had discovered something amazing and it would shape the course of our future.

Our family for generations back is old­ order Amish. Our education went up to 8th grade in a one room Amish parochial school. Growing up infused with tradition, legalism and living in a Northern Indiana rural farming community was not conducive to thinking “outside of the box” or “being creative.” We did not have access to any stamp or scrapbook stores in the area and hiring a taxi to shop for stamps was not an option at the time. But the stamping bug had permanently bitten me. Continue reading

An April Fool’s Funny: Seeking Names for New Women’s Groups :: Ladies of the Evening?

On this April Fool’s Day we’re seeking fun (and funny!) ideas for naming Mennonite women’s groups…leave a comment with your group’s name or name idea! This story inspired us to gather names of groups from the US and Canada:

One Mennonite Women’s group in South Dakota called themselves “Ladies of the Evening” because it was made up of women who worked during the day and could not meet with the Mission Society group during their daytime meeting, hence “Ladies of the Evening.” (hahahahaha!)

Below is a list of different group names found in a history book of Canadian Women in Mission by Esther Patkau. Patkau notes that what may be the earliest Mennonite sewing circle in Canada called themselves the “Wohltätigkeitsverein” (charity organization). Here are more: Continue reading