Women Together I :: Types of Women’s Groups

Bible study: Meet for a half hour of fellowship and a half hour of study once a week, using Mennonite Women USA’s annual Bible study guides or other materials. This could involve private study between sessions.

Spiritual friendships: Gather in twos, threes, or fours for prayer, meditation, and spiritual direction in a space outside the busyness and demands of everyday life. A place of encouragement and accountability.

Mentoring: Pair older, mature believers with younger women or newer believers. Continue reading

Women Together I :: Steps for Starting a Women’s Group

Consider the characteristics of your congregation.

Are you:
Small: no women’s group
Large: a mix of full-time homemakers and women working outside the home
Integrated: men and women work jointly on committees, leadership
Traditional: an established women’s group meets some needs very well
Urban: many professional people, possibly a number of university students
New and growing: people of many backgrounds Continue reading

MW USA Board Member Serves Sabbatical at The Corrymeela Community

Beth Martin Birky, editorial advisory council board member takes sabbatical from Goshen College to live and serve with an intentional community in Ireland.

Hear from Beth about her purpose and hopes for her month-long sabbatical. The Corrymeela Community holds to these purposes: Embracing Difference. Healing Division. Enabling Reconciliation. The following is a short profile Beth submitted to the Corrymeela staff newsletter: Continue reading

Interview with Carol Knieriem of Dove’s Nest

I had the great fortune of sitting down with Carol Knieriem from Dove’s Nest to learn more about how this important organization was born and what we can look forward to in its growth and development.

Carol, tell me, how did you get connected with Dove’s Nest?
I’m vice director of a local organization that acts as special advocates for abused children having received court-appointed monitoring. I recruit and train volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the court system. We meet with the children and we talk with anyone involved in that child’s life. We even talk with professionals who are working with the family. Volunteers then write reports to the court about what’s going on and they advocate on behalf of the child. Continue reading

Carolyn Heggen New Sister Care Co-Facilitator

Women leaders hope to translate, contextualize materials for other cultures.

by Heidi Martin for Mennonite Women USA

Carolyn Holderread Heggen, psychotherapist specializing in women’s issues, trauma recovery and healing, has accepted a role as co-facilitator of Mennonite Women USA’s (MW USA) Sister Care.

During the past year she provided leadership in the revision and expansion of the manual and seminar, collaborating with Rhoda Keener and Ruth Lapp Guengerich.

“Sister Care brings together the best of our theology and psychological understandings in practical ways that are accessible for lay women,” Heggen says. “It provides training women can use for their own healing and as they reach out to help others.” Continue reading

Carolyn Heggen :: Sister Care Co-Presenter

Carolyn Holderread Heggen, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist specializing in trauma recovery. Although she spent most of her clinical and academic career in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she currently lives in Corvallis, Oregon, and is an active member of Albany Mennonite Church. Carolyn has also lived and worked in Latin America, Pakistan, and Nepal, and often travels internationally in a consulting/teaching role. She has served on a variety of church boards including Hesston College, Mennonite Board of Missions, and Mennonite Women USA. She is the author of Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches and is a frequent speaker and workshop leader on personal and communal healing, pastoral boundaries, gender issues, and PTSD. She and her husband, Richard, are the parents of three adult children. For fun, Carolyn plays piano, bikes, and kayaks.

Sister Care Expands to [Compassion] Care in Portland

Men join women for seminar

Published: February 14th, 2012, by: Annette Brill Bergstresser of Mennonite Church USA.

By Joan Kropf

Some came because their wives wanted them to, others because they are in leadership positions and their congregations encouraged them to. But the underlying reason men participated in a [Compassion] Care seminar for the first time was the same reason women have been coming to Sister Care: to be better equipped for caring ministry.

So the harmony was four-part for the Jan. 20-21 seminar in Portland, Ore., with men adding their voices to the hymns and their insights to the discussions. Continue reading

Sister Care Seminar Breaks New Ground with Inclusion of Translation

By Emily Ralph, first published in The Mennonite, May 2012.

SOUDERTON, Pa.—One hundred and thirty women gathered for training and fellowship at Souderton Mennonite Church on March 23-24. The Sister Care seminar, developed by Mennonite Women USA, was sponsored by Eastern District and Franconia Conferences as part of their continuing work to equip and train congregational leaders.

Souderton’s Sister Care seminar was groundbreaking for Mennonite Women USA; it was the first time the seminar used materials translated into Spanish. Spanish-speaking participants were also equipped with translation headsets. As a result, the seminar was well-attended by Spanish-speaking members of Philadelphia Praise Center, Nueva Vida Norristown New Life, First Mennonite Church of Brooklyn, and Mennonite Evangelistic Tabernacle, New York City. Continue reading