In Motion With Marlene: Shhhhhh

This article was originally published in Timbrel, Fall 2017.

Do you hear it? Ticking, engines, chirps, music. Sadness, fear, tension, grief. Inspiration, community, satisfaction, reciprocity.

On my deck, I hear the first set of sounds. I hear the next two sets when I am in a different kind of listening mode, that of prayerful and careful attention to another while they speak.

This kind of deep listening is thoroughly Christian and quite counter-cultural.

Compassionate listening is one of the areas of Sister Care for College Women that is most appreciated. We offer guidelines, do some coaching, and then have the young women experience intentional care with each other in pairs. Here are some of the phrases I encourage them to use as they listen deeply.

“Let me make sure I understand you.” Seeking to fully understand shows how you value the other person. Paraphrasing what they said is one way to ensure this happens. Continue reading

Sitting in the Silence by Tonya Detweiler

Sitting still has never been my forte. All I have ever known is enough energy to get up and go, stay on the go at full throttle speed, often juggling two or three extracurricular activities or balancing multiple jobs at the same time. I have usually been fortunate to find work and activities that offer flexibility and allow this pace to be possible, and because I usually felt happy, it has often felt like a good way of life.

A few years ago the pastoral team at our church challenged us to “5 Habits of Jesus Followers,” which included weekly tasks such as blessing people not connected to our church, eating meals with others, studying scriptures, practicing journaling, and the fifth one… listening to the Holy Spirit. The first four felt doable, because for doers like me, those are the easy ones. You add them to your to-do lists, get them done, and off you go. But that last one felt more difficult.  We were to spend ten minutes a day sitting in silence to listen to what God might have to say to us, reveal to us, or just to center ourselves around God for ten minutes each day. I liked the concept, but couldn’t we talk about it in small group, or form a bible study, or go to lunch and talk about how we were listening? You get it. I needed to be quiet and practice this discipline most of all. And I knew it. Continue reading

Holy Ground by Elizabeth Raid

When the speaker for our annual Western District Conference women’s luncheon, in Dallas, Texas, walked to the podium with a mask covering her face, I wondered who this mysterious woman was and how her story might relate to my life. Her Spanish words were translated into English as she shared about a childhood of sexual abuse that carried over into an abusive marriage. Troubled relationships with a son and daughter only multiplied her feelings of failure and low self-esteem. However, she continued to go to church and act as if all were well. She saw her mask as a powerful protection from her painful life experiences, keeping her secrets safe. Continue reading

Survey

Friends and Supporters of Mennonite Women USA,

Please consider taking a few minutes out of your day to take our survey.

Your voice is important!

Click here to take the survey!

Annual Report Fiscal Year 2017

Greetings Friends of Mennonite Women USA,

Please click the link below to find our Annual Report from our fiscal year ending July 31, 2017.  I hope you enjoy seeing a summary of our year in infographic-style!  As a board and staff, we remain committed to live out our mission statement 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.  We are very grateful for your support!

Marlene Bogard
Executive Director
Mennonite Women USA

Read the report here!

Woman of the Month by Kathryn Aschliman

In response to your invitation to “Send an email to our office to let us know how you are part of this royal tribe of Mennonite Women USA,” I am moved to write about an attempt at College Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana to maintain contact with women who no longer are able to attend our monthly Mennonite Women Work Day.  To assure them that they are not forgotten, we  select a WOMAN OF THE MONTH to whom we extend our love and for whom we offer prayers throughout the month. Continue reading

The Lady’s Prayer by Charity Kheshgi

Charity Kheshgi is a writer and Sign Language interpreter living with her husband and 3 cats in Pittsburgh, PA. She loves making new friends, reading, and playing board games. She is a member of Pittsburgh Mennonite Church where she currently serves on the Mission and Service commission.  

The Lady’s prayer is a new take on the prayer format that Jesus offers in Matthew 6:9-13 with the Divine feminine as the listener and guide. It shifts the focus from the material to the immaterial kingdom and emphasizes our agency in the creation of a better life and a better world. As a daily meditation, the prayer centers us with love in our hearts, light in our spirits, and purpose in each breath.

Continue reading

Share in the Journey

I’m excited for the theme for the fall Timbrel, “Caring and Listening”.  As an ICU nurse, I find that for myself, our increasing paperwork requirements and increased reliance on communicating and recording with our bedside computers can seem to be a greater priority than spending the desired time to care for and listen to those who come in to the hospital with a multitude of needs. At times the intensive physical care and procedures our patients require and our patient’s physical condition make communication more difficult. I embrace Mennonite Women USA’s mission and vision statements, which includes the phrases  “…nurture our life in Christ through…hearing each other”, and “…across generations, cultures and places to share and honor our stories, care for each other…” This is such a part of what makes us community, and communication and community are such similar words! Continue reading