MEDA to launch “Women Empowering Women” groups

by MEDA 

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) will launch two women’s groups in May. The groups, called “Women Empowering Women with MEDA,” will meet quarterly in Lancaster and Souderton, Pennsylvania, and promote the importance of women’s economic empowerment as a catalyst for positive change in the world.

Ruth Leaman, regional director of resource development at MEDA, will coordinate the groups.

“Women in developing countries often face social and economic adversities beyond our comprehension, and yet have an amazing drive to rise above these barriers when given the opportunity to do so. After a recent all-women’s trip to a MEDA project in Ethiopia, I noticed a phenomenal connection between the Ethiopian women and those on our trip. We shared a strong bond and there was mutual respect and understanding. The women on the trip have a vision to share these meaningful connections with others,” says Leaman.

Another woman who went on the trip to Ethiopia shared this story: Continue reading

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

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

Postcard & a Prayer :: March Email Newsletter

Enjoy March 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 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 2016

You’re Invited to the Spring Supper of the South Central and Western Districts Mennonite Women

MW USA executive director, Marlene Bogard, is the keynote speaker for the 2016 Mennonite Women Spring Supper hosted by South Central and Western District Mennonite Women groups.

When: Thursday, March 17, 2016

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Where: Whitestone Mennonite Church, 629 Crescent Drive, Hesston, KS 67062

Theme: “Making Connections: friendship, faith and women today”

Marlene Bogard serves as executive director of Mennonite Women USA. She works from her home office in Salem, OR, and daily walks her cute little doggie up a hill, over a creek and beside tall trees. She regularly cuddles and reads to her grandson and is very grateful for that opportunity, but she still misses Kansas and all the wonderful Mennonite women who live there.

More highlights:

  • Music provided by Whitestone Women’s Quartet.
  • Full Meal provided by Whitestone Youth Group of Ham, Potatoes and more
  • Only $10 payable at the door

RSVP TODAY here:

email here: ksmennonitewomen@gmail.com

or

call here: 620-327-8201 (Angie at Hesston College).

This event is sponsored by Mennonite Women organizations of South Central and Western District Conferences. The offering will fund the WDC project:  The International Women’s Fund scholarships that help women around the world receive training and education for church leadership. Make check out to:  Mennonite Women USA for WDC project OR to South Central Conference.

Kansas Sister Care Seminar Draws Women from Five States

from Mennonite Women USA

Carolyn Heggen, psychotherapist specializing in trauma healing, and Rhoda Keener, Sister Care Director for Mennonite Women USA, led a Sister Care seminar at Bethel College Mennonite Church for 74 women from Colorado, Indiana, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Marcene Entz and Karen Andres portray the Mark 2 dramatic monologue, “Carrying Our Friend to Jesus.”

Marcene Entz and Karen Andres portray the Mark 2 dramatic monologue, “Carrying Our Friend to Jesus.”

Participant, Elizabeth Raid, shared with her congregation, Bethel College Mennonite Church, her response to the seminar, saying:

“While I’m very comfortable speaking in front of large groups, as an introvert I often resist large gatherings, especially where women are somehow supposed to bond or have a grand time together. The Sister Care seminar had a different feel. Rhoda Keener and Carolyn Heggen provided a worshipful, inspirational setting and facilitated an environment where vulnerability, trust and truth-telling emerged. By sharing their personal experiences and examples during the seminar, they gave credence to what they said and opened the door for others to share more personally around the tables. I experienced and witnessed healing permeating hearts and creating commonality. The oil in my lamp has been replenished. I’m grateful! In an in-between time of my life, I feel renewed and open to what God has in store next for me.”

Participants at the Kansas Sister Care seminar.

Participants at the Kansas Sister Care seminar.

Heggen and Keener will lead Sister Care seminars in Kenya and Tanzania in April, Winnipeg in May, Indonesia in June, and an advanced leadership training in Guatemala in October. Marlene Bogard, MW USA executive director, provides leadership for the Sister Care for college women ministry. She led a seminar at Bethel College in February and will lead a similar event at Hesston College in March. Heggen and Keener hope to lead a Sister Care Level 2 retreat in the USA in November. Areas interested in scheduling a seminar or retreat should click here to email Rhoda Keener.

Diamond Jubilee Celebration of Central Mennonite Women Committee, MCI

This announcement comes from Vikal Pravin Rao the Executive Secretary of Mennonite Church India

“Warm greetings from Mennonite Church in India.

I am happy to inform you that Central Mennonite Women Committee MCI is completing 75 years as conference in 2016! We are planning to celebrate Diamond Jubilee from October 28 – 30, 2016 in India. The conference will be held in Bethel Mennonite Church, Balodgahan (Dhamtari), India.

Seeking Workshop Presenters + Facilitators

We are planning to invite the missionaries or their family members (especially women) who had served MCI or any women group from MC USA interested to participate in this event as facilitator for workshop related to women.”

Contact Vikal directly if you are interested in participating in this exciting celebration of Mennonite women leaders in India.

Mennonite Women USA Endowment Expands 

Mennonite Women USA received two endowment gifts in 2015 totaling $98,000.

The new funds total is now $161,742.  One gift was received through an estate bequest; the other from a couple who sold their farm and shared some of the profit, remarking, “It’s more fun to give when we’re alive.” The funds are invested through Mennonite Foundation, a key factor for the donors, who noted their commitment to sharing their money through socially responsible investing.

“Our endowment goal is $1 million. These gifts help ensure our capacity to continue making a difference for Mennonite women in the USA and globally for generations to come,” says Executive Director Marlene Bogard.

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Consider giving to the Mennonite Women USA endowment.

Mary Thosaengsiri 2016 IWF Scholarship Recipient

Meet one of our new 2016 International Women’s Fund scholarship recipients, Mary Thosaengsiri:

“My name is Mary Thosaengsiri. I was born on April 26, 1993. I was born into a Christian family since birth. My father’s name is Pornchai Thosaengsiri. He is the current pastor at St. Paul Hmong Mennonite Church. My mother’s name is Dao Thosaengsiri. I have five siblings including me and I am the second oldest or second child in the family. I have three sisters and one brother.

I am currently attending and am a member at a congregation called, Koob Moov, meaning “Blessings” in Hmong. This was the church that my father planted before he left for the United States. This congregation is located in Kheknoi, Thailand. I am also the Children Sunday School Teacher there as well. Right now I am studying at Bangkok Bible Seminary and this is my first year there. I have class every day Monday through Friday. On the weekends I would help out at my church with anything that is needed. Continue reading