KC2015 offerings to support sexual abuse survivors, Racial/Ethnic leadership education

This piece was originally released via Mennonite Church USA’s News Service.

(Mennonite Church USA) — At every Mennonite Church USA convention, an offering is received to support a particular ministry or initiative of the church. This summer in Kansas City, convention goers will have the opportunity to contribute to the Care and Prevention Fund established through Mennonite Church USA by the Discernment Group on sexual abuse and the church and the Racial/Ethnic Leadership Education Fund (RELE) administered by Mennonite Education Agency.

Care and Prevention Fund

Over the past two years, leaders in Mennonite Church USA have been working to address the painful and complex legacy of sexual abuse by renowned theologian and professor John Howard Yoder and the church’s inadequate responses to that abuse, as well as abuse by other church leaders.

The Discernment Group on sexual abuse and the church, formed in August 2013, has taken concrete steps to provide a fuller historical account of the abuse Yoder committed while serving at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), Elkhart, Indiana, and with other church agencies. The group is inviting the church to repent of neglecting to intervene effectively to stop Yoder’s abuse and the abuse of other church leaders. Group members have submitted a statement addressing sexual abuse and prevention for consideration by the Delegate Assembly at KC2015.
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My Son :: The Honorary Mennonite Woman

When I accepted the offer to join the staff of Mennonite Women USA little did they know they were getting a 2-for-1 deal. Two DeBerg’s for the price of one! What a steal.

Harold has been my faithful office partner while I work from my home in Minneapolis and do all the Timbrel editing, correspondence, proofing, designing and communications my job requires. I could not have designed a better situation like the one I find myself in with Mennonite Women USA. This is an organization that is respectful of where women find themselves.

I was determined to be with my son and continue breastfeeding while working. It has been a wonderful and wild journey working alongside my son for Mennonite Women USA. He has been with me to all our staff retreats, conferences, convention and even Women in Conversation.

I can guarantee you I’ve written emails with a nursing baby on my lap. I promise you I have taken a phone call from Ruth trying to whisper during the whole conversation so I wouldn’t wake my sleeping beauty. I was 15 minutes late to a call once with Lois because I had fallen asleep while nursing Harold down for a nap. When I finally called her and apologized she said, “Oh, that’s wonderful. You need to nap. Good for you.”

I am just so supported by this organization in both my gifts but also my family life. It is a risk for businesses and organizations to allow people to work remotely. Will they get the work done? Will they be honest with their time? Are they wearing pajamas on this call? I can answer all of those questions for myself: Yes. Yes. Yes.

But here is the thing…Harold stopped nursing at 2 and a half. And now there are other people in my house (ahem husband, daughter) who can put him down to sleep (oh the freedom!) and for the first time I am not bringing Harold along with me to the MW USA Staff Retreat and board meeting in a few weeks. My heart is a little lonesome for my dear travel companion.

So for a fun little change, here is a picture tour that will explain why Harold is an honorary Mennonite Woman:

Here he is under my desk with the box of Timbrel I received from the previous editor:

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