Sep 17, 2017

BC Women's Ministry Inspirational Day - May 8, 2017

Better late than never! The following photos were sent in by Waltrude Gortzen, who represents BC Women's Ministry on the Mennonite Women Canada executive.  She has served with enthusiasm in this position for many years and is looking forward to retirement.  


Guest Speaker was Marlene Kropf, writer of the 2016 Bible Study Guide that we publish in partnership with Mennonite Women USA and MennoMedia.

Display of items representing transitions we face in life
Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford hosted the day which included worship activities and lunch. The theme was "Trusting God in Life's Transitions"
Spring flowers and a gift at the table for each woman
Registration and visiting

Our Worship Team


Women Walking Together in Faith - September, 2017 - "Embracing traditions"


Mel Harms, a member of Warman Mennonite Church, represents Saskatchewan Women's Ministry on the board of Mennonite Women Canada. She is the newest rep to our organization and this is the first article she has written!  It appeared in the September 11, 2017 issue of the Canadian Mennonite.  She starts her article with a few questions ---- "Have you ever wondered about your family traditions? What are they and where did the come from?"  Click here to read her reflections. 

Sep 8, 2017

Marlene Bogard - "It's Time" - a reflection on sexism in the church


This article, in which Marlene Harder Bogard reflects on sexism in the church and how we as women can empower one another, was originally published in Summer 2017 for Timbrel.  Marlene is the executive director of Mennonite Women USA. She lives in Salem, Oregon and attends Salem Mennonite Church.


Complete this phrase:
“ ______ like a girl.” Once upon a time, it was considered an insult to run like a girl, or throw like a girl. Because, well, it was likely perceived that doing anything like a girl was inferior to doing it like a boy.
Thankfully, we are evolving so that such phrases are no longer given much attention or power, right? Today, we can complete the phrase this way: Study like a girl. Invent like a girl. Code like a girl. Debate like a girl. Preside like a woman. Preach like a woman. Lead like a woman. Climb like a woman. Legislate like a woman.
And yet, sexism is alive and well in the broader church and in the Mennonite Church. For example, when my husband Mike and I joined a Midwestern church in the 1982, I called the man who was in charge of the printed church directory and asked him if women could be listed by their first names so that I would not be “Mrs. Michael Bogard.”
It had never occurred to him. I was delighted to enlighten him, because I did have a name, and I wanted to be known for who I was as an individual, not as my husband’s wife. That simple phone call was a moment of empowerment for me and all other married women in that congregation.
Even today, there are women in Mennonite circles who do not have a vote, a voice.
In 2015, I visited with a 40-year-old woman who confided to me a recent decision: She was not permitted to teach an adult Sunday school class, so her family was moving to another Mennonite church where her gifts would be welcomed and celebrated.
This past year, the Mennonite Women USA office received an email from Carren Ouma, a Kenyan recipient of one of our scholarships for international women who deeply desire to study theology and the Bible:
“Let me express my heartfelt gratitude to the good women of Mennonite USA. Four years ago I joined Moi University to pursue studies towards my Bachelor of Education. Financially I was not able to make it, but thank God for the IWF that I have been receiving that has brought me this far.
I am now in my final year and my last semester is beginning September 12; I am hoping to complete by April 2017 and to graduate in either September or December 2017.
My life has completely changed ever since and I have to say I am no longer a dry bone as before. I am living again! Aaron’s staff has not only sprouted but has budded, blossomed, and will soon produce almonds. (Numbers 17:8). What a miracle!
My passion is to remain a Teacher of the Word of God at school, in the church and in the community at large. This is what I have been doing and I pray that I continue to do so to the ends of the earth! Thank you very much for offering the opportunity to study and to be fully equipped for the ministry.”
These three stories represent empowerment in various contexts. At times, women must take matters into their own hands in order to express their prophetic voices. In other circumstances, we depend on others to deliver support and encouragement and to help us find a way when there seemingly is no way.

Today, as we celebrate 100 years of Mennonite Women USA, I embolden you to be deliberate in empowering others. It’s time!   

Aug 23, 2017

Anna Liechty Sawatzky Interview


This interview was done by Mennonite Women USA and with their permission we are sharing it on our blog.



Q&A with 

Anna Liechty Sawatzky

author of the 2017 Bible Study Guide 

"Live your Call"




Posted on August 22, 2017



How did you, working full-time and the mother of four active sons, make time to write Live Your Call?

A lot of my writing and thinking was done in dribs and drabs, here and there. I do a lot of driving for my job so early in the writing process I got John’s Gospel on CD from the library. I listened to that while I was driving and contemplating the theme of mission. After I had selected scriptures and themes, I worked on one text at a time, reading it over and over and then pondering it while driving. The devoted time I spent sitting down to work was much less than the time I spent writing in my head. I find that this is how I work best anyway. I like to work on something for a little while and then give it time to percolate. When I come back to it, thoughts have formed more clearly in my mind. Toward the end of my writing time, I had to have some more devoted time to sit down and write.

What is your experience with Bible study guides?

I don’t have a lot of experience specifically with Bible study guides. What inspired me more was conversations, talks, books, and articles over the years that have given me what I call a “clarifying concept”. I love it when someone gives me a framework or a concept to understand something. A very important example is the one I use in the BSG, the concept of mission as “ministry in the dimension of difference.” The author, Titus Presler, gave me words to understand something and un-muddied the waters for me. I have had many other similar experiences over the years, sometimes in unexpected places. It was this sense of clarity with deep study of scripture that I wanted to bring to the guide.
How does studying the Bible empower women?
One of the things that I loved when working in South Africa was how the Bible was what everyone had in common. We worked with a Bible school for leaders of African Initiated Churches and the majority of the students were women. We came together seven times a year to study the Bible. You didn’t have to have other books, you didn’t need to know what the scholars said, you didn’t even need to be able to read, you just had to be open to reading or hearing deeply to understand what God had for you. It was amazing what understanding we could form when we were all working together on a text. The other thing I love about the Bible is that there is always new meaning to be unearthed. You can read a story over and over again and always get something more from it. This process is open to anyone and can be very empowering.
Why focus on mission and service? How can mission and service be applied to home?
Mission is who we are as the church. As soon as we stop caring about those outside our doors, we have lost ourselves. We are all called to reach outside ourselves with the Good News, but for each of us the call will look different. I wanted the lessons in this guide to equally applicable to those who are called to service as those who are called to evangelism. And there are endless ways of doing mission within each of these broader categories.
Mission can be applied at home. The definition of mission I work with is that it is “ministry in the dimension of difference.” Ministry is that which we do for our own and it is important. When we cross some kind of barrier or wall to offer the Good News, we are doing mission. These barriers are all around us and can be found at home as well as far away.
What is one of your favorite sessions from Live Your Call? Why?
Each of the lessons came out of experience I have had with finding new understanding of scripture and life. I organized the chapters in pairs because our faith is so deeply rooted in paradox—Jesus is the servant leader who died that we might have new life. And so it is equally true that we are called to give as to receive, to engage as to retreat. The other reason it is hard to choose a favorite is that as soon as I was done, I could think of things I would add or do differently. I have already had several invitations to meet with groups and I welcome these opportunities because they help to make the study more dynamic for me. I am sure that in another year, conversations with others will have helped me to grow and I would construct the guide slightly differently. I do pray that through the guide, women will connect more with God and with each other in a way that emboldens them to live the call that God has for them.
Anna Liechty Sawatzky is a home visitor with a child abuse prevention program. She and her husband, Joe, served as missionaries in South Africa with Mennonite Mission Network. Anna, Joe and their four sons currently live in Goshen, Indiana.
Interested in materials for fall study? Click here to purchase the 2017 Bible Study Guide Live Your Call, written by Anna Liechty Sawatzky.

Aug 10, 2017

Photos from Women Encountering Jesus Retreat in Manitoba

Women Encountering Jesus
A Spring Retreat offered by Mennonite Women Manitoba

Note:  I posted a write up about this retreat on August 8 and the following day received these photos from the event!  I've included the write-up and inserted the photos.

You could have heard a pin drop, as the 45 women who had gathered for this day of retreat, received the stories of women encountering Jesus. We were treated to stories drawn from Scripture, early Christian history and the contemplative tradition, along with stories from more recent history, all presented in simple and profound dramatic form.

Stories of women encountering Jesus (1)
Stories of women encountering Jesus (2)
Stories of women encountering Jesus (3)

Laura Funk, Guest Speaker
Our retreat director, Laura Funk, a local Spiritual Director and founder of Butterfly Journeys, crafted the day to introduce us to the voices of these historic women as well as to practices of prayer that have stood the test of time. Laura also prepared a resource booklet for participant in which she stated, “My hope is that if you sense the need for a change in your own spiritual journey, something here might help you along.” And the booklet provides many such helps; reminders of the practices we tried out, and descriptions of the ones we didn't have time to try.
Kathy Giesbrecht, Mennonite Church Manitoba




Our day together truly was a day of retreat as we engaged and selected and experienced a wide array of prayer practices. The prayer stations, created by Laura, included written introductions and explanations to each (in the provided booklet) that invited us to enter each practice.  Women from a wide variety of age groups waded in, sometimes on their own, sometimes with a group of others. Retreaters affirmed that being introduced to new ways of encountering Jesus was refreshing for them.  They also affirmed the use of storytelling as a way to ‘hear anew’ the words of Jesus. 

Prayer station - an array of prayer practices

Prayer station - an array of prayer practices

Lunch and snacks were included!
This Retreat looked distinctly different from the Sister Care Seminar we had offered in the spring of 2016. Both the ‘returning retreaters’ from 2016 and the new women who ventured into this years retreat encouraged us to keep providing such events.
Lunch and snacks were included!
As the MWMB planning group reflected on this event, it affirmed that allowing the Retreat to go in distinct directions served our hopes of offering differing spaces for women in our community. MWMB will continue to offer Spring Retreats, along with the other initiatives it is pursuing. Next year's event will focus on mental health. Watch for news about it this fall.
Laura Funk with Elsie Wiebe,
President of Mennonite Women Manitoba


Submitted by Kathy Giesbrecht

Aug 8, 2017

Mennonite Women Manitoba - Spring Retreat 2017

Women Encountering Jesus
A Spring Retreat offered by Mennonite Women Manitoba

  You could have heard a pin drop, as the 45 women who had gathered for this day of retreat, received the stories of women encountering Jesus. We were treated to stories drawn from Scripture, early Christian history and the contemplative tradition, along with stories from more recent history, all presented in simple and profound dramatic form. Our retreat director, Laura Funk, (a local Spiritual Director and founder of Butterfly Journeys)  crafted the day to introduce us to the voices of these historic women as well as to practices of prayer that have stood the test of time. Laura also prepared a resource booklet for participant in which she stated, “My hope is that if you sense the need for a change in your own spiritual journey, something here might help you along.” And the booklet provides many such helps; reminders of the practices we tried out, and descriptions of the ones we didn't have time to try.


    Our day together truly was a day of retreat as we engaged and selected and experienced a wide array of prayer practices. The prayer stations, created by Laura, included written introductions and explanations to each,(in the provided booklet) that invited us to enter each practice.  Women from a wide variety of age groups waded in, sometimes on their own, sometimes with a group of others. Retreaters affirmed that being introduced to new ways of encountering Jesus was refreshing for them.  They also affirmed the use of storytelling as a way to ‘hear anew’ the words of Jesus.

    This Retreat looked distinctly different from the Sister Care Seminar we had offered in the spring of 2016. Both the ‘returning retreaters’ from 2016 and the new women who ventured into this years retreat encouraged us to keep providing such events.
As the MWMB planning group reflected on this event, it affirmed that allowing the Retreat to go in distinct directions served our hopes of offering differing spaces for women in our community. MWMB will continue to offer Spring Retreats, along with the other initiatives it is pursuing. Next year's event will focus on mental health. Watch for news about it this fall.


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Submitted by Kathy Giesbrecht