Dec 30, 2009

"Tiny Tim" Cookies



I first tasted one of these “Tiny Tim” cookies at the home of friends of ours in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1965 and I have been making them ever since. The tasty mix of spices with currents, mixed fruit, and nuts is delicious. Of course, there is also the aroma when baking. The wonderful smell of spices spreads throughout our home. Part of the tradition for me is put on a favorite Christmas CD while mixing and baking.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1/3 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 cup sifted flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cream (sour or sweet)
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup currents
1 cup nuts
1 cup glazed mixed fruit

Cream butter and sugar. Add unbeaten eggs, beating well after each addition. Add flour sifted with soda, salt and all the spices. Mix well and add cream. Add currents, raisins, glazed fruits and nuts. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet allowing room for spreading. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with glaze.

Glaze

1 and 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp soft butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
2 and 1/2 tbsp hot milk

Beat until creamy. Half recipe of glaze is enough.

Enjoy.

Erna Neufeldt,
Toronto, Ontario

Dec 25, 2009

Dec 19, 2009

Fleischperischki (meat pastries)





It is interesting how traditions begin in a family. One Christmas Eve many years ago when our children were small, I decided to make these meat pastries and freeze them for an easy Christmas Eve supper after the church service. Together with a fruit salad, dill pickles, and carrot sticks they provided us with some nourishment before we brought out the cookies and candies. Our children loved them with ketchup “dip” and insisted that was the only way to eat them. (We still argue about whether a ketchup bottle belongs on a nicely decorated table, so now we put ketchup into a beautiful little bowl for that special Christmas celebration!)
Together, with listening to Heinrich Schutz’ Weihnachts Historie, a German cantata telling the story of Jesus’ birth, these Perishki form one of our most treasured Christmas traditions. However, our children have also asked for these for those other special occasions such as at the rehearsal dinner for their wedding. They make great finger food for potlucks as well.

Fleischperischki (meat pastries)

Pastry:
I tbsp. yeast (let stand in a cup water for 10 minutes)
2 eggs
1 cup butter or margarine
Flour

Mix as for buns, to make a soft dough. Chill.
Roll out and cut circles using a large round cookie cutter. Fill with the mixture below, pinching the edges together to form a half circle.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Filling:
1 pkg. onion soup mix (dry)
1 cup boiling water
2 cups left over roast beef or hamburger fried.
1 cup mashed potatoes

Lydia Neufeld Harder,
Toronto, Ontario

Dec 17, 2009

Mom's Cream Cookies



I am a grandmother of 2 wonderful boys. I am also a farmer’s wife and a retired teacher.

It always warms my heart when my grandson’s come into my kitchen and exclaim about what they can smell - or see - or taste! I love the query, “Grandma, when are we going to bake cookies?” That always takes me back to my childhood. My mom set aside a special time - especially at Christmas time to do “the baking”. There were the traditional things - Christmas Fruit Cake, Peppernuts, Shortbread, Chocolate Brownies and several kinds of cookies. My favourite cookie was and still is the Cream Cookie.

Here is my Mom’s recipe. Eating this raw cookie dough was the best treat. Mmmm!

Mom’s Cream Cookies

3 eggs
2 cups white sugar
2 cups sour cream
4 cups flour (scant)
4 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Mix and chill. Roll out on lightly floured board. Cut into favourite shapes.
Bake at 350 until bottom is light brown.
Ice with vanilla icing and sprinkle with coconut.


Even writing out Mom’s recipe evokes wonderful nostalgic emotions for me!

Donna (Lobe) Driedger,
Osler, Saskatchewan

Dec 14, 2009

Egg-White Puffs (Schaum Kuchen)


As three friends and I sat and reflected on Christmas and our childhood days we all agreed that even though our parents were not financially well off, Christmas was about providing well. The kitchens had sweet aromas, tables were laden with many varieties of cookies on many days. They then filled tins to store all these cookies in a cold porch or summer kitchen. The cookies were ready now for Christmas, for family and guests. We also all remembered our fathers bringing home 100 pound bags of peanuts, crates of oranges and apples and old traditional candies purchased at “Candy Epp” in Saskatoon or “Riedigers” in Winnipeg. These orders supplied church, schools and homes. Giving and having enough was not stifled. Our memories brought us to how God always saw fit to supply and we were blessed.

I am a grandmother to 7 grandkids and love to prepare meals for my family. I prefer to do the meal and leave the dessert for someone else, but favourites are always fun.

I retired from teaching in 2000 and started a food serving business, “Made Just For You”.
I provided meals to many people and served Wednesday lunches at Mennonite Central Committee Sask. Donna, Elva, Hedie and I worked together at different times over a period of 8 years and became very fond of providing food.

Together, we 4 Grandma’s are experiencing the joy of sharing these recipes with you, the reader.

Enjoy our thoughts as well.

Egg-White Puffs (Schaum Kuchen)

4 egg whites, beaten
2 cups sugar
3 tbsp cocoa
Mix cocoa in egg white and sugar mixture.
Bake at 325 on parchment lined cookie sheet.
They rise, separate and are puffy and dried.

Marlene (Koop) Froese,
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Dec 11, 2009

Peppernuts (Pfeffer nuesse)




I am a grandmother to 7 fantastic children ages 3 to 17. They all enjoy home baking, be it bread, cinnamon buns, monster cookies and especially at this time of the year, peppernuts (pfeffer nuesse). As soon as the first snow falls (and this could be as early as October) one grandson is sure to call and remind me that it is time for the peppernuts to be baked.

This is my mother Tina Regier’s recipe. She would bake enough peppernuts to fill large flour sacks, and then hide these from my brothers. Thus we would still have peppernuts for Christmas.

Being a great granddaughter of Peter Regier who was a member of the group that planned the very first Canadian Mennonite Conference of Canada, I feel it is a privilege to be part of the Mennonite women’s organization in Canada, if only through this blog.

Ingredients

2 cups syrup (Rogers Golden)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup melted butter or margarine
2 large eggs
1 tsp soda in 1/2 cup sour milk
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp star aniseed
Approximately 6 1/2 cups flour

Heat syrup and add sugar and melted margarine and spices.
Cool and add eggs, soda in sour milk (you can add a little vinegar to regular milk).
Add flour gradually.
Cover and refrigerate.
Make long rolls of dough, chill and cut into peppernuts.
Bake at 350 for approximately 10 minutes, until brown.
For harder, crunchier peppernuts, bake slightly longer.

Elva (Regier) Epp
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Dec 5, 2009

Brown Peroschki


Hi! I’m a grandma of 5 grandsons and 5 granddaughters. The oldest is in his second year at University of Saskatchewan and the youngest two in Grade 1. We have great get-togethers when they all come to our home in Hanley, Saskatchewan. Christmas is particularly special.


In preparation for Christmas I love baking, and Brown Peroschki are the first cookies I make. Here is the recipe. I hope you will try them and enjoy them as we do. Merry Christmas.

Ingredients
2 cups syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup lard and 1 cup butter-soften
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp star anise
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
8 - 10 cups flour or whatever is needed
to make a soft dough

Chill overnight (easier to work if cold). Roll dough to 1/8” thickness. Cut with 3 inch round cutter. Put a dollop of tart jam, Not Jelly, (I use gooseberry jam) in center of cookie dough. Fold in half, pinch edge into arc. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes till done. When cool, ice with white icing. They are scrumptious!

Makes 10 - 13 dozen.

Other jam options: raspberry, damson plums.

Hedie (Koop) Harder
Hanley, Saskatchewan

Nov 24, 2009

Women's Resources for Loan

Affluenza Interrupted: Stories of Hope from the Suburbs
by Doreen and Hugo Neufeld, Millrise Publishing, 2009.

A collection of personal stories, gleaned from the authors' experiences and learnings in the suburbs of Canadian cities.

Along the way there have been interruptions: affirmations about good use of resources, and confrontations about negative suburban values we have adopted.

The authors' hope is that the reader will find their own story in these pages.




Borrow this title from the MC Canada Resource Centre online catalogue here.


Questions or suggestions?
Please contact the Resource Centre
or check our loan policy.

Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

We'll profile a new title at this blog every month

Nov 16, 2009

Alma Elias, Quilter


INTERVIEW WITH ALMA ELIAS
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
How did you come to have an interest in quilting?

I loved fabrics and I wanted to make a memory quilt for my son.

My mother was an inspiration. She sewed out of necessity but she was always creative. She sewed most of my clothes including dresses with three tiered skirts and puffed sleeves. My sisters and I felt special in our Sunday best. Mom had an artistic eye and she adored beautiful fabrics. I can still see her caressing bolts of fabric in Friesen's Dept. Store.

When I got married I was a student so out of necessity I too learned to sew. I found I enjoyed making my own clothes and also adding a personal touch to curtains and wool comforter coverings.

When my first son was 6 years old I wanted to make a memory quilt for his bed so my very first quilt was made of his fabric crayon drawings on squares that alternated with checked squares. I still have it. It's still precious.

Why did you choose to do "Easter Sunday"?

I love the watercolor technique. I enrolled in a class and started to prepare my more than 200 two-inch squares of different fabrics. Our assignment was to make a 13 by 15 two-inch square block. But I had this picture in my mind that wouldn't go away. I pictured a cross on a floral background with glowing light radiating behind it. And it was big. I saw it hanging in the front of our church. So I approached our pastor saying I had an idea for a quilt for Easter Sunday. Would he be open to using it as an aid to worship? I received a definite yes. So I kept on working. Now I really should have made that 13 by 15 2-inch square block because I did a lot of ripping and substituting. Watercolor technique looks much easier than it really is. One 2-inch square turned one-quarter turn can interrupt the flow of line or color. When it was completed, there were 2000 2-inch squares behind and around the cross and it was ready for Easter Sunday 2000.

For the complete interview click on Mennonite Women Canada under links and go to Visual Art.

Photo by John Elias

Nov 12, 2009

Thank-you!

On behalf of the Task Force commissioned by Mennonite Women Canada, I would like to thank all those who completed our recent survey both on-line and on paper. We received over 1000 responses and are meeting in Calgary on November 14 & 15 to
analyze the results and work on our recommendations to the executive. We feel encouraged by the responses and also daunted by the task ahead of us. We ask for your continued interest and your prayers as we discern the future direction of women's ministry under the umbrella of Mennonite Church Canada.

Nov 6, 2009

Mennonite Women in Canadian History: Birth, Food and War


The John and Margaret Friesen Lectures at Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

2009: November 17 & 18: Mennonite Women in Canadian History: Birth, Food and War by lecturer Marlene Epp of Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ontario.

November 17-7:30pm Making Things Right: Midwives and Healers
November 18-10:30am Feeding Five Thousand: Cooks and Canners
November 18-7:30pm Standing as Men: Victims and Survivors
Laudamus Auditorium, North Shaftesbury Campus, Free Admission

Women in the Mennonite past were often cultural carriers, playing pivotal roles in maintaining custums, traditions, beliefs and manners of thought that were central to being Mennonite, however defined in specific times and spaces. These lectures will explore three realms of activity - childbirth, foodways, and wartime experience - that demonstrate the ways in which women reflected, defined and also undid notions of what it meant to be Mennonite in the Canadian past.

Canadian Mennonite University News Release

Oct 30, 2009

A Refuge


Psalm 23 from the Bible

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff - they comfort me.


You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.

Oct 27, 2009

Women's Resources for Loan

Seasons of Survival: Prayers and Rituals for Women with Cancer
, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), 2007.

The healing journey is colorful, evolving, and precious. It touches people individually and communally. Inspired by women with cancer and their loved ones who found “Seasons of Survival” beneficial, WATER has created this second collection.

This packet of cards is meant to accompany women dealing with life-threatening illness and/or loss. The cards are designed to foster healing through diverse modes of writing, art, holistic activities and rituals, and suggested tools and tips for coping. These resources can help you become better in tune with yourself and those around you on the healing journey.


Borrow this title from the MC Canada Resource Centre online catalogue here.

Questions or suggestions?
Please contact the Resource Centre
or check our loan policy.

Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

We'll profile a new title at this blog every month.

Oct 7, 2009

Mennonite Artist Project

Congratulations to Kim Stauffer, the founder of the new Mennonite Artist Project (MAP) for Canada and the United States. This new initiative will allow us to see the wonderful creativity of Mennonite artists. With the blessing of the MAP Council we are pleased to feature one artist a month on this blog.
www.mennoniteartistproject.com

Feature Artist


Liz Nofziger
Installation Artist--Boston, Massachusetts

Kim Stauffer: What is your discipline?
Liz: I make site-specific installations, allowing the physical space and its past and present uses to inform the work. I use video, sound, light, and sculptural elements to transform space.

I am fascinated by what we overlook within the architectures we inhabit. I examine and excavate the layered pasts of a space and/or object, reorganizing in light of contemporary culture and current events. Sparked by religion, politics, pop-culture, and personal experience, these site manipulations are comprised of familiar, benign elements re-configured, thereby blurring the lines between attraction and repulsion, high and low. Playing with perspective, voyeurism, and humor, I consider scale and demand physical involvement and curiosity from the viewer.

Tell me about your process. How do your ideas form and develop?
My work is very much about process. There’s always a large research component. The extremely site-based works I make rely heavily on spontaneity, and being capable of living with uncertainty--a sort of faith that I will find the elements that “make” the installation work. I find that my work is most successful when I allow this open space for spontaneity and trust that I will find the elements that need to come together to give it the complexity that it needs.

The complete interview is published at MennoniteArtistProject.com. Mennonite Artist Project is open to Mennonite-related artists of any discipline.

Sep 27, 2009

Sep 16, 2009

Rejoice


"This is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it." This is a quotation from the Bible, Psalm 118 verse 24.
To help me be "glad in my day", I aspire to spend some time each day in meditation and devotion. Many days in my life I have missed doing this and sometimes have gone months without pursuing a deliberate daily "sitting down" to reflect and learn. However, during those times when I have had regular quiet times for myself, I have felt renewed.

Thankfully, there are excellent resources to help me with this discipline. One resource that appears on this blog on a daily basis is called Rejoice, and it is one that I use. Just click on Daily Devotional.

Another guide I recommend is called Take Our Moments and Our Days An Anabaptist Prayer Book. To order or request information on this book please call 1-800-245-7894, or visit www.heraldpress.com.

Written by Erna Neufeldt
Photo by Leona Dueck Penner

Sep 4, 2009

Task Force Survey

Greetings to you from the Mennonite Women Canada Task Force!

We are seven women from across Canada who have been given the task to make recommendations for future women's ministries in Mennonite Church Canada congregations. We have developed a survey which we would like Mennonite women of all ages and backgrounds to complete. The survey takes only about 5 minutes and we really need your participation to ensure that we get a good response. Just click on the survey link below. All responses will be kept strictly confidential. Please fill out the survey before October 25, 2009.

  • Survey
  • Aug 28, 2009


    Women's Resources for Loan

    A Life Displaced: A Mennonite Woman's Flight from War-Torn Poland, Pandora Press, 2000.

    A piece of Mennonite history that has received little attention is the story of the Mennonites in Prussia and Poland during World War II who failed to escape the advancing Russians. Not only did these people see their world dramatically altered by war, but also many faced rape, severe hunger, separation from loved ones, forced labor camps, constant threat of death, and loss of identity in a society that no longer tolerated religious differences. Through dramatic stories and photographs, Edna Schroeder Thiessen shares with us her wartime experiences during that turbulent time.


    Borrow this title from the MC Canada Resource Centre online catalogue here.

    Questions or suggestions?
    Please contact the Resource Centre
    or check our loan policy.

    Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

    We'll profile a new title at this blog every month.

    Aug 26, 2009

    Working for Peace in a Violent World


    I just graduated from AMBS (Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary) in Elkhart Indiana with an MA: Peace Studies this spring. This program has helped me to understand peace and justice through a Biblical lens, and has taught me to be more critical and thoughtful about peace, violence and the position and role of the Church on a variety of issues that are present both locally and internationally.



    Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the enormous task of making peace in our world, and feel discouraged that my contribution to this work will not make much difference. And yet I know that together we can make a huge difference. I often feel like I need to go far away to work in the highly conflicted areas around the world. While I know that this is an option, I am aware that there are many issues right here at home. I don't have to go overseas to the see violence. It's happening in my own neighbourhood. I also don't have to go far to see poverty and injustice. Violence, poverty and injustice are with us here in North America, even though they are not as visible as they are in developing nations. One of the most meaningful classes that I took during my time at AMBS was a class I took during January 2009 in Guatemala. Although I had lived in South America (Paraguay) for part of my childhood, and had witnessed much poverty and injustice before, I had never studied the history and economic and social situation of a country while experiencing it simultaneously. It was difficult to learn about the ongoing violence in Guatemala, but it was a gift to be there and to learn first-hand about the daily struggles people endure there.

    This summer I was able to participate in Mennonite World Conference in Paraguay. It was a bit of a homecoming for me, since I hadn't been there since my family left in 1997. It was a blessing to meet old acquaintances, and also to participate in discussion, worship and celebration with Mennonites from all over the globe. It was an incredibly enriching experience. Having left Paraguay when I still quite young, it was quite something to see the country with different eyes now.

    I'm still unsure what God is calling me to, but for this year I will remain in the Goshen/Elkhart area and pursue work in peace and justice, while completing my final course at AMBS. At some point I hope to return to Canada or live overseas again, but for now I am here... Blessings to you who have read this and are also searching for God's calling for your life.

    Aug 22, 2009

    Woman to Woman Card Project





    The "Woman to Woman" greeting card project (see April blog archive for article on this project) was a blessing for those of us who made the cards and for those who received them at the Mennonite World Conference in Asuncion, Paraguay in July. Liz Koop, Crystal Sanhueza and myself, Erna Neufeldt presented 540 Mennonite women from outside of Canada with a card.

    The responses were so positive and we were asked repeatedly to remember to thank the Mennonite women in Canada.

    I am posting 7 of the 88 responses for you to enjoy and be blessed by them.

    Jun 19, 2009


    Women's Resources for Loan

    Celebrating Women: The New Edition, Morehouse Publishing, 1995.

    The beauty and power of women's liturgical writing is celebrated anew in this expanded edition of a classic collection of prayer and worship material. Now triple the size of the original, and with more than 60 contributors, Celebrating Women, inspires women to create prayers, blessings, litanies and poems for personal meditation and informal group worship.

    Here are psalms, hymns and prayers suitable for formal, corporate worship as well as less structured prayers and poetry that are poignant, imaginative and tough - even funny at times.

    An essential reading for anyone who seeks open and inclusive ways of praying.

    Borrow this title from the MC Canada Resource Centre online catalogue here.

    Questions or suggestions?
    Please contact the Resource Centre
    or check our loan policy.

    Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

    We'll profile a new title at this blog every month.

    Jun 17, 2009

    Pennies & a Prayer

    It's been 3 and a half years (2006) since I first heard about the "Pennies & Prayer Inheritance Fund" (PPIF) at BC's annual May Inspirational Day. In 2006 it was hosted by First United Mennonite Church, Vancouver, (FUMC).
    Read the full story of PPIF by clicking on the full name just above.
    Being actively involved with the Women's Ministry at Sherbrooke Mennonite Church (SMC) it was decided, that very day, that this fund was something that SMC's women would love to participate in.

    Sooooo..... during the summer I got busy and prepared a little something for Sherbrooke's Women's Ministry.
    I had heard of this great store called Essential Packaging.
    How to pick from so many beautiful choices?
    What would work best for the idea in my head?
    In the end I went with a 3in. x 3in. square little, red box. See below!

    It was fun decorating them!

    The names of the 2 recipients are on the front of the box and a description of where and what they were doing is on either side with the PPIF logo on the back of the box.

    When September came and the Women's Ministry started up again at Sherbrooke M. Church, the little red boxes were ready and waiting for them.
    Each women was free to sign up and take a box. They were a hit!

    Since then, my husband & I have moved to Abbotsford, BC and I don't know if this collection is still a part of the Women's Ministry at Sherbrooke but if any other women's group likes this idea, please feel free to use it. You can pick the packaging, colour and size!
    But remember.... there is a NEW recipient and you will have to update the information on the little box!

    Enjoy!

    Blessings to all of you!

    Jun 9, 2009

    New Name



    On June 5, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at the Annual Meeting of Canadian Women in Mission, we voted to change our name to Mennonite Women Canada. From East to West and North to South we are a "network of networks", women of all ages and all backgrounds.

    Jun 3, 2009

    Learning to keep an open-mind

    It happened again the other day. A very normal conversation turned into a conflict, complete with hurt feelings and raised voices, over a simple misunderstanding. My spouse and I were talking calmly... then suddenly we were fighting. Hours later, after sorting through all the mess, we realized we had made assumptions and had neglected to check what the other meant. Instead of keeping my mind open, listening, and welcoming him in the space he resided, I immediately responded defensively. At that point, I no longer had space within me to welcome him or his perspective. It took a lot of time and effort to reverse what happened so quickly!

    What does it take to be "open-minded?" I am currently a student at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. In classes and out, participants in this program talk about peace, conflict, reconciliation every day. While I listen to these conversations, it all seems to make sense. Just when I think I have opened my mind and can deal with any possible conflict constructively, though, something small arises and I cease to think.

    In the article "The Role of Identity Reconstruction in Promoting Reconciliation" (Forgiveness and Reconciliation, Helmick & Petersen, ed., 2001), Donna Hicks writes about the process of human development as "increasing equilibrium" between our surroundings and our inner selves. When something disturbs this equilibrium, for example a traumatic experience, uncertainty or instability, or even just too many new things to take in all at once, our ability to learn shuts down and we freeze in a self-protective state. In "learning mode" we can be open to diverse perspectives, ideas, and experiences which may not exactly fit with our inner being. When this learning process stops, however, even the slightest differences appear threatening and a reason for defense.

    I see this process at work in myself in my personal relationships. I also experience the difficulty this poses in work through conflict to a point of understanding and even transformation. Dialogue, at this point, plays a key role in creating a space for negotiating. According to Hicks, this negotiation does not simply mean trying to figure out a solution to the issues. At this stage in conflict, we negotiate "the conditions under which one would be willing to open oneself up to new information, information that could change not only one's existing beliefs about the other but of oneself as well."

    Reading this, I feel a sense of reassurance. My close-mindedness may not be a fault of my own, but a natural process which has a purpose. Instead, if I can be aware of this shutting down in a conflict situation, I can give myself the appropriate space necessary to figure out what I need to be willing to open up again. I can let myself feel the natural emotions of defensiveness, but wait to act on them until I have appreciated that space.

    It looks good in theory now. Can I remember when the learning switch shuts off?

    I suppose marriage might be helpful in studying conflict transformation. I will always have many opportunities to practice!

    Jun 1, 2009

    Welcome to our Blog!


    We have been up and running since January 12, 2009 and we welcome all of our who are visiting our site for the first time or are repeat visitors. In the May 11, 2009 issue of the Canadian Mennonite we issued an invitation to all Mennonite women across Canada to come and check us out. Since you have taken the time to get here, would you please share a comment, thought or idea here? Can you also let us know how you got here? (Where you found out about our blog?)

    You may have also heard about the CWM Task Force and their challenge to find ways to reach out across all ages and backgrounds and connect with women across the country. (See blog posted last week.) The Task Force is planning to post a survey here withing the next month and we hope that everyone who accesses the blog will take the time to fill it out! Your responses are critical in our evaluation and final recommendations to CWM.

    Thanks for taking the time to check us out!

    May 22, 2009

    Bridging the Gap, Enlarging the Tent

    This is indeed a challenge! How do we go about finding what it is that will bring Mennonite women of all ages together with a common vision for women's ministry in the church of today?

    In recent months a group of seven women from across Canada have met several times as a Task Force appointed by Canadian Women in Mission (CWM) to discuss, explore and discover ways in which we can 'bridge the gap' and 'enlarge the tent'.

    A devotional that was presented at one of our meetings was based on Acts 9:36-42, the recounting of how Jesus raised Tabitha/Dorcas from the dead. Tabitha was well know for 'always doing good and helping the poor' and her death was lamented loudly. But the story doesn't end there. Jesus raised Tabitha to new life! Similarly the Task force has been set up to find new and exciting ways through which CWM can be raised to new life.

    We would like to hear from women of all ages from all across Canada about what they see as their mission. Are there new ways in which we can connect with each other as well as learn from and support each other?

    The Task Force is inviting you to discuss ways in which the Spirit is working through women in the church. Here are some questions that you might want to consider. Your responses will help us discern the future direction which CWM takes.

    1. What is your prayer/vision for Mennonite women in today's church and church of the future?
    2. What activities or pursuits are Mennonite women being called to participate in?
    3. What are some innovative ways Mennonite women of all ages across Canada can connect with each other?

    Over the next few months the Task Force will be developing a survey which we hope to post on this blog as well as print in the Canadian Mennonite and distribute to Mennonite churches across Canada. We hope that everyone will participate. We need to hear from you!

    As CWM strives to connect and nurture Mennonite women across Canada we as a Task Force ask for your prayers as we continue to look for ways to 'bridge the gap' and 'enlarge the tent'.

    Posted by Liz Koop (on behalf of the Task Force) on May 22, 2009

    May 20, 2009

    Women's Resources for Loan

    Profiles of Anabaptist Women: 16th Century Reforming Pioneers by C. Arnold Snyder and Linda Huebert Hecht, Wilfrid Laurier, 1996.

    During the upheavals of Reformation, one of the most significant of the radical Protestant movements emerged--that of the Anabaptist movement. Profiles of Anabaptist Women provides lively, well-researched portraits of courageous women who chose to risk persecution and martyrdom to pursue this unsanctioned religion--a religioun that, unlike the established religions of the day, initially offered them opportunity and encouragement to proselytize and take on leadership roles.

    These personal stories of courage, faith, commitment, and resourcefulness interweave women's lives into the greater milieu, relating them to the dominant male context and the socio-political background of the sixteenth-century reformation.


    Borrow this title from the MC Canada Resource Centre online catalogue here.

    Questions or suggestions?
    Please contact the Resource Centre
    or check our loan policy.

    Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

    We'll profile a new title at this blog every month.

    Apr 16, 2009

    Browse Before You Buy: Women's Resources for Loan

    Canadian Women in Mission: 1895-2002 by Esther Patkau, University of Saskatchewan, 2002.

    A history of Canadian Women in Mission.



    Borrow or Purchase this title from the MC Canada Resource Centre online catalogue here.

    Questions or suggestions?
    Please contact the Resource Centre
    or check our loan policy.

    Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

    We'll profile a new title at this blog every month.

    Apr 7, 2009

    Help Make 1000 Greeting Cards


    Greeting cards are being made for distribution at the Mennonite World Conference July 14-19, 2009 in Asuncion, Paraguay. This is a personal and inexpensive way to extend a Christian greeting to a woman in another country. We can use 1000 cards or more and invite you to participate. Invite other women to join you. It is a fun activity. Cards in the picture were made last evening at the home of Jacqui Schmucker and her ten year old son joined in the fun.

    Each card will have an insert with verse 24 from Psalm 118 “This is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it” in English, Spanish and French.

    Suggested size for cards: 3 x 4, 3 x 5, 4 x 5. Envelopes are not needed. Please sign the card, include province/territory and Canada but only include your postal address if you wish to.

    Mail completed cards to Erna Neufeldt, 53 Shaftesbury Av., Toronto, ON M4T 3B3 by June 1.

    A Presentation on History of Mennonite Women in Canada

    Marlene Epp, author of "Mennonite Women in Canada: A History", is making a presentation on the content of her book April 15 7:30 p.m. at the St. Clair O'Connor Community Centre located at 2701 St. Clair Avenue East, Toronto.

    This presentation is sponsored by the Mennonite Centre's Heritage Club. All are welcome.

    Sunday, April 26 in the afternoon, there is a panel on 'Anabaptist Mennonite Women' hosted at Vineland First Mennonite Church in Vineland. Bill Klassen and Michael Driedger are also speaking.

    Marlene Epp will be presenting the John & Margaret Friesen lectures in Anabaptist Mennonite Studies at Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, November 17-18. The lectures will reflect a lot of the material in the book.

    Ms. Epp has been invited to do a presentation in Abbotsford, BC to the BC Mennonite Historical Society next spring in May (specific dates to be confirmed).

    Mar 23, 2009

    Browse Before You Buy: Women's Resources for Loan

    Mennonite Women in Canada: A History by Marlene Epp, University of Manitoba Press, 2008.

    Female voices were scarcely heard in the historical record of the Mennonites. Often invisible, in both name and deed, Mennonite women were nevertheless influential in shaping their own and the larger Canadian society. Mennonite Women in Canada, the first comprehensive history of Mennonite women, writes them back into the historical record and traces their complex social history over the past 200 years.

    Marlene Epp explores women’s roles, as prescribed and as lived, within the contexts of immigration and settlement, household and family, church and organizational life, work and education, and in response to social trends and events. She questions how Mennonites dictate women’s “place” within the church, family, and community, and how women, collectively and individually, actually behave.

    Borrow this title from the MC Canada Resource Centre online catalogue here.

    Questions or suggestions? Please contact the Resource Centre
    or check our loan policy.

    Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

    We'll profile a new title at this blog every month.

    Mar 20, 2009

    Lenten ponderings for chocolate-loving Christians



    Ev Buhr contemplates 40 days of no chocolate: No leftover Valentine’s treats, no snowman soup (hot chocolate, marshmallows and a candy cane stir stick), no divine dark chocolate (medical experts claim a bite of dark chocolate a day keeps the heart disease away), and no chocolate chips straight out of the bag.

    Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld

    My early experiences of Lent are fuzzy at best, perhaps because Lent didn’t really get onto the Mennonite worship resource scene until 1993, when pastors began asking for materials on it. However, I do recall hearing people from other denominations say they were giving something up for Lent. What did that mean? How did giving up coffee or chocolate make you a better Christian or prepare you for Easter?
    As I pondered these questions, I read that in the early Christian church, new converts were baptized at Easter. So perhaps for people like me who absolutely love chocolate, comparing the process of becoming a Christian to transforming a cacao bean into chocolate might make such a 40-day “sacrifice” more meaningful.
    Like cacao beans, Christians are varied in type and come from many regions, all with unique qualities and characteristics. Together, they create the particular blend the coffee or congregation is known for.
    Also, when cacao beans are carefully roasted, they crack open and water vapour is released. This brings out the flavour of the bean. That seems similar to the process of learning about our relationship with God and others. We need to learn at a steady pace so that we continue to grow in faith. Perhaps undergoing baptism is when we’ve cracked the outer shell and reveal the flavour within.
    Then there’s the winnowing and grinding which gets rid of the outer layer of the bean. A course grinder cracks the husks, which are then blown away. The centre of the cacao bean is ground into pulp and transformed into a smooth liquor, which is mixed with other ingredients to form chocolate.
    How wonderful it would be if we too could just crack the outer shell and blow the debris of our old lives away. Good news! This is possible through Jesus Christ! We are given the opportunity to start over as a new creation. And it’s up to me as a Christian to allow God’s Spirit to work in my life grinding away the pulp and bringing out the very heart of my faith—the essence of who I am.
    When asked who we are, most of us respond with what we do for a job, or who we are in relation to others (somebody’s mom or sister). How many of us respond with “I am a Christian”? Once I am a Christian, I can be mixed with others to form a community of believers.
    After that comes the processing, refining and tempering processes, which include adding milk, cocoa butter, lecithin, and sugar, then agitating and folding this mixture in a special machine to break down the chocolate and give it that melt-in-your-mouth feeling.
    Within a Christian community, we too add ingredients that fit with our recipe. Ingredients like worship and music styles, welcoming faces and the number of potlucks can determine which community we combine with. Together, we learn, discuss and “agitate” our faith. We blend to form a cohesive whole. And as we continue our Christian walk, we’re tempered into a stable form through a solid foundation of Scripture, prayer and good works. An on-again/off-again relationship with Christ will give us a poor quality or, to use a chocolate term, “bloom.”
    And finally comes the good part—the moulding and dipping, which turns the chocolate into something that is pleasing to look at and wonderful to eat. We have reached the point of celebration.
    That’s the part I can get into! Celebrate with a big batch of brownies at Easter! Ooh, that chocolaty goodness, warm and a bit oozing in the middle. What a reward for giving up chocolate for Lent.
    And yet how small a thing to remind us of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and the ultimate sacrifice of his death on the cross for us. Will giving up chocolate for Lent make me a better Christian? Probably not, but perhaps it will give me a small understanding of the “sacrifice” that is required of those who seek to follow Jesus, and a little nudge to think about that sacrifice every time I turn down some form of chocolate this Lenten season.

    Ev Buhr is a Christian and president of Alberta Women in Mission.

    Article previously published in Canadian Mennonite

    Mar 16, 2009

    Consequences!

    Wanted ! ! !

    It's quite amazing...
    ...the changes one little word can bring to ones life!


    It's been almost a year now since I said "Yes"
    to the call to take part in
    Canadian Women in Mission's "Task Force".
    My first thought, after having been asked was...

    "Why me, Lord?
    What is there that I can contribute to this "Task Force?"

    In any case, I ended up saying yes and the next thing I know...
    ....my life has been turned upside down!

    Stepping back a few years.....
    Veronica Thiessen, BC Women in Mission's last President
    had asked me to take her position
    I declined the invitation to let my name stand.
    I just felt that I was not the right person for the position and yet....
    ...here I am
    writing for the Canadian Women in Mission's blog
    as the spokesperson for BC.

    Now...
    NOBODY better tell me that our Lord and Saviour
    doesn't have a sense of humour!
    How else would I have gotten into this predicament?

    After all, I only said yes to the "Task Force" right?

    Well, with lots of prayers and the Lord's help,
    I hope to do justice to the place I find myself in!

    The moral of this little story is....
    that we just never know what the Lord has in mind for us...
    and... He gets us there one way or another!
    We just have to be prepared to accept what He has planned for us,
    even when we think that we cannot do it or are not the right person,
    He may have a different opinion on the matter!

    Let me assure you;
    I never imagined being in this position ...
    ... not even in my wildest dreams!

    Found the following in "Our Daily Bread" for March 15, 2008....
    and can't believe that today is March 15, 2009.
    Another coincidence? I don't think so ! ! !

    It says....

    I'm available for God to use me,
    Available, if God should choose me;
    Should it be now or then, it doesn't matter when;
    I want to see lost souls be born again. --- Anthony

    God has work for all His children,
    regardless of age or ability.

    Will you be ready when He needs you?
    **************************************************

    Monday, March 16th, 2009
    I just noticed that the date stamp on my post is for today. I obviously forgot the time difference between Ontario & BC. I actually did write and posted it during the evening of the 15th. :-)

    Mar 11, 2009

    MENNONITE WOMEN HELP SPONSOR INDIGENOUS TOUR TO SOUTH AMERICA JULY 2009

    Your donations from wherever you are located in Canada are helping to make a dream come true.

    Ten Canadian youth and adults living in indigenous communities are planning to participate in the North American Indigenous Tour to Paraguay and Argentina in July 2009. They accepted an invitation extended by three indigenous Paraguayan conferences in 2007 to visit their congregations and communities following Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Assembly 15 in AsunciĆ³n, Paraguay in July.

    “We are eager to introduce you to our families, our congregations and our way of life,” the invitation reads. “We anticipate hearing about your walk with the Lord and also about traditions, your stories and your experiences within the Mennonite family of faith. We genuinely believe this interchange will be good for both of us.”

    Edith von Gunten reports that Norman Meade, a Metis elder and pastor, represented Mennonite Church Canada Native Ministry on a trip to Paraguay the end of November 2008. He and a gentleman from the US met church leaders in Asuncion and from both the Argentinean and Paraguayan Chaco in order to help plan the North American indigenous tour. Norman came back a “changed man”, in his words, and knows without a doubt that the rest of the group will also be changed as a result of this trip.

    We wish them a safe journey and bless them as they in turn will bless others.

    Feb 11, 2009

    Women in Mission Luncheon June 5/09

    When you register for Mennonite Church Canada's Assembly in Saskatoon, June 5 - 7th, be sure to sign up for the women's luncheon June 5th, 11:00 - 1 p.m. To register go to www.mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/695

    Jan 12, 2009

    New Denominational Pastor


    Karen Martens Zimmerly, former co-pastor of Grace Mennonite Church, Regina, has been called to be denominational pastor for Mennonite Church Canada.

    Karen, the first woman to be called to this role, began in September 2008.

    See Karen's indepth interview in the article "Leading leaders," in the June 9, 2008 issue of Canadian Mennonite. (Click on "Past Issues").

    -Erna

    Welcome to Our Blog!

    This blog is for women who are interested in sharing with each other from a Mennonite/Anabaptist perspective. It is for sharing values, information, humour, recipes, book reviews, having fun, and challenging one another to live as a Mennonite in a non-Mennonite world.

    Connecting for fellowship, missions, service, adventure, and life!

    This is your blog!

    -Erna