In the following weeks I plan to post write-ups about the various provincial/area meetings that have been held across Canada this spring. For over 70 years women's groups from each province have met once or twice a year to discuss business, listen to a guest speaker and fellowship with one another. In the past number of years the women who attend these meetings (and the ones in our local churches) are getting older and there are fewer younger women in attendance. This has not gone unnoticed and Mennonite Women Canada is constantly being challenged to find ways to encourage the participation of younger women. --Liz Koop
Saskatchewan Women in Mission (SWM)
celebrated their annual Enrichment Day on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Eigenheim
Mennonite Church with 87 women in attendance. In the foyer, bedding plants on a garden bench depicted the
day’s theme – “Like a Watered Garden” – while water trickled through several
garden fountains, adding an auditory element to the visual display.
Eigenheim Women’s Fellowship, the event began with refreshments and a time of
visiting. Morning worship included hearty singing led by Gwen Ens and
accompanied by Donna Schulz, and a devotional by Lois Siemens. SWM executive
officers were commissioned for another year of service during the annual
business meeting. They are Myrna Sawatzky, president, Marilyn Neufeld,
vice-president, Ruth Quiring Heppner, treasurer, and Verna Olfert, secretary.
Naomi Unger and Lois Siemens continue on the program committee; the third
position on this committee is vacant. Kathy Friesen, Glennis Koop, and Denise
Epp form the nominating committee.
Following lunch in the fellowship hall, Melita Hildebrand, gave
participants a mental workout with a gardening quiz, and Marian Hooge Jones
offered a physical workout with a series of gardening-related stretches and
exercises. The afternoon session began with a devotional by Naomi Unger and
special music by the Eigenheim women. Kaytee Edwards, representing MCC
Saskatchewan’s gardening project, described her work of teaching inner-city
children to grow their own food. SWM designated a portion of the afternoon’s offering for
this project. Featured speaker Lavonne Dyck of Glenbush eloquently shared what
gardening has taught her about faith in Christ. Then four women – Verna Olfert,
Kristen Fehr, Renata Klassen and Rosalind Epp – shared their “100-word stories”
about meeting God in their gardens. This was followed by conversation in the
pews around the question, “What have you learned about God through gardening?”
A memorial service, led by the women of Zoar Mennonite Church, Langham,
honoured women who passed away in 2012. Refreshments and more visiting brought
the day’s activities to a close.
Loving God, we give thanks today for mothers!
Thank you for mothers who gave birth to us,
and women who have treated us as their own children.
You teach us how to be good mothers,
cherishing and protecting the children among us.
Help us mother lovingly, fairly, wisely and with great joy.
Help us raise our children to be the people they are born to be.
We need your comfort here today, Lord,
because some are missing mothers, some are missing children,
some are parted by distance or death.
Comfort those who have given up their child for adoption,
or who chose not to give birth, and had an abortion.
Comfort those who longed to be biological mothers, and could not.
We pray for those here whose mothers have disappointed them;
we ask for grace in relationships where there is pain and bitterness,
for healing in relationships where there is abuse and violence.
Help our congregation be a space where people can feel mothered,
their gifts and talents appreciated and nurtured.
Finally, we pray today for mothers around the world;
mothers who cannot feed their children,
mothers who are homeless or without a homeland;
mothers who must teach their children about the dangers of bombs and bullets.
Help us create a world where mothers can raise their children in peace and plenty.
God of mothers, who created mothers, who came as a child and had a mother,
God our Mother, loving us with a sweeter and deeper love than we have ever known,
hear our prayer this day, Amen.
Earlier this year Rudy and Sharon Dirks, parents to Nathan and Taryn, visited them in Gaborone, Botswana where they are working with the African Initiated Church (AIC) leaders and Kgologano College. As Mennonite Church Canada workers, they will help develop leaders among the youth and young adults and teach Bible courses with local AIC congregations. Pray that they will build strong connections with other young people and model a committed Christian marriage. Nathan and Taryn are recipients of MW Canada's Pennies and Prayers Legacy Fund.