Jun 28, 2013

MW Canada Annual Meeting

At  Mennonite Church Canada Annual Assembly last July, delegates voted to shift to biennial assemblies.  Since Mennonite women from across Canada have always met in conjunction with Assembly, MW Canada will also be shifting to biennial meetings.   MC Canada will still be holding an Annual General Meeting on Friday, July 12.  Details can be found here.
MW Canada does not have the technical capability of doing this and we are in the process of trying to determine how we can conduct the business that needs to be taken care of annually.  This would include presenting and accepting minutes of our last annual meeting,  approving Opportunities for Giving (2014-15) and making changes in our executive positions and terms of office.

For the past few months, exposure on our blog has been increasing.  Perhaps directing women from our blog to a place where they can view the minutes, vote on various items of business and leave comments would work.  Another option would be to put together a business packet and either mail or email it to each church asking for a response to be returned.

I'm sure we'll figure something out!

Alberta Flood Update

From a June 27 news release by Deborah Froese, MC Canada PrayerNet Coordinator

Torrential rains in June triggered unprecedented flooding in Alberta and sparked a deep desire across the country to offer assistance. Mennonite Church Canada is there, through the hands and feet of our congregations and our partner organization, Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), the lead Mennonite organization for emergency and long-term response.

Relief efforts are beginning in terms of cleanup," says Janet Plenert, MDS Region V (Canada) manager. "MDS envisions being there for a marathon. It's intense, it's dramatic and we are in it for the long haul."

Plenert is collaborating with Jim Dyck, chair of the Alberta region unit and a member of Springridge Mennonite Church, a Mennonite Church Canada congregation. "I'm terribly grateful for Jim, who is our lead person on the ground," she says. Plenert will tour the flood region for evaluation purposes with Alberta MDS leaders.

The process begins in the Calgary area with clean-up and sanitization, but over time the response will look at more long-term efforts such as rebuilding, and it will be diffused more broadly in geographical scope. "We're visiting communities beyond the lens of the media," Plenert says. "MDS is very focused on helping the marginalized, those that fall between the cracks of other helps."
Although Calgary is garnering the most media attention, regions all across southern and central Alberta have been affected by flooding, including many small townships and First Nations communities. As floodwaters recede in Alberta, swollen rivers take the excess east and north across the prairies.
Please pray for those whose families, homes and livelihoods that have been or will be impacted by this disaster. Remember our Mennonite churches in Calgary and Southern Alberta, especially non-English speaking congregations who may have greater challenges in accessing services - Calgary Chinese Mennonite Church, Calgary Vietnamese Mennonite, Calgary Chin Christian Church, and Word of Life, a Spanish-speaking church family. Pray that God's grace and shalom will be clearly revealed through helping hands, open arms and a prevailing spirit of hospitality and care. May adequate resources be found to meet immediate needs, and hope rise to address the complexity of more long term concerns. Pray also for the leaders and volunteers involved in the relief effort.
For up-to-date information, see the MDS website http://www.mds.mennonite.net/ homepage and regional page http://mds.mennonite.net/regions-units/region-v/
Thank you for your prayers. 

Jun 24, 2013

Urgent Prayer Request for Alberta

The massive flooding in Calgary and other parts of Alberta raises concerns not only for Mennonite congregations in the area, but for all of those within their circles of care and beyond.

Foothills Mennonite Church reports that they and First Mennonite Church Calgary are some distance from the river and unaware of any members whose homes have been affected, although some people were unable to go to work today in the flooded downtown area.  So far 10 families from Trinity Mennonite Church have been evacuated and they have found places to stay.

Please pray for God's grace and shalom to be revealed through helping hands, open arms and a prevailing spirit of hospitality and care. May adequate resources be found to meet immediate needs, and hope rise to the challenge of more long term concerns.

--from a release by Deborah Froese, Director of New Services,
Mennonite Church Canada

Jun 17, 2013

Spiritual Growth Assistance Fund

Did you know that MW Canada has a scholarship program?  Our Spiritual Growth Assistance Fund (SGAF) assists women with the costs of academic and/or applied study at the Master's level in church related ministries such as seminary, theology, peace and conflict resolution.  All members of a congregation belonging to Mennonite Church Canada are eligible to apply.  Funding may be granted for part of the tuition costs (payable to the institution) at the discretion of the executive of MW Canada. First time applicants are giving priority and applications for continuing support are also considered.  The deadline for applications is June 30.  So if you are interested, or know someone who is, please contact MW Canada by email at presmwcanada@mennonitechurch.ca for an application form or go to our web page at SGAF and download it from there.

Jun 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day

What Makes a Dad

God took the strength of a mountain, 
The majesty of a tree, 
The warmth of a summer sun, 
The calm of a quiet sea, 
The generous soul of nature, 
The comforting arm of night, 
The wisdom of the ages, 
The power of the eagle's flight, 
The joy of a morning in spring, 
The faith of a mustard seed, 
The patience of eternity, 
The depth of a family need, 
Then God combined these qualities, 
When there was nothing more to add, 
He knew His masterpiece was complete, 
And so, He called it ... Dad

Author Unknown

Jun 12, 2013

Request for Prayer for the Barkman's

Mennonite Church Canada worker Christina Bartel Barkman has just posted a blog entry about the explosion that rocked the apartment where she lives with her husband Darnell Barkman and their sons Cody and Makai. Thankfully, the Barkmans are unhurt and staying in a hotel, but news reports say that others were injured and falling debris crashed into a passing delivery van, killing the three men inside. Please pray for shalom to settle over the Barkmans and their community.   
(From an MC Canada news release by Deborah Froese)

Jun 7, 2013

WMCEC Spring Enrichment Day - April 20, 2013

Surprise!  It’s a snow day!  Even that didn’t daunt 300+ women from attending their Spring Enrichment Day.  This year it was held on Saturday, April 20th at Tavistock Mennonite Church.  Yes, it was cold outside, but so very warm and welcoming inside.  We began our morning with coffee and muffins, and a lot of socializing.  During the get acquainted and registration time, guests also previewed the display from Mennonite Women Canada, while enjoying a chance to speak with Liz Koop, the president of that group.  Meanwhile at the Women of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada table, I too had a chance to meet some people while I handed out the Church Rep’s information packet.  These contained WMCEC’s Annual Report Book 2012, the 61st Annual Report Book 2012 for MW Canada and a copy of Connections Vol. 3, Issue 1 – April 2013.  Any that weren’t picked up that day were taken to MCEC’s event the following Saturday.  Failing to connect there, they would have been mailed.  By now, all should have been received.

Terri J. Plank Brenneman was the featured guest speaker.  She is the author of the Bible Study Guide entitled Wonderfully Made; Women, Faith, and Self-Care.  Terri broke her topic into two sessions 1) Remembering God’s Story, 2) Remembering Our Story.  The following recap cannot do justice to this spiritually uplifting day, but I will try my best.  I truly wish you could have been there.

Terri’s message began with a reminder that we are the resource for the world.  Each of us is uniquely qualified to touch specific lives.  She challenged us to list the Lord’s attributes as seen in various parts of the Bible:  Genesis 1 as the Creator, Genesis 2 as the Parent, as the Promise Keeper to Abraham & Sarah, as the patient Teacher, as the Deliverer, as the Law Giver, etc.  Of the adjectives/descriptors generated record 6 words that best describe God to you.  Record them on a bookmark for later reflection.   “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  Love your God with heart, soul and strength!” was the mantra for the morning.

The afternoon session’s mantra changed to “Hear, O Women of Mennonite Church of Eastern Canada! Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your strength.  Learn to love your neighbours and yourself.  Trust in God’s plan for you and your uniqueness!”  With these powerful words, Terri encouraged us to write down 6 attributes, talents, or abilities that we possess on the reverse side of the bookmark begun in the morning.  Those are gifts that come from God.  She reminded us to embrace our own legacy and tell others of our faith stories. Not only will you fed and inspire yourself, but you will transform others, even as they transform you with their stories. We are “nourished and flourished by life.”  Hear, O Women of Faith!         

Acknowledgements and gratitude go out to the Tavistock Mennonite Church for being such gracious hosts, the ladies who prepared and served all the yummy food and beverages, the participants for braving the weather to attend, the hands that typed and copied the program, the pianist – Charlene Zehr, the song leader – Ruth Steinman, the devotional leader – Patricia Wagler, the special music group – Close Connection: Linda Holst, Brenda Wagler, Shirley Yantzi;  WMCEC – Florence Jantzi for Welcome, Invocation and Scripture reading, Kathryn Good for chairing the business session, Lisa Blackburn for Annual Financial Report, Marie Assad for Personnel Committee Report and introducing Dorothy Hamm (Program) and myself, Linda Wiens (Secretary),  MCEC – Brian Bauman for greetings,  MW Canada – Liz Koop MW Canada Report,  MSCU – financial assistance and, of course, our guest speaker - Terri J. Plank Brenneman.   

WMCEC Executive from L-R: Florence Jantzi, Lisa Blackburn, 

Linda Wiens, Dorothy Hamm, Marie Assad, Kathryn Good

Submitted by Linda Wiens 

Jun 6, 2013

Our American Sisters

Did you know that we (Mennonite Women Canada) have a counterpart in the US called Mennonite Women USA?  For many years our organizations worked together on various projects.

Some of you might remember the Window to Mission and Timbrel magazines which we produced jointly over many years.  We still jointly publish an Annual Bible Study Guide which is distributed to women's groups and churches across Canada and the US.  The Bible Study Advisory Council, with both Canadian and American representatives, chooses an author and oversees the editing process.  Every third year the author is a Canadian woman.

The 2014 Bible Study Guide, Courageous Women of the Bible, is soon to be released.  Ordering information will be posted here.

For more information about MW USA click here.