Sep 28, 2014


Here is the report from Alberta Women in Mission's (AWM) Spring Retreat that was held on May 23-25.
Pause 2014. It is difficult to put into words our experience from the weekend at Pause 2014. We have spiritually rich and vibrant women here in Alberta who have so much to offer each other.  God is among us. He is moving. And He is alive.

We were privileged to have April Yamasaki, pastor at Emmanuel Mennonite in Abbotsford, BC, share about her journey to find “Scared Pauses” in her walk with Jesus.  As we shared in small groups, we confessed our hindrances that keep us from finding and seeing those moments, those pauses.  Jesus, who could have been overwhelmed with all he “had” to do, found time to pause, to get away, to be with God.

One of the key things about this retreat is the level of honesty and vulnerability each woman brings to the table. We openly share in small groups and we do crazy things on Saturday night. The walls come down and we experience the Holy Spirit in a deeper way.  
Thank you to all who participated, to those who prayed, to those who donated. We are blessed. We had 70 women this year. Let’s aim for 90 in 2015.  Our intention is not to see numbers grow, but to see lives affected. 

 June Miller, co-conspirator with Kate Janzen and Joanne DeJong

Group photo

April Yamasaki, guest speaker

Renewing friendships!

Sep 20, 2014

International Day of Peace - Sunday September 21

In 2002, the United Nations declared September 21 as International Day of Peace  --- a day for all peoples and all nations to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace. Subsequently, in 2006 the Peace Commission of the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) decided to encourage member churches to observe Peace Sunday on the Sunday closest to September 21.  And for the past several years, MWC has been preparing resource materials to use on Peace Sunday.  This year’s materials are prepared by Canadian Lois Siemens, pastor of the Superb Mennonite Church in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan.  From a post by Esther Epp-Tiessen at the Ottawa MCC Office.

Sep 5, 2014

SISTER CARE – What’s it all about?

Have you heard about Sister Care yet? It is a resource put out by Mennonite Women USA to “address issues of identity, self-care, compassionate listening, loss and grief for women/caregivers in the church”. 

I first heard about Sister Care in January 2012 when I was invited by a group of women from Bayshore Mennonite Church in Sarasota, FL to attend a Sister Care mini-workshop. After a time of worship and singing led by Doris Diener, Minister of Southeast Mennonite Women, about 45 women participated in several activities to help us focus on where we have met God in our lives and how we can work through our relationships towards healing.

 Since that time ongoing conversations between MW USA and MW Canada executive have resulted in an invitation extended by Women of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (WMCEC) for Sister Care presenters, Carolyn Holderread Heggen (L) and Rhoda Shenk Keener (R) to share the seminar with women in Ontario.  

Carolyn and Rhoda are passionate about equipping women for caring ministries and will present 4 sessions as follows:
1.     Claiming our identity as God’s beloved
2.     Caring for self and others
3.     Compassionate listening
4.     Transforming loss and grief

More detailed information about Sister Care can be found at 
MW USA’s website. (click here)

DATE:  Friday and Saturday, October 3 and 4, 2014
LOCATION:  Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre, Cambridge, ON
REGISTRATION is limited so please register early. Cost of registration is $60 payable to WMCEC ($70.00 after September 19). Overnight accommodations and meals are recommended and payable through the Conference Centre. Cost for room and meals: $105 to $125. Food only: $75.

For more information contact 
Phyllis Ramer 519-236-7332, 
Dorothy Hamm 905-562-7443 or

Phyllis, WMCEC Coordinator says:  "We have been blessed by financial support from the MCEC Go and Grow Fund and Mennonite Savings and Credit Union.  Because of their generosity, we are able to keep costs for participants below $200 for this quality seminar." 

Sep 3, 2014

SWM Enrichment Day Report

Saskatchewan Women in Mission held their Spring Enrichment Day on April 26, 2014.  A story and photo by Donna Schulz appeared in the May 12 issue of the Canadian Mennonite. I wasn't able to link to the article so I copied and pasted it into here.  We hope that by posting what Mennonite women are doing in their communities and provinces we can feel more connected to each other.  

Remember Your CreatorStory and Photo by Donna Schulz
"Remember your creator in the days of your youth," proved to be a poignant theme for Saskatchewan Women in Mission’s annual Enrichment Day, since the only women under 50 were the three guest speakers. Yet it was to hear the voices of young women that 75 members met at Nutana Park Mennonite Church in Saskatoon on April 26.
The day began with a business meeting. Nominating committee member Denise Epp reported that no candidates had been found for the four vacant executive positions. Nominations from the floor yielded one volunteer, as Marlies Patkau of Hanley agreed to serve on the nominating committee. However, the program committee is still one member short and the positions of secretary and president-elect remain vacant.
In light of the difficulty recruiting leaders, president Myrna Sawatzky suggested changing the organization’s name to make it more appealing to younger women. As the only women’s group in Mennonite Church Canada with its own charitable status, Saskatchewan Women in Mission would have to keep its name in order to maintain that status, Sawatzky pointed out, but the organization could adopt a new operating name. Given the group’s aging population, she wondered aloud, “Do we want to continue as an independent charity?”
A comment in favour of relinquishing charitable status and funnelling money through the area church was made from the floor, but no decision was reached.
Treasurer Ruth Heppner reported that the group’s finances are in good shape. As if to prove the organization’s viability as a charity, the women gathered an offering of just under $3,000.
Particpants in Saskatchewan Women in Mission's
Enrichment Day add their handprints and signatures
to a banner in an exploration of the theme,
'Remember your creator'.
Program committee member Lois Siemens led a time of worship and activity focused on the chosen theme from Ecclesiastes 12:1. Through prayer, singing, journalling and adding handprints and signatures to a colourful banner, the women explored what it means to remember their creator.
Laura Buhler addressed the theme from the perspective of her experience volunteering at Bethlehem Bible College in Palestine. Buhler said she finds Ecclesiastes 12:1 “an intimidating verse because it puts a timeline on your faith.” She would rather render the verse: “Discover your creator in your youth so that when you are older you will be able to remember.”
Meghan Wiens reflected on her nine-month adventure with Canadian Mennonite University’s Outtatown program in Canada and South Africa. Witnessing abundant joy juxtaposed against profound suffering in Soweto, Wiens said “Do not try and put God in a box because he will definitely breakout.”
Terri Lynn Paulsen brought her perspective as an agriculture student and gardener with a passion for community to the day’s theme. Paulsen sees God at work in creation and in his people. When asked what she would say to the women present, Paulsen replied, “Please be my friend. Sometimes as young people we don’t know how to ask for [friendship]. Share with me how you walked your faith.”

Perhaps as Saskatchewan Women in Mission members look for ways to remember their creator in the coming days, they will take up Paulsen’s challenge and share their walk of faith with the young women in their lives.

2014 BSG "Practicing Presence"

I am re-posting this from the August 21 entry (see update below): 
It has come to our attention that the complementary copies (one to each church connected to Mennonite Church Canada) of the 2014 Bible Study Guide called "Practicing Presence" were not sent out in a timely fashion and that they have not yet been delivered.  We have been assured that they are now on their way.  We are sorry for the delay.  If you were hoping to get them in time to incorporate them into your fall programming plans you can contact me and I will send you a .pdf copy to use in the meantime. Please email me at 

For additional copies please contact Craig Anderson at the MennoMedia office in Kitchener, ON.  His email address is and his phone number is 1-800-631-6535.

September 3 update:
I have been assured that the Bible Study Guides have been sent out. Today I received another email from someone saying they still didn't have their complementary copy. I am confident that you will get your copy in the next few days. If not please email me at and I will send you a .pdf copy. MennoMedia sends their apologies for the delay!