Dec 31, 2015


Lord, we stand at the door of this New Year,
thankful for the year behind us,
a gift through which we’ve lived and moved.
At this timely threshold,
with our feet poised to walk into 2015,
we turn to you with our prayer of hope.

Hope springs eternal when we walk with you.
Help us walk this year with you.
We hope that this will be a year filled
with joy, with love, with laughter,
a year filled with plenty and abundance,
with purpose and fulfillment.

But if the year brings hard times and hurt,
pain and sorrow, tears and trials,
we know that your care and comfort
will console us month by month.
Grace us with forgiving spirits.

As a community help us walk
with the happy and the sorrowful,
holding their stories tenderly.

We hope for peace in our time,
for an end to wild war music.

We long to hear the sound of governments
listening to their people,
heeding their pleas for justice.

We long to hear the sound of the children of the world
cheering together because peace has been declared,
and they do not have to fear anymore.

We hope for healing for our beloved earth,
for harmony and balance where we have caused
disharmony and unbalance.

This year, Lord, help us to feel in our bones
the beauty of this life, this world;
its sounds and sights and smells and tastes,
the lavishness of being
which you give us in seconds and minutes
and hours and days and weeks and months.

Move in us, have your way with us,
so that on the last day of the year
we can say, wholeheartedly,
this year has been a gift
through which we’ve lived and moved
as followers of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Copyright Carol Penner

Dec 22, 2015

My Creative Contemplative Journal - April Yamasaki and Lois Siemens

The following is from an article in the Canadian Mennonite, Dec 14, 2015 issue:

"April Yamasaki and Lois Siemens have collaborated across the miles on a second creative project. In 2014, the women, who are pastors of Mennonite Church Canada congregations in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, respectively, joined forces to produce the My Sacred Pauses Daybook, combining text from Yamasaki’s book Sacred Pauses with Siemens’s photographs. This year, they have combined their talents in My Creative, Contemplative Journal, pairing Siemens’s photos with text from Spark: Igniting Your God-Given Creativity, which Yamasaki wrote for Mennonite Women Canada and MW USA." 

You can read the entire article HERE. 

My Creative, Contemplative Journal is available online at

Dec 18, 2015

Barkman's latest newsletter

Darnell and Christina Barkman, along with their children Cody, Makai and Teyah, are Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers in the Philippines. They are current recipients of our Pennies and Prayer Legacy Fund. 
Their newsletter (October 2015) was recently posted on our web page under Stories/Interviews/Profiles. They also have a BLOG where you can read more about their life as a family, their joys and their challenges.

As we celebrate Christmas let's remember to keep our ministry partners in our prayers. Christmas can be a difficult time for them as they are far from relatives and friends back home.

Dec 17, 2015

Tom and Christine Poovong - International Ministry Project

Tom and Christine Poovong, Mennonite Church Canada workers in Thailand, report that the Lao government has now given permission for Christians in Laos to celebrate Christmas in public during the whole month of December. While they are not permitted to hold public church services, they are excited for this new opportunity to celebrate Jesus’ birth. (from a Mennonite Church Canada report)

You can connect with the Poovongs through their facebook account.

As we celebrate Christmas let's remember to keep our ministry partners in our prayers. Christmas can be a difficult time for them as they are far from relatives and friends back home.

Africa is for babies! ~ Nathan and Taryn Dirks

In a reflection about becoming parents while living in another culture, Nathan Dirks wrote the following:

"As newlyweds embarking on an international ministry assignment, Taryn and I soaked up as much southern African mission knowledge as we could…..So after a term of our own in Botswana, we thought hey, why not give it a go?"

To read the entire reflection follow THIS LINK

Nathan and Taryn are recipients of Mennonite Women Canada's PENNIES AND PRAYER LEGACY FUND. Keep in touch with them through their BLOG!

As we celebrate Christmas let's remember to keep our ministry partners in our prayers. Christmas can be a difficult time for them as they are far from relatives and friends back home.

Nov 26, 2015

Women Walking Together in Faith - November 2015 - "Sister Care comes to Canada"

Follow this link to read the "Women Walking Together in Faith" article written by Linda Wiens which appeared in the November 9 issue of the Canadian Mennonite.  Linda is the Communicator for Women of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada and is a member of the St. Catharines United Mennonite Church.

She writes: "Wouldn't it be amazing to see this grassroots event happen in your area of Canada, so that you also could experience healing and learn to become a more effective healing presence for others, as we walk together in faith?"

Women Walking Together in Faith - September 2015 - "Gathering footprints of faith"

Every second month we send in article for the Canadian Mennonite's "Women Walking Together in Faith" feature.  In the September 14 issue Liz Koop wrote about her experience at Mennonite World Conference Assembly which was held in Harrisburg, PA in July. You can read the article HERE. There are also more photos in previous posts from July on this blog.   

Nov 13, 2015

SWM Retreat at Shekinah Retreat Centre

Donna Schulz, Saskatchewan Correspondent of the CANADIAN MENNONITE, has written a report about the SWM Retreat held at Shekinah on October 16 and 17. It appeared in the November 9, 2015 issue and you can read the full article with more photos HERE.   

Oct 23, 2015

SWM Retreat at Shekinah Retreat Centre

Last weekend I attended the Saskatchewan Women in Mission Retreat held at Timberlodge, Shekinah Retreat Center  The theme of the retreat was "Igniting our Creativity:  Looking Back, Moving Forward". A full report will be available soon, but today I just want to post some of the photos I took.
Timberlodge, Shekinah Retreat Centre, Waldheim

Main gathering area for meals, inspirational sessions
and displays
Womens' groups had been asked to bring along an item that was 
representative of their local group. These were shared during the evening session and included several quilts, wall hangings, posters and even a song 
performed by one of the  groups. 

This quilt commemorates the groups that were
part of SWM from 1948 to 1985.

Esther Patkau, author of the book,
Canadian Women in Mission 1895-1952-2002,
shared some stories of her long involvement with women's
groups in her local church and the SWM.  

This group had written words to a familiar hymn and has used
it as the theme for their group for many years.

A collage of the handbooks that the Zoar Mennponite Church
women's group in Langhgam has used over the years.  

On Saturday morning, Pauline Steinman shared about
celebrating God's gift of creativity together and challenged
us to take risks and imagine a new reality for our
mission in the church and in the world.  

Creating a paper labyrinth was one of the activities
available during a reflective half hour after the morning session.
In the closing candle ceremony Sharon Schultz challenged
us to see God's glory in our work and worship and in new
possibilities and opportunities; to walk together in unity
of love and purpose; to uphold one another
and to live in faithful obedience to God. 

Oct 12, 2015

Thanksgiving Grace

We are people with full hearts:
we feel blessed, we are blessed,
and on this Thanksgiving Day we say thank you with all our hearts.
Thank you for your love, and for the gift of your son.
Thank you for those dear to us, those near at hand,
and those much farther away.
Thank you for food.
Thank you for rich soil, good weather, hard-working farmers.
In a society where we are so often
self-sufficient, self reliant and self-satisfied,
give us humble hearts.
All we are and all we have comes from your hand;
it’s by your grace that we have life and breath
on this thanksgiving day.
Bless the hands that have prepared the food,
and those who are serving it.
Bless the food before us,
may it strengthen us to be a blessing to all we meet,
in the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Oct 7, 2015


Our latest newsletter - CONNECTIONS - is hot off the press! 

Connections is published in April and October and is one way in which we connect with women across Canada. You will find an update of the various projects we support as well as a feature set of articles on a specific theme. 
This time around we are focussing on the many women and women's groups and who have supported MCC and other local organizations by quilting or knotting comforters.  Your efforts have brought much comfort to refugees and others in need around the world.  Please feel free to download, print and share with friends.


Join our Leadership

Mennonite Women Canada needs you! Women with a heart for women’s ministry are urgently needed for the positions of President and Secretary-Treasurer.
For more information click on the links in red above, or to express interest in one of the positions, please contact:
  • Waltrude Gortzen (Mennonite Women Canada rep from BC)
  • Phone: (604) 756-0707

Oct 5, 2015

BC Women's Ministry Retreat

October 16-18, 2015
For a downloadable poster please go to our WEBSITE.

Saskatchewan Women's Retreat

October 16 & 17, 2015
For a downloadable poster please go to our WEBSITE.

Oct 2, 2015

WMCEC Sister Care Retreat

Women of MCEC Sister Care Retreat 
October 30, 31 and November 1, 2015

For a downloadable poster and registration form please go to OUR WEBSITE
Correction note:  The wrong date was printed in our latest CONNECTIONS.  The correct date is October 30, 31 and November 1, 2015.

Sep 25, 2015

MCBC Women's Ministry Inspirational Day - May 2, 2015

Our God of All Comfort

This was the theme for our 2015 Inspirational Day and you can find a full report with lots of pictures by clicking HERE

Where There is Love

Where there is love the heart is light,
Where there is love the day is bright,
Where there is love there is a song
To help when things are going wrong,
Where there is love there is a smile
To make all things seem more worthwhile,
Where there is love there’s quiet peace,
A tranquil place where turmoils cease…
Love changes darkness into light
And makes the heart take “wingless flight”
Oh, blest are they who walk in love
They also walk with God above,
And when we walk with God again
There shall be peace on Earth for All.

Helen Steiner Rice
~ from the book “Loving Promises” pg 13
Last line adapted for our Inspirational Day

Sep 19, 2015

AWM Retreat May 22-24, 2015

Alberta Mennonite Women THRIVE!

Mennonite Church Alberta Women gathered for another exciting annual women’s retreat at Sunnyside Christian Retreat Centre, Sylvan Lake, Alberta on May 22-24, 2015. The theme, THRIVE, was both inspiring and reflective as women from across Alberta, between the ages of 20 - 80, explored what it means to thrive in Christ. Approximately 60 women joined together to worship, pray, learn, share in meals and most importantly to laugh together at the Saturday Night Variety Show.

The speaker, Faye Reynolds of Lethbridge, Director of Women’s Ministries for Canadian Baptist Ministries, led women through the book of Colossians as well as a number of complimentary biblical passages. Reynolds incorporated her interactive nature, musical abilities, personal stories and humour into her sessions. She emphasized that in order for women to thrive it must not be at the expense of others: men, other women, other cultures or impoverished nations. We must work together to thrive by abiding in God’s amazing love for us that flows through us from the Vine. We are the branches and it is God, the gardener, who should be concerned with the fruit we bear, but our focus must be to remain connected to Christ, the Vine.

In considering others around the world, organizers arranged to partner with a mission project to support a Vietnamese Mennonite Church Calgary Project entitled, Cosmetics for Cows, which collects unused makeup that is resold in Vietnam to buy cows for people in Vietnam. Tea towel sets were also available for sale to contribute money for the same project. The support for this project was a huge success!

The summer-like weather was simply remarkable encouraging women to walk by the lake, read a book by the small chapel or enjoy the fruit we bear, but our focus must be to remain connected to Christ, the Vine. the lake-view and visit in the shade. Aside from the gifted speaker and meaningful worship, the excellent accommodations, delicious food and beautiful setting made for a fantastic atmosphere. The response was resoundingly positive and many participants and organizers are looking forward to the next Mennonite Church Alberta Women Retreat in May 2016.     
Submitted by Darlene Schmidt
THRIVE Organizing Committee