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

Women of MCEC - April 18, 2015

Linda Wiens, Communicator for WMCEC, wrote the following report on the Spring Enrichment Day held on April 18, 2015.  The theme was Helping Vulnerable Women.  Note:  The names of the women 
in the photos I received were not noted.

As I sit in comfort in my modest, air conditioned home on this very hot day (28°C) in Ontario, I am reminded that I am truly blessed.  Today I’m thinking about the ladies living in Nepal (also 28°C…hmmm) that the Women of MCEC learned about at the Spring Enrichment Day in April.  They too have the same soaring temperatures and humidity that we have, with perhaps crying babies to nurse, other children to feed, possibly a husband, and yes, some of these women need to work outside the home just like us.  Here’s the difference: some work in the sex trade by choice, chance or even slavery.  It was very difficult for us (WMCEC) to hear stories of some of the more than 10,000 women and young girls who line up daily to sell their bodies.  Imagine being 13 years old, kidnapped, then forced into prostitution.  Suppose you were so poor that your own mother sold you so the rest of the family could eat.       

Some of the lucky ones have gotten out of that cycle of poverty and servitude through the efforts of a visionary couple who created a self-sustaining company called FREESET.  They started it in 2001 in the “most infamous sex district in Kolkata, India.”  The sole purpose of this company is to set women free (and their families by extension).  Initially, 20 brave women seized the opportunity to get out of the sex trade, and learned new skills: sewing, cutting, creating quality and marketable products such as handbags.  Consider their joy in finding employment that offers dignity, safety, fair wages and even a health plan!  Things that we feel entitled to and take for granted.

WMCEC members also heard about a company called, ELEGANTEES, based in New York City. According to their mission statement they exist “to provide hope to victims of sex trafficking through providing sewing work. A positive source of income that reinforces independence, a healthy self-image, and confidence restoring lives one elegant tee at a time.”  Their design centre team worked with local NYC survivors teaching sewing for 2 years, but due to unforeseen difficulties needed to be suspended.  The company hopes to open a retail store where more structure and a simpler training process can be established.  In the meantime, the company is involved with The Nepali Rescue Project that finds and returns over 20,000 victims of trafficking each year.  Elegantees employ some of these women at their Nepal sewing centre, thereby providing them with a much brighter future.
Spring Enrichment Day attendees enjoyed a fashion show featuring the FREESET handbags, ELEGANTEES fashions, and HOPE’S GATE JEWELRY.  Although information was provided about all 3 companies, further data is available through websites.  All proceeds from purchases went to support the vulnerable women that these companies provide assistance to. 
Sadly, Canada is not immune to marginalizing or exploiting vulnerable women.  Abuse comes in many forms.  Sometimes it’s right in our homes.  If you are looking for tools to provide personal healing, responding effectively to the needs of others, recognizing and celebrating God’s grace in your life while regaining lost confidence, then consider attending a Canadian version of Sister Care.  See MCEC’s website and link to WMCEC for details. 
Lastly, I was impressed once again with MCC Ontario.  Do you know about TOOLS?  I didn’t.  The acronym stands for: TORONTO ONTARIO OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEARNING & SERVICE.  Their mission statement is to respond to poverty by walking along side marginalized people with compassion and caring.  Did I mention how proud I am to be a Mennonite?  And a Woman of MCEC.     ~ Linda Wiens

Current executive of Women of MCEC
Coordinator Phyllis Ramer introducing guest

Song leader for the day

Gathering to worship and sing praises!

Modeling T-shirt and bag (1)
Modeling T-shirt and bag (2)

Modeling T-shirt and bag (4)
Modeling T-shirt and bag (3)

Sep 17, 2015

Saskatchewan Women in Mission - April 25, 2015

The following report of the Saskatchewan Women in Mission Enrichment Day/Annual Meeting was written by Lois Siemens and appeared in the June 8, 2015 Canadian Mennonite under the title “Women’s group votes to disband". 

“It all feels so final,” someone said during lunch at the 73rd annual meeting of Saskatchewan Women in Mission (SWM) hosted by Zoar Mission Circle in Waldheim, Sask., on April 25. She was referring to a vote taken that morning to disband. After several years of difficulty finding women to fill executive and program positions on the committee we chose to let it go. By a very slim margin the women present voted to disband.

The program committee had prepared for this possibility and offered a litany of thanks to honour all women over the years who participated, to remember and to say the first goodbye.

We sang, “Now Thank We All Our God,” ate bread together and took a final photograph of the group of 65 women. Outgoing president Myrna Sawatzky lamented the loss of dollars for the many organizations that SWM presently supports, from Witness workers to Rosthern Junior College (RJC). While it felt final, the group voted in favour of a motion to develop a position within Mennonite Church Saskatchewan to represent women and to organize events.

The earliest group of women organized in Rosthern in 1906-07. In 1941, David Toews asked the women’s groups to organize an evening program at the Canadian Conference in Laird. It was so much fun that they met at the 1943 Canadian Conference in Langham and voted to organize the Saskatchewan Women’s Missionary Conference.

Mrs. Hugo Bartel of Drake was chosen as the first president, Mrs. G.G. Epp of Eigenheim as secretary-treasurer and Mrs. P.B. Willms of Saskatoon as the third member. The first project was the Margareta Toews Scholarship for a needy girl at RJC. SWM continued to support RJC and to offer scholarships. Projects have ranged from supporting missionaries at home and abroad, to making quilts, bandages, soap and layettes.

Conversations in the foyer on April 25 were subdued yet hopeful. The afternoon program focussed on “Voices of change: Navigating life’s transitions.” Patty Friesen led the group through three stages of transition, drawing from the Book of Ruth: endings, transition and new beginnings. Naming what many have experienced, Friesen wove our story together with the biblical text. Transition, she said, is “finding our way in the darkness.” As a new beginning, she offered a vision of hope with the image of birth.

Between each presentation women moved into groups and shared music that helped them cope through an ending, created something new out of yarn and built a recipe for change. Several groups, holding up their yarn creation, reflected that one strand is easily broken, but three together are strong. Alice Pilatus and Mary Loewen created a bird’s nest out of yarn—a fitting image for the three stages of transition. 

The recipes for change were inspiring and included humour, good music, patience, flexibility, prayer, joy, friendship, generosity, thankfulness and love.


This past spring our area church women's organizations hosted their annual events. I just realized that I hadn't posted the write-ups or photos from those events so today I am going to try to get caught up with that. Then early next week I will post the announcements for the fall events that are scheduled. These events are open to all women and you are welcome to invite a friend.

Mennonite Women Canada did not host an event this summer since we only meet when Mennonite Church Canada Assembly convenes. Since 2012 this has been happening every two years. In 2012, which was MW Canada's 60th Anniversary, we met in Vancouver, BC. In 2014 we met in Winnipeg, MB and in 2016 we will be meeting in Saskatoon, SK.  We still publish an annual report each year. These reports will soon be available on our website.  

Sep 14, 2015

Tom and Christine Poovong in Thailand

Join the Ride for Refuge (October 3) in support of Tom and Christine Poovong as they provide holistic pastoral leadership to the Maliwan Mennonite Church, an emerging Christian community in Khon Kaen, Thailand.  Check out the VIDEO HERE where Tom shares about their ministry.

Sep 1, 2015

Spark Publications - ordering update!

Two previous posts gave you some detailed information about our cooperative publishing ventures with Mennonite Women USA and MennoMedia.

A complementary copy of our 12-session Bible Study Guide is sent to churches and/or women's groups that are affiliated with Mennonite Church Canada. Address lists are compiled by our provincial/area reps and are updated each year. Please check with your pastor, church administrator or women's rep/coordinator to see if it has arrived! If you find this Bible Study Guide useful please consider sending a donation to help with the publication costs. Donations can be made through our website

To order additional copies please order from the Kitchener office 
through Craig Anderson at 1-800-631-6535 or 519-747-5722. 
You can also order on line through MennoMedia.  
The cost for each guide is approximately $10.00.  

The Spark Retreat Kit includes Bible studies, a creative guide, a participant guide and a director’s guide. The retreat kit is intended to be comprehensive with easy-to-follow directions, equipping women on a leadership team to lead the retreat themselves, and helpful for team building for women’s groups of all sizes and ages. More information about the Retreat Kit is available at

Please place your order for the Retreat Kits 
through Craig Anderson (MennoMedia Kitchener office) 
at 1-800-631-6535 or 519-747-5722. 

The cost for the Retreat Kit is approximately $75.00 US plus shipping. If you are a member of a Mennonite Church Canada congregation please mention that to Craig when ordering as Mennonite Women Canada will receive a commission which we will use to offset our publication costs.  

We at Mennonite Women Canada trust you will find these 
resources enriching and inspriring!