Marlene Bogard, currently living in Salem Oregon after several decades in Kansas, has joined the Salem Mennonite Church. In Kansas, Marlene served Western District Mennonite Conference as Minister of Christian Nurture and Resource Library director; a role in which she collaborated closely with Mennonite Church Canada's Resource department. Since 2015, she has been the Executive Director of Mennonite Women USA, a role in which she collaborates with MW Canada in the Annual Bible Study Guide (BSG) project.
Elsie: How do you see your faith playing a role in the work that you have chosen?
Marlene: I live out my discipleship in my job. When I use my gifts of administration, creativity, networking, and humour, I feel like I'm in a place where God has called me, I feel alive, useful, rooted, validated.
Elsie: What are some of your challenges?
Marlene: Because the broader Mennonite church is in transition, we need to be more creative in offering meaningful materials, events, and connections. A constant challenge is to imagine how we might attract younger generations of women.
Elsie: What are the highlights?
Marlene: I experience joy when I am with women who gather for support, prayer, and earnest conversation. God's spirit is alive and well in these friendships.
Elsie: What's new among MW USA?
Marlene: In 2017 we are celebrating 100 years of MW history, some of which is shared with our sisters north of the border. Our theme is “Fruit from the Vine” taken from John 15:5. We are happy to announce the publication of “Circles of Sisterhood, a history of Mennonite Women's Organizations” by Anita Hooley Yoder, published by MennoMedia.
Elsie: One ministry of your group, which Canadian women have appreciated, is Sister Care. Can you Share a story with us.
Marlene: A favorite story is about Suzette Schreffler of the Northern Cheyenne in Montana. She attended a Sister Care Seminar in Winnipeg with Indigenous Relations and was so inspired that she is now leading weekly encouragement sessions with young women in detention centers. She uses parts of the Sister Care materials and finds the women very engaged. I believe Sister Care addresses the needs of all women’s hearts, across cultures.