Nov 23, 2018

Women Walking in Faith - October 2018 - Gathering and sharing seeds of faith

President Shirley Redekop wrote about gathering and sharing seeds of faith in her article that appeared in the Canadian Mennonite in October.
Some years ago, a seed was planted in my heart to take a group of intergenerational North American Mennonite women to share faith and life stories with other Mennonite women in an international setting.
This summer, after much planning with TourMagination and excellent guidance from our Tanzanian connector and translator, Esther Muhagachi (presently studying at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary), that seed sprouted when 16 Mennonite women from across Canada and the United States joined me as their tour leader on a caring, sharing safari.
.... for me, the highlight was that the “seeds of faith” we carried with us, and those we gathered from our Tanzanian Mennonite sisters on this trip, bloomed during our time together. And I pray that they will continue to spread and multiply as we seek to bring reconciliation, healing and hope to each other and the world.

You can read the complete article and see more photos at

Shirley Redekop is pictured with a Maasi student from Monduli Village. 
(Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

An Arusha Mennonite Church women sews crafts to sell in aid of
congregational projects.  (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

Women Walking in Faith - August 2018 - A perfect spot for gratitude

Kate Janzen, Mennonite Women Alberta's rep on our executive shared her reflections on gratitude.  She wrote:
Growing up, I never wanted to be a farmer. It seemed like farm machinery always had precedence over a new couch, curtains or nice shoes. Then I met my husband Bob at Rosthern Mennonite Collegiate in Saskatchewan, and he wanted to be a veterinarian. Naively, I never thought this would involve farming, so I taught elementary school while he studied.  
Later, we had three children and moved to a farm west of Calgary, where I’ve seen glimpses of God’s kingdom as I embraced the farming lifestyle.
Bob Janzen built a ‘gratitude bench’ on one of the hills of the family farm and wove
the word eucharisteo (gratitude) onto the fence. (Photo by Kate Janzen)

Women Walking in Faith - June 2018 - Carrying seeds from Colombia to Palestine

Hannah Redekop, daughter of our President Shirley Redekop, shared in her article "Carrying seeds from Colombia to Palestine" as follows: 

Five years ago I set out on a journey with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), providing international accompaniment to human rights defenders in Colombia.  Now, as I transition into new experiences with CPT in Palestine, I will take with me the following lessons I have learned from brave Colombian peacemakers:
Keep sowing seeds of hope. As I left my friend Rubiela’s house on my last visit, she pointed to a large bush that had gone to seed on her front lawn. “Take seeds and plant them, so that you’ll never forget about us,” she said.
To read more of this article please go to

Women Walking Together in Faith - April 2018 - Tending and befriending

After a busy summer and fall, I am trying to catch up with posting several articles that appeared in the Canadian Mennonite.  My apologies for not having kept up-to-date!     ~ Liz Koop

Below are excerpts from Elsie Rempel's article which appeared in the Canadian Mennonite issue dated April 9, 2018.  The complete article can be found at 
Elsie is Mennonite Women Manitoba's Interim Chair and the MW Canada Secretary.

From time immemorial—as the biblical story of Ruth and Naomi illustrates—developing friendships and tending relationships have often been a woman’s “go-to, our have-to, our live for,” especially during times of stress. In the current season of stressful change within Mennonite Church Canada, tending relationships may be especially important to the health of the church. Drawing on women’s gifts for making connections can help us thrive rather than divide or shrivel.
. . . . . . 
As our regional churches take on increased responsibility and ownership of church life, we have new opportunities to use, recognize, celebrate and reap the benefits of this newly named gift.

Mennonite Women Canada and its regional groups want this “tending and befriending” to happen, and we do this by having day-or weekend-long inspirational retreats. For example, MW Manitoba’s annual spring retreat takes place on April 28, 2018, at Charleswood Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, with guest speaker Moira Somers addressing the theme of “Resilience.”    Tend and befriend!

Members of the Mennonite Women Manitoba working group, from left to right: 
Laura Funk, Elsie Rempel, Larissa Pahl, Elsie Wiebe, and Kathy Giesbrecht. 
(Photo courtesy of Elsie Rempel)

Oct 29, 2018



Fall issue is now available!
Elsie Rempel enjoying the fall colours!

Oct 12, 2018

Is Women's Day still relevant?

Participants at the 2017 B.C. Women's Day gather outside to chat.  Changing
times and perspectives on women's ministry have put the future of the
annual gathering in doubt.  (photo by Amy Dueckman)
Mennonite women in British Columbia have been coming together each spring since 1939 for Women’s Inspirational Day, a time of spiritual encouragement and fellowship. But as the planned date of May 6, 2018, approached, still without a coordinator or location for the event, some were questioning whether the annual spring gathering has seen its day.

Waltrude Gortzen, who has acted as Mennonite Church BC’s women’s coordinator for 10 years, stepped down earlier this year. She had been the driving force behind keeping this annual event going, along with the fall women’s retreat.  “I’ve been asking and asking for new members, and nobody has stepped up,” says Gortzen. “This year I said, ‘I’m done.’ I’ve been here 10 years. If it falls through the cracks, it falls through the cracks.”

Not wishing to see the event die after almost 79 years, Janette Thiessen, MC BC’s office administrator, took up the reins herself. She arranged for Elsie Rempel of Winnipeg to speak, found a caterer and contacted four churches to host before getting a successful response from Langley Mennonite Fellowship. She also dropped the word “inspirational” from the event, instead promoting it as simply Women’s Day.

“I couldn’t see it not happening,” says Thiessen. “I’m of the era that says I will keep something going until it doesn’t seem practical anymore. Are we flogging a dead horse? When 100 women show up, I think it’s worth it.”

Times have changed since 1939, when BC Women in Mission (BCWM) held its first Inspirational Day. At that event, the offering taken to be used for purchasing sewing materials totalled $2. Women of the day were gathering regularly to sew materials for overseas relief and missions projects. Modern women who do not sew, who are employed outside the home, or who have other social activities in their lives, no longer find such a model relevant.

Gortzen says the planning committees don’t know how to reach the younger women. “Younger generations are plain not interested; they have no clue to our history,” she says. “They say ‘It’s not for me, it’s for the older women.’ Or they say, ‘We have our care group, why do we need anything else?’ ”

Thiessen believes there is a tension in trying to find topics and speakers to cater to younger women and satisfying older women who have been coming faithfully for many years. She believes that “younger women aren’t so much into conferences. They’re more into their blogs and other things.”

Sue Kehler, who was BCWM president from 1994 to ’96, recalls planning and participating in many Inspirational Days. Now in her 80s, she still enjoys attending. She recalls when Women’s Day was up to an entire day or a day-and-a-half long.  “I believe strongly that women should certainly have a voice in the church and do believe [the Women’s Days] have been serving a purpose,” says Kehler. “It is true that we are struggling, and I think the biggest reason is that younger [women] want to do things together with their husbands.”

So far, the fall women’s retreat at Camp Squeah has been well attended, but it too is dependent on a volunteer committee. Two committee members are ending their terms this year, so the future of the retreat remains to be seen.   

“If we don’t have a women’s coordinator, I don’t know that we can continue,” says Thiessen.

This article was written by Amy Dueckman (BC Correspondent for the Canadian Mennonite) and appeared in the April 23, 2018 edition.

Oct 4, 2018

Vineland Women host Carol Penner

Eighteen women gathered on Monday afternoon for the opening session of the 2018-19 Women's Bible Study at Vineland United Mennonite Church.  The leaders, Adelaide Fransen and Mary Eleanor Penner, had invited Carol Penner, the writer of the 2018 Bible Study Guide "Every Day Worship" to join us.  We were delighted and honoured that she accepted.   Carol's warm and friendly smiles cheered up everyone on this dreary fall afternoon and we enjoyed hearing how she came to be the writer and how she decided on the theme for this devotional booklet.  After autographing our copies of "Every Day Worship" Carol led us through the first lesson and we enjoyed visiting over coffee, tea and refreshments.  Our group meets every other Monday afternoon through the fall and winter.  Carol mentioned that she would be delighted to meet with other groups in the area who are using her material.  She can be reached at

Carol autographing our copies of "Every Day Worship"

Carol has a blog with worship resources at