Apr 25, 2018

Mennonite Cookbooks and Women's Voices


 “Listening for the female ministry voice: Mennonite women sharing faith through cookbooks.”
Hi! My name is Lisa Cornish. I am currently completing my Master in Ministry degree with Tabor College in Adelaide, South Australia’s School of Ministry, Theology and Culture department. My thesis supervisor is Dr Marlene Epp, Dean, Professor of History and Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.  I have a deep interest in Mennonite history as well as women’s studies and so I have taken the opportunity to combine both of those interests in my Masters thesis.
I am of Mennonite descent through my mother who was born in Chilliwack, British Columbia (Her maiden name was Warkentin). She married an Australian man in 1972 and has made her home in Australia ever since. I am married with three wonderful teenaged children. I began my ministry studies in 2008. I currently work as an Associate Pastor in a Baptist church but my studies have continued.
In the past, and today in traditional groups, Mennonite women’s primary role was that of homemaker and mother within the family. This role was considered to be a God-given position and so was honoured but was also one that brought with it consistent hard work. Given that the Mennonite faith was a seven-day-a-week lived faith where every member of the community worked out their lives through their faith I am asking the question: how did Mennonite women show and share their faith through their specific gender roles? One aspect of their domestic activity was cooking/food production which provided an avenue for, and interest in, cookbook production. This study focuses specifically on the connection between church/community cookbooks produced by Mennonite women and their expression of faith.
The primary focus of the questionnaire is: Was the advent of the published cookbook a natural “voice” for Mennonite women to share their faith?
The questions in this questionnaire seek to understand whether there is a relationship between the traditional Mennonite woman’s role of homemaker and a sharing of her faith. I would very much appreciate your contribution to it through memories and stories. Please feel free to add as much information as you like- use more sheets of paper as needed.
There is the potential, when filling out this questionnaire, that an emotional response may be triggered  as memories are relived. If this occurs the participant is encouraged to seek out someone they trust, such as a pastor, friend or family member to share and talk through these feelings. 
Questionnaires have been sent out modern Mennonite churches throughout Canada via Pastors as well as through the Mennonite Women Canada organisation. The questionnaire is completely confidential and participation is completely voluntary. However you do have the option to give your name and contact details at the end if you are happy for me to contact you at a later date to ask further questions. All information is remains confidential and will not be used outside of the scope of this study. Information gathered will be used as part of my 20,000 word research thesis. A report of the research will be available to all participants at the end of 2018.
Participation in the study will consist of the completion of an anonymous questionnaire in which you will be asked to complete 13 questions relating to Mennonite cookbooks, food and faith. You may decline to answer any question(s) you prefer not to answer by leaving them blank. Within the questionnaire you will also be asked to include personal memories surrounding these topics. This questionnaire should take no more than 30 minutes to complete. At the completion of the questionnaire you are given the option to provide contact details if you give permission for the researcher to contact you for follow up information. Any follow up interviews would take place either via email or Skype and will take no longer than 30 minutes. Interview questions would be related to information provided in questionnaire answers and be related to gaining further information relevant and important to the research topic.
Please note participation in this study may not provide any personal benefit to you, the participant however the study will benefit the academic and Mennonite communities by continuing to shed more light on the historic contribution of women and to turn a listening ear to the voice of the women who spoke through their cookbooks within and beyond their Mennonite community.
Once you receive the questionnaire you have one month to complete. Please download it on to your computer, fill it in and email it back to me: tca133870@tabor.edu.au or PO Box 627, Nuriootpa, South Australia, Australia, 5355 for those who are completing a hard copy version. Please note that reimbursement for the cost of postage for hard copy completed questionnaires to be posted to Australia is available if required.
If you have any questions, comments or complaints regarding this study, or would like additional information to assist you in reaching a decision about participation, please contact me, Lisa Cornish at the following email address: tca133870@tabor.edu.au 
"This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee (ORE#22868). If you have questions for the Committee contact the Chief Ethics Officer, Office of Research Ethics, at 1-519-888-4567 ext. 36005 or ore-ceo@uwaterloo.ca. "

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