Apr 20, 2017

SGAF RECIPIENTS UPDATE

This past year MW Canada was able to support three women with funds from our Spiritual Growth Assistance Fund (SGAF). Danielle Raimbault lives in Kitchener, ON and is continuing her theological studies at Conrad Grebel College University in Waterloo. Laura Funk lives in Winnipeg, MB and completed her MA in Christian Ministry with a semester at AMBS in Elkhart, Indiana. Marlene Wiebe lives in Gretna, MB and is pursuing a masters degree in Christian Ministry at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg.  

Danielle writes: 
          I have been studying at Conrad Grebel University College in Ontario for three years and will graduate with my Masters of Theology in this August in 2017. Throughout my time at Grebel, I have learned about and researched in many areas that will prove to be helpful in my future work. I currently am working as a youth pastor at Listowel Mennonite Church and a chaplain at a retirement residence. I also continue to be involved at Hawkesville Mennonite Church as the Administrative Assistant and various other volunteer roles I hold there.  
          I am very grateful to Mennonite Women Canada and their support as I worked through my studies at Grebel. It allowed me to continue my various volunteer roles and showed me the excellent body of women that Mennonite Women Canada consists of. 
           Thank you, Danielle Raimbault


Laura presented her update in person. She led the MWCanada executive in an experiential time about fruits of the Spirit. She has now finished her work as a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, which included some Gestalt Spiritual Care (being in the moment, with your body, paying attention to your breath) and preparing Personal Liturgies that felt like sacred group therapy. She learned a strategy called Faith Imagination, which is much like Emmanuel prayer, which is what she now offers people as a spiritual director and presenter through Butterflyjourneys.webs.com. She also offers workshops and retreats. Laura can also be reached at anam.charaid.soul.friend@gmail.com.  

MW Manitoba recently hired Laura to offer a day of Spiritual Enrichment called Journeys with Jesus in April. She will be officially graduating this April and thanked us for our support and allowing her to have a semester at AMBS.
  


Marlene also presented her update to the executive in person and in addition included a written submission which I have included unedited below.  I have selected a couple of paragraphs to specifically highlight here:  

"These years of studying have been life changing for me. Theology is a way through an intricate maze of many thoughts about God, to actually meeting God, although the meeting of God is not easily grasped or explained. The Holy Spirit blows as it will, catching us up in the tail wind, giving us strength and courage to honour Christ by seeing the Passion through with love and compassion."

"I have to take the courage that the Spirit chooses to give me, and trust that God will help me find my way in this path.  I thank God that God has helped me through you. I thank you for your financial support. I thank you for your moral and spiritual support. Thank you for doing all of the work you do, for showing up at the meetings because that is sometimes super hard. But at the meetings you are listening to each other and to the Passion of Christ, the way. May God bless you as you seek to honour Christ in your ministry as Mennonite Women Canada."

Honouring Christ
By Marlene Kruger Wiebe

Matthew 26: 6-16
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you,[a] but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

The Last Supper

      This is a story of a woman who found a way to honour Jesus. Today I would like to make a special point of remembering her at this meeting. Her devotion to Jesus overcame whatever fear she might have had in performing this act of anointing Jesus in a roomful of men. She had particular courage born of love. She was probably not really surprised that the men objected to her action. This was, after all, a culture of male domination. Likely, she could sense that Jesus was a man who would appreciate her gift, and respond with wisdom, not ridicule or dismissal. “What she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
        Ours is a story of searching for a way to honour Jesus. I think of my mother who, decades ago, along with several other women with tremendous courage showed up at the all male  General Board meeting of what was then the General Conference, and through their tears they insisted that women should be allowed on the board. What a way to honor Jesus whose ministry included elevating women and slaves to positions of equality and authority.
        I seek to honour Jesus in everything I undertake in this life. I constantly fall short. I know that. There are times when I wonder if anything I do or think is making a difference, a positive difference in the lives of others. There are so many needs. The poor are with us always, and we seek to respond to those who are poor in spirit, and poor in material goods. We do not throw up our hands, and say it is hopeless! How can we? Honouring Christ leads always to honouring others, especially the weak, and marginalized. And it takes great courage.
         Concerned about the wellbeing of others is a purpose that gives meaning to life; concerned with compassion and love. I guess I don’t really honour Christ by wondering if I am good enough. Christ has called me to help. If Christ thinks I am worthy of being called I cannot really sit around, sipping tea, and hide behind not feeling good enough. We are all good enough. In fact we are more than good enough especially when we acknowledge our bond with Christ and each other.
        The woman who anointed Jesus’ head with expensive perfume found a way that she could show love and devotion to Him, especially in His last few days before the crucifixion. Jesus was on the road to crucifixion to liberate the oppressed and restore them to full freedom in His power to forgive, and empower humanity to continue God’s mission of reconciliation.It was the woman disciples who stayed with Jesus at the foot of the cross in His agony, accompanied His body to the tomb, and were there to meet Him after His resurrection . That took courage.
        The Twelve men had fled not wanting to be associated with Jesus, afraid of being imprisoned themselves. I don’t think it is  a coincidence that right after the story of the woman and the perfume, comes the story of Judas, the betrayer. It was Mary, mother of James and Joseph. Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary, the mother of the sons of Zebedee; Salome; a sister of Mary, Mary Magdala, Mary of Clopas - these women saw the Passion of Jesus through to the end.
        Under duration women have remained committed to the Body of Christ over the centuries, and continue to do so today...many women have suffered and  are suffering under the hands of men, yet women are seeing the Passion through...by Passion I mean the suffering of Christ, and the reason He suffered. It was out of love, it was out of an unshakable desire to see all humanity restored to justice. Free from sin, certainly, but free to make a difference in the world no matter what. When I look at your faces before me, I realize that this  desire to pick up the broken hearted is the reason you are all here, united as executive of Mennonite Church Canada Women.
        What you are doing in your mission is making an impact on so many people. You are involved in responding to Christ’s call. You are doing that, with tremendous courage,  in the face of so much upheaval in our world. We all are, in whatever way we can, according to our spiritual gifts: organization of resources, practical skills, worship, finances, education, and all the ways you choose to anoint Jesus with your expensive perfume. You are helping me to respond to my calling to serve as a chaplain.
        These years of studying have been life changing for me. Theology is a way through an intricate maze of many thoughts about God, to actually meeting God, although the meeting of God is not easily grasped or explained. The Holy Spirit blows as it will, catching us up in the tail wind, giving us strength and courage to honour Christ by seeing the Passion through with love and compassion.
      
         I am going to make a slight shift here.

         I am going to try to tell you one thing about each of my courses:
      In the course, “Who is Jesus”   I found myself walking along dusty roads with Jesus on His road trips performing signs of the kingdom, or I try to think of the kingdom more as relationships. I took “Christian Spirituality, and gained a new appreciation of the Pentecostal movement; how devoted they are to loving Jesus. In “Old Testament,”... well, I fell in love with the Old Testament. It has beautiful imagery about living abundantly and how Yahweh cared so much about the Israelites. The theology of the Old Testament provides the seeds of peace that later grow in the New Testament. In “Christian Foundations of Ministry” I planned a funeral, and presented it to the class. In “The Biblical Story of Hope and Healing,” my concept of the afterlife was altered. Our bodies will be resurrected, not just our spirits. In Methodology, I learned about how methodology helps us to understand issues more completely. I am now taking “God Through the Centuries.” My opening remarks reflect my  reading the theologian, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. Finally I am taking “Pastoral Care,” helping us to respond to the church.
        My area of interest is chaplaincy. I am giving devotionals at a Senior Citizens’ residence. I have visited with about 13 women there. I have prayed with them, and have  never failed to see a change in their faces after praying. To me, that says God has been present with them before ever I stepped into their apartments.
        I get to visit and hear stories about faith in tough times and great times. I can work my insights from class, scripture, and my life into conversation, but mainly I get to listen. We learned in “Pastoral Care” that the ministry of  listening is central to caring for Senior Citizens.
        I have to take the  courage that the Spirit chooses to give me,  and trust that  God will help me find my way in this path.  I thank God that God has helped me through you. I thank you for your financial support. I thank you for your moral and spiritual support. Thank you for doing all of the work you do, for showing up at the meetings because that is sometimes super hard. But at the meetings you are listening to each other and to the Passion of Christ, the way. May God bless you as you seek to honour Christ in your ministry as  Mennonite Church Canada Women.


UPCOMING AREA EVENT - May 6, 2017 - BRITISH COLUMBIA

BC Women's Ministry is inviting all women to their 
Women's Inspirational Day on Saturday, May 6, 2017 
at Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, BC.
Sign in and Coffee at 9:30 am   $20.00 includes Lunch
Register at the door or at mcbc.ca/womens-ministry
Guest Speaker is Marlene Kropf
author of our 2016 Bible Study Guide "Faith Travels"


Apr 7, 2017

CONNECTIONS APRIL 2017

The latest issue of our newsletter is ready to be circulated and has just been posted on our website. CHECK IT OUT HERE.  Read about our new President and Secretary-Treasurer, as well as updates on our projects and what women across Canada are involved in. If you click on "CONNECTIONS" in the sidebar to the right you can read all of the past issues of our newsletters in case you missed any. 

Apr 3, 2017

Women Walking Together in Faith - March 2017 - A latecomer's discovery of MW Canada

Our most recent bi-monthly column was written by secretary-treasurer Elsie Rempel and appeared in the March 13, 2017 issue of the Canadian Mennonite. She begins her article with the following sentence:      "For the many years I worked as an educator in several Mennonite institutions, I did not participate in, nor identify with, organized activities of Mennonite Women Manitoba or the national MW Canada."

Read about her decision to become MW Canada's secretary-treasurer HERE


WISK at FOOTHILLS MENNONITE CHURCH

On Sunday April 2, the WISK group in Foothills Mennonite Church (Calgary, AB) hosted a Spring Luncheon for all the ladies of the church.  WISK stands for Women Intergenerational Seniors to Kids.  The special feature was Ukrainian egg decorating led by Bev Wiens and there was free food, fun and fellowship with friends!

Mar 28, 2017

UPCOMING AREA EVENT - MANITOBA April 29, 2017

MENNONITE WOMEN MANITOBA is inviting all Mennonite women in Manitoba to join them for a day together on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at Bethel Mennonite Church, 465 Stafford Ave. in Winnipeg.  To register please visit www.mennonitechurch.mb.ca or call 204-896-1616.


Mar 17, 2017

UPCOMING AREA EVENT - WMCEC - APRIL 22, 2017

WOMEN OF MENNONITE CHURCH EASTERN CANADA are hosting their annual Spring Enrichment Day on Saturday April 22, 2017 at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, 1333 King St. N. in St. Jacobs, ON N0B 2N0.  Registration forms are available from your church rep or you can register on-line at WMCEC's BLOG.