The following is an update from Mennonite Women Canada. We do not have our 'CONNECTIONS' newsletter ready for printing yet, but decided to go ahead and post this article written by Shirley Redekop, our President, and Elsie Rempel, our Secretary-Treasurer. It will also be part of our next 'CONNECTIONS' which we hope to publish in late November/early December.
Waiting in the Toronto airport to fly to the Special Assembly in Winnipeg, I (Shirley) saw a poster on the wall saying, “when the ground beneath your feet is shifting, do you stand still or leap forward?” Since I was thinking about opening devotions for our Executive meeting, I felt a nudge from God saying this should be my focus.
Following the Assembly, Mennonite Women Canada Executive, plus several other women leaders met together to discuss what changes may happen for us. We chose Leaping Ahead from Shaky Ground as the theme for our next newsletter.
We were relieved the motion we presented resulted in a commitment from MC Canada to continue to keep us under their administrative umbrella and welcome our women’s meetings at future nationwide gatherings. Tany Warkentin has been our administrative financial support staff at MC Canada. Her position will end at the end of November and we will so miss her caring and helpful spirit over and above her financial help. We wait to hear how we will be supported in the new structure. Thanks Tany! God’s blessings!
Coreena Stewart (CAO for MC Canada) was a valuable support to MW Canada helping with Assembly planning for our meetings throughout the years. We took time to reminisce, share thanks, laughs, tears, and send her with a blessing for her new ventures. We happily accepted her willingness to volunteer for us in the future.
Waltrude Gortzen, a long-term executive rep for MCBC Women's Ministry, announced she will step down from her leadership role in the spring. What a significant gift she has been in so many ways! We will miss her in this role. Thankfully she agreed to continue on the Communications Committee, along with our past president, Liz Koop.
We were pleased to welcome June Miller from MC Alberta, who also agreed to be a part of the Communications Committee. Kate Janzen is the executive rep for MC Alberta.
Mel Harms continues as the rep for MC Sask. Kathy Giesbrecht, staff at MC Manitoba represented MW Manitoba, since they don’t have a president as yet. Since WMCEC is also looking for a lead coordinator, Carmen Brubacher (program chair) joined us.
We are supporting two women through our Spiritual Growth Assistance Fund (SGAF). Hyunhee Kim, a North Korean Christian who escaped to South Korea and is now studying Peace Studies at CMU, shared some of her story with us and thanked us for the support. Marlene Wiebe is in Chaplaincy Studies at CMU and sent her thanks. Watch for their stories in video on our blog.
International Ministry Projects continue even through this time of flux at MC Canada, with changes expected regarding funding. Information sheets and/or videos about these workers will soon be available. Because of resettlement expenses we will continue our support of Christina and Darnell Barkman until FYE 2019. We will also continue supporting Tom and Christine Poovong during this transition.
We chose to add SouYoun Park/Bo Ki Kim in South Korea as our preferred possibility to support through our Pennies and Prayer Legacy Fund (PPLF) until FYE 2019.
We plan to continue producing the Women's Bible Study Guides although we need to adjust to new realities. Menno Media can no longer ship individual copies from Harrisonburg to our congregations, so we deliberated how best to do this in the future. CommonWord Bookstore in Winnipeg is willing to order, distribute, and provide a discount for us. Please direct your group and individual orders to Arlyn Friesen Epp, director of CommonWord at firstname.lastname@example.org This will be more reliable as structures and staffing at the denominational and regional level change. Carol Penner from Vineland, Ontario is the writer for the 2018 BSG: Every Day Worship.
Nationwide and the Regional Churches are working on a joint website. That site will have a page that brings us back to the Mennonite Women Canada Blog. Any information from our current page on the Mennonite Church Canada website will be transferred to our blog. Anyone is welcome to write for our blog. Or if you've got other ideas, or have a story about your group, please share them on our Mennonite Women Canada FaceBook and blog pages.
Our income this year is down to about 80% of what we received in the first nine months of last year. Mennonite Women Canada's work will continue with relatively minor changes as our denomination restructures. As a matter of fact, we can be proactive in keeping International Witness workers serving joyfully by committing to support them through MW Canada and by lobbying our congregations to come on board as congregational partners. We continue to need your donations!
MW Canada is exploring new ways for women to connect and belong. One of these ways is a Women to Women: Sharing Together Tour to Tanzania in August 2018. The participants will join with Tanzanian Mennonite Women leaders, learn more about Sister Care Seminars, building bridges between us. Shirley Redekop will be a tour leader. More information on the tour is on the Tourmagination website.
The next nationwide gathering of Mennonite Church Canada is planned for July of 2019; MW Canada is leaping forward to another wider gathering of Mennonite Women Canada there.
Please continue to pray for the painful changes at MC Canada and the staff that are affected; also for new beginnings for nationwide and regional churches and women’s groups as we trust in God to be beside us as we leap.
May you find connection and belonging through MW Canada!
~ Shirley Redekop
~ Elsie Rempel
(For more information about the work of MW Canada please follow the coloured, highlighted links.)