Mennonite Women USA
May 2015 
Noteworthy News

The merry month of May is here!


Spring brings forth flowers, early garden produce, rain and storms both because of seasonal variations and because there is supposed to be change. Change can be somewhat jarring, but it is essential to growth and vitality. 


In the midst of a world of fear, turmoil, and change, may we as women be the hope that represents Christ's ever-constant love in our families, neighborhoods and churches. 


Enjoy reading these snippets of hope, change and vitality!



Mennonite Women USA staff 

A Resurrection Prayer

by Terri J. Plank Brenneman

Daffodils, lenten roses, and dogwood trees flower. 

     Squirrels chase, dig, and climb bird feeders.

Tulip leaves sprout, 

     woodland myrtle displays a brilliant periwinkle.

Ducks, geese and swans wake, honk, quack
     as their little ones hatch.

Robins speckle the lawn. Thunder rumbles.

Tiny nubs on stick branches 

     unfurl into yellow flowers and green leaves.


As winter dormancy again flows with life juice, 

     like maple sap for syrup,

     may our own blood begin to flow anew.

May we find ourselves drawn into the outdoors where new life abounds,

     though the full form of what is to be is hidden.

          What color will those tulips be?

          Is that a plant or a weed? Do I let it grow or pull it out?


Be present to us, O Lord,

     as we attune ourselves to the seeds planted, and new growth within us.

May we nurture, water, weed, and tend to the buds of renewal and refreshment

     in our spirits and our daily lives.

May our resurrection come to be in you.


Terri J. Plank Brenneman, PhD, is a clinical psychologist practicing in Goshen, Indiana, focusing on healthy lifestyle, life stage transitions, and deepening the inner life. She also writes, leads enrichment retreats, enjoys music, reading, and the outdoors.

Mennonite Women will be at Kansas City 2015 and we want to connect with you!


Visit our booth to:

  • Get different, fun giveaways everyday!
  • Connect with staff and board members.
  • Buy raffle tickets for beautiful prizes (like the t-shirt quilt and gift baskets!)
When you register for convention be sure to:
  • Sign-up for the MW dinner to enjoy a delicious meal and fellowship with other women from around the country.  Meet International Women Scholarship recipients and receive inspiration from  Goshen College women presenting powerful monologues.
  • Watch for a special invitation to attend a tea at the Aladdin Hotel on Saturday, July 4.

Look out for Mennonite Women - we are everywhere! 

by Rhoda Keener

Kalona Mennonite Church, Kalona, Iowa, hosted the Sister Care seminar on April 17-18 for nearly 70 women. Sister Care seminars are led by Carolyn Heggen and Rhoda Keener.  


Suzette Shreffler who also attended the Sister Care in Winnipeg for Native American women, wrote: "It was well worth the 1,000 miles to drive from Montana to Iowa. We are going to hold a Sister Care for wives of pastors, church ladies, and then the community."


See Kalona Sister Care pictures.


Find out where Sister Care will be next!

Sister Care 

If you are planning on attending the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania July 21-26, consider participating in our workshop.

Rhoda Keener and Carolyn Heggen will be presenting a workshop titled, "Sister Care: Global Contextualization & Testimonials".

Marlene Bogard, the new Executive Director of Mennonite Women USA, is excited to meet you! Marlene is invested in learning all she can about the work and needs of your communities, women's groups and congregations.


How to Meet-Up with Marlene:

To connect with Marlene consider scheduling a "Meet-Up with Marlene." Here are the different ways you can Meet-Up with Marlene:

  • SPEAK: Invite her to speak at your women's retreat or area conference where Mennonite women and girls gather. (Consider maximizing her in-person time with you by creating several engagements during her visit with many different area groups and functions like a tea, a luncheon, a retreat, a Sunday School class, a Bible study, a young adults group, etc.)
  • SKYPE: Schedule a video Skype call with Marlene during a Mennonite women gathering for a short Q&A information session about the work of MW USA or a devotional.

Marlene's areas of expertise:

  • Creative prayer practices
  • Hospitality
  • Mentoring
  • Family ministry
  • Multi-generational ministry
  • Prevention of sexual abuse in the congregation

Schedule your Meet-Up with Marlene:

Timbrel Highlights  

 "I do it for the animals.


On the surface, this appears to be a simple answer to a fairly straightforward question: why are you vegan? Yet my commitment to veganism is influenced by my understanding about God, the place of people in creation, the purpose of other animals and the nature of the "good news," as well as how I read the Bible. It is also tied to my identity as a Black Anabaptist woman who works at undoing oppression..."

IWF Spotlight 

Idaira, together with her husband, are doing a wonderful job of pastoring the Iglesia Evangelica Unida of Chepo (United Evangelical Church).


She is emerging as a leader in the field of Bible theology in the ministry directed for women, and soon will be a teacher that dominates the Wounan language. 


Complete 2015 

The Kitchen Table
Pam Risser
from The Burning Bush
, Franklin Mennonite Conference newsletter 


"I recently had the privilege of helping my oldest daughter and her family as she recuperated from the birth of her third child. As each of my daughters have given birth I have been able to spend the first week with them doing the cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, caring of older children and lots of cuddling of the newborn so that the new mothers could get the rest that their bodies needed. My mother did the same for me and all my sisters." 


Sister Care DVD & Facilitator Guide Now Available!

The Sister Care seminar is now available on DVD with 12 sessions for small groups, retreats, or Sunday school classes. An easy to use 40-page facilitator's guide written by Rhoda Keener and Carolyn Heggen accompanies the DVD.

Each DVD session taught by Carolyn Heggen or Rhoda Keener averages 12-15 minutes in length with total viewing time of 166 minutes. The facilitator's guide offers suggested scripture, songs, and additional questions and activities for participants. Each participant will need a Sister Care: Equipping Women for Caring Ministry manual.  Click here for introductory video.


Sister Care resources are currently available from the MW USA office*

DVD + Facilitator Guide: $25

DVD + Facilitator Guide + Sister Care participant manual package: $30

Sister Care manuals:  
1-4 - $10 each
5-9 - $ 9 each

More than 10 - $ 8 each

*Shipping costs additional


Read more about this exciting resource plus testimonials from Sara Wenger Shenk, Meghan Good, Elizabeth Soto Albrecht and Marlene Harder Bogard.

Marian Sauder Egli Responds to Timbrel's Food
 Justice Issue

"I enjoyed every article in the Timbrel spring
issue. I find that refrigeration is an issue in understanding "Food Justice."  


For a couple years I shared a church-owned apartment in Harlem, NYC with a friend. We chose to eat and cook separately since we were seldom there at the same time and had differing food choices.


The refrigerator met apartment code standards but was smaller than anywhere I had lived up to that time.  We couldn't buy in bulk or make a large kettle of soup to then divide into smaller portions and freeze due to space."


Read Marian's full reflection.

"In 2016 I will complete my second term on the Mennonite Women board. Eight fruitful and meaningful years that have blessed me in so many ways. 

These years have been fruitful as MWUSA launched Sister Care. I remember the intense and deep discussions as Rhoda Keener shared the vision God had placed in her heart...a vision that women would have the opportunity to learn how to care for one another in healthy and meaningful ways. 

I remember the times of prayer and searching as we deliberated over the feasibility of such an endeavor, both in terms of the monetary cost, as well as the physical, spiritual and emotional costs of those who would ultimately lead the seminars.

And what a fruitful ministry it has become...

by Rhoda Keener

"Marlene Bogard began her work as executive director of Mennonite Women USA a month ago on April 13. For the five weeks between the time that Ruth Guengerich retired on March 8 and Marlene began on April 13, I assumed the "Interim Executive Director" role.

One would think a person would not organize nearly every closet in her house during this busy interlude, but that's exactly what I did; I began calling it the "Marlene effect."


All I really wanted to do was clear off the Mennonite Women shelves in our sunroom so I could bring my books in from the garage where they had been stored for the past 14 years. And, I wanted to move the Mennonite Women desk to the other side of the room-making room someday for a breakfast nook.


One thing led to another...

Mennonite Women USA donations double since 2001
Rebekah Basinger (left) and Rhoda Keener at their Panera "office" with the MW USA giving page in the background.

by Anita Hooley Yoder

Rhoda Keener was a reluctant fundraiser.

"I would tease her that our meetings felt more like therapy sessions," said Rebekah Basinger, an organizational consultant. "And she's the trained counselor!"

Basinger started working regularly with Keener in 2003, about two years after Keener became director of Mennonite Women USA (formerly Mennonite Women), the denominational women's organization of Mennonite Church USA. Basinger shared her understanding of fundraising as a ministry, a spiritual act in itself, not something you just add on to help you do ministry.

"That really resonated with Rhoda," Basinger said in a January 2015 interview. "She shaped her whole approach to fundraising around that idea. And I really believe that's been the key to the success."

The "success" Basinger refers to is the transformation of Mennonite Women USA (MW USA) from a floundering organization-like many of today's church-related groups--to a now stable and relatively thriving one, financially and otherwise...

Give to Mennonite Women USA

Giving to MW USA online is so easy! Give today...transform tomorrow...
2015 Sister Care seminars
  • MC USA Kansas City convention workshops :: June 30-July 5
    • Sister Care: Level II
    • Sister Care: DVD resource
  • Mennonite World Conference workshops :: July 21-26
    • Sister Care: Global Contextualization and Testimonials
  • NEW - SAVE THE DATE :: Sister Care Level 2 :: Camp Hebron,
    Halifax, Pennsylvania :: October 2-4
  • Goshen College pilot for college women :: October 9-10
  • Atlantic Coast Conference, Pennsylvania :: Compassionate Care for pastoral care leaders and teams :: October 23
  • Cuba :: November
2016 Sister Care seminars
  • Newton/Hesston, Kansas :: January 29-30
  • Kenya :: April
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba :: May 13-14
From The Mennonite 
Small group with Dorothy Yoder Nyce, Izaete Romao Araujo Nafziger
and Karla Minter.
Heart with loving heart united
by Andre Gingerich Stoner

A few weeks ago about 40 people gathered in a church fellowship hall to reflect on what we are learning from interchurch relations that might help us in our intra-church relations.

What are we learning from relationships with Lutherans and Pentecostals, for example, that can help us be church together in our own Mennonite community?

Read more.

Gifts to honor and remember


Mennonite Women USA invites persons to share financially to support this ministry. Individuals are invited to give in honor of, or in memory of, significant people in their lives. We recognize that each gift honors or remembers a relationship. 


Gifts given by:

     Naomi Bontrager in memory of Ruth Hartman.

Gifts given by:

     Jeanne Zook in honor of Clara Linn Pierson.



"Let nothing bother you.

Let nothing scare you.

Everything changes, always.

Only God is steady and changeless."


- Teresa of Avila,  Prayers -


Peace and love,

The Mennonite Women USA staff   

718 N. Main Street // Newton, KS 67114 // 316-281-4396