B.C. women ‘at a time of crossroads’

Women’s Ministry celebrates 75 years of service

Story and Photo by Amy Dueckman | B.C. Correspondent
Cutting the celebratory birthday cake for B.C. Women’s Ministry are members of the planning committee: Cheryl Dyck, left, Waltrude Gortzen and Rita Siebert.

Seven-and-a-half decades after its founding, Women’s Ministry of Mennonite Church B.C. celebrated its diamond anniversary on May 3 with a day of memories and celebration. The annual spring Inspirational Day held at Emmanuel Mennonite Church drew 138.

Five past presidents of what was formerly B.C. Women in Mission shared memories of their terms of service spanning the years 1980 to 2007, reflecting on how serving had changed them, and how women’s roles in church and society had changed over the years.

Waltrude Gortzen of B.C. Women’s Ministry then addressed the future. With the dissolution of a formal women’s group in B.C. seven years ago, a small planning committee has been coordinating the spring Inspirational Day and fall retreat each year. Continuing leadership for these events is an ongoing concern, as the same three committee members cannot carry the load indefinitely, she said.

“We are standing yet again at the crossroads,” Gortzen told those present. “Will we be standing here next year or not?” Wondering if this might be the last Inspirational Day, Gortzen added, “Do we need to be worried about Women’s Ministry? I don’t think so. We are all still ministering. It might be in a different format, but it will continue.”

In response, April Yamasaki, Emmanuel Mennonite’s pastor, offered her church facilities again for next year’s event, with the hope that new volunteers will come forward to plan it.

Following lunch, Karen Martens Zimmerly of Winnipeg, denominational minister for Mennonite Church Canada, gave her address based on I Samuel 7:12. She talked of rocks and stones as markers throughout the Old Testament, where piles of stones would let fellow travellers know there had been a meeting place for God. “Transitions are hard,” she acknowledged. “We need markers along the way.”

Zimmerly cited three markers that will continue to serve as women continue in ministry:

  • Worship, Scripture and prayer.
  • Imaginative spirit and creativity.
  • A willingness to see people and serve needs in the community.

Half of the day’s offering of $3,785.60 went to support Camp Squeah kitchen projects, with the other half divided between Mennonite Women Canada international ministries and Lifebridge ministries, a local program helping women in recovery.

--Posted May 21, 2014

Cutting the celebratory birthday cake for B.C. Women’s Ministry are members of the planning committee: Cheryl Dyck, left, Waltrude Gortzen and Rita Siebert.

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