Sorry, sad or glad . . . it’s better together

May 8, 2013 | Viewpoints
By Waltrude Gortzen | Mennonite Women Canada

“Write about things that make you glad, sad or sorry,” advised a Facebook friend recently, after I asked for writing ideas for this page. But, truth be told, I was really wondering how to start on something that was already swirling around in my mind and weighing down on me.

My topic involved relationships within the wider church body, which originated during discussions at Mennonite Women Canada executive meetings in March. But I had no idea how to present it until this tip posted on my Facebook wall offered an interesting framework. Here’s the outcome:

  • I’m sorry, as are many other MW Canada women, that Women in Mission got to a place in British Columbia (2007) and in Manitoba (2009) that resulted with the ending of their ministries.
  • I’m sad that, after 68 years of B.C. Women in Mission and four years into the new MC B.C. Women’s Ministry, our B.C. committee still regularly gets asked, “Why do we send funds to MW Canada?” “Where in the bigger scheme of things do we even fit in?” “What is the value in having a church-based women’s group?” “Why do we even bother?”

In this age of electronic and social media, when women have an abundance of opportunities for higher education, better jobs and bigger careers, it’s so old fashioned, isn’t it?

And, yes, there was a time in my mid-20s when I felt the same way. Participating in a woman’s group was never part of my plans and I couldn’t see why I should get involved. Additionally, not being Canadian-born, and still speaking with an accent today, making new friends was scary and intimidating. So it took several attempts, over several years, before I joined a group and began to understand the value of “belonging.” But now:

  • I’m glad—no, make that happy and grateful—that this “belonging” has provided me with endless hours of fun and many new friends with whom to laugh and serve the Lord together. I will be forever grateful to the Christian sisters of Sherbrooke Mennonite Church, Vancouver, who didn’t give up up on me. In turn, I don’t want to give up on inviting others into this circle of blessing no matter where my home church might be.
  • I’m glad, too, that MW Canada has this page in Canadian Mennonite where we can continue to address these questions and look for answers together, as the new graphic, approved by MW Canada executive members, illustrates. Together, we can do so much more in God’s vineyard, and isn’t that what it’s really all about?

If you agree, why not give your local women’s group a try, or, if there isn’t one in your area, consider starting a new group yourself? Then look for ways to connect to the larger church body that is across the street and around the world. That would make a whole lot of women glad!

For more information about MW Canada’s ministries, check out these links:

Waltrude Gortzen is the MC B.C. Women’s Ministry representative to MW Canada, and a member of Emmanuel Mennonite Church, Abbotsford.

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