There were rich experiences and mixed emotions at the Women of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s Spring Enrichment Day, hosted by Floradale Mennonite Church on April 13. Along with inspiring worship and powerful storytelling, discernment about the future was on the agenda.
Marilyn Rudy-Froese, church leadership minister for MC Eastern Canada, framed the day with reflections on the theme, “Travelling companions: We don’t know where we’re going, but we know how to get there!” Using the Bible, personal stories and prayer practices, she reflected on “wilderness experiences”—unsettling and difficult times that call for profound trust and hope in God for a new way forward.
Carmen Brubacher facilitated discussion during the business meeting. A combination of an aging demographic and difficulty finding volunteers led the current executive to name that what worked in the past isn’t working anymore. The executive brought a motion forward to dissolve its existing structure effective the end of December 2019, and to put in place a working group to discern the way forward.
Brubacher was quick to point out that this doesn’t mean nothing will happen in the future. It just won’t happen under the current structure.
Women expressed deep gratitude for what has been and lamented the losses, but in the end they endorsed the motion. Two people volunteered to be part of a working group going forward, hopeful that new things can take shape.
The decision to dissolve the organization comes after other regional bodies have done the same across MC Canada.
The day ended with communion, symbolizing the deep connections women have felt through this organization over the years.
As part of the Women of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s Spring Enrichment Day, Gloria Bauman, left, reflected on her journey with cancer, and Rita Bauman spoke of moving from her home in Abbotsford, B.C., to a dairy farm in Ontario. Journey and wilderness were themes for the April 13 event at Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church. (Photo by Barb Draper)