Mission, ministry and mothers in faith… many reasons to celebrate

This month, the Herald is coming to you with a hefty 44 pages of celebration!

In preparation for Gathering 2014, we’ve chosen to highlight some things happening within the Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC), as we work together to multiply Christ-centred churches to see Canada transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ. As we watch the Lord at work, it’s clear his Spirit is hemming us in “behind and before” (Psalm 139:5), moving in miraculous and beautiful ways.

From building community to stewarding resources to developing leaders to multiplying churches, CCMBC is helping local churches fulfill their mission, serve their communities and become a unified body of believers across Canada.

We’re grateful to 6P Marketing for helping us lay out pages 6–21 with a fresh and bold design. Stay tuned for more of this same look in coming months.

Women of valour

During this Mother’s Day month, we also wanted to celebrate some “Proverbs 31” women within our denomination. According to author Rachel Held Evans, Proverbs 31:10 (“A woman of valour who can find? She is worth more than rubies”) is actually a blessing, not a to-do list.

Eshet chayil  – woman of valour – has long been a blessing of praise in the Jewish community. Husbands often sing the line from Proverbs 31 to their wives at Sabbath meals. Women cheer one another through accomplishments in homemaking, career, education, parenting and justice by shouting a hearty “eshet chayil!” after each milestone. Great women of the faith, like Sarah and Ruth and Deborah, are identified as women of valour.

In that spirit of celebration, here’s my list of just a few MB women of valour.

KarolynKarolyn Burch is the newly appointed director of ministry to church planter spouses with the C2C Network. Karolyn has a heart for women’s ministry and has spoken at numerous retreats and conferences on the theme of freedom in Christ. Karolyn’s passion for helping people build godly, healthy marriages is truly contagious.

Esther Corbett is on staff with MB Mission in the area of intercessory prayer. Esther hails from Williams Lake, B.C., and has had a critical role in prayer training, intercession, and discernment alongside MB Mission’s senior leadership. Esther – with her gentle soul – has spent decades seeking the Lord’s face for direction and blessing for the MB denomination.

LorraineLorraine Dick has a deep love for the MB church, which she has long served as pastor and leader across Canada and abroad. She currently works as pastor of administration and equipping at House For All Nations, a multi-ethnic, multisite MB church in Metro Vancouver. Her wisdom, gentleness and compassion are evident in all she does, particularly the way she supports seniors and mentors young leaders.

Dora-DueckWhat’s a denomination without artistic and creative leadership? Dora Dueck, former associate editor of the MB Herald, leads with words and imagery and thoughtful analysis of the human – and particularly the Mennonite – experience. Her novel, This Hidden Thing, won the 2011 McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award, and What You Get at Home won the 2013 High Plains Book Award for Short Stories.

Bethany_Darlene Klassen.webDarlene Klassen is one of our beloved Mennonite Brethren educators, serving as instructor in church ministries and internship coordinator at Bethany College, Hepburn, Sask. Darlene is passionate about discipleship and integrating life with faith. She is a thoughtful and articulate teacher, always ready to share a word of encouragement and hope. Darlene has also been involved at the conference level, participating on multiple boards, and authored a recent book for children who grieve called What Kind of Goodbye? Her advocacy for children and youth has made a significant impact on our denomination.

Michelle-PennerMichelle Penner is event planner for the Canadian conference. With an eager spirit and contagious smile, Michelle is always ready to jump into new ministry endeavours and find ways to build community. She currently plans events – from Gathering to Pastors Credentialing Orientation, from retreats to study days – for our national and provincial bodies. If you see Michelle at a registration table, feel free to give her a high five or ask her a question – she’s happy to accommodate both requests.

louise-sinclair-peters sanchez_karenThe women of MB Mission’s Team 2000 – Carmen Owen, Louise Sinclair-Peters and Karen Sanchez – model faithfulness and courage. In 2000, they committed to 10 years of service in Thailand, moving households, children and dreams halfway across the world. Today, these women are still giving leadership to various ministries in Thailand, including member care, an orphanage carmenand several church plants. They are committed to team ministry, and their relationships with each other are a powerful witness of Jesus’ love. They are also shining examples of Christians who boldly share their faith with others, joyfully seeing God multiply the fruit of their labours.

Rachel_Twigg_BoyceRachel Twigg Boyce is pastor of House Blend Ministries in Winnipeg, a group of people committed to sharing their lives with each other and their neighbours in the inner city, as they develop rhythms of life based on the life of Jesus. One of Rachel’s prayers is that the Lord would help her serve those from Aboriginal communities: “God, who created each one of us, help us wrestle authentically with the effects of the residential school system. Inspire us to be people who want to listen rather than fix. Slow us down. Give us wise teachers on this journey.” Rachel is one of those wise teachers.

Karen_WestKaren West is just one of many women who serve on our provincial and national boards, an example of one who perseveres in faithfulness, grace and strength. In 2012, Karen was elected as the first female board chair of the Ontario Conference of MB Churches. Karen provides wise council, asks thoughtful questions, values collaboration – and also has an eye for aesthetics.

Which women in your life would you “eshet chayil!” this Mother’s Day?

—Laura Kalmar

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