As a community, the Mennonite Brethren believe that Scripture is to be interpreted together. But what happens when the community sincerely comes to very different conclusions?
women in ministry
No decisions were made when more than 140 Mennonite Brethren gathered in Phoenix, Arizona, Jan. 14–16, 2019, for the U.S. Board of Faith and Life (BFL) study conference on “The…
When I think about great theologians, philosophers, missionaries, and politicians, it is often men’s names that come to mind. My church tradition of origin does not include women as official members of the clergy, so my experience of women in pastoral roles is limited as well.
Doug J. Heidebrecht is the 2016 recipient of the Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission’s Katie Funk Wiebe research grant. After the annual general meeting held this year in Abbotsford, British Columbia (June 3–4, 2016), the Commission awarded the grant to Doug Heidebrecht for his research project: Sisters Leading Brothers? Mennonite Brethren and Women in Ministry Leadership.
When Wanda Froese’s husband Terrance became director of ministry for the Saskatchewan Conference of MB Churches last April, and the couple began meeting with MB leaders across the province, she noticed a common thread: “Women in ministry are lonely. They need a place to connect.”
The first paid female pastor in a Canadian MB church never asked for the title. “I didn’t push for it,” says Salome Hiebert, but “if God opens a door for me, I should be willing to walk through. That’s where his promises become so evident to me.”
When Katie Funk Wiebe stepped off the train to attend Mennonite Brethren Bible College in 1945, it was but the next step in a journey of discovery begun with her childhood in Blaine Lake, Sask. Many more steps would follow, through marriage, being widowed, raising four children alone, and her work as professor and well-known writer and speaker.
As the discussion about women in ministry leadership continues, the recommendation (1999) that “women be encouraged to minister in the church in every function other than the lead pastorate” is common ground we have staked out as a denomination. Flourishing on this common ground are women, ministering as “gifted, called and affirmed,” across the country. Meet just a few of them: Sharon Johnson, Sylvie Plante, Kathy Francis, Hilda Wiebe, Heidi Gray and Carol Baergen.