MW USA's eNewsletter

April 8, 2024

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Sisterhood in Action

Once you were not a people,

but now you are the people of God. I Peter 2:10

We didn't have a ladies group at Homestead Mennonite Church. One day, as we chatted after church, we discovered that we really wanted to become such a group. We began by meeting in a home for a Bible study and chose to use Sisterhood Tapestry by Cyneatha Millsaps as our guide. 

As we studied together, we noticed the individuality, worth, and beauty of the women in the Bible. And, as we shared our personal experiences and prayers, we realized that we too were a tapestry.

As a group, we were quite different from one another. We came from local and Southern traditions, from Brazil, and the Philippines. We had different ways of doing things, of speaking, of cooking, and of thinking. One thing we discovered was that there are a lot of different ways to make pancakes!

Some of us that gathered were from Protestant traditions. Some, Roman Catholic. Others of us were Mennonite or of no active faith background at all. But all of us found ourselves to be like the women of the Bible who were unique, beautiful, and strong. Our Christian faith united us. We enjoyed our differences. As one lady quipped, "I think I like us.”

As we finished the study and sat in thought, one of the ladies exclaimed, "Well, we can't just read, and pray, and talk. We have to DO something!"

This resulted in us each designing a quilt patch to reflect our personality, gifts, families, and interests. As we talked together and helped each other, we recognized our worth and how special we are to each other and to God and to ourselves. We became "a people."

We shared questions about faith too, which led to a study of the meaning of Communion. This led us to facilitating an entire worship service around the theme of the Lord's Supper for our congregation. Our activities have evolved into more study, outreach and service initiatives, and the planning of community and Easter activities. 

Through the formation of this group, we have found ourselves in a long line of women from the Bible, throughout history, and to this very day. 

SaraAlice Zimmerman

Homestead Mennonite Church (FL)

Sister Care Returns to Cuba

Carolyn Heggen and Rhoda Keener traveled to Cuba in March to share the Sister Care seminar there for the third time. They found that the situation in Cuba had deteriorated significantly since the last trip in 2018. Food and medicine are now scarce for the average person, electricity is shut off frequently, and lack of fuel affects garbage pickup and transportation. Carolyn said,

“As my Cuban friend with the Council of Churches has been telling me for several years now, ‘There are many shortages in Cuba, but the greatest shortage is of hope!’ This time I did sense the loss of optimism and hope that things in Cuba will get better.”

They were asked to lead a workshop in Havana for women pastors and religious leaders from all over the island on ‘Cultivating Hope When There is None’. Both Rhoda’s and Carolyn’s churches (Hebron Mennonite and Albany Mennonite) filled suitcases with soap and other needed items for carrying to Cuba. At the Havana workshop they used the sunflower as a symbol of hope: it can grow in harsh conditions and always turns toward the sun. The Albany sewing circle created beautiful sunflower fabric gifts and they gave these and a bar of soap to each woman. Anaitza, Rhoda, Carolyn, and Elda are pictured. Quite a few women had tears as they received their gifts.

The Palmira workshop with 28 women was hosted by Bonnie Klassen, MCC director for Cuba, Mexico and South America. The Havana workshop with 34 participants was hosted by Midiam Lobaina with the Cuban Council of Churches and included women from 19 denominations from all over the island. The Sister Care seminar has been shared in 21 countries and the Sister Care manual translated into 20 languages.

May 18 Coffee and Conversation
You're Invited!

We are excited to invite you into a meaningful conversation about showing up for friends with mental health challenges. Open and understanding dialogues about mental health in our circles of ministry and friendship are an important way to make sure we're including everyone. On Saturday, May 18 from 4-5:30 pm Eastern we’ll gather for a Coffee and Conversation on mental health awareness.

When does showing up involve our loving energy, and when is it appropriate to assist in seeking outside support? Where do we start if our role is resourcing? How do we ensure we're communicating respectfully and without stigma no matter our supportive role?

We'll hear from the following panel:

Jamie Campbell, UNMH ACT Team, Peer Specialist, CPSW

Rev. Joanne Gallardo, Conference Minister of

Indiana Michigan Mennonite Conference

Deborah Loukas, LPC, MS, PLLC

They will lead an open conversation for everyone to share experiences, insights, and strategies for promoting mental well-being in relationship. If you already have an aspect of interest or question on your mind about mental health, please submit that along with your RSVP. Together, we can cultivate a more compassionate, understanding, and resourceful community.

Register Now
Deusilene Milhomen leading worship.
International Women's Fund Scholars
Twenty Years of Paving the Way

The origin and ongoing story of the Movement of Anabaptist Women Doing Theology from Latin American (MTAL) is told in the latest Missio Dei Mennonite Mission Network publication. Mennonite Women USA has been honored to walk with this powerful and inspiring sisterhood over the past two decades.

In MissioDei, Deusilene Milhomen, Pastor and Sister Care coordinator from Brazil, writes:

“Believing that we are beloved daughters of God is a central theme in MW USA’s Sister Care program, which has had a great impact on MTAL…The first Sister Care workshop was held in February 2013 in Guatemala…Sixty-four women from seven countries participated and they left ready to teach other women what they had learned and experienced. This train-the-trainer model was then used throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. At first the coordinators tried to keep a list of workshops and participants, but after reaching 4,500 participants, the count was lost, as the growth had become organic.”

MissioDei also notes the importance of MW USA’s International Women’s Fund (IWF) scholarships for church leadership training. Many of the authors and movement members are IWF scholars. A group of scholarship recipients is pictured in the MissioDei booklet in a photo taken at a Sister Care seminar held in Colombia.

Because Jesus "formed and continues to form a mixed community," MTAL is the embodiment of what happens when we "extend the kingdom of God" to women as "co-heirs of grace" with established leadership and traditional ministries. MTAL is "sustained by [a] solid identity," not because each woman is the same, but because they are connected in ministry building by their differing gifts to offer.


This issue details a powerful sisterhood promoting women's growth in all aspects of ministry to the benefit of all our overlapping and larger circles of faith. Follow the journey of this remarkably tight-knit and generative movement that engages and encourages across such a vast geographic area.

Download the Free Booklet
International Women's Day with Goshen College
International Women's Day

Did you participate in an International Women's Day event last month? 

MW USA partnered up with Goshen College's Center for Community Engagement via our shared Executive Director. Sister Cyneatha got to meet and celebrate with three international students at Goshen. 

Cyneatha remarked,

“The beauty of this job is the amazing young people I get to know. These young ladies are the epitome of strong women. They give me hope that our future looms bright.”

The ladies spent time getting to know one another and sharing life stories. The three Goshen College students are studying nursing and come from Kenya and Zimbabwe. 

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Donating Makes a Way

Being an MW USA donor makes a way for women to find their prophetic voice and find each other for embracing the whole world in God's mothering love. That is the love of one from whom we are born and the One in whose image we are created. It's the nurturing, embracing, exuberant love of aunties, mentors, daughters and dear friends. And where the world knows this love, people find unconditional belonging, satisfying joy and lasting peace.

The ways of MW USA involve learning, supporting, listening, sharing, and caring. We learn with each other by gathering around women-authored Bible Study Guides. We support women across the world studying for spiritual leadership with annual IWF Scholarships. We Choose Sisterhood by listening to those who are different. We share our own story by engaging in Coffee and Conversation and writing for the Women's Voices blog. And we care for ourselves and each other through international Sister Care gatherings.

We love in these ways to make as many ways as possible for all to know God's love. Donating makes a way.

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