​Martha Lucía Gómez of Colombia and Sylvia Shirk of USA pass the candle representing God’s Spirit uniting us at the Global Anabaptist Women’s Network gathering. Photo by Laurie Oswald Robinson.
By Laurie Oswald Robinson
Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Olga Piedrasanta and her Latin American sisters had prayed for years that a global women’s network would someday be forged​.

 

 

However, when would the time be ripe for their dream to come true?

They received their answer during a global women’s meeting at the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) gathering July 24 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

That’s when about 100 women from around the world gave a resounding “yes” to birthing a Global Anabaptist Women’s Network. Its goal is to connect women across the continents and empower them to fully share their gifts. In unity and solidarity—despite their diversity—they exclaimed it was time to move out of the shadows of muted expression and into the sunlight of full collaboration in the body of Christ. 

“We have been dreaming of this day for several years now, and today it has been fulfilled,” said Piedrasanta, co-coordinator of the Latin American Anabaptist Women Theologians Movement (Movimiento Teólogas Anabautistas de América Latina, MTAL). “This is a historic day for us. I think it is the first time in the global Mennonite Church that Anabaptist women from all over the world have met to dream together.” 

Linda Shelly, longtime Latin America director for Mennonite Mission Network, has helped this dream materialize. 

She serves as an advisor to MTAL and helps connect the Latin American women with Mission Network and other agencies. The Latin American women began their own network after being inspired by African Women Anabaptist Theologians at MWC in 2003. 

Shelly’s role also helped Mennonite Women USA collaborate with MTAL for Sister Care training seminars. Since 2013, seminars have been held in Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil. One is planned for Cuba for Nov. 23–28, 2015. 

Most of these training seminars are co-led by Rhoda Keener, Sister Care director for Mennonite Women USA, and Carolyn Heggen, a psychotherapist. The seminars provide women with tools for ongoing personal healing, recognizing and celebrating God’s grace in their lives, and responding more confidently and effectively to the needs of others in their families, congregations and communities. 

After receiving the training, 80-some leaders across Latin America have facilitated nearly 100 workshops with more than 2,800 participants, Shelly said. 

“Mennonite Women USA is a small organization with just a 2.5 FTE total,” Keener said. “So when we go to an international site to provide Sister Care leadership training seminars, we really need the guidance from an organization like Mission Network. We realize that if there is no one on the ground to help us, then it is not wise to go.” 

The privilege of being “on the ground” often results in sharing significant moments and achievements. Paula Killough, Mission Network senior executive for Advancement, and Sandy Miller, director of Church Relations, traveled to Congo in 2013 to attend the ordination of three Anabaptist women. 

For Miller, Revelation 7 came to life as people from diverse tribes and nations gathered around God’s throne in worship; for Killough, it was a realization of Galatians 3:28 [MTAL’s theme verse]: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

Do you know a female leader in the church? Make a donation in her name to empower other women in the church 
 

 Related

 

 

Reflections on the Sent ConferenceSent Conferencehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4709/Reflections-on-the-Sent-ConferenceReflections on the Sent ConferenceGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
God laughsWorld Laughter Dayhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4696/God-laughsGod laughsGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Like Jesus, 'Juan' Driver encouraged women in ministryRemembering John Driverhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4685/Like-Jesus-Juan-Driver-encouraged-women-in-ministry-Like Jesus, 'Juan' Driver encouraged women in ministryGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
While celebrating Lord’s supper, Ukrainian church leader identifies with people’s painUkrainehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4679/While-celebrating-Lord’s-supper-Ukrainian-church-leader-identifies-with-people’s-painWhile celebrating Lord’s supper, Ukrainian church leader identifies with people’s painGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Odesa
Prayer amid a new reality of warUkrainehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4677/Prayer-amid-a-new-reality-of-warPrayer amid a new reality of warGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Ghanaian church leader says women will carry church to “next level”Women's History Monthhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4674/Ghanaian-church-leader-says-women-will-carry-church-to-next-levelGhanaian church leader says women will carry church to “next level”GP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Vacation Bible school in Brazil a blessing to both students and teachersBrazilhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4670/Vacation-Bible-school-in-Brazil-a-blessing-to-both-students-and-teachersVacation Bible school in Brazil a blessing to both students and teachersGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Caruaru
Valentine cookies are a sweet reminder to pray for peaceKoreahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4669/Valentine-cookies-are-reminder-to-pray-for-peaceValentine cookies are a sweet reminder to pray for peaceGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Namyangju
Internationally known peacemaker launched vocation with Mennonite Mission NetworkMJ Sharphttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4665/Internationally-known-peacemaker-launched-vocation-with-Mennonite-Mission-NetworkInternationally known peacemaker launched vocation with Mennonite Mission NetworkGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Some reflections on Martin Luther King Jr.Black History Monthhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4663/Some-reflections-on-Martin-Luther-King-JrSome reflections on Martin Luther King Jr.GP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
A Guatemalan mountainside was exactly where I needed to beCASAS Internshiphttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4660/A-Guatemalan-mountainside-was-exactly-where-I-needed-to-beA Guatemalan mountainside was exactly where I needed to beGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476San Pedro Carchá, Alta Verapaz
Mennonite women in Congo spread the gospel through literacyLiteracy in Congohttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4656/Mennonite-women-in-Congo-spread-the-gospel-through-literacyMennonite women in Congo spread the gospel through literacyGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Service illuminates good in the worldService Adventurehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4655/Service-illuminates-good-in-the-worldService illuminates good in the worldGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Anchorage, Alaska
Service is a new adventure at 61 degrees northService Adventurehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4654/Service-is-a-new-adventure-at-61-degrees-northService is a new adventure at 61 degrees northGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Anchorage, Alaska
Understanding the world through the lens of MississippiService Adventurehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4653/Understanding-the-world-through-the-lens-of-MississippiUnderstanding the world through the lens of MississippiGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Jackson, Mississippi

 

 

​Laurie Oswald Robinson is a freelance writer living in Newton, Kansas.


 

 

Mission Network family to join ministry of hospitality for refugees in Francehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4707/Mission-Network-family-to-join-ministry-of-hospitality-for-refugees-in-FranceMission Network family to join ministry of hospitality for refugees in FranceRefugee ministry
Russian and Ukrainian students in Lithuania support refugeeshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4708/Russian-and-Ukrainian-students-in-Lithuania-support-refugeesRussian and Ukrainian students in Lithuania support refugeesUkraine
Reflections on the Sent Conferencehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4709/Reflections-on-the-Sent-ConferenceReflections on the Sent ConferenceSent Conference
A joining of Pentecost and creation carehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/extending-beyond/4710/A-joining-of-Pentecost-and-creation-careA joining of Pentecost and creation careExtending Beyond
MissionWary live podcasthttps://www.mennonitemission.net/podcasts/missionwary/4698/MissionWary-live-podcastMissionWary live podcastLive webinar
Youth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future servicehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4706/Youth-Venture-trip-provides-mentorship-plants-seeds-for-future-serviceYouth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future serviceYouth Venture/SOOP hybrid