Come meet us at CMC Annual Conference!

Next in the Among Women project is a day-long women’s program at CMC’s Annual Conference, held July 28-31 at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland.

You can find out more about the conference at www.cmcrosedale.org, and you can read about the women’s program the full conference brochure. The women’s program runs from 9:30 to 11:30 on Friday morning and from 1:30 to 3:30 that afternoon.

Please come to hear the culmination of this year-long conversation. We’d love to see you!

Here’s the Among Women program:

Among Women

You are sitting in a room this morning with lots of women representing

different spheres. Some women sitting in this room today

are single. Some are married. Some women work at home and

home school their children. Some women leave their homes each

morning for work. Some women are divorced, and some have buried

their husbands. Some women with us today are finding their

ways in a new culture.

Often you might find it hard to talk past these differences. What if

you accidently say something hurtful? What if someone hurts you?

Maybe you won’t know what to say to someone whose life is so different

from yours. Or maybe you can find little sympathy for the

choices another woman has made.

Despite all these differences, we are called to be one body. How can

we grow in understanding of each other?

What would happen, the conference planning committee wondered,

if we gathered together a group of women who represented different

spheres and who loved God and who were brave enough to talk

with each other?

What if we sent these women on a series of retreats with a leader

who could help them talk, really talk, with each other?

So we did.

And today these women are here to share with you what they

learned about each other . . . about themselves . . . and about God.

Program

Morning Session

Opening Worship c/o Leona Graybill

For all our sisters out there—

Glimpses of the Among Women

Retreats c/o Vicki Sairs

Among Women Panel: Round 1

c/o Lynette Showalter

Special Singing c/o Anita Lehman

Missionary Spheres c/o Shirley Miller

Among Women Panel: Round 2

c/o Lynette Showalter

Offertory—make checks payable to

Women’s Fellowship

Closing Worship

Afternoon Session

Among Women Workshops

Gathering Worship c/o Leona Graybill

Special Singing c/o Anita Lehman

 Choric of Praise c/o Lynette Showalter

 Closing Remarks and Worship

Panelists and Workshops

Oh, Baby, Where Art Thou?

Life Without Children

Workshop Leader: Dot Chupp

Lane Center, room 113

Dot is full of surprises. She’s driven semi

trucks professionally, makes pizzas in her wood-fired oven, and has

listened to a preacher say in his sermon that it is sinful for a married

couple not to have children. And she loves children, by the way.

Go to Dot’s workshop if you’d like ideas on how to encourage a

young woman who desperately wants a baby and is unable to get

pregnant, how to relate to women who don’t have children by

choice or because of infertility. In this workshop you’ll hear about

questions one probably should not ask and about statements that

can be hurtful. And, as you get to know Dot, you’ll find that she has

lots of fun in her sphere of marriage without children.

Pacifiers, PB&J, and Purpose

Life at Home with Preschool

Children

Workshop Leader: Sabrina Lehman

Tawes, room 228

When Sabrina has quiet moments—which

isn’t often—you’d find her reading, cooking, blogging, sewing, photographing,

and teaching piano. The rest of the time, and especially

during long, challenging days, Sabrina tries to remember Deuteronomy

6. As she changes a diaper and serves up another meal, her

goal is to impress the words of God on her children.

Go to Sabrina’s workshop if you know a young, stay-at-home

mother who struggles to find time for relationships beyond her preschoolers.

If you would like to know how to provide emotional,

spiritual, and practical support to a stay-at-home mom, this is the

workshop for you.

Sooo . . .Why Aren’t You Married?

Understanding the Joys and

Heartaches of Your Single

Daughter, Sister, Friend

Workshop Leader: Mim Musser

Tawes, room 208

Mim travels the continents in her work for Rosedale Mennonite

Missions, but she also travels through the lives of people—

functioning as a counselor, a friend, a confidante. She lives in the

middle of people—in a condo village, sometimes with meetings by

the pool, and is good friends with the GPS. Talk with Mim for even

a few minutes, and you’ll find a sense of peace and love.

Go to Mim’s workshop if you want to support and understand a

single woman. What’s it like to be single at 29, 39, 49, 59, 69, and 79?

This is a rich opportunity for you to ask questions, hear discussions,

and get tips from single women across the decades.

Life After Divorce

Beauty after Ashes

Workshop Leader: Elnora Miller

Tawes, room 232

This mother of two and grandmother of 4

(almost 5) grandchildren doesn’t spend a whole

lot of time on the rocking chair. Many nights, you could find Elnora

in the halls of Goshen General Hospital working as a registered

nurse (this, after having gone back to school at age 41 to complete a

degree)—that is, if she’s not in Haiti on a medical mission or out to

eat with a group of close friends. And, although she’s been divorced,

divorce certainly no longer defines her. Elnora shows with

her life that it is possible to live victoriously after divorce, that God’s

abundant grace is sufficient.

Go to Elnora’s workshop if you’d like to know how to support

someone going through a broken marriage, how to help single parents,

how to provide a place of belonging for someone who has felt

rejection and misunderstanding. Elnora’s testimony is clear: God

can make beauty out of ashes.

My Name Isn’t Yoder

Living Inter-Culturally

Workshop Leader: Naomy Ndungu

Lane Center, room 111

Naomy Ndungu’s children are doing well in their new schools,

and she likes her neighbors and church, but her move from Kenya

to the United States has also brought her pain. She left behind in

Kenya relationships, roles, and recognition. Sometimes the transition

has felt bumpy. For example, in Kenya, she taught high school

for more than 20 years. She is college educated, with the equivalent

of a Master’s degree, but the process of trying to get degrees, credentials,

and experience recognized in the United States has proved

frustrating.

Perhaps you know a woman who is living inter-culturally. Or,

perhaps you would like to learn to know some women who are new

to your community from another country. Go to Naomy’s workshop

to get helpful tips on how to be friendly, what is good to say,

and what is best avoided.

Tear Soup

A Widow’s Brew

Workshop Leaders: Louella Mast;

Martha Stoltzfus

Tawes, room 156

Apparently widowhood isn’t a time for sitting

around. Not, at least, according to Martha Stoltzfus

and Louella Mast. For Martha it’s been, among

other things, learning to maintain a car and

change a sweeper belt, making sure not to miss

watching a University of Kentucky basketball

game, and moving from Bowlings Creek to

Turners Creek. Louella, on the other hand, is

still trying to decide if she will fulfill a life-long

dream of skydiving and certainly doesn’t want

to give up snow mobiling!

But these two active widows have also spent hours in tears. Go

to their workshop if you know a widow and want to know how to

talk with her, pray with her, and how to support her. This is an opportunity

to ask questions about grief and hear answers from two

wise and lovely women.

Twice-Called

Double Duty; Double Delight

Workshop Leader: Carla Hochstetler

Tawes, room 152

She’s a busy mom (two four-year olds and a

seven-year old) and a busy principal (730 students),

but, while Carla Hochstetler feels a double calling, she also

sometimes feels lonely. She hasn’t found many role models of twice

Louella

Martha

-called women in the church. And she faces the dilemma everyday

to find the balance between the two callings of her life. But Carla

loves that her own children see the passion she has for her job—the

opportunity to be a shining light in a dark world.

Do you want to support or understand a woman who juggles

two callings? Go to Carla’s workshop to explore the joys, pains, and

satisfactions of this sphere.

Woman in a Shoe

Figuring Out What to Do

Workshop Leader: Naomi Byler

Tawes, room 222

Twelve children—and she’d do it all over

again (if she were younger, that is). Naomi

Byler spends her days homeschooling in the morning, having appointments

in the afternoon, and attending meetings and enjoying

family time in the evenings. And somewhere in between the meals

get cooked, the house gets cleaned, and the laundry gets put away.

Hers hasn’t been an idyllic life, though, with multiple traumatic experiences

in her youth and periods of exhaustion as an adult.

Go to Naomi’s workshop if you want to understand the life style

of a homeschooling mother with a large family. How has Naomi

learned to be not always in a hurry, and to turn her work at home

into worship for God? You’ll find out in her workshop.

How to Continue the Conversation

The Among Women conversation of today can continue in your

home community. Here are some tips for making it happen:

1. Gather a small group of women representing different spheres.

This is a conversation, not a program. For this conversation, the

number of women should be small enough that women can sit

in a room together, see each other’s expressions, and hear the

tones of each other’s voices.

2. Invite women who are ready and able to both talk and listen.

People who are fresh in pain may need, instead, the help of a

support group. The women you choose for this conversation

need to be strong enough to ask hard questions and to answer

hard questions. These women should be willing and able to

speak for other women in their spheres who may not be able to

talk openly at this time.

3. Focus on listening to stories instead of debating issues and

concepts. The idea for an Among Women conversation is to

hear from women, themselves, how God has interacted with

them in their spheres.

4. Identify specific foci—the joys of the spheres, the challenges of

the spheres, how the church can support and extend the ministries

of women in the spheres.

5. Plan for a variety of listening/sharing processes. Here are a

few examples:

Around-the-circle short responses to a question;

Individual reflection and then self-reporting to the group;

Dyad dialogues about a specific question and then reporting

each other’s thoughts about that question to the group;

Question asking in front of the group of one woman by the

other women;

Inner and outer circle dialogues.

(If you have questions about these processes and want ideas for more,

please contact Lynette Showalter lynette@olbarn.com.)

6. Find a skilled facilitator. Women need to feel safe to talk about

their lives. Find a facilitator who is a sensitive leader and can

help women both talk and listen.

7. Set a supportive ambiance. It’s easier to talk when well-cared

for. Beauty, good food, comforting drinks, comfortable seating,

and quiet places to reflect all increase the quality of the conversation.

8. Assemble a support team who can provide the setting for this

conversation and who will pray for the participants.

9. Be sure participants in the conversation and the team supporting

the conversation all operate with the following understandings:

That confidences will be kept;

That dignity will be preserved;

That God has varied sanctified plans for women;

That according to Psalm 119:130, the “utterance of hearts

gives understanding.”

10. Before and throughout the conversations stop to pray, and at the

end commission each other to work for God, each in her own

sphere.

Or, perhaps, you’d rather scale the conversation smaller—maybe

one-on-one, possibly for a year-long, intentional relationship for

learning, understanding, and encouragement. In fact, as a first step,

you could choose a workshop with this goal in mind.

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