This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Activist women

Our neighbor in Philadelphia grew up in Wolf Point, Mont. Over dinner in their home recently, he told us a story of how women from the Mennonite community organized themselves to put pressure on his town’s leaders in the late 1970s.

The numerous bars on Main Street had invited an exotic dance troupe to include Wolf Point bars on their regular circuit. Our neighbor’s mother, a devout Catholic, was outraged.  She and some Catholic sisters went to the town leaders to protest. To no avail.

Then the women from Bethel Mennonite Church 18 miles north of Wolf Point came to town and threatened a boycott. They said Mennonites would no longer do any business in Wolf Point if the exotic dance shows were allowed to continue. The shows stopped!

Our neighbor chuckled as he reflected on the way Mennonite women succeeded where the more numerous Catholics had failed.

I celebrate the active faith of a small rural church of the “quiet in the land” who made a positive impact on the wider community.  May their example inspire us to bear witness in simple appropriate ways in our communities.

If any readers know more about this, please contact me at

J. Fred Kauffman

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