Affirming women, being Jesus-centered, learning Black history

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez from unsplash.com Photo by Priscilla Du Preez from unsplash.com

“You would make a great pastor’s wife.” As a young woman, when one of my mentors said that to me, I was flattered. I understood he was giving me one of his highest praises. 

Today I feel differently about it. I think that if I had been a young man, he would have said, “You would make a great pastor.” 

In his mind, my place wasn’t to lead but to support. That comment has probably influenced me more than I’d like to admit. 

In this issue of Anabaptist World, we have the privilege of sharing about a historic moment — women being appointed to serve as bishops in LMC (page 20). 

I get excited to share these types of stories because, even though I’m in Goshen, Ind., and grew up in Mennonite Church USA, seeing women being recognized for their leadership abilities — and stepping into their calling in spaces previously prohibited to them — feels personal. I suspect other women feel this way, too. 

On a different note, but also in this issue, James E. Brenneman’s article on page 11 challenges us to consider the difference between being “Christ-centered” and “Jesus-centered.” I want you to know that one of AW’s core values is being “Christ-centered.” 

I appreciate Brenneman’s thoughts on the nuances of these phrases and their potential impacts. He gives all of us — including those of us doing the institutional work of identity — a lot to consider.

While I’m jumping around here, I’ll remind everyone that in the United States and Canada, February is Black History Month. I hope you can find a way, virtually or in person, to participate in initiatives this month that allow us all to remember, learn (sometimes unlearn) and celebrate the resilience of Black communities and individuals. 

I hope we will resist the tendency to whitewash the tragic and shameful pieces of our past. I want to be among those who are unafraid of the truth, even when it is painful, so that we do not repeat past failures. 

On page 14, Mennonite Mission Network writer Lynda Hollinger-Janzen shares a story that highlights one part of this history and the work that is before us. 

Well, we have taken a bit of journey in this column together. Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us as you read this issue and for all the ways you walk with us. 

Our work would not be possible without faithful subscribers and supporters like you. It is a joy and gift to do this work together. 

Danielle Klotz

Danielle Klotz is executive director of Anabaptist World. Read More

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