Women in Leadership

Women in Leadership (WiL) works to dismantle patriarchal systems in Mennonite Church USA by empowering women to live out the call of God on their lives, increase their capacities, and contribute their wisdom in congregations, area conferences, agencies and institutions.

It creates space for resources, conversation and action for all women in our churches who are in leadership.

The work of Women in Leadership includes:

The work of WIL is guided by a diverse steering committee. They are committed to intersectionality and centering the wisdom and leadership of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) women.

Women Doing Theology

Women Doing Theology conferences flow out of a history of Anabaptist theologians, ministers, teachers, activists, creatives and many others gathering together to do theological work born out of women’s experiences. Our theology is enriched and more deeply grounded as we listen, hold space, challenge, come into new awareness and practice presence together.

Past Women Doing Theology conferences:

What we need is here is an online webinar series held in 2020 to share a virtual space for theology born out of women’s experiences as an alternative to WiL’s in-person conference. Recordings are available at the above link.

WDT 2018: Talkin’ Bout a Revolution: Dialogue, Practice and the Work of Liberation – built on the foundations laid in previous conferences to explore practices and opportunities for more people to access radical change and liberation.

Women Doing Theology 2016: I’ve Got the Power! Naming and reclaiming power as a force for good – focused on recognizing and embracing the power we have, and acknowledging that the Spirit of God is at work in us and through us as we do.

WDT 2014: All You Need is Love: Honoring the Diversity of Women’s Voices in Theology –  created space for discussion and reflection on what it means to love in a world filled with struggle and oppression.

Resources

Holding it(,) Together podcasts: Mennonite Church USA’s Women in Leadership has produced Holding it(,) Together, a podcast that delves into the lives and experiences of people across Mennonite Church USA.  It connects with folks from all over the country: people living into the fullness of who God created them to be, people stepping out in faith and standing in their conviction, individuals who are doing their best, one day at a time, to love God and neighbor, midwifing new systems and new ways of being in the world. Podcasts include:

  • Episodes 1 – 5: Women in Leadership
  • Episodes 6 – 10: Breaking Silences: Infertility, Miscarriage and Infant Loss, Mental Illness, Wholeness, Failure, Singleness
  • Women Doing Theology Shorts from 2018 conference speakers: Malinda Elizabeth Berry, Yvette Blair and Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros

Holding it(,) Together Podcast

 


I’ve Got the Power! Naming and reclaiming power as a force for good, an essay collection from the 2016 Women Doing Theology Conference.

 

 


Created Equal
A persistent question in the church concerns the relationship between women and men. What did God envision? Should women and men work together as equal partners, or have clearly defined roles and responsibilities? And who should take the lead? Although much of church history has assumed male leadership and distinct gender roles, there are also strong voices in the Bible that support equality and mutuality between men and women. There are also many situations in which individual gifts and abilities determined responsibilities more than gender. How are we to understand what the Bible teaches? This resource includes some answers to questions that often come up in these discussions. There are also reflection questions and a list of additional resources, inviting us to further conversation and Bible study.

Steering Committee

Shannon-Dycus

Shannon Dycus is co-pastor at First Mennonite Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she leads missional and faith formation ministries for the congregation. She is active with Faith in Indiana, a local PICO network of faith communities seeking justice and holds multiple leadership positions with Mennonite Church USA. Shannon has published articles for The Mennonite and Leader, and she has loved supporting MC USA convention worship planning the last few years. Before congregational, her ministry was teaching middle and high school students and directing after-school programs. Shannon holds an undergraduate degree in Secondary Education from Butler University and received her Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary where she continues to mentor students in The Discipleship Project. With a love for journeying with people, Shannon is completing certification as a Spiritual Director at San Francisco Theological Seminary.  With her loving husband, Gregory, the Dycus family includes two energetic elementary-age boys. Shannon is a listener and a foodie. She loves live music and dancing. She believes in doing justice and creating space to breathe.

melissa pic

Melissa Florer-Bixler is pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church. She earned a Master of Arts in Religion from Duke University and an Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. Melissa is committed to the local church building power for local, systemic change as members of diverse coalitions. She is a board member of Friends of L’Arche North Carolina, a community for people with and without intellectual disabilities who share daily life. Melissa and her spouse parent their three children in Durham, North Carolina.

Erica Littlewolf for WIL page

Erica Littlewolf is from the Northern Cheyenne tribe of southeastern Montana and currently lives in her home community of Busby. She works for Mennonite Central Committee Central States with the Indigenous Visioning Circle, where she is committed to the work of decolonization, authentic relationship and healing. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and American Indian studies and applies her schooling to social justice issues and how they affect Indigenous people.

Maribel-Hinojosa

Maribel Ramírez Hinojosa is a clinical psychologist in College Station, Texas. She was born in Nuevo León, México and immigrated to central California in the 1980s where she and her family joined a Mennonite church. Her Anabaptist upbringing and her training as a marriage and family therapist and clinical psychologist were instrumental in developing her passion for peace and justice. Maribel works with children, couples and families with varying mental health issues. Her goal is to help patients achieve a better state of being in order to arrive at an improved state of functioning. Maribel enjoys volunteering with Mennonite organizations and with organizations that promote music and the arts. She and her husband Felipe have two children, Samuel and Ariana, who keep them very busy. They enjoy traveling, dancing and laughing together.

Bonita Croyle

Bonita Croyle (she/her/hers) is a transracial adoptee, speaker, and writer. As the Founder of The Ebenezer Project, Bonita routinely engages with interfaith communities and individuals on topics regarding racial justice, transracial adoption, faith formation, liberation theology, womanism, and intersectionality. And as a Black transracial adoptee, Bonita also leverages her unique lived experiences to make clear the urgency to cultivate sustainable anti-racist systems and reform policies. Bonita is a graduate of Hesston College and Millersville University and has a Bachelor of Arts in English. She lives on the land of the Tohono O’odham Nation and Pasqua Yaqui Tribes (Tucson, Arizona) with her husband Ian and her puppy Roar.

 

Linda Peachey Gehman

Linda Gehman Peachey is a freelance writer living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She has a Master of Divinity from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana, and a Doctor of Ministry from Lancaster Theological Seminary. Previously, Linda worked for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) on women’s concerns and also served with her husband, Titus, as co-director of Peace and Justice Ministries. They also worked in Laos with MCC, 1981-1985. She and Titus have two adult daughters and enjoy visiting them in Chicago and Guatemala. She is a member of East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church in Lancaster.

Contact

Sue Park-Hur
sueph@mennoniteusa.org

Brief History of Women in Leadership

  • 2009
    Mennonite Women USA called for an audit of women in leadership in Mennonite institutions. (Findings from the 2005 survey). When the results demonstrated a need for systemic change, MC USA staff launched the work of Women in Leadership.
  • 2012
    MC USA staff formed the Women in Leadership (WIL) Steering Committee. Joanna Shenk and Hilary Scarsella provided staff time.
  • 2013
    Mennonite Women USA and Women in Leadership met together to discuss their distinctive as well as shared roles and objectives. Participants at that meeting observed that over the years, Mennonite Women has focused on supporting women in the church on their faith journeys, as well as funding mission activities around the world. WIL was formed to address and transform patriarchal and racist structures in the church and society.
  • 2014-2019
    Jenny Castro served as WIL coordinator.
  • 2019
    Sue Park Hur began serving as WIL coordinator.