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Fall 1995 · Vol. 24 No. 2 · pp. 23–35 

Mennonite Brethren Women: Images and Realities of the Early Years

Katie Funk Wiebe

In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the duke asks Viola about Olivia, whom he wants to marry, “And what’s her history?” Viola replies, “A blank, my lord.”

To ask for the history of Mennonite Brethren women is to receive the same answer. The record is a blank. They have been given little room in the history of the Mennonite Brethren Church. Histories offer little help in revealing their role and contribution. Their indexes have few entries under women’s names.

It is true that women in the Mennonite Brethren church have not been church leaders or contributors to business, agriculture, and educational institutions in a way that was openly visible to others and which made history. Because their contribution is unrecorded, the assumption is sometimes that women of the Mennonite church in Russia, including the Mennonite Brethren, were passive, uncreative, unassertive, accepting their lot with equanimity.

I approached the topic of women’s role in the church with this attitude about twenty years ago when my interest in women’s activities first developed. After more thorough research into the lives of Mennonite Brethren women, I had to reconsider my earlier misassumptions. I soon found that women had never been absent—only {24} officially unrecorded—and that made them invisible to later generations. They were present during the founding and development of the Mennonite Brethren church, and their early contribution can best be described as the quiet shining of a lamp, rather than the powerful roar of a waterfall.

Mennonite Brethren leader B. B. Janz of Coaldale, Alberta, was asked during the years of the migrations of Mennonites to Canada in the 1920s, what he saw as his mission. He replied, “Ich suche meine Brueder” (I am looking for my brethren). He had picked up this expression from historian P. M. Friesen, who, during the years he was writing his massive history of the Mennonite Brethren church, responded to his questioners with “Ich suche meine Brueder in einem besonderen Sinne” (I seek my brethren in a very special sense). Friesen continues, “Nor did I wish to leave even the most meager, the most distant, the most insignificant or the most estranged member of our Menno family unmentioned or unknown.” 1 I joined historian Friesen in recent months in his search, but I was looking for my sisters and for their particular contribution to the founding of the church.

I found in the record, often hidden between lines and in footnotes, the story of women who were as human as their husbands, brothers and fathers. They, too, despaired, failed, sinned; but I found also women who were open to God’s redemptive grace and overcoming love. They showed compassion for others, tenacity of spirit, and selfless endurance in the face of tremendous hardships. They were committed to Christ, his church and its mission, inasmuch as cultural and religious limitations allowed them.


Before I specify their particular contribution, it is important to understand the factors which contributed to their exclusion from history. Several reasons relate to the absence generally of women’s contribution from most church historians. Archival material in historical libraries is not usually neatly catalogued under women’s history, nor do researchers expect to find significant historical material under women’s names when they do locate them. Secondly, little in a historian’s professional training equips him (and most historians have been men to date) to make sense of the lives of ordinary and powerless persons, particularly women, who were not part of the public record or who didn’t openly influence church policies. Historians look for exceptional and powerful people and for the record of their influence in public debates, speeches, letters, journals and official minutes of meetings. The life stories of ordinary people who go about their daily tasks quietly and do not see themselves as makers of history do not usually provide the material for history books. {25}

Ambivalent Theology

In the case of the Mennonite Brethren church, we need to consider such additional reasons as theology, language and culture. One of the strongest doctrines in the history of the Mennonite church in Russia was nonresistance, an issue which concerned primarily the sons in the family, not the daughters. Adherence to it determined whether the young men were drafted or not, and if they were, what type of service they would do in the military. Mennonite history often records the fathers’ concerns for sons having to go into the army (p. 588ff.). Several Mennonite migrations occurred because of this concern for sons. Women—their needs and their roles in relationship to the peace position—are not part of this major concern. Because the destiny of the Mennonites revolved around the way sons were involved in this issue and not the way women experienced the truth of Scripture, women’s contribution was not as significant.

The ambivalent theology of the Mennonite Brethren church with regard to women’s roles in the church, particularly as it related to missions and ordination, has also made their contribution to the church an ambiguous or non-existent one. Missionary service has always been an acceptable form of service for men or women from the beginning of the Mennonite Brethren church, even though in an overseas country, the woman, particularly if she was single, might engage in activities such as preaching and teaching, leading an institution--activities not acceptable for a woman to do in the home church. In the early years of the Mennonite Brethren church, married couples and single women were encouraged to become missionaries and were ordained to such service, but the women were not allowed to preach.

Paulina Foote, missionary to China for nineteen years, expresses some of her ambivalent feelings about the lack of clear leadership regarding what a woman could or could not do overseas in the following excerpt from her memoirs written about her ordination in 1922:

The thought of an ordination gave me struggles. Women in our conference do not preach. Why should I be ordained if I could not proclaim the Gospel to those who had not heard it? Women were permitted to tell the Gospel to women and children. What if men would come to my women’s and children’s meetings? Should I stop proclaiming the Gospel message? Did not the men have a right to hear the Word of God? The church had asked Pastor Jacob Reimer of Bessie, Oklahoma, and Elder Johann Foth of the Ebenfeld Church near Hillsboro, Kansas, to officiate at my ordination. Both were considered to be of the most conservative in the whole conference. What a surprise to me when Elder Foth in his sermon at the ordination proved with Scripture passages that women should preach. He spoke about Mary Magdalene, who had followed Chris to the cross. . . . She was the first of Christ’s followers who was at the grave {26} on the resurrection morning. She was the first to tell the greatest story of all stories that Christ had arisen from the dead. Christ Himself commanded her to carry the news to the disciples, the men, and to Peter who had failed Him. My problem about the ordination was solved. My later experience proved that this was of the Lord. 2

Though Miss Foote’s mind was clear on the matter of her ordination, the church at home remained confused, and from this ambivalence was sown the seed of longing in many women to enjoy a greater part in the work of the church, not only overseas, but also in the sending churches. Not until 1957 did the General Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches change its written policy on ordination of women, stating, “That in view of the fact that we as an M.B. Church, on the basis of clearly conceived Scriptural convictions, do not admit sisters to the public Gospel preaching ministry on par with brethren, we as a Conference designate the fact of setting aside sisters to missionary work a ‘commissioning’ rather than an ‘ordination.’ ” 3 But the sluice gates could not be shut off so easily. Too many young women had been encouraged to become missionaries and had felt the call to service and all that it might bring, and later echoed Miss Foote’s frustrations.

Russian Culture

Another reason for the invisibility of the women is the present lack of understanding of the Russian Mennonite culture, the culture which cradled the Mennonite Brethren church. We read Mennonite Brethren church history with American eyes. The emphasis in American churches is on the individual’s personal response to the call to be converted, baptized and to seek membership in the church, and rightfully so. We count membership by persons: two hundred names means two hundred members.

The situation was a little different in the Ukraine. In that culture, which was introduced from Prussia, a child belonged to the father’s family until marriage, when a new family unit was set up in the village books. Land was apportioned to family units, not to individuals. As soon as son or daughter married, their names were taken off the family register and together with the spouse considered as a new family. People migrated as family units and were processed as part of a group. Sociologist Alan Peters of Fresno, California, has done much research showing how the signers of the Document of Secession of the Mennonite Brethren Church in 1880 were mostly young men, many of them related through their wives, and how the family contributed significantly to the development of the early Mennonite Brethren church. 4 Yet, today, when some modern readers see eighteen signatures to the Document of Secession, some immediately {27} deduce that these eighteen names represent eighteen individuals, rather than eighteen family heads representing eighteen family units, which is a much different total number. Eighteen men signed the document, but the charter membership consisted of about fifty-four people, according to P. M. Friesen. Historians who state that the church was begun by “eighteen men” 5 read into P. M. Friesen what he never intended to convey.

Friesen writes that in the fall of 1859, two weeks after St. Martin’s, a few Geschwister (usually translated brothers and sisters) were gathered in the home of one of the members for the Lord’s Supper (p. 229). As a result, these members were placed under the ban, and later excommunicated and civilly ostracized. On January 6, 1860, the Founding Document was signed by eighteen heads of families and by nine others a little later. Peter Regier, in his short history, states that women were present at this meeting but did not sign. 6 Jakob Reimer and other Gnadenfeld members who signed with him agreed that on January 6, 1860 the Mennonite Brethren church began (p. 230). Yet in a footnote, P. M. Friesen explains that the 18 plus 9, or 27, refers to 27 heads of families and denotes men of full age and a corresponding number of sisters (p.999). Johann Claassen, early leader, in a writing to the Emperor, dated May 21, 1882, states the number of Mennonites involved in the January 6, 1860 event to be “ca. 50” (p. 346). In another footnote dealing with Claassen’s reference to the January 6, 1860 meeting, Friesen explains again, “The members of the family and sympathizers are included with the 12 family heads who united on January 6, 1860 to sign the important document” (p. 1009). He refers to his mother and his eldest sisters as members of Bible study groups and charter sisters of the Mennonite Brethren church, together with the men (p. 1025). Clearly, a better understanding of the cultural context would have kept writers from making the mistake of attributing the founding of the church to only eighteen men.

The German Language

Another factor making the women invisible and therefore also their contribution is the German language, which makes it possible to use a term like Geschwister, which can mean both brothers and sisters, or only brothers, or only sisters, and the use of male-oriented language like “Brueder” (brethren). This exclusive language, which was used out of a desire for greater intimacy and warmth among the early leaders, gradually shut out one large segment in the church—its women.

Yet despite these factors, women made a significant contribution to the founding and growth of the Mennonite Brethren church. {28}


Support of Church Leaders

Women strongly supported their husbands in their open decisions and quietly influenced the direction their lives were taking. Friesen mentions repeatedly Johann Claassen’s high regard for his wife, Katharina, to whom he entrusted important information about legal matters of the early church. Claassen entrusted his wife also to undertake certain actions on his behalf in his absence, not customary for women in those times. Elizabeth Suderman Klassen in Trailblazer for the Brethren (Herald Press, 1978) has enlarged on her contribution in this biography.

Jakob Reimer, another of the leaders, had a high regard for women and mentions them frequently in his writings. He does not hesitate to mention how he was influenced theologically by them. As a young man Reimer read the writing of Anne Judson, wife of Adoniram Judson, on baptism, and accepted her ideas. Because of this material on the form of baptism written by a woman outside the Mennonite fold, the first baptism was performed by the secessionists using the form of immersion. Mennonite Brethren stress on the immersion can therefore be attributed in part to a woman’s teaching (p. 286).

Friesen himself had a high regard for women and doesn’t hesitate to mention them freely. He writes that the determining influences in his life were his mother and his eldest sister, already mentioned as being charter members of the Mennonite Brethren church (p.1022). He refers to them as “blessed mother and sister” (p.999). He credits his wife with being his “best secretary” (Preface, p. xxix). He was working with five thousand pages of manuscript, so without his wife’s help, we might not have this valuable volume. He explains why and how he wrote his book: “Time and again I listened to dozens of honorable men and women from the various factions, and read and re-read their documents” (Preface, xxii). He usually refers to the women by their given name and surname; for example, Gertrude Reimer, not just their husband’s name. According to A. A. Vogt’s index of persons’ names in Friesen’s history, he mentions about 97 women by name, most of them either teachers, missionaries, or wives of ministers or missionaries. 7 Not all, of course, are Mennonite Brethren. By contrast J. H. Lohrenz’s The Mennonite Brethren Church includes no women in the biographical section and J. A. Toews’ history has nine women in the index.

Friesen’s positive attitude toward women and their influence on the men is seen also in an unusual metaphor he uses to describe Johann J. Fast, a widely know itinerant minister and a representative of elders and coelders of the time. He speaks of him as a “mother to the church in soul care” {29} (p. 425). He seems to be saying that though a church may have fathers, it also needs mothers.

The Gifts of Hospitality and Participation

A second major contribution on the part of the women was their gift of hospitality. “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality,” writes the author of Romans, after discussing the gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12). Because the Mennonite Brethren had no meeting houses of their own at first, their services were held in homes. Members’ homes were open to gatherings of all kinds, large and small, but also to traveling ministers and their families, some of whom were fleeing or moving to other areas to escape harassment. Because at first the Mennonite Brethren church was a house (home), or small group movement, and few houses were large, women will have been much aware of what was happening and more involved than at first seems apparent, and points to another contribution: participation in church life. Historian Cornelius Krahn writes about women’s status in the Mennonite churches in Prussia:

The emphasis on spontaneous conversion and antipathy toward tradition broke barriers and promoted equality in general, and also between the sexes. Paul’s admonition “Let the women be silent in the churches” (1 Cor 14:34), was interpreted to mean only that women should not preach. With the introduction of Bible study, prayer meeting, Sunday school, and mission societies, a wide field was opened for Mennonite women. Now they could express their views in Bible studies, they participated audibly in prayer meetings, they taught Sunday school classes, discussed missionary affairs in sewing circles and many other organizations, and as mission workers engaged in direct evangelism and teaching. 8

A close reading of Friesen supports Krahn’s views of the status of women in the Mennonite Brethren church. They contributed by taking part in the singing, prayers, testimonies and discussion of Bible passages. Women were converted, baptized, and received into membership, but also excommunicated during the time of emotional excesses. Women are mentioned freely in connection with the problems that arose regarding footwashing and the “sister kiss.”

The question of how much they actually participated in the more formal meetings is not clear, although it is possible to make some assumptions similar to Krahn’s views. Elders of the Kirchengemeinde accused the Brethren of allowing women to speak up at meetings and to pray openly (p. 377). A criticism, even if unjust, usually has some small basis in fact. Friesen responds to one of these accusations with the words, “But only in intimate home gatherings” (p. 256). The Russian woman {30}, much involved in the early Mennonite Brethren church story, prayed either in Russian or German, according to the group she was with, writes Jacob Bekker. 9 Mrs. Gertrude Huebert, whose husband Heinrich was in prison because he had been accused of baptizing the Russian woman, was so overcome with thankfulness to God’s wonderful leading when her husband was returned to the ministry after being excommunicated, she asked for and received permission to pray openly (p. 438). Friesen reports that the Kuban church, formed later on, was especially blessed with vital and pious praying sisters. He adds, somewhat humorously, “Day and night one could undoubtedly say, there was always a priest in the holy place, watching before the Lord, even though it was a priestess, according to the New Testament pattern: ‘There is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Gal. 3:28)” (p. 507). The italics are mine. Obviously, he was delighting in the role reversals.

It is not clear from the Friesen account whether women participated in annual brotherhood consultations or conventions as the church grew. He writes: “It has been the custom in the Mennonite churches from time immemorial to allow any approved elder, minister, brother or sister of congregations to have the privilege of becoming a delegate to such meetings, be their stay at such meetings of long or short duration” (p. 527). By 1879, nineteen years after the church was founded, the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches in America decided this issue by agreeing “that sisters may take part in church activities as the Holy Spirit leads. However, they should not preach or take part in discussion meetings of the church.” 10 Theologian A. H. Unruh adds, “Es war dieser Beschluss doch schon eine Erweiterung der schranken, die den Schwestern sonst in den mennonitischen Kreisen gezogen wurden. 11 At the same convention the continuing participation of women in mission work was affirmed. This pattern of allowing women in a new church movement much freedom after the model of Jesus’ liberating words and actions with the follow-up of restraints and limitations as the church became institutionalized began in New Testament times. 12

Missionary Support

In addition to considerable participation in church life during the early years, women had two other ties with the church, although neither were policy-making roles. As already mentioned, women were encouraged to become missionaries. They also became members of sewing societies in their home congregations and met to sew and pray for missions. Gnadenfeld, the site of the original revival movement, had many Bible study groups and mission festivals. Alongside these activities, women’s groups developed {31} (p. 256), which were later transplanted to America and there underwent various transformations, sometimes functioning as an auxiliary to the church and sometimes as a church in itself, operating almost parallel to the congregation with its own budget, program, membership list and annual retreats.

These women’s groups became a significant part of a caring ministry in the church. They showed loving concern for missionaries and their families, for overseas nationals, focusing on the needs of women and children. During the war years in Russia, including the Crimean War, Friesen mentions that the Mennonites were recognized for their sacrificial donations of money, services, and products, including clothing, bedding and bandages as the need arose, all of which women will have had a significant role in providing. Women are mentioned in the literature of the famine years as setting out food for beggars, of carrying food to a starving neighbor. They cared for the sick—their own and that of the enemy anarchists during the Russian Revolution. They helped women in childbirth. This role of caring concern for the needy in good times and bad was expected of them, and they accepted it willingly, but because it was not institutionalized, the record of their contribution in this way is often missing.

The Role of Suffering

There is another, perhaps even greater, contribution seldom recognized during the founding and growing years of the Mennonite Brethren. That is the role of pain and suffering borne by hundreds and thousands of women in the Mennonite family in silent trust in God. When men were imprisoned, conscripted, exiled, women remained at home and endured. But they kept the faith, cherished it, and nurtured it, so that when times improved, the church could again pick up its mission. These women were true keepers of the faith. Among them were Mennonite Brethren women.

Suffering in itself is neutral, though many people believe it always leads to goodness and strength of character. Depending on the attitude of the person undergoing the suffering, it can also lead to bitterness and rejection of God and humanity. With exceptions, these women in the Mennonite heritage did not become bitter. However, the manner and cause of their suffering in Russia has not been recognized to the same extent as it was during the Anabaptist period. During the Anabaptist times, women stood up for their faith like the men and were persecuted like the men. Martyr’s Mirror includes stories of many women who were tortured for their faith. Likewise, the small book Geschichte der Maertyrer or Short Historical Account of the Persecution of the Mennonites, which covers the {32} stories of early Mennonite martyrs to about 1782, lists at least one-third women. 13 However, another book compiled later, also entitled Mennonitische Maertyrer, compiled by A. A. Toews to acknowledge the contribution of Mennonites through suffering through World War II, mentions one woman by name in the index together with her husband, and an entry “women martyrs” about three pages long. 14 A careful study of this book reveals that women were as much a part of the suffering of the Mennonites, but because they were living on the underside of history, to use Elise Boulding’s term, as wives, sisters, and mothers, and men were in the public sphere as church leaders, their stories were omitted or given glancing notice. Paradoxically, women wrote many of the accounts of the suffering of their husbands.

Overseas workers in missions or Mennonite Central Committee service frequently mention that the bottom line of suffering in Third World countries is always the suffering of women. When there isn’t enough food, women are the last to eat. When there isn’t enough work, women are the first to be out of work. When there isn’t enough room to attend school or money to pay for fees, girls are the first to stay home. It is true, however, that when the church is persecuted, men, particularly religious leaders, are often the first to be affected, nor would I or anyone else deny their suffering as being real, intense and tragic. But the suffering of the women left behind to care for the family’s total needs, to deal with the mental and emotional anguish because of the absence of loved ones, sometimes physically abused, raped and also exiled, imprisoned, or murdered, is equally real, intense and tragic. It deserves at least a nodding recognition in view of the fact that without these women’s will to trust a sovereign God who allowed such suffering, the church would have ceased to exist.

A few examples highlight the role of Mennonite Brethren in suffering. During the period of secession, the women, in the same manner as the men, openly confessed their faith. The secession brought with it unexpected affliction for both men and women in the form of ridicule and hatred from former friends and neighbors, social ostracism, and financial loss. Both Becker and Friesen state that in this revival the condition of women whose husbands were not Christians was most difficult, for the men followed the Russian example of beating their wives (p. 244).

Both men and women were threatened with exile from the Mennonite settlements and suffered the emotional hurt caused by the ban of avoidance. Women who had married Mennonite Brethren men were considered unmarried by village officials and their children declared born out of wedlock (p. 258). Children were scoffed at and sometimes deprived of an education. Wives suffered the pain of separation from husbands physically abused and/or imprisoned by village authorities. Some fled with husbands {33} and children in the dead of winter to a new locality. Abraham Cornelssen, a respected teacher and father of a large family was forced to leave his position and residence in the winter, and together with his family, spent a long time on the steppes in a small hut (p. 247). Without this willingness of the women to endure suffering, the new church would not have grown during the difficult first years.

Like other Mennonite women, Mennonite Brethren women suffered also during the Russian Revolution and the period of Communist control under Stalin, and on through World War II. If ever a tribute is written about the church during these periods, a special section should be devoted to ministers’ wives and their widows, who were sometimes exiled with husbands or killed because of their husband’s calling. A. A. Toews’s book only hints at some of their experiences: One minister’s widow fled by foot with several small children to a village 65 Werst distant, only to be refused accommodation. In Siberia, the shoulders of a 15-year-old girl were rubbed raw from carrying logs while in exile. Another older sickly woman carried a 60-pound bag of potatoes a long distance, and rested by leaning against a tree with her burden on her back for she knew if she set it down, she would never be able to lift it again. The number of women raped and sexually abused is given only casual comment because of the nature of the crime.

During the long and difficult trek of German-speaking settlers in the Ukraine to Poland after World War II, one account in the Toews book tells of a time when enemy planes bombed the train in which the trekkers, mostly women, children and old people, were riding. The people rushed out of the cars. When the pilots saw their target was made up of mostly women and children, they stopped strafing the cars. “Bodies were dismembered; hands, feet and other body parts were lying around; some people were moaning with pain. The bodies were gathered and shallow graves dug.” The account states that a woman, and it doesn’t matter what denomination she was, spoke a hymn and prayed. Then the grave was closed. That woman’s faith and that of many others like her, gleamed that day like the quiet shining of the lamp, lighting the way for the next generation of women. Women kept the faith and modeled the Christian life in faithfulness to God during some of the most difficult periods of Mennonite history.

Women among the Brethren (Katie Funk Wiebe, ed., Board of Christian Literature, Hillsboro, KS, 1979), includes short biographies of the women of this period of suffering and also of earlier and later periods in the history of the Mennonite Brethren and Krimmer Mennonite Brethren churches. It also shows how some women always found a work to do for the Lord. Family responsibilities, even large families, at a time when {34} labor-saving devices were few, never held them back. The women added to their home responsibilities the care of other children, particularly orphans, and the care of young women in new situations, like city life or college dormitories. The women moved into home missions and overseas missions. Very few took up creative arts.


Some day when a more complete history of the Mennonite Brethren church is written, I hope it will include, along with the public church movements and decisions, the private personal history of its women, the domestic history of the family, the ways in which male-dominated institutions have affected women’s and men’s lives, and how the feminist consciousness in the Mennonite Brethren church started possibly from the missionary movement and from women like Paulina Foote, who were intent only on doing God’s will. Such a history will take reading between the lines, reading journals and memoirs, and perhaps reading with a woman’s eyes and emotions to recreate the kinds of persons these early women were and how they contributed to its growth. The setting for women’s contribution has rarely been in the open in view of the crowds or church councils, but by the hearth and by the lamp; and when the hearth was cold, and the light nearly gone, it was in the darkness, waiting for a new day to dawn for themselves, their families, and the church.


  1. P. M. Friesen, The Mennonite Brotherhood in Russia (1789-1910), tr. by J. B. Toews et al (Fresno, Calif: Board of Christian Literature, General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, 1978), preface, p. xxxii. All further references to Friesen will be placed in parentheses within the text.
  2. Paulina Foote, God’s Hand Over my Nineteen Years in China (Hillsboro, KS.: M.B. Publishing House, 1962).
  3. A. E. Janzen and Herbert Giesbrecht, We Recommend . . . Recommendations and Resolutions of the General Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches, Fresno, 1978.
  4. See “Brotherhood and Family: Implication of Kinship in Mennonite Brethren History” in P.M. Friesen and His History: Perspectives on Mennonite Life and Thought. No. 2 (Fresno, CA: Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, 1979).
  5. John H. Lohrenz writes in The Mennonite Brethren Church (Hillsboro, KS: The Board of Foreign Missions of the Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Church of North America, 1950), p. 28 that “The document was signed by the following eighteen men, who thus became the first members of the Mennonite Brethren Church.” The Mennonite Encyclopedia entry under “Mennonite Brethren church”, Vol. III. p. 597, likewise states: “This document was signed by 18 men. This event is regarded as the beginning of the Mennonite Brethren Church, and the 18 men as constituting the first congregation.” C. Henry Smith in The Story of the Mennonites (Berne, IN: Mennonite Book Concern, 1941) states the original number was eighteen (p.434).
  6. Peter Regier. Kurzgefasste Geschichte der Mennoniten Brueder-Gemeinde (Berne, IN: Light and Hope Publishing Co., 1901), p. 14.
  7. A. A. Vogt. Register der personennamen die in dem Geschichtswerk der Altevangelischen Mennoniten Bruederschaft in Russland von P.M. Friesen vorkommen Mit Angaben des Berufes von Jader Person so Wie die Seiten, Auf denen Der Name Im Buche zu Finden Ist (Steinbach, MB: published by author, n.d.)
  8. “Mennonite Brethren Church.” Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. III. (Scottdale, PA: Mennonite Publishing House, 1959), p. 597.
  9. Jacob P. Bekker, Origin of the Mennonite Brethren Church, trans. by D. E. Pauls and A. E. Janzen (Hillsboro, KS: The Mennonite Brethren Historical Society of the Midwest, 1973), p. 99.
  10. Janzen and Giesbrecht, We Recommend, p. 219.
  11. A. H. Unruh, Die Geschichte der Mennoniten—Brudergemeinde (Hillsboro, KS: The General Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Church of North America, 1955), p. 568.
  12. Evelyn and Frank Stagg, in Woman in the World of Jesus, (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1978) trace the status of women in New Testament times, showing how the freedom which Jesus introduced in his own ministry and which the early church picked up was later limited by the restrictions the apostle Paul placed on the women although he himself had earlier spoken up for a broader ministry for them.
  13. Geschichte der Maertyrer oder kurze historische Nachricht von den Verfolgungen der Mennoniten (Winnipeg, MB: Mennonitischen Gemeinden Manitobas, 1938).
  14. A. A. Toews, ed., Mennonitische Maertyrer der Juengsten Vergangenheit under der Gegenwart (published by author, 1949).
Katie Funk Wiebe is Emerita Professor of English, Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kansas. This article, which first appeared in the September 1981 issue of Mennonite Life, is reprinted here by permission of the author.

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