Women in Church Vocations (General Conference Mennonite Church)

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Women in Church Vocations (WCV), an organiza­tion of the General Conference Mennonite Church replacing the former deaconess program. However, it seeks to foster this spirit in a broader, fresher, and more adaptable form for our day. In the early 1950s, a study and re-evaluation of this deaconess movement, authorized by the Conference and by the deaconesses themselves, resulted in the conclusion that, like other church groups, the Gen­eral Conference would need to find a new form or pattern of service for the women in church voca­tions.

Eight representative young women met with a special committee of the Board of Christian Service in St. Louis in July 1956 and, after a study of other denominational deaconess programs, formulated rec­ommendations that were adopted by the Confer­ence in 1956. The new program offers avenues for recruiting young women, helping provide ade­quate spiritual and specialized training, assisting with counseling and placement, and continuing to provide opportunities for further inspiration and fel­lowship. Each enrolled member shall have been led to devote herself to Christ-like service within the framework of the church. She shall possess emo­tional and physical health, have a wholesome personality, be under 36 years of age when accepted, and be desirous of growing spiritually and in her chosen vocation. She will be considered an active member as long as she is giving full-time service to the church, whether married or not.

Initially it was urged that each member earn her A.B. degree and then complete a year of training at Mennonite Biblical Seminary in order to equip her for spiritually effective service, a five-year program in possible addition to specialized and technical preparation such as nurse's training. Some revision of this requirement is now in process. Early in 1957 Marion Keeney was asked by the Committee on Women in Church Vocations to serve as promo­tional secretary. In September 1957, six young wom­en were enrolled in the program - four of them at the Seminary for their year of study, and one each at Bethel and Bluffton completing the B.A. degree. This program is related to the Conference through the Board of Christian Service. Scholarship aid is provided by the Board, by the Women's Missionary Association, and by the colleges, all of which organ­izations are represented on the Committee of Wom­en in Church Vocations.


Ediger, Elmer. “Women and Church Vocational Serv­ice.” The Mennonite (June 27 and December 4, 1856).

Harms, Doreen. “New Avenues of Service for Women.” Mennonite Life XII (January 1957).

Keeney, Marion. “Women in Church Vocations.” The Mennonite. (June 3 and June 10, 1958).

Author(s) Mrs. O'Ray Graber
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Graber, Mrs. O'Ray. "Women in Church Vocations (General Conference Mennonite Church)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 23 May 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Women_in_Church_Vocations_(General_Conference_Mennonite_Church)&oldid=143376.

APA style

Graber, Mrs. O'Ray. (1959). Women in Church Vocations (General Conference Mennonite Church). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Women_in_Church_Vocations_(General_Conference_Mennonite_Church)&oldid=143376.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 972. All rights reserved.

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