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Last updated March 03.

March 3, 2014 issue

Women's conference asks 'Is love enough?'

Theology gathering explores love in many contexts

By Kelli Yoder Mennonite World Review

LEESBURG, Va. — As an Indigenous woman who claims Anabaptist theology as her own, Sarah Augustine often questions how much “Mennonite” is really part of her identity.

Joanna Shenk of Elkhart, Ind., left, and Sandra Pérez of New York City serve sticky rice and honey to Cathy Stoner of South Bend, Ind., during “All You Need Is Love,” an Anabaptist women’s conference Feb. 20-22 in Leesburg, Va.

Joanna Shenk of Elkhart, Ind., left, and Sandra Pérez of New York City serve sticky rice and honey to Cathy Stoner of South Bend, Ind., during “All You Need Is Love,” an Anabaptist women’s conference Feb. 20-22 in Leesburg, Va. — Photo by Carol Roth/MC USA

After an Anabaptist women’s theology conference Feb. 20-22, she has no doubt.

“These are my people,” she said. “That recognition and affirmation is profound.”

Examining and sharing stories and issues related to diversity often found in the margins of Anabaptist churches framed the conversation for the conference, “All You Need Is Love: Honoring the Diversity of Women’s Voices in Theology.”

The conference was part of Mennonite Church USA’s Women in Leadership Project, which co-sponsored the event along with Mennonite Central Committee.

Mary Lackore, an 80-year-old resident of Greencroft Retirement Community in Middlebury, Ind., came ready to dispute that theme.

“Love is enough?” she said. “No, that is not true.” She and two others were able to attend through a Greencroft scholarship.

Just as she hoped, she found many opportunities for conversations about times when love isn’t enough, and much more.

Over the two and a half days, speakers, group leaders and participants explored the idea of love during small group conversations, worship sessions, meditations and many breakout sessions on food, mothering, eco­feminism, power, mentoring, mission, publishing, social media and more.

Women presented academic papers on topics including business, farming, infertility, miscarriage, adultery, adoption, violence, sexual ethics, beauty, technology, veganism and sports.

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