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Gifts are in the bag: Canadian Women in Mission Fundraiser


June 4, 2003

Winnipeg, Man.— Women from across Canada are using their gifts to sew 1,500 tote bags for adult and youth delegates at this year’s annual Mennonite Church Canada assembly in St. Catharines (July 9-13).

Eva Siemens of Winnipeg is one of dozens of Canadian Women in Mission supporters across Canada who sewed tote bags for this year’s assembly.
-photo by Dan Dyck

The request to Canadian Women in Mission (CWM) to make bags came late. It was only at the March, 2003 Leadership Assembly in Winnipeg that the CWM executive learned of the opportunity. Still, sewing groups from across Canada are rallying to the cause and sharing the work.

Some bag makers took the time to add their own brand of creativity to selected specimens. Two are embroidered with the MC Canada dove symbol. Some have handy pockets on the outside, others are quilted — including a denim model with a classic log cabin quilt pattern. One features the front of a jean jacket, complete with pockets.

In Manitoba, bolt ends of fabric were contributed from a church member working in the textile industry. One group seems to have struck a rich vein of surgical green fabric, lending a certain antiseptic look to some bags. Other groups rounded up their own materials. Men also got into the act.

CWM president Dodie Lepp said, “When the executive heard about this need and the opportunity it presented, it didn’t take long for us to decide to take the plunge and commit to the project. It’s a very concrete statement of our commitment to the church.”

The idea was borrowed from a similar project in Saskatchewan, where Bethany Manor (Saskatoon) residents sewed tote bags for this year’s delegate sessions of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan.

Dan Dyck, director of communications for MC Canada, says. “It’s a very organic kind of project. Even though many of the makers won’t be at the assembly, the project symbolizes our connection to one another, and a desire to serve. It’s a ‘Here I am, send me Lord’ kind of commitment to the ministry of the church I have been absolutely amazed by the generous response from Canadian Women in Mission. I’m also very grateful for their hard work and volunteer commitment to this project,” said Dyck.

Bags will be available for sale to delegates at registration/check-in time. Purchase will be completely optional. Proceeds will contribute to the ongoing ministries of MC Canada.

Delegates can choose to purchase a bag for $5 when they register. Those choosing not to purchase will be asked to return the used bags at the end of the assembly, for re-use at future assemblies, meetings and events.