The Holding it (,) Together podcast is a production of The Mennonite, Inc., and Mennonite Church USA’s Women in Leadership Project. New episodes are released every three weeks.
This podcast dives into lives and experiences of people across Mennonite Church USA. We’ll connect 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.
Our stories and interviews are with people like you and me, those of us who daily encounter mundane responsibility, joy and struggle, imperfection in the midst high aspirations, accomplishment and disappointment. Too often in the context of faith and lived experience, the stories we tell are stories of overcoming, of success, of all that is waiting on the other side. On this podcast, we want to notice the beauty of the process, to paint pictures of authentic and whole people. Here, we recognize that to live out our convictions and co-create new ways of being in the world, we need one another. We need each other to hold together with us all that we carry in our journey of becoming. We need each other to bear witness to the process, because yes, some days we do shine, we are successful beyond our wildest imaginings. But most days, we’re just holding it together.
Why is it so difficult to talk about our failure? In the second episode of our “Breaking Silences” series, Jenny talks with three women: Elizabeth Soto Albrecht, Linda Gehman Peachey and Marathana Prothro, to explore failure — how it shapes who we are and who we become, and all it has to teach us when we face it.
This summer we’re focusing on “Breaking Silences” and talking about things we’ve typically avoided. We’re choosing to release shame, fear and discomfort as we courageously face conversations that have been put off for too long. In this episode, Erica Littlewolf reads her essay “On Singleness and the Church” published on the Menno Snapshots blog in August 2016. In the conversation that follows, Jenny and Erica explore the pressure single women face in the church, touching on sexism, purity culture and belonging.
We conclude our series “Women in Leadership” with a talkback episode. We’ve invited five women from across the country to consider one event, experience or interaction that significantly shaped their leadership. Their stories are as unique as the women themselves and get to the heart of challenges and triumphs we’ve attempted to capture throughout this series. At the same time, their stories are universal, touching themes that continue to bubble up when we talk about women in leadership.
How do we as women in leadership navigate through expectations about our bodies imposed upon us by the white patriarchy that is embedded within our faith communities? What do we have to strip away? What do we have to let go of? We continue our series “Women in Leadership” with Melissa Florer-Bixler, pastor of Raleigh (North Carolina) Mennonite Church.
What is imagination’s role in resistance? How does personal transformation influence systemic change? How do we hold the tension of all that we’re working for together with finding joy in our journey? Jenny talks with three women – connected through Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana – whose life and work has spanned three generations. They gather together for the first time to explore their overlapping yet distinct stories.
In October 2017, Chris Hoover Seidel wrote “For the Body Tells Me So,” an article exploring the disconnection and trauma inside her physical body as a metaphor for the church and our collective trauma and disconnection. What could it look like to stand in solidarity with ourselves, to be present to our collective pain, to become faith communities that embrace God’s divine presence embodied through us all?
Privilege and opportunity, growth into leadership, spiritual journey, culture, encountering joy. Iris de León-Hartshorn and Michelle Armster have been friends for over 30 years. In this first ever episode of Holding it(,) Together, find stories, wisdom and inspiration as we listen in to an honest conversation between friends.