Dutch group awards MWC Deacons Commission chair
Anne Zernike was the first Mennonite woman ordained in the Netherlands, possibly in Europe and “even maybe in the world,” said Christien Duhoux-Rueb. She and Coot Winkler Prins, pastors from the Netherlands, highlighted Zernike at a workshop and with an award at PA 2015
Ordained at the Mennonite church in Bovenknijpe in 1911, Zernike was the first woman to attend the Mennonite seminary in Amsterdam, and her first public sermon drew large crowds of “curious people who want to find out if she is real,” Duhoux-Rueb said.
Today, Zernike is the inspiration – and benefactor – for women theologians through the Anne Zernike Fund, established 2011.
In an informal ceremony in the Global Church Village, Duhoux-Rueb and Winkler Prins honoured outgoing Deacons Commission chair Cynthia Peacock for her pioneering service. Peacock has been “a source of inspiration for many,” the committee declares on their website [annezernikefund.wordpress.com].
“[Peacock] has done extraordinary work in a male-dominated society when she wasn’t always heard,” Duhoux-Rueb said. “She stood her ground, used her voice and was friendly but firm.”
To the small crowd gathered, Peacock responded, “I don’t deserve this, but I am thankful.”
The Fund is currently supporting seven women pursuing theological education. “We cannot afford to deny their talents,” said Duhoux-Rueb.
From reports by Kelli Yoder (Mennonite World Review) and Connie Faber (Christian Leader).