Heavenly Voices

Julia Baker, Senior from Fresno, California
Pat McFarlane, Associate Professor of Communications

The play Heavenly Voices shares the stories of Mennonite Women of Color across the Mennonite Church from Alabama to Montana, from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. The play was preformed on July 14, 2010 at Living Waters Fellowship in Chicago and on July 16 and 17th on the Umble stage at Goshen College.

McFarlane has interwoven these extraordinary stories of ordinary women, shedding light on God’s faithfulness and work in their lives. Stories include how they came to faith, the impact of that faith on their lives and families, and how they have overcome hardship and hope to be remembered.

These women’s stories were collected during the Mennonite Women of Color Oral History Project conducted from 2000 to 2006 by Pat McFarlane, associate professor of communication at Goshen College, and Linda Christophel, school social worker in Michigan. The play came out of research and work from McFarlane’s doctoral dissertation, entitled “Performing the “Other” in Religious Community: An Interpretive Qualitative Inquiry among American Mennonite Women.”

Through the course of rehearsal and production McFarlane has been gathering observations and interviewing the actresses to gain insight into the research question; how does playing the roles of Mennonite women who are “other” to the actresses’ deepen and extend the actresses’ understanding of other?