AKRON, Pa. — Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has selected Bert C. Lobe to serve as interim MCC executive director for the next year. He will start Jan. 8.
â€œWe had some very good candidates that we interviewed,â€ said Ron Dueck, chair of the MCC board. â€œBert brings a wealth of experience and leadership from both within and from outside of MCC.â€
Lobe and his wife, Martha, live in St. Jacobs, Ontario, and will be moving to Akron. His appointment follows the Oct. 23 resignation of Robb Davis, who joined MCC as executive director in June 2005. Lowell Detweiler has served as acting director since October.
The Lobes first served with MCC in the 1960s in rural India in a famine relief program, and later, from 1977 to 1980, as directors of MCCâ€™s program in India and Nepal. Bert Lobe has since served as MCCâ€™s Asia director, overseas director for MCC Canada and director of China Educational Exchange. During the intervals away from MCC, Lobe was principal of a public high school in Saskatchewan and a Mennonite high school in Ontario and served as associate principal at the Hong Kong International School.
In 2005, the Lobes served a six-month term as interim country representatives for MCC in Bangladesh. Bert Lobe has most recently worked with MCC to develop a program to more deliberately engage youth and young adults in the organizationâ€™s mission. Lobe currently is vice chair of Conrad Grebel University College and moderator of the Waterloo Mennonite Church.
Dueck said the committee that selected Lobe was struck by his ability to provide leadership in the context of building a strong team, by his long history with MCC and by his good connections with churches in Canada and the United States.
After Davisâ€™ resignation, the MCC executive committee asked MCC staff to continue moving forward key initiatives, such as changes in the MCC governance structure, network facilitation, international program initiatives, a salary review and human resources initiatives.
As he reflected on his new role with MCC, Lobe noted that the ultimate measure of an organization is not where it stands when circumstances are calm. â€œIt has much more to do with how we find our way when there are challenges, and in a learning organization these are a constant,â€ he said. â€œTo face the challenges with both a sense of gratitude to God and a passion for the dispossessed is the task of the church.â€
He draws on the words of Jean Vanier, author and founder of Lâ€™Arche communities, as he ponders the challenges ahead. The foundational principle for MCC, Lobe says, â€œis to open our hearts and minds to the needs of others.â€ This implies, he says, â€œa quality of observation and listening as well as a commitment to action.â€