MCC names new Executive Director

AKRON, Pa. — Arli Klassen has been chosen as the next executive director of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), taking leadership of the organization’s relief, development and peace-building work in more than 50 countries.

Klassen comes to the position after serving for the past eight years as the executive director of MCC Ontario. She will be the first woman to serve as the executive director of MCC in the organization’s 87- year history.

“I’m very excited for MCC with the hiring of Arli,” said Ron Dueck, MCC’s board chair. “Her work in Ontario has shown her to be an
excellent administrator, forging strong links with the churches and developing leadership in visioning and guiding MCC in its mission.”

Klassen’s appointment follows 16 years of service with MCC in Africa, the United States and Canada. She first served with MCC in Lesotho and was MCC’s country representative there from 1991 to 1994. She then worked in MCC’s Akron office as a connecting peoples resource person and an assistant director of Africa programs before becoming executive director of MCC Ontario.

Klassen and her husband Keith Regehr are members of Breslau Mennonite Church in Breslau, Ontario. They have two daughters who are both university students in Ontario.

Klassen earned a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Religious Studies from her studies at Mennonite Brethren Bible College and the University of Winnipeg.

As a candidate for executive director, Klassen emphasized the importance of MCC’s relationship to its constituency of Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches.

“My vision for MCC is that we remain focused on our identity as a Mennonite/BIC ministry, while inviting others in to support and partner with us in whatever work the churches are asking us to do,” Klassen wrote in a letter to the search committee.

After accepting the executive director position, Klassen said, “MCC is a strong ministry facing new changes and challenges, and I am eagerly anticipating walking with the whole of MCC — all the churches locally and globally, partners, donors, volunteers and staff — in moving into the future.”

Dueck announced Klassen’s selection today to MCC staff members in the United States and Canada. She is expected to replace Bert Lobe, MCC’s
interim executive director, by next spring.

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