Tag Archives: Annette Brill Bergstresser

A Conversation On Race

MLK DayThe bill proposing Martin Luther King Jr (MLK) Day as a federal holiday was first introduced to Congress in 1968, four days after Martin Luther King’s assassination. 15 years would pass before that bill was voted into law in 1983. Still not all states recognized the federal holiday. In fact, in 2000, South Carolina became the last state to make MLK Day a paid holiday for all state employees. Previously, employees could choose between celebrating it or one of three Confederate-related holidays. Many states to this day recognize the federal holiday but still do not call it MLK Day, instead opting to refer to it as Human Rights Day, or Civil Rights Day. The contention over recognizing this Federal Holiday seems to highlight the continued tension around race in our country, a topic many shy away form discussing. However, Cyneatha Millsaps, lead pastor of Community Mennonite Church in Markham, Illinois, and Annette Brill Bergstresser, editorial director for Mennonite Church USA, face this topic head on in “Undoing Racism: A Conversation” Posted in The Mennonite Blog this week.

Footnote: Historical information on MLK Day taken from “The History of Martin Luther King Day” by Shmuel Ross and David Johnson

Mennonite Church USA announces new leadership team

By Annette Brill Bergstresser

Mennonite Church USA — Ervin Stutzman, who began Jan. 1 as executive director of Mennonite Church USA, has named his new leadership cabinet. This team will focus its work on the four churchwide priorities approved by the Executive Board in 2006: witness, anti-racism, leadership development, and global connections. Team members will work out of five states—Kansas, Texas, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia.

“It’s a new thing to focus the roles of the cabinet members around the stated priorities of the church, while also maintaining the core services,” Stutzman said. “This is a very dedicated, committed team, and I really look forward to working together with them to make a significant contribution to the life of our church.”

These appointments conclude a comprehensive workplace review that Stutzman initiated in the spring as part of a six-month process of “listening around the church.” The review included all Mennonite Church USA staff members employed directly by the offices that Stutzman supervises, but did not include agencies of Mennonite Church USA, which conduct their own reviews. Stutzman’s goal was to complete the appointments by Sept. 1.

The new cabinet consists of:

-Shelley Buller—executive assistant. Buller coordinates Stutzman’s schedule and plans logistics for the Executive Board and Constituency Leaders Council. She works as part of a six-person team to plan Stutzman’s travels, particularly those involving church relations. Buller has served in her present position as executive assistant for 32 years (formerly serving the General Conference Mennonite Church). She has an associate’s degree in business from Emporia (Kan.) State University and is a member of Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton, Kan.



– Glen Guyton—associate executive director for constituent resources. Guyton oversees the Finance, Convention Planning, Information Technology, Intercultural Relations, and Resource Advocacy departments. He will relate with Mennonite Publishing Network. He also will give leadership to the churchwide priority of anti-racism work.

Guyton felt a call to ministry after completing four years as an officer in the United States Air Force. His participation in the Mennonite Church moved him to withdraw from the military as a conscientious objector. With his wife, Cynthia (Cyndi), Glen served as youth pastor and in other ministry roles for more than 17 years at Calvary Community Church in Hampton, Va., before joining the staff of Mennonite Church USA as denominational minister for intercultural relations in 2009. He has worked with Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va., to create mentoring programs to promote theological training for high school youth. He also has worked with the former Warwick District of Virginia Conference to develop peace and justice programs for urban youth and to provide students with alternatives to military service.

Guyton holds a bachelor’s degree in management from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and a master’s of education from Regent University, Virginia Beach, Va. He recently moved to San Antonio, Texas, and will work from the DOOR house.

– Marty Lehman—associate executive director for churchwide operations. Lehman oversees the Church Relations, Communications, Development and Human Resources departments. She also works with The Corinthian Plan, Church Extension Services, and the Historical Committee. She is responsible to coordinate alignment among the various churchwide agencies.

Lehman has worked for Mennonite Church USA since 2004, serving in areas including funding, stewardship and finance. Prior to that she was the President and CEO of Adriel, a Mennonite Health Services (MHS) Alliance organization in West Liberty, Ohio. Lehman earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in public affairs with an emphasis on administration of non-profit organizations from Indiana University – South Bend, and has taken courses at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind.

Lehman works out of the Elkhart, Ind., office, and is a member at College Mennonite Church in Goshen, Ind.

– André Gingerich Stoner—director of holistic witness, director of interchurch relations. Stoner will help nurture a web of evangelism, justice and peace witness throughout the church, working closely with Mennonite Mission Network staff. He will give leadership to the churchwide priorities of witness and the interchurch dimension of global connections.

Stoner has served as director of interchurch relations for Mennonite Church USA on a part-time basis since 2005. He has been part-time pastor of missions at Kern Road Mennonite Church in South Bend, Ind., since 1994, where he provided leadership for the congregation’s varied and numerous outreach and witness efforts. He will end that role in October as he transitions to full-time work for Mennonite Church USA.
Stoner, who was born in Luxemburg to missionary parents, attended Bethany Christian High School, Goshen, Ind.; and Eastern Mennonite High School, Harrisonburg, Va.; and he holds degrees from Swarthmore (Pa.) College and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart. From 1984 to 1991, he served with Mennonite Central Committee in peace ministry in West Germany and helped found the Military Counseling Network. Stoner works out of the Elkhart office.

– Terry Shue—director of leadership development.

Shue will give attention to the leadership development priority, seeking to invigorate the Culture of Call and develop connections with ministry training programs as well as business leaders. He also will oversee the ministerial calling system and supervise a denominational ministry team.

Shue served as pastor at Kidron Mennonite Church for 13 years; prior to that he pastored at Pine Grove Mennonite Church, Stryker, Ohio. He also has been on the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA and on the board of Goshen (Ind.) College. Shue studied at Hesston (Kan.) College; Bethel College, North Newton, Kan.; and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart. He will work from an office at the Central Christian School at Kidron.

Mennonite Church USA Executive Leadership welcomes news service coordinator

annette_brill_bergstresser.jpgOn April 21, Annette Brill Bergstresser will join the Executive Leadership Communications team in the position of News Service Coordinator.

In this role Bergstresser will be responsible for streamlined news gathering and reporting for Executive Leadership, Mennonite Education Agency, Mennonite Mission Network, MMA, Mennonite Publishing Network and constituency groups. She will collaborate with these groups through regular meetings and will serve as copyeditor for the news that is distributed.

Bergstresser said she was attracted to the position because “it involves communicating about what God is doing across Mennonite Church USA, building relationships with different parts of the church, and extending the church’s witness to the wider world.”

Bergstresser has a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. For the last seven years, she has served as communications coordinator for Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference in Goshen, Ind. In this role she has developed a deeper understanding of the congregations in the conference—their diverse histories, unique cultures, strengths and challenges. And during that time her connection to the wider church has grown, as she and her co-workers have sought to link the various parts of Mennonite Church USA to their constituents.

Bergstresser is a relatively new Mennonite who did not grow up attending church. Soon after choosing to make a public commitment to Jesus Christ in 1997, she discovered Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, Kan., where she was baptized on May 31, 1998. As she became more involved in her congregation, one of the ways she sought to deepen her understanding of the Mennonite Church was by reading denominational publications; she remembers this as a faith-forming experience.

Before joining Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference, she did service learning for half a year in the publishing division of the Latin American Anabaptist Seminary in Guatemala City, as well as a term of voluntary service in Chicago. Following those experiences she studied for a year at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), Elkhart, Ind., where her sense of call to church communications work was strengthened.

Currently Bergstresser and her family live in Goshen and are part of Faith Mennonite Church. She also works part time as communications assistant for AMBS, and plans to continue in that role.