MCC U.S. leadership transition set for October

J Ron Byler to retire as executive director; current associate executive director Ann Graber Hershberger to move into the role

J Ron Byler (left) will retire as executive director of MCC U.S. in October 2020, and current associate executive director Ann Graber Hershberger (right) will move into the role. She is anticipated to lead MCC U.S. as executive director through 2022. Photo: MCC/Brenda Burkholder.

Leadership of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. will transition in October 2020 as J Ron Byler retires as executive director and current associate executive director Ann Graber Hershberger moves into the role. The shift reflects a leadership plan determined in 2019 and was affirmed by the organization’s board of directors in their June 20 meeting.

Hershberger began as associate executive director following an open hire process in 2019. This interim staff position was established to respond to heightened activity and long-range planning surrounding MCC’s centennial year in 2020. She had served on MCC boards since 1996, including chairing the MCC East Coast board and later the MCC U.S. board.

Hershberger is anticipated to lead MCC U.S. as executive director through 2022.

Byler has served as executive director since July 2010. Byler and Hershberger now oversee all MCC U.S. programs and operations and, with Canadian counterparts, all MCC international work. They also lead the network of MCC regional office executive directors and work closely with the supporting denominations of MCC U.S. and with associations of nonprofit organizations.

MCC U.S. Board chair Gwen White of Philadelphia expresses the board’s appreciation to Byler: “As we prepare to say farewell to Ron later this year, we know we are sending him off into new adventures with deep gratitude for his innovative leadership based in his vigorous spirituality.

“At an earlier time of transition, Ron in his executive director role moved MCC forward and refocused our connections with the Anabaptist church worldwide. Through building warm relationships with denominational leaders, staff, partners and supporters, Ron has set MCC on a course for increasing the work of God’s kingdom.”

Byler lives in Goshen, Ind., and is a member of Eighth Street Mennonite Church.

White expresses the board’s “delight” with Hershberger’s two-year appointment, noting, “Ann has served MCC in multiple roles with grace, intelligence and a deep and compassionate Christian faith.”

Hershberger lives in Harrisonburg, Va., and is a member of Mount Clinton Mennonite Church.

MCC works in partnership with local churches and organizations in about 50 countries in the areas of relief, development and peacebuilding. Commemoration of its centennial in 2020 has unfolded in the context of the profound impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the pain and promise of turmoil arising from racial injustice in the U.S.

White says, “These times are momentous on the world stage and also particularly important in MCC history and ongoing work to meet our 100-year-plus mission to demonstrate God’s love and compassion to those in need.”


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