Sullivan to retire in 2024 from her roles with USMB

Donna Sullivan has served USMB ministries for 40 years

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Donna Sullivan, right, introduces Amy Gelatt, North Oak Community Church, Hays, Kansas, at USMB Gathering 2022. In addition to working for USMB, Sullivan and her husband, Tim, have served as the Southern District Conference pastoral couple. Photo: Janae Rempel

Donna Sullivan, USMB administrative secretary, bookkeeper and event planner, will retire from her role with the U.S. Conference of MB Churches in August 2024, following 40 years of service to the Mennonite Brethren family.

After 40 years of service with USMB ministries, Donna Sullivan will retire. (Photo: Janae Rempel)

“Donna Sullivan has been not only a good friend since childhood, but also a good friend in our adult years as well,” says USMB national director Don Morris. “She exemplifies what it means to be a true servant and follower of Jesus. The expertise in administration and accounting that she provided over many years has been of immense value for our USMB family.”

Sullivan has served in administrative roles with USMB since Sept. 1, 1990. What began as a part-time administrative assistant job quickly grew to full-time.

Her administrative duties have included maintaining the database and Christian Leader mailing list, sending fundraiser mailings and letters of tax exemption for churches, taking minutes at board meetings and other meetings and sending information and USMB resources upon request.

Her bookkeeping duties, meanwhile, have included receipting individual and church donations, processing accounts payable, payroll, insurance and workers comp, retirement, financial reports, budgets for USMB ministries and events, state and IRS reports, bookkeeping for Christian Leader, International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB) and MB Historical Commission and more.

“I love working with numbers, and I’ve enjoyed doing the bookkeeping over the years,” Sullivan says. “I have always felt my work, even though behind the scenes, was a part of the ministry of USMB, perhaps keeping the ship going.”

Donna Sullivan (right) and Lori Taylor (center) assist Tim Thiessen at the registration table for the 2018 USMB National Convention. (Photo: Janae Rempel)

In 2008, Sullivan assumed all event-planning responsibilities.

“I have truly enjoyed planning events, something that I had never done before but have grown to love,” she says. “There are hundreds of details and many hours involved, but I love providing an event that people enjoy, have fun at and are encouraged and inspired. It has been such a blessing to get to know and be involved with people from our MB family.”

Morris speaks highly of Sulllivan’s work. “Donna has provided a work ethic far beyond expectations,” he says. “She is selfless, caring, humble, honest and brilliant. She never complains. We will all miss her excellent work, but we will miss most the way that she did it because of the person that she is. Thank you, Donna, for all the years of tremendous service.”

Sullivan’s employment with MB ministries began in 1984, when she and her husband, Tim, served on the student development staff at Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kan., while Tim earned his bachelor’s degree in preparation for seminary training. In 1986, the Sullivans moved to Fresno, Calif., where Tim attended Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, now Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, and Donna worked as administrative secretary and assistant to the bookkeeper in the seminary office from 1986-1990.

In 1990, the Sullivans returned to Hillsboro, where Tim accepted the pastorate at Parkview MB Church and Donna started her work with the U.S. Conference. Tim transitioned to the role of Southern District minister in 2004 and intends to retire Jan. 15, 2024.

“My daughter has often said that I have the best job in the world, and I have always agreed,” Sullivan says. “It has been interesting, fun, challenging and fulfilling. I’m so grateful to have had the privilege of working for God’s kingdom in my work as well as in Tim’s and my pastoral ministry. It has also been such a joy and privilege to have worked with such a great staff team and executive/national directors over the years. They have been the very best to work with, and I love and appreciate every one of them.”

Sullivan intends to work through USMB Gathering 2024 in July and will conclude in August. J.L. Martin has joined the USMB staff full-time and intends to assume the bookkeeping and event planning portions of the job. During the summer, Sullivan will train an administrative assistant to cover that area of her work.

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