Bonita Croyle (she/her/hers) is a transracial adoptee, speaker, and writer. As the Founder of The Ebenezer Project, Bonita routinely engages with interfaith communities and individuals on topics regarding racial justice, transracial adoption, faith formation, liberation theology, womanism and intersectionality. And as a Black transracial adoptee, Bonita also leverages her unique lived experiences to make clear the urgency to cultivate sustainable anti-racist systems and reform policies. Bonita is a graduate of Hesston College and Millersville University and has a Bachelor of Arts in English. She lives on the land of the Tohono O’odham Nation and Pasqua Yaqui Tribes (Tucson, Arizona) with her husband Ian and her puppy Roar.
She is a member of MC USA’s Women in Leadership Steering Committee.
As holy agitators build sustainable, life-affirming, and transformative paths forward, one needs to, as adrienne maree brown states, “be ready to accept that everything must change, including oneself.”
For the past few years, I have been awakening to this sacred call. The call to love my neighbor, to embrace warm welcome, to bear bold and prophetic witness, to interrupt hate and to commit to undoing systems of oppression.
As a follower of Christ, an anti-racist educator, and a community bridge-builder, I am delighted about and deeply humbled by the opportunity to join the Women in Leadership Steering Committee as they commit to doing the critical and sacred work of holy agitation by dismantling systems of oppression in the Mennonite Church.
I join this important work cognizant of both my identity and the lineages upon which I draw. I am a twenty-eight-year-old, Black, cisgender, middle-class, English-speaking, educated, transracial adoptee, Mennonite person who is non-disabled. I grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, adopted into a Mennonite family with a historic Mennonite legacy, and I largely attended Mennonite schools. I am the great-granddaughter and the great-great-granddaughter of enslaved persons. I am an abolitionist, a student of theology, change and complexity.
I dream, question, reimagine and deconstruct the systems around us so that they can work for everyone. For me, this looks like assessing and analyzing patriarchal and oppressive systems and environments, providing education, identifying gaps, equipping leaders and congregants with new tools, and building sustainable and transformative paths forward.
Specifically, in the Mennonite Church, I am interested in empowering, uplifting, and amplifying women and BIPOC voices, and cultivating and building life-affirming, transformative, and intersectional communities that seek to disrupt systems of oppression.
I have many hopes for this work.
Maybe you do too.
Let me tell you about a few of mine:
I hope to do this work bravely and courageously.
I hope to do this work thoughtfully and with the ability to listen well.
I hope to do this work from a place of deep rootedness.
I hope to do this work in a way that uplifts and amplifies the voices of Mennonite womxn, the voices of folx in the BIPOC community, and the voices of survivors.
I hope to do this work with grace. To discern holy rage and to hold space for righteous anger.
I hope to be able to cultivate transformative environments and deepen our capacity to hold and build community.
There are also many things that I don’t know and am not an expert in. My hope and my prayer is that each of you will grant me grace as I begin this journey of leadership, and I will do my best to model failing forward when I stumble. I am thankful and filled with deep gratitude for each of my Women in Leadership colleagues, and I am honored to hold space with this new family for the next three years.
MC USA’s Women in Leadership (WIL) works to dismantle patriarchal systems in Mennonite Church USA by empowering women to live out the call of God on their lives, increase their capacities, and contribute their wisdom in congregations, area conferences, agencies and institutions.