Hannah Heinzekehr will serve in new position; Glen Guyton has assumed the responsibilities of Convention Planning director.
ELKHART, Ind.—Hannah Heinzekehr of Claremont, Calif., has accepted the position of Convention Planning coordinator with Mennonite Church USA’s national staff. She will begin working part time Feb. 1 and will transition to full time after completing graduate school in May.
In her new role, Heinzekehr will work alongside Convention Planning staff members Glen Guyton, Carol Epp and Scott Hartman. She will help plan various aspects of the denomination’s biennial convention, promote the event, and work with media and technology coordinators to develop a social media strategy and increase online convention programming.
Guyton, director for constituent resources, says that Heinzekehr’s position is new. Following the departure of former Convention Planning Director Rachel Swartzendruber Miller in August, staff responsibilities were reallocated; Guyton is now serving as director of Convention Planning and will continue to lead the team in this role.
Heinzekehr says that the denominational convention has been an important place for her. “I was always grateful for the opportunity to see a larger representation of Mennonite Church USA than I could experience in my own home community, and it was also a place where I was able to expand my gifts and connect with new mentors and friends.”
When Heinzekehr was a high school student, she had the opportunity to serve on the planning committee for the Atlanta 2003 convention. “That gave me my first taste of what all goes on behind the scenes with convention planning,” she says. “From that time on, I thought in the back of my mind that it would be great to work in convention planning.”
Since 2007, following her graduation from Bluffton (Ohio) University with a bachelor’s degree in communication, Heinzekehr has worked for Mennonite Mission Network as a church relations associate and communications associate. She also has served as Student Council events coordinator at Claremont School of Theology, where she is earning a master’s degree in community development and theology.
“We had many great, highly qualified candidates for this position, and Hannah was the unanimous choice of the Convention Planning team,” says Guyton. “She has been a prized member of the Mission Network family. We are excited to have her bring her talents and energy to this new role.”
“Hannah is respected by her colleagues and appreciated as a team player on the Church Relations team,” adds Sandy Miller, director for Church Relations for Mennonite Mission Network. “She is outgoing and approaches collaboration with fresh eyes and creativity.”
Miller said that Heinzekehr enjoyed meeting with pastors and church leaders to discuss questions of mission and how Mission Network could accompany them in their mission efforts. Heinzekehr has related to pastors and congregations in the Gulf States, Mountain States, Pacific Northwest, and Pacific Southwest Mennonite conferences.
Heinzekehr also serves on the Mission Team of Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference and helped rewrite Shared Voices, Mennonite Mission Network’s guide to anti-racist communication.
Heinzekehr plans to work from her office at Mountain View Mennonite Church in Upland, Calif. She and her husband, Justin, are part of Peace Mennonite Fellowship in Claremont.
Heinzekehr said that the opportunity to be involved in the planning work of convention—“a work that grows out of hospitality”—is exciting for her.
“I hope that we can continue to create a gathering space where people from all across the church feel at home,” she says. “Convention is the only time when we have this large of a cross-section of Mennonite Church USA together in one place. I think that there are huge opportunities at convention to celebrate our diversity and to continue to learn from each other and build relationships across the church that can stretch and enrich us all.”
The next Mennonite Church USA biennial convention will be held in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2013.
—Annette Brill Bergstresser, Mennonite Church USA
Hannah Heinzekehr, convention planning coordinator for Mennonite Church USA.