(Mennonite Church USA) — Mennonite Church USA’s Executive Board (EB) staff announces current staff transitions:
Alyssa Bennett Smith completed her service on the MC USA Communications team for EB staff in September. She served as web and social media content manager for nearly three years. Alyssa helped to envision and coordinate the 2015 website overhaul. Her work included managing all of MC USA’s social media communication and web content. In addition, she supported the lead graphic designer with design projects.
“Alyssa has been instrumental in developing MC USA’s presence online, especially on social media, and navigated the challenges that come with that work with grace and wisdom,” said Janie Beck Kreider, director of communications for MC USA. “She was a talented, creative spark on our team and was an absolute joy to work with over the last few years.” Alyssa has accepted a full-time position at Art from Ashes, a nonprofit in Denver, Colorado that empowers youth through poetry and spoken word.
Kayla Berkey began her service as multimedia news editor on the communications team on Nov. 1. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attends Pittsburgh Mennonite Church, where she serves as the chairperson of the Worship Commission. Her recent work experience includes serving as the communications specialist at the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit Consumer Health Coalition. She is also a poet and has a Master’s Degree in English from Duquesne University.
“I look forward to reporting on the work of Mennonite Church USA in a way that allows people points of connection across the church,” said Berkey. “I’m excited to seek creative ways to engage people in our ongoing journey of being the church together.””
“Kayla has an impressive range of skills that stretch beyond her gifts with writing — she has also worked with web design, social media strategy and translation services,” Beck Kreider said. “She is a very capable and creative person with a strong commitment to the Mennonite Church, and I’m excited to welcome her to the team.”
Alex Woodring will begin serving as MC USA’s web and social media manager beginning Jan. 3. Alex studied Communication and Graphic Design at Bluffton University, and following graduation, he served as head journalist for the Putnam County Sentinel before relocating to Pittsburgh where he has worked in social media and communication for the past five years. Alex attends Pittsburgh Mennonite and does work for CreativeMornings and Sunburst School of Music.
“I couldn’t be more excited and honored to be joining MC USA,” said Woodring. “I look forward to helping share the mission and goals of MC USA in ways that are accessible for all peoples.”
“In addition to his impressive web and social media expertise, Alex brings a contagious passion and energy into his work,” said Beck Kreider. “His well-rounded communication, web and design background will be an asset to our team.”
Beth Hunsberger, office manager for MC USA Leadership Development, has announced her resignation, effective Dec. 31.
“Over her years working in the Leadership Development office, Beth has added her attention to detail and technology to improve many aspects of our work,” said Terry Shue, director of Leadership Development for MC USA. “She has been a joy to work with and has served the church well in her role.”
“I am so grateful for having been a part of the Leadership Development team,” said Hunsberger. “It has been a joy working with our team as well as with pastors, conference staff and congregations.”
Sandra Shenk Lapp will begin service with MC USA as office manager for Leadership Development beginning Jan. 2, 2018. Shenk Lapp is a member of College Mennonite Church, where she has served in a variety of pastoral and staff roles, most recently as communications director and office manager. She and her husband, John F. Lapp, live in Goshen, Indiana.
“Having experienced congregational life from many perspectives,” Shenk Lapp said, “I look forward to participating in the work of the broader Mennonite church.”
“With a strong background in office management, writing skills and attention to details, Sandra will build upon the good work the office has become known for in Beth’s time,” Shue said. “We are grateful to have her join the team.”
Nancy Kauffmann has announced her intent to retire on May 1, 2018. Nancy has served as denominational minister for MC USA for over seven years. Among her responsibilities were connecting with area conferences and maintaining the denomination’s calling system.
“While I love my work, I have inner peace that it is the right move,” said Kauffmann, “And I am open to seeing what God has in store for me. I am excited!”
“Nancy’s deep love and care for the church comes out in the way she responds to inquiries and relates to conference ministers,” said Shue. “Her many years of ministry experience have developed in her a wealth of wisdom which has been a gift in every situation she has faced. Her attention to detail and relationships is the hallmark of her ministry and her long service to the church, at many levels, has been faithful and fruitful.”