Janie Beck Kreider to serve as communications director

EB staff to assist with communications for Mennonite Education Agency

Janie Beck Kreider, communications director
Janie Beck Kreider, communications director for Mennonite Church USA (Photo provided)

ELKHART, Indiana (Mennonite Church USA)—Janie Beck Kreider of Charlottesville, Virginia, has been named director of communications for Mennonite Church USA’s Executive Board (EB) staff, effective Feb. 1, 2016. She has been serving as interim communications project director since the departure of former communications director Hannah Heinzekehr on Oct. 1, 2015.

In her new role, Beck Kreider will serve as a member of the Cabinet of the Executive Board staff, oversee the work of the Communications Team and act as a liaison to communications staff of the Convention Planning team and the churchwide agencies.

“I am excited to continue my work with the Communications Team in this new role, and honored to get to work with such a dedicated, talented group of people,” Beck Kreider says.

“I am especially excited about our new storytelling campaign, Love is a Verb. Even as we continue to find our way through a challenging season of conflict and uncertainty, there are so many inspiring stories of faith and radical discipleship across our denomination that can remind us of our shared calling, and how we Mennonites are actively living out the transformative love of Christ in our church communities and in the world.”

Beck Kreider earned a Bachelor of Arts in Bible, Religion and Philosophy from Goshen (Indiana) College and a Master of Divinity in Theology and Ethics from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana.

Since 2012, she has worked for Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College, serving first as associate coordinator of public programs and then as Mennonite Creation Care Network (MCCN) consultant. In the latter, she helped create the Creation Care Curriculum for congregational use; was part of writing the Creation Care Resolution approved by the Delegate Assembly at Phoenix 2013; and managed print, online and social media communications for the MCCN. She has led women’s gatherings, events and seminars in both national and local church contexts.

“I’m excited about the youthful enthusiasm and care for the church that Janie brings to our team,” says Ervin Stutzman, executive director for Mennonite Church USA. “She is a great writer and communicator who will help us tell the stories from across the church that help to shape the identity of our church.”

Janie is married to Luke Beck Kreider; they attend Charlottesville Mennonite Church. She will work from her home in Charlottesville.

In addition to Beck Kreider, the Communications Team includes Alyssa Bennett Smith, web and social media content manager, Denver, Colorado; Annette Brill Bergstresser, editorial director, Elkhart, Indiana; Jenny Castro, communications associate, San Antonio, Texas; and Ken Gingerich, art director, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Communications collaboration with MEA

On Feb. 1, the Communications Team began a partnership with Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) to provide communications services for the churchwide agency. Beck Kreider believes this will foster increased interdependence and better connection between the denomination and MEA.

Carlos Romero, executive director of Mennonite Education Agency, agrees.

“I’m excited about our new collaboration arrangements in sharing communication services,” he says. “This new partnership allows us to collaborate in ways that expand our communication capacity, increase efficiency and help us both serve and strengthen the church.”

Lisa Heinz, senior director for operations and chief financial officer for Mennonite Education Agency, will continue to serve as the contact person for questions related to MEA communications.

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—Mennonite Church USA staff

Image available:
Janie Beck Kreider, communications director for Mennonite Church USA (Photo provided)