Can one man serve two countries?

When telling people about my job working in development, they often ask, “Is the whole country your territory?” to which I reply “No. I have two countries.”

Let me back up. I had been searching for a position at a national agency of the Mennonite Church for about a year before accepting my current role as MennoMedia’s Director of Development.

I was not raised Mennonite but embraced the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective in 1997 about the same time I was retiring from a 20 year career in the United States Coast Guard (CG). Immediately after leaving the CG, I took a job on staff at Washington Community Fellowship (WCF) as church administrator. WCF calls itself an evangelical, multi-denominational congregation affiliated with the Mennonite Church. I served that local body for more than five years.

Late in 2002 I moved from D.C. to Harrisonburg, VA to become Virginia Mennonite Conference’s (VMC) Coordinator. VMC is one of 21 regional bodies within Mennonite Church USA. While working in that 2/3 time role I attended Eastern Mennonite Seminary and, in 2011 , earned a Master of Arts in Religion in part by writing a thesis on Mennonites and Media. In March 2011, anticipating graduation and having served on both local and regional branches of the Mennonite Church, I decided to resign from VMC and seek a national church position.

MennoMedia formed in July 2011 from the merger of the Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media and set up its headquarters in Harrisonburg, VA where I live. After an extensive job search, in March, 2012, I embraced an opportunity to become MennoMedia’s Director of Development.

So when people ask what territory I cover, I explain it covers both Canada and the U.S.
Our agency, MennoMedia, is not a national, but a bi-national ministry of both Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. That fact has pleased me very much.

My job is on the road, not in the office. I travel about every third week. My last two trips have been to Canada. I attended the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada Annual Gathering and 25th Anniversary Celebration in Kitchener, Ontario in late April.

MCEC’s 25th Anniversary Cake, Scattered and Sown; In Every Seed a Promise

While there I was delighted to hear César García, President of Mennonite World Conference, speak.

Cesar Garcia, MWC

Cesar Garcia

In mid-May, I traveled to Winnipeg to visit churches and donors in Manitoba. While there I met with Melissa Miller, pastor of Springstein Mennonite Church near Winnipeg and chair of MennoMedia’s board since January, 2012.

mmiller

Melissa Miller, chair of MennoMedia Board

MennoMedia’s eight person board is comprised of three Canadians and five U.S. citizens. This bi-national focus serves our churches and their members well by keeping MennoMedia’s focus above national distinctives and on eternal truths.

So, over the past 16 years I have moved from becoming a Mennonite and serving a local Mennonite church, to a leadership role in a regional body of Mennonite Church USA, to interacting with Mennonite pastors and church leaders all across the U.S. and Canada. I have been richly blessed by these experiences and am enthusiastic about our mission to “engage and shape church and society with resources for living Christian faith from an Anabaptist perspective,” and about inviting others to share that mission too.

Steve Carpenter, Director of Development

Steve Carpenter, MennoMedia’s Director of Development

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *