The board of directors for Mennonite Women USA is pleased to announce the appointment of Marlene Harder Bogard, Newton, Kan., as executive director, beginning April 2015. The search for an executive director was initiated by the announcement that Ruth Lapp Guengerich would retire early in 2015.
Bogard has an M.A. in Christian Ministry and brings many gifts to Mennonite Women USA, including teaching, administration, speaking and writing.
She has served Western District Conference for almost 25 years as director of the Conference Resource Library, and as Minister of Christian Formation.
Of the position with Mennonite Women USA, Marlene wrote: “I wish to offer my gifts to further empower women as they seek to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. I hope to help them embrace and release their gifts, dreams and love for the common good of the church and for future generations of girls and women.”
For the past four years Guengerich and Rhoda Keener have been co-directors for Mennonite Women USA.
Prior to that Keener was executive director for ten years.
When Bogard assumes the duties as executive director, Keener will become Sister Care Director, continuing to work part time for MW USA.
Incoming board chair, Kathy Bilderback, who also chaired the search committee, expressed her excitement about the new executive director.
“Marlene brings warm and inviting gifts that will serve us well for continuing our ministry of empowering women,” she said. “It’s hard to say goodbye to the dynamic leadership that Ruth has provided but we look forward to working with Marlene’s passionate leadership. God has truly been part of our discernment process and we rejoice that Marlene accepted the position.”
During the past fourteen years overall U.S. contributions for MW USA’s ministry have more than doubled, increasing from more than $71,000 per year to nearly $157,000 per year.
Since the job sharing arrangement with Guengerich began in 2011, Keener has focused her responsibilities on fundraising and co-leading Sister Care seminars with Carolyn Heggen.
Nearly 3,200 women have participated in Sister Care seminars, including 800 internationally, from India and Nepal to numerous locations in Central and South America. Guengerich has been responsible for overall administrative duties.
Other significant changes for MW USA included revamping MW USA’s magazine, Timbrel, increasing International Women’s Fund scholarships, a major redesign of the Mennonite Women USA website and expansion of Mennonite Women USA’s presence and visibility on social media.
Guengerich said, “It has been a joy working for this healthy, vital organization. Job sharing has allowed Rhoda and me to use our gifts in our own unique ways, and provided many opportunities to collaborate. I am very excited about the possibilities for growth as Marlene Bogard begins as executive director.”
Rhoda Keener said, of Bogard’s appointment as executive director, “I look forward to working with Marlene. I have admired and respected Marlene’s ministry for many years and am delighted that she has accepted this position. I believe her energy and vision will be a gift to women across the church.”