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Ron Rempel appointed as executive director of MPN

   

Mennonite Church Canada/Mennonite Church USA joint release
April 7, 2003

For more information, contact Jim Harder, secretary/treasurer of the interim MPN Board at 419-358-3445 or harderj@bluffton.edu.)

SCOTTDALE, Pa. —Ron Rempel, of Waterloo, Ont., has been appointed executive director of the Mennonite Publishing Network, effective Aug. 1. Rempel has been editor and publisher of Canadian Mennonite since 1997. For 18 years prior to that, he managed and edited its predecessor, Mennonite Reporter.

Rempel will be the first person to assume long-term staff leadership responsibility for the newly-created U.S. and Canadian publishing partnership. Mennonite Publishing Network formally emerged on Feb. 1 from a year-long transformation process and financial restructuring of the former Mennonite Publishing House.

Rempel will take over from current interim executive director Ben Sprunger, who was preceded in the same role during the past 18 months by Phil Bontrager and Paul Silcox.

"The search committee for a long-term executive perceived the strong passion that Ron Rempel demonstrated for the new vision of the Mennonite Publishing Network," noted committee chair and interim MPN board chair Ron Sawatsky, of Souderton, Pa., in announcing this appointment. "Rempel brings a clear sense of excitement about the task of leading this part of the church forward."

The five member binational search committee presented its unanimous recommendation to the MPN Board and Joint Executive Committee, which is charged with overseeing the publishing partnership. It was subsequently ratified by both the General Board of Mennonite Church Canada and the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA.

Sawatsky noted the attention the search committee gave to Rempel's organizational abilities. "We were comfortable not only with his vision, but also his capacity to make sure that the business side of the enterprise would be looked after in the best way," Sawatsky said. "Through his past publishing experience, we believe he brings good and proven management skills and demonstrated collaborative instincts to the table."

Rempel's preparation for this position includes a Master of Divinity degree from the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., and a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University in Ottawa. His undergraduate degree in history is from Goshen College in Indiana, with previous studies in British Columbia and Manitoba. He served six years on the ministerial team at Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., and for 10 years as part-time associate editor for With magazine. He has eight months of international study leave experience with Mennonite Central Committee in Nairobi, Kenya.

"I'm honored to accept the invitation to serve both Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada through Mennonite Publishing Network," Rempel said. "I have strong convictions about the essential role of a church-related publishing ministry. I welcome the challenge of building on the legacy of the past through collaborative networks that guide the creation of relevant resources for the church's life and mission."

Search committee member Jim Harder, of Bluffton, Ohio, reflected upon the unique challenges that face any leader of a two-country partnership.

"Ron certainly knows the pulse of the Canadian constituency, but has also been a keen observer and reporter of the U.S. Mennonite perspective for many years," Harder said. "He has lived in the United States for three years of his life, and his marriage to Kaye Lehman, originally from Berne, Indiana, further bridges the border for him. He is well positioned to carry out this assignment."

Other members of the search committee were Joy Kroeger, of Hanley, Sask; Susan Gingerich, of Goshen, Ind.; and Byron Rempel-Burkholder, MPN staff representative from Winnipeg, Man.

Rempel will work from an office in Waterloo, Ont., an existing distribution center for MPN. He anticipates significant travel in the U.S. and Canada for purposes of staff management, constituency contact and to develop and nurture the network relationships that are an essential component of the new MPN organizational design.

Rempel's starting date of August 1 will coincide with the seating of a new eight-member MPN board of directors, whose selections are expected to be finalized by summer. During the past 12 months of intensive organizational change and financial restructuring, the three members of an interim executive committee comprised of Sawatsky, Harder and Ervin Stutzman, of Harrisonburg, Va., have provided direct board leadership for denominational publishing.