- About MCC Great Lakes
- What we do
- Get involved
- Stories and resources
- Ways to give
In 1982, Mennonite and Brethren in Christ (BIC) churches in the Great Lakes area were invited to send representatives to a meeting at First Mennonite Church in Bluffton, Ohio, with the purpose of deciding whether to form a regional MCC entity. (There had previously been a group of people working on food/hunger issues in the area.)
As a result of this meeting, MCC Great Lakes was formed as a seven state region – Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Kentucky. A Board of Directors was formed to guide the newly formed regional office. Dan Beachy, from Goshen, was hired as the first director of MCC Great Lakes and served in that position until 1988. In 1988, Bruce and Helen Glick were hired as the new directors of MCC Great Lakes, where they served as co-directors for 12 years and Helen served alone for an additional 2-3 years. The regional office was moved to Kidron, Ohio, where it was housed (free of rent) in a building with Ohio Conference and Choice Books.
During the first six years, the staff included the director team of the Glicks, in addition to a part-time secretary who also worked at food and hunger issues and, for a period of time, a part-time person working mainly with refugees in Elkhart County.
In the 1990’s, the MCC regions in the United States expanded as the concept of regionalization took hold. Great Lakes worked hard at diversification of staff and anti-racism agenda. Peace and justice was identified as a priority, and a staff position was created to focus on these issues.
Two new positions in Illinois and Michigan were developed, called regional associates, with the idea that these part-time staff people would work more closely with churches, alumni, etc. in their local areas.
A resource generation staff position was also created, as there was a realization that MCC needed to be intentional about raising support. This position became a part of a successful bi-national team, creating income for MCC.
Through these efforts, MCC thrift shops were moved into a professional network, going from a very small income to the place where it is today. Great Lakes supported this movement all along the way and worked closely with Barb Schrag, the architect of the thrift shop movement.
There was also a lot of effort put into Houses Against Hunger and relief sales, with a new sale starting in Northwest Ohio.
During this time, attempts were made to find Board members who would accurately represent the diversity of the region, as well as be to deal with all the complicated issues within MCC. Several meetings were held in areas such as Kentucky, where Board members had first-hand experience with growing MCC programming.
Although the process of regionalization - moving service programs from the central administration in the Akron, Pennsylvania, office to the regions – was a long and sometimes difficult process, it seems to have been implemented effectively and is working efficiently.
In 2003 the MCC Great Lakes regional office moved back to Goshen, and Yvonne Diaz became the new executive director.
The regional associate model was expanded to include additional staff person scattered throughout the region. The peace and justice priorities and resource generation priorities were incorporated into the responsibilities for the full-time regional associates.
In 2008 Stanley Kropf took over the position of interim executive director, as the Board elected not to fill the executive director position at the time, due to budget constraints.
Zenebe Abebe was named executive director in 2011 and assumed leadership in April.