Anabaptist by the original definition

MC USA's next director went from Air Force captain to peace church leader

Feb 9, 2018 by

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The next executive director of Mennonite Church USA calls himself a “traditional Anabaptist,” having been rebaptized at Calvary Community Church, a Mennonite congregation in Hampton, Va.

Glen Guyton

Guyton

He’s also a convert to Christ’s way of peace.

When Glen Guyton joined Calvary in 1993, he was serving in the military, stationed at Langley Air Force Base.

He credits Mennonite leaders — especially Bishop L.W. Francisco III, pastor at Calvary, and Titus Peachy, formerly of Mennonite Central Committee — with teaching him what it means to be an Anabaptist Christian committed to nonviolence.

Their counsel led him to leave the Air Force, where he had attained the rank of captain. He credits the Mennonite and Quaker military counseling ministries with helping him file paperwork to be discharged as a conscientious objector.

Guyton — from San Antonio, Texas, and currently MC USA’s chief operating officer and director of convention planning — will begin a three-year term as executive director May 1. The Executive Board announced his appointment Feb. 9.

He will succeed Ervin Stutzman, who is retiring April 30. Stutzman’s eight-year tenure will be celebrated at a joint Executive Board and Constituency Leaders Council meeting April 11-14 in Lansdale, Pa.

Of his call to serve, Guyton said: “I owe it to my children and younger generations to continue on this journey. This role is not about me, but the wonderful people that make us MC USA. I look forward to working with our conferences and congregations to help them live out their witness in their context in new and creative ways.

“At heart, my work is equipping the next generation to understand and live out their call.”

Guyton joined the MC USA staff in 2009 as director of intercultural relations and for the next five years held roles in finance and convention planning. In 2014 he became COO and director of convention planning.

“We are impressed by Glen’s love for the church, his vision and passion for the future, his commitment to antiracism, his excellent skills in communication, his business acumen and the hope he holds for the future of the denomination,” said search committee chair Joy Sutter. “His gifts in administration and vision, and his broad respect throughout the church, will serve us well.”

A key responsibility for Guyton will be guiding MC USA’s Journey Forward process, which grew from the Future Church Summit at last year’s convention in Orlando, Fla.

Guyton’s first staff role with a Mennonite organization began in 1998 as an insurance counselor for Mennonite Mutual Aid, now Everence. He was a member of the MC USA Executive Board from 2007 to 2009 and served on the board of Eastern Mennonite University from 2003 to 2007.

He was a youth pastor at Calvary Community Church until 2009.

He has served on Virginia Mennonite Conference’s Alternatives to Military Service Committee and the Virginia Mennonite Conference anti­racism team.

He holds a master’s degree in education and is a member of San Antonio Mennonite Church with his wife, Cyndi, and children Andre-A and Alex.

This story was updated Feb. 15, 2018.


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  • Charlie Kraybill

    I have questions about this. Has Guyton ever made a clear and unambiguous public renunciation of his career in the U.S. military? Is he collecting a military pension and military benefits? Wouldn’t it be appropriate for him to publicly repent of his work for the Air Force, and sever any remaining ties with the Pentagon, before assuming a role as leader of a peace church? If those are not considered relevant issues by MC USA leadership, then I have to view this as another institutional step away from the historic Mennonite peace position.

    • Gene Mast

      This is pretty funny coming from you, Charlie.

      • Bruce Leichty

        Unhappily, one of the few valuable things that Charlie sees in the Mennonite church is its historic peace stance, rather than seeing that as the outgrowth of a necessary wholesome spirituality which Brother Guyton may indeed be aspiring to — although I have been pained by some of Glen’s actions and statements, including when he used his history of past military service as a kind of “threat” upon confronting me about my principled dissent at Orlando last summer.

    • Rainer Moeller

      I agree that those are legitimate informative questions. Personally, I would accept every answer. I wouldn’t press him to take a certain stand if he doesn’t so by heart. (Which would make it much more easy for him to open up.)
      But I would of course insist that there may be conflicts of interest luring for him in the future. If e.g. he gets benefits from the military – do they come with strings attached and with what kind of strings?

    • Dayna Olson-Getty

      If your question is about Glen’s loyalties, I think you can find the answer here: https://emu.edu/now/news/2012/01/former-air-force-officer-to-remember-king/. Perhaps there is another explanation, but when I read this comment – which has an easily accessible answer online – it sounded to me like a thinly veiled attack on Glen’s character or perhaps on his qualifications as a bonafide Mennonite.

  • Walter Bergen

    whoa brother Kraybill. Can we not begin in a spirit of generosity and goodwill and welcome Brother Guyton to this calling and role. Being the Leader in these days can be a thankless ‘shepherding of brawling cats.’ Let us begin with grace. If brother Guyton is receiving a pension or not, let us leave some of this to Spirit’s leading and prompting, and trust the discernment of this brother, his family, congregation and the Council. And to Brother Guyton: May the Lord go before you, and prepare the Way for you, that you might be a blessing to many, and a loyal servant of Christ the King.

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