Jay Wittmeyer has resigned as executive director of Global Mission and Service, effective Jan. 13, 2020. He is taking a position as executive director of Lombard (Ill.) Mennonite Peace Center, where he was assistant director before working for the Church of the Brethren.
As Global Mission and Service executive for 11 years, since Jan. 2009, Wittmeyer has held primary responsibility for the mission work of the Church of the Brethren and has supervised the staff in Brethren Disaster Ministries and Material Resources, Brethren Volunteer Service, the Global Food Initiative, and the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy.
During his tenure, new and emerging Brethren groups have been nurtured in Haiti, Spain, the Great Lakes region of central Africa (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda), and Venezuela. Mission and peacebuilding in South Sudan also has been a priority. His work has strengthened relationships with established Church of the Brethren denominations in Brazil, Dominican Republic, India, and Nigeria. He worked with leaders of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) as northeast Nigeria suffered extreme violence during the height of the Boko Haram insurgency. With Global Mission and Service associate executive Roy Winter, he has overseen the Nigeria Crisis Response.
Highlights of his work include a visit with the Christian community in Cuba and travel to North Korea, where he succeeded in placing Church of the Brethren members as university faculty teaching agriculture and English for a number of years.
A culminating accomplishment was “Vision for a Global Church,” a paper adopted by Annual Conference in 2018 that opened the possibility for this month’s international conference on a global structure for the Church of the Brethren, hosted by EYN. Wittmeyer facilitated the meeting of representatives from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nigeria, Rwanda, Spain, and the US, who affirmed establishment of a global body under the temporary name “Global Brethren Communion.”
Wittmeyer’s career includes two years with Brethren Benefit Trust as director of the Brethren Pension Plan and employee financial services. He also worked with Mennonite Central Committee in Nepal and Bangladesh.