The board of directors of the Brethren Mennonite Council (BMC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Annabeth (AB) Roeschley (she/they) as the next BMC Executive Director, effective June 1, 2022.
Annabeth brings years of LGBTQ+ advocacy experience to BMC, a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating an inclusive church and society and caring for the Mennonite and Brethren lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied community. In 2009, Annabeth joined the leadership team of the Pink Menno campaign, which sought to increase the visibility of queer people at Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) conventions. In 2014, Annabeth was a key organizer of the Fabulous, Fierce & Sacred (FFS) conference, a collaborative effort of Pink Menno, BMC, and Inclusive Mennonite Pastors (IMP) to come together for the first time outside of a MC USA convention. Annabeth also helped plan worship for BMC’s 40th Anniversary weekend celebration in 2016 and has served as an LGBTQ+ advisor for various MC USA projects related to queer intersectional justice, including the 2017 Future Church Summit Process Design Team and the 2019 MC USA Membership Guidelines Advisory Group.
A graduate of Bluffton University, Annabeth completed a Master of Divinity with an LGBTQ+ Religious Studies Concentration from Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) in 2021, where they received the Gilberto Castañeda Award for LGBTQ+ scholars and the G. Campbell Morgan Preaching Award. Their scholarship and writing, including their M. Div. thesis, titled “Healing Ourselves and Our Communities: A Queer Theology of Abolition,” aims to transform theo-ideologies that cause harm and co-create paradigms of liberatory relationship and reparative healing.
Their desire to advocate, accompany, and affirm those who have been historically rejected by religious groups, along with their extensive leadership, business management, and pastoral care experience, made Annabeth stand out to the BMC search committee. Luke Miller, board president and chair of the search committee, noted that “we were all struck by Annabeth’s calling to nurture and care for queer individuals and queer communities. Throughout their years of experience and theological training focused on justice, this energy toward building healing and celebratory spaces for queer people has always been at the center. We’re excited to see how their vision and energy will benefit the BMC community and the churches we relate to.”
Josih Hostetler, BMC treasurer and member of the search committee, stated that “having grown up in the Church of the Brethren (COB), I found that Annabeth was genuinely interested in the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals in the COB community. I am confident that the gifts and experience which Annabeth brings to this BMC role will benefit the people and structures of COB and MC USA alike.”
Former BMC Executive Director Carol Wise, who is now interim pastor at La Verne Church of the Brethren (La Verne, Calif.), has provided crucial assistance to Annabeth and the BMC board of directors during this transition period. This has included helping to ensure the successful relocation of the BMC office from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Chicago, Illinois, where Annabeth lives with their partner of 12 years, attends a queer house church and local Jewish gatherings, and bikes daily along Lake Michigan.
Contact information for BMC: firstname.lastname@example.org and (612) 343-2060