MW USA Board of Directors

The board of directors for Mennonite Women USA is pleased to announce the appointment of Marlene Harder Bogard, Newton, KS as executive director, beginning April 2015. The search for an executive director was initiated by the announcement that Ruth Lapp Guengerich would retire early in 2015.

Bogard has an M.A. in Christian Ministry and brings many gifts to MW USA, including teaching, administration, speaking and writing. She has served Western District Conference for almost 25 years as Director of the Conference Resource Library, and as Minister of Christian Formation. Of the position with MW USA, Marlene wrote: “I wish to offer my gifts to further empower women as they seek to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. I hope to help them embrace and release their gifts, dreams and love for the common good of the church and for future generations of girls and women.”

For the past four years Guengerich and Rhoda Keener have been co-directors for MW USA. Prior to that Keener was executive director for ten years. When Bogard assumes the duties as executive director, Keener will become Sister Care Director, continuing to work part time for MW USA.

Incoming board chair, Kathy Bilderback, who also chaired the search committee, expressed her excitement about the new executive director. “Marlene brings warm and inviting gifts that will serve us well for continuing our ministry of empowering women. It’s hard to say goodbye to the dynamic leadership that Ruth has provided but we look forward to working with Marlene’s passionate leadership. God has truly been part of our discernment process and we rejoice that Marlene accepted the position.”

During the past fourteen years overall U.S. contributions for MW USA’s ministry have more than doubled, increasing from more than $71,000 per year to nearly $157,000 per year. Since the job sharing arrangement with Guengerich began in 2011, Keener has focused her responsibilities on fundraising and co-leading Sister Care seminars with Carolyn Heggen. Nearly 3,200 women have participated in Sister Care seminars, including 800 internationally, from India and Nepal to numerous locations in Central and South America. Guengerich has been responsible for overall administrative duties.

Other significant changes for MW USA included revamping MW USA’s magazine, Timbrel, increasing International Women’s Fund scholarships, a major redesign of the MW USA website and expansion of MW USA’s presence and visibility on social media.

Guengerich said, “It has been a joy working for this healthy, vital organization. Job sharing has allowed Rhoda and me to use our gifts in our own unique ways, and provided many opportunities to collaborate. I am very excited about the possibilities for growth as Marlene Bogard begins as executive director.”

Rhoda Keener said, of Bogard’s appointment as executive director, “I look forward to working with Marlene. I have admired and respected Marlene’s ministry for many years and am delighted that she has accepted this position. I believe her energy and vision will be a gift to women across the church.”


  1. Carolyn Heggen on said:

    Welcome aboard, Marlene. As a former board member and current co-leader of Sister Care, I can assure you MWUSA is a vibrant, relevant organization. I look forward to learning to know you and to working with you as we continue to discern where God is calling and leading us as an organization. Blessings galore!

  2. Marlene Harder Bogard on said:

    Carolyn – thanks very much for your warm welcome! You and many others have provided solid, inspirational leadership through the years. I look forward to connecting with you in the future!

  3. Elizabeth Raid on said:

    From being your youth group sponsor in Mt. Lake, MN many years ago to the plains of central Kansas and shared experiences in church-related organizations, you’ve come a long way! What a joy to see god doing a new and beautiful things in your life! Rejoicing with you while wiping tears of sadness for the loss to WDC in your leaving.

  4. Tina Miller on said:

    Marlene, after hearing your heart and seeing your passion at the PREP/Sister Care seminar this past weekend, I am so excited to see you appointed as the new Executive Director for Mennonite Women USA! Your warmth and compassion is contagious. May the Lord richly bless you with wisdom, discernment, and energy as you enter in to your new assignment. I will be praying for you in the coming months.

    • Marlene Bogard on said:

      Tina, Thanks for your warm words of encouragement and your prayers for me and for Mennonite Women USA. It was wonderful to be in your home turf and sample Florida Mennonite Women hospitality! I hope we connect again soon!

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