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2010-10-01 issue:

MMA gets new addition and new name

MMA and Mennonite Financial make historic shift to new identity

by MMA and photos by Everett J. Thomas

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Mennonite Mutual Aid (MMA) staff began moving into a new addition at the Goshen, Ind., headquarters on Oct. 11—just in time for the organization to change its name.

Everence will officially begin serving members effective Nov. 1, 2010. Everence is the new identity of MMA and Mennonite Financial Federal Credit Union, which are coming together into a single organization that helps people make financial decisions rooted in faith through its banking, insurance and financial services. Mennonite Federal Financial Credit Union will also change its name to Everence in November and will have a branch office in the new building.

A new addition at the Mennonite Mutual Aid (soon-to-be Everence) headquarters in Goshen, Ind., was completed by Oct. 11. The addition will also house a branch office for the Mennonite Financial Federal Credit Union (also to be named Everence). The 20,000 square foot facility provides a new "front-door" entrance and façade for both organizations. It replaces an old structure that was originally a chicken house and later a factory. The older structure was 18,000 square feet on two floors. The color portion represents the 2010 addition. Photo by Everett J. Thomas.

It is a significant historic shift the organizations made to clarify their united purpose to efficiently serve people and groups with complete faith-based financial services and products.

Everence offers unique benefits for members as individuals and for their communities, like free budget and debt counseling, grant programs, stewardship investing, a survivor health premium benefit, loan discounts and stewardship education, among other features. 

"Our name is changing, but people will work with the same trusted staff and representatives as before," said Larry D. Miller, Everence president and CEO. "Our relationships, including with the church, are not changing."

Although still missing most of the furniture for the lobby, Mennonite Mutual Aid staff members began moving into their new building on Oct. 11. Receptionist Vickie Blaisdelle was taking phone calls while Tim Neufeld (right), MMA's Local Area Network (LAN) administrator talks with a subcontractor. Photo by Everett J. Thomas.

Everence Financial is the name of the umbrella organization, and the Everence name is incorporated into most names of its associated and affiliated entities. For instance, Mennonite Financial will be Everence Federal Credit Union.

History of working with multiple denominations

Under the Everence name, one aim is to grow relationships among new communities of faith. Both organizations have a historical pattern of working with multiple denominations. MMA was founded in 1945 by the Mennonite Church, but integrated other Anabaptist groups into its board, membership and staff over the years.

By the late 1950s, MMA already began to formally recognize its close relationship to other denominations. Most recently in 2003, representatives of the Missionary Church, Brethren in Christ, and the Conservative Mennonite Conference joined the MMA board, which already included Mennonite Brethren Church representatives. This board inclusion reflected their strong participation and use of MMA services. That same year, the credit union separately expanded its membership to include multiple Anabaptist groups.

When MMA and Mennonite Financial announced their change to Everence, they also announced a new identity statement for Everence communication materials to reflect its primary relationship to its mother church and other Anabaptist groups: "Everence is a ministry of Mennonite Church USA and other churches."

Document conversion
Changing documents from MMA and Mennonite Financial to Everence is happening over a period of time. The organization will continue to refer to itself as MMA or Mennonite Financial in some documents; most of the changes to Everence will be completed by spring 2011.

Click here to learn more background about MMA and Mennonite Financial's move to Everence.

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