January 14 – May 31, 2019
God is indeed calling us to expand our horizons for peacemaking! Many of us have sensed how the energy of our organization is shifting and growing in ways we did not imagine were possible. As a result, important changes are taking place for our peacemaking community.
One of the most significant changes over the next year will come with the departure of our beloved Executive Director, LeDayne McLeese Polaski, at the end of May 2019. Having served our organization for 20 years, LeDayne has announced to the board her decision to step down as BPFNA~Bautistas por la Paz Executive Director in an effort to pursue other professional and personal goals at this time of her life. This has not been an easy decision for LeDayne, because her commitment and love for BPFNA~Bautistas por la Paz has been evident for 20 years. LeDayne has worked incessantly to help us grow in our understanding and commitment to peacemaking, and more recently she has worked tirelessly to help us become a much more inclusive and diverse community that is less centered around power and privilege. The life of our organization is changing in very positive ways and we owe a huge debt of love and gratitude to LeDayne for leading the way!
Over the next few months we will have the opportunity to hear directly from LeDayne as she reflects on her thinking and wishes around this decision. We will also have opportunities to express our gratitude. LeDayne was very clear in her communication to the board that her decision to step down as Executive Director is moved by a deep sense of love and confidence about the future of BPFNA~Bautistas por la Paz. She feels this is the right time for our organization to consider new ways and people who may contribute even more to our peacemaking and diversity efforts. LeDayne expresses it as follows:
And – to everything there is a season. For several years now, I have had a growing sense that the time for my departure from the staff of this organization is nearing. Nothing is wrong – in fact, I am as excited as I have ever been about what we’re doing together and what the future holds. Our movement over the past few years -- to becoming far more deeply the anti-racist, multicultural organization we’ve always dreamed of being -- has been deeply encouraging. Our conference this past summer in Mexico was simply miraculous. There is much on the horizon that is just as energizing. Despite all that – and in some ways because of it – it is simply time for me to begin the process of stepping away. It is my strong sense that, especially for a group of our size with a relatively small staff, it is important that no one person become synonymous with the organization itself. And having now turned 50(!), I am increasingly pulled to discover what new opportunities await me.
We are most grateful and excited about LeDayne’s future because she is extremely gifted, tenacious and committed and will continue to be a huge gift to any community in which she participates in the future.
Yet, it is also true that in spite of our excitement about LeDayne’s future, we are sad to see her leave and a bit anxious about how much we will miss her. However, as I write these lines I am reminded one more time that change is never easy, even when it is the result of prayer and discernment. Although we will miss LeDayne’s presence and leadership, as a board we are feeling very encouraged by her example. Our Executive Director is choosing to trust God’s provision for her life and the life of our community. She is helping us to remember that our peacemaking mission is very much at the center of God’s heart and is bigger than any one of us individually, but also that we are called collectively to become peacemakers in a variety of ways throughout time. As LeDayne continues to explore new peacemaking horizons, we are graciously invited to do likewise.
Lastly, at our spring meeting the board unanimously decided to seek out an interim Executive Director to lead our organization for the next two years after LeDayne’s departure. We will be conducting an open search for this position over the next year and will provide more information about the search in the upcoming months.
Please pray with us--board and staff--as we continue this journey of growing the heart of our peacemaking community. My dear friends, there is no doubt in my mind that God in us and we in God will make this possible one more time!
Mayra Picos Lee
BPFNA~Bautistas por la Paz