Senior Administrative Assistant to the Convening Tables
Keith is a child of the Midwest, born in northern Illinois, nurtured till age 12 in Ann Arbor, MI (Go Blue!), and raised through his teen years in Glen Ellyn, IL outside of Chicago. Keith was born into a “mixed” house denominationally, with a mother who identified with the United Methodist Church and father with a deep family heritage within the Mennonite Church. At a young age, he was brought up in a non-traditional house fellowship church setting that connected with the Mennonite Church. Later, Keith joined with more established Mennonite congregations. Today, with his wife Tabitha, Keith is an active Member of Hyattsville (MD) Mennonite Church in Hyattsville, MD. Over the past 16 years he has lived in the DC area he has served as a conference and denominational delegate, worship leader, committee chair, and congregational chair along with volunteering with the homeless ministry and peace ministry.
Keith Swartzendruber began at National Council of Churches in 2013 shortly after NCC’s headquarters relocated from New York’s “God Box” at 475 Riverside Drive to DC’s “God Box,” The United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill.
Keith earned his BA in History and Investigative Skills with minors in Political Science and Peace Studies from Goshen (IN) College, affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. While at Goshen, he participated in the college’s Study Service Term (SST) program, a nationally recognized program that requires intercultural living and learning to qualify for a degree. Keith studied and served in Cote d’Ivoire during the summer of 1996 with a group of about 25 students from Goshen. While there, the group took classes in culture, religion, and language for six weeks in the capital Abidjan and then spent six weeks spread out across the country in mostly rural settings for service assignments with local Ivoirian communities.
Following college, Keith served for one year in New York at the Mennonite Central Committee United Nations Office through Mennonite Voluntary Service. Following this year of service, Keith studied at the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC, where he earned his MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. While at American, he became aware of the critical role that Mennonite practitioners have played in the field of conflict transformation as well as the interfaith sources of the call to peacemaking, especially within Islam.
Keith began his ecumenical career at Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), working with Amb. Warren Clark who was the Executive Director at the time. Through his work at CMEP, Keith gained an appreciation for the complexities of the ecumenical landscape as well as the power of interdenominational cooperation and interfaith partnership on behalf of the cause of peace and justice.
Keith’s work focuses on the operational side of the organization. His primary responsibility is to support and help guide the work of the Convening Tables as well as the work of the Committee on the Uniform Series. Also, he spearheads the logistical planning of various events, including the annual Christian Unity Gathering. There’s not much at NCC that Keith isn’t involved with in some way.