MCC U.S. Washington Office: The first 50 years

July 1, 1968    MCC’s Peace Section opens the Washington Office, renting space from the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Delton Franz, who remained as director until 1993, was the sole staff person.

Jan. 1969         The first issue of the Washington Memo is released, going to 200 subscribers. The numbers increased steadily over the years, peaking at 6,000 in the 1980s.

Sept. 1969       The office moves to the United Methodist Building, where it remained for nearly 40 years.

Oct. 1969        The office hosts its first seminar for constituents, the “Mennonite Churchmen’s Seminar,” which later becomes the Spring Seminar. Now the office participates in Ecumenical Advocacy Days, a broader ecumenical effort.

1970                The first “Action Bulletins” are sent. Renamed Hotlines and eventually “action alerts,” the first lists were: war/peace, draft, domestic poverty, international development, civil rights and civil liberties.

1992                Office launches a “Pastor in Residence” program.

Aug. 1994       J. Daryl Byler becomes director.

1999                Annual high school essay contest begins.

Sept. 2002       More than 17,000 Mennonites sign a petition against war with Iraq.

Feb. 2006        The office moves to its current location at 920 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.July 2007        Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach starts as director.

May 2008        First posting on office blog at

April 2009       Office launches E-Memo, our monthly electronic update, as well as an automated way to contact legislators. The Memo is redesigned in full color.

Oct. 2017        Volunteer Advocacy Coordinators Network launched.