Our Staff

George

George O’Reilly

Pastoral Associate

 

I have come to First Mennonite Church after 25 years of pastoral ministry in Mennonite churches.  Having served 17 years in longer term pastorates, I have engaged in transitional pastoral work for the past eight years before becoming Pastoral Associate at First.

In what now seem like at times “other life experiences,” I have worked as an auto mechanic, fourth grade school teacher, bus driver evaluator, limousine driver, grain cart operator, and harvest semi driver, among numerous “pay the bills” endeavors. I have found interesting things in each and truly remarkable people connected with each.

In my still early time here, I continue to discover interesting things and remarkable people.  I greatly enjoy people and getting to know individuals.  The “Body of Christ” in this place is of course unique and dynamic, as has been the case elsewhere.  So this is for me a new adventure in which I hope to be able to offer my gifts as a part of this body, seeking to be the people God is calling into his kingdom endeavor in the world.

I look forward greatly to sharing  more deeply in the life of this fellowship, and in growing into more and more as we pursue discipleship together, a vibrant, inviting expression of the incarnate Christ in our life together.

May the Spirit bless and guide as we live into the call of Christ together in days ahead!

Pastor George

Wanda

Wanda Stopher

Lead Pastor | fmc.wanda@bluffton.edu

I became a pastor after a variety of work experiences as a teacher of children with developmental disabilities, tutor, dental assistant, retail store manager, and project manager at a machine shop. These experiences in addition to formal education shaped the person I’m becoming and continue to influence my work as pastor. I graduated from Bluffton College and studied for many years at then Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

One of the things I enjoy most about ministry is the variety! I love to study for sermons and walk with people in their faith journeys. Ministry creates a space for me to be present with people in times of deep joy and also in times of great loss. I like to say that ministry gives me a front row seat to witness what God is doing in the lives of individuals and in the life of a community of faith. I previously served as Associate Pastor at Central Mennonite Church in Archbold (my home congregation) and more recently as Regional Pastor in Ohio Conference of MC USA.

My husband, Bret, and I have three adult children, one son-in-law, one daughter-in-law, and one grandson. I love to spend time with family, garden, walk and read.

Shannon

Shannon Thiebeau

Youth Ministry Director | fmc.shannon@bluffton.edu

I am from St. Marys, Ohio, and a 2015 graduate of Bluffton University. I majored in religion with a concentration in youth ministry and had minors in psychology and theology. In the fall of 2013, I took participated in a peace and conflict studies program in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, with Bluffton’s cross-cultural program. I completed the university’s Ministry Inquiry Program in the summer of 2014 in Goshen, Ind., at Yellow Creek Mennonite Church. In June 2015, I became youth director at First Mennonite Church. I hope to help youth explore their faith and teach them what it means to live as a Christian in the broader community. In the past, I served as a theatre assistant and as a Hall Chaplain for Bluffton University. I am also an associate at Shirley’s Gourmet Popcorn Company in Bluffton.

Currently, I live in St. Marys with my family. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, reading, keeping up with “nerd culture,” and experimenting with vegetarian creations. A special talent of mine is consuming large amounts of tea and I take my coffee seriously. Very seriously.

Mark

Mark Suderman

Director of Music

I have served in the role of music director at First Mennonite Church since 2006.  When our family moved to Bluffton in 2000, we knew that we would want to worship at this church with its excellent pastoral team, warm congregation and wonderful music. It is a real gift to follow in the strong foundation laid by those who have led music and worship at First Mennonite Church before me. Outside this quarter-time position, I am professor of music and director of choral activities at Bluffton University and conduct the Lima Symphony Chorus.

I greatly enjoy my life in the Bluffton community with my wife, Elaine, who is also employed at Bluffton University. We have two grown sons, Matthew and Ryan, and daughter-in-law, Erin, and a lovely grandson, Luke.

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Lucia Unrau

Organist Coordinator

As organist and organist coordinator at First Mennonite Church, I have the privilege of leading the congregation in singing every Sunday.  I have a wide variety of experiences in my background, but have been teaching at the university level for the past 22 years at Bluffton University.  While I grew up in Kansas, I moved to Bluffton from Los Angeles, California.  My husband, Peter, and I chose Bluffton because it was closer to family, and Bluffton and First Mennonite Church were where we wanted to raise our children, Dylan, Elyse and Kallen.  Our children are now grown, but we continue to value living in Bluffton.

I hold performance degrees from Oberlin Conservatory, Indiana University and University of Texas at Austin.  While I am involved professionally in the music world, I enjoy traveling, reading and walking.

Mick

Mick Hardy

Custodian

I began working as custodian at First Mennonite Church in August 2013. As custodian, I have many jobs, such as cleaning, snow removal, painting, plumbing and yard care. The one I like best, though, is helping and caring for the people of the church.

When not at work, I love taking care of my three grandsons, who are 5, 3, and six months old.

I grew up in Elida, Ohio, but my wife, Tami, grew up in Bluffton and is a fourth grade teacher at Bluffton Elementary School.

Mary

Mary Pannabecker Steiner

Administrative Assistant | fmc@bluffton.edu

In September 2014, I became administrative assistant at First Mennonite. What a change after many years of recruiting, advising, and teaching in adult programs at a university!

I grew up at FMC, so some of my earliest memories are from activities that I participated in as a child – children’s choir, Sunday school, cleaning the restrooms with my high school classmates, traveling with the youth group to general conference and eating great food at potlucks. A few of my childhood friends and several of my Sunday school teachers still attend FMC.

As a former journalist, retail manager, and college admissions counselor, this position allows me to use a blend of my skills. I love the busyness of a church where every day is different and people often pop in to say hello. When I arrive at work on a Monday morning I often find funny notes on my desk. The best so far was from my young cousin:  “Hi Applesauce. That is your new name!! Mine is peaches.” Love, Mia.”

My husband, Fred, and I have two grown daughters, and we own two online newspapers – www.blufftonicon.com and www.adaicon.com. We’re both born and bred Blufftonites, so feel very strongly about the continued growth and success of our community. The local churches are a huge part of this community so it feels good to be working at one of the churches.