Pastor of Spiritual Formation | email@example.com
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 two grandsons. I love to spend time with family, garden, walk and read.
Pastor of Connections | firstname.lastname@example.org
I come from rural roots in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. My love and care for community started in my late teens as I got more involved in my local congregation, Red Run Mennonite Church, Denver, Pennsylvania. This led to my decision to volunteer with Youth Evangelism Service (YES) an agency of Eastern Mennonite Missions and Virginia Mennonite Missions. The team I was a part of served as church planters in Bari, Italy. Two years later, I led a YES team to Sicily to work with the Mennonite Churches on the island.
Following these experiences, I finished my college degree at Messiah College, Grantham Pennsylvania, with a degree in Behavioral Science.
I went through Eastern Mennonite Missions’ program called School of Witness. It was a training program for pastoral ministry, local and abroad. I joined the pastoral team of ACTS Covenant Fellowship in Lancaster City. This congregation was dually affiliated with Lancaster Conference (formerly part of MC USA) and Church of the Brethren.
Ironically, when ACTS requested my ministerial license from Lancaster Conference, it was before they were giving pastoral credentials to women. Hence, my license was denied.
With no clear avenue for ministry I was able to work in the family business (farming/trucking company/hog market). In my thirties there were a few family crises. I found Kairos School of Spiritual Formation (Lancaster, PA) to be a place that could hold and nurture my struggling faith. It was through that experience that I decided to attend seminary. I moved to Virginia and completed my Master of Divinity at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. Upon graduation, I worked briefly at EMU and then moved to Denver, Colorado to be with my partner, Dawn Kreider. We have been together 11 years. I was Pastor of Nurture and Fellowship at First Mennonite Church of Denver for the past five years.
I am grateful to answer the call from First Mennonite Church in Bluffton to be the Pastor of Connections. I have found a sense of peace and fulfillment as a pastor.
Besides building community, I enjoy travel, riding bike or scooter, home improvement projects, watching movies, playing games, putting puzzles together, and eating food other people make.
Youth Ministry Director | email@example.com
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.
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 work at the Lima chapter of Habitat For Humanity as the Volunteer Coordinator, as well as conduct the Lima Symphony Chorus.
I greatly enjoy my life in the Bluffton community with my wife, Elaine, who is employed at Bluffton University. We have two grown sons, Matthew and Ryan, and daughter-in-law, Erin, and two wonderful grandchildren, Luke and Mara.
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 Pannabecker Steiner
Administrative Assistant | firstname.lastname@example.org
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.