Phil Yoder

I was born and raised in Lancaster, PA, in the heart of Amish country. I grew up at James Street Mennonite Church and attended Lancaster Mennonite School -both places where my life was nurtured by wonderful communities of faith. In 2014, I graduated from Eastern Mennonite University with degrees in Biology and Secondary Education. Following college, I was asked if I would be interested in working at James Street Mennonite Church as a Youth Minister. Having always been curious about church ministry, I accepted the position. I soon found myself loving the opportunity to walk with people in their meandering spiritual journeys and exploring in community what it means to live faithfully in the 21st century. After 10 years of Mennonite education, I decided that I wanted to experience seminary in the context of another tradition. My spouse, Chaska, and I began attending the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, and in 2021 received Master of Divinity degrees. I specialized in Feminist and Womanist Ethics, and Black Church Studies. The following year, I worked at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center as a Resident Chaplain. Now I find myself joining First Mennonite Church of Bluffton as Lead Pastor, excited to learn and grow with this congregation and community. When I am not in the church office, you can find me making music, testing new recipes, or cheering for the 76ers.