New Conference Pastor Search

News and Updates

As the search for a new conference pastor continues, we will keep you in the loop by posting updates on this page. If you are interested in this position or if you have questions about the process, please contact the IMMC office.

Conference Job Narrative

Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference (IMMC) is seeking a part-time (one-half to three-quarters) pastor for the Conference Pastor team. If you (or someone you know) are energized by working with pastors and leaders, visioning a new future for the Conference, dismantling racism, supporting diversity (racial/ethnic, rural/urban, new and established congregations), and listening for God’s call for the church, we would love to hear from you. The job description is posted below. Please submit applications and/or questions to the search committee. To apply, send a cover letter to the search committee; and request that your MLI be sent to the search committee. (Direct the request to Sandra Lapp at the MCUSA office.) Submit cover letter stating intent to apply to immcsearchcommittee@gmail.com by April 16th.

Search Updates

2021-01-25 MLT Update

Greetings Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The Missional Leadership Team (MLT) of Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference (IMMC) is pleased to announce that the delegates have voted to name Sharon Yoder, currently serving as Conference Pastor for Leadership Transitions, as one of a team of two conference co- pastors to begin responsibilities on July 1st, 2021. With 59% of eligible delegates responding, delegates unanimously approved this proposal, with comments praising Sharon’s work and expressing excitement about her taking this role. Sharon has accepted the MLT’s invitation to the position.

Strong delegate affirmation is just the most recent evidence of the Spirit moving in this process. Positive comments about Sharon in our initial transition survey led us this direction, and coincided with Sharon’s own timing and discernment, putting us in awe of the Spirit’s work.

2021-01-25 MLT Update

Greetings Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The Missional Leadership Team (MLT) of Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference (IMMC) is pleased to announce that the delegates have voted to name Sharon Yoder, currently serving as Conference Pastor for Leadership Transitions, as one of a team of two conference co- pastors to begin responsibilities on July 1st, 2021. With 59% of eligible delegates responding, delegates unanimously approved this proposal, with comments praising Sharon’s work and expressing excitement about her taking this role. Sharon has accepted the MLT’s invitation to the position.

Strong delegate affirmation is just the most recent evidence of the Spirit moving in this process. Positive comments about Sharon in our initial transition survey led us this direction, and coincided with Sharon’s own timing and discernment, putting us in awe of the Spirit’s work.

Sharon brings years of pastoral and administrative experience. She served as a team leader with Eastern Mennonite Missions in several African assignments before co-pastoring with her husband Kevin Yoder at Olive Mennonite for eleven years. During those years she completed her MDiv at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. She works part-time as a hospital chaplain and did several interim assignments with IMMC before beginning her current role in 2019.

We believe Sharon brings strong pastoral gifts along with conference experience that will capably guide us into a new era of being conference together. We are grateful for the ways that Dan Miller has tended the relationships of our conference, sometimes challenging ones, over his 12-year tenure, and are pleased that Sharon can provide continuity with that good work.  

Sharon says:  I wish to thank you, the delegates of IMMC, for your voice of affirmation. I am honored and humbled to say yes to this opportunity to serve as a conference co-pastor and I’m eager to join what God is doing among our community of congregations in this next season. May God be glorified as we journey together. 

Because Sharon prefers to work less than full-time, and because we believe co-leadership has flexibility that can benefit us into the future, we have named a search committee to look for someone to work alongside Sharon.  Wilma Bailey (Shalom), Heidi Burkhart (Maple River), Naun Cerrato (Piedra Viva), Madeline Smith Kauffman (Waterford), Anna Johnson (Kern Road), Duane Yoder (MLT, Fairhaven), and Suella Gerber (chair, Fellowship of Hope) have already begun their work and will soon post a job description and begin accepting applications. More complete information is on the conference website. Shoulder-tapping or contacting the search committee with suggestions is welcomed.

Read Previous Update Here: 2020-12-17 Update

2021 IMMC Conference Pastoral Search Committee

WILMA BAILEY

Wilma Bailey is a member of Shalom Mennonite Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. She recently served on the Ministry Credentialing team of IMMC. At Shalom, she has taught Sunday School Classes, served on the Vision and Accountability Team, preached, and served a a representative from the congregation to MCUSA. In the past, she was a board member of MCC and MCCUS and EMU. She is a graduate of AMBS (M.Div.) Prior to retiring, she taught courses at Goshen, Messiah College, Christian Theological Seminary, the University of Indianapolis and Franklin College.

 

 HEIDI BURKHART

Heidi attends Maple River Mennonite Church, Brutus, MI where she serves as elder chair, church contact, a worship leader and occasional speaker. Heidi works in golf course maintenance and landscaping. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and participating in all kinds of outdoor activities including gardening, playing sports, kayaking, photography, and traveling. She is looking forward to meeting more people/building connections and joining others from our conference to seek God’s will in finding our next conference pastor.

NAUN CERRATO

Naun Cerrato’s roots are in Central America. He moved with his family to Elkhart in the 90’s. Naun Graduated from Goshen College with a Bachelor of Science and completed his master’s at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in 2018. https://www.mennoniteusa.org/menno-snapshots/learn-pray-join-the-story-of-piedra-viva/. Naun Cerrato was installed and licensed at Piedra Viva Mennonite Church, Elkhart, on June 14. Naun is he is the founder of a popular podcast within the Hispanic community called “Un Momento De Anabautismo”, this podcast was mentioned on the “October-2020-Rhizome-Digital-1.pdf”

SUELLA GERBER, chair

Suella lives in Goshen, Indiana with her husband. She has served as pastor at Fellowship of Hope in South Central Elkhart since 2009. She serves on the Ministry Credentialing Team of the conference. In addition to her pastoral role, Suella is also mother and grandmother, sister and daughter. She loves spending time with family and friends and sitting in her garden, especially when the peonies are blooming.

MADELINE SMITH KAUFFMAN

Madeline is a senior Social Work major and Bible & Religion minor at Goshen College. She completed Goshen College’s Ministry Inquiry Program at Hyattsville Mennonite Church in the summer of 2018, and served as the Family Life Ministry Intern at Waterford Mennonite Church in the summers of 2019 and 2020.

ANNA JOHNSON

Anna Johnson is a PhD student in Peace Studies and Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to moving to South Bend, Anna lived and worked in Palestine/Israel for six years, including three as the Connecting Peoples Coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee (hosting learning tours, including the 2015 IN-MI conference “Come and See” tour). She is the daughter of a Lutheran pastor who also served as an assistant to the bishop for many years. As an adult, Anna worked for a variety of church-related organizations and she believes in the importance of connecting through the broader church. Her time with MCC was deeply formative and since moving to South Bend she has attended Kern Road Mennonite Church.

 

DUANE YODER

Duane is a member and Treasurer of the Fairhaven Mennonite Church in Ft Wayne, Indiana.  He is in his second year on IMMC Missional Leadership Team, Treasurer and ex-officio member of the Stewardship Team. Duane is self-employed, providing IT support to small businesses and residential customers around the Fort Wayne area. He has served on several Pastor Search Commissions at Fairhaven and knows the importance of the collective discernment for church leadership positions. As the MLT representative on this committee, Duane wants to be an effective conduit of communication between MLT and Search Committee.