Contact the Pastors

Merle Hostetler
Pastor
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Office Hours
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
9:00am - 12:00pm

Naomi Yoder
Pastor
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Office Hours
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
9:00am - 12:00pm

Church Staff - Pastoral Team

MERLE HOSTETLER, PastorMerle Hostetler

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I was born and raised in the Kalona, Iowa community. I graduated from Iowa Mennonite High School in 1978, attended Rosedale Bible Institute (OH) for 3 terms, graduated from Hesston College (KS) in 1981 (AA degree in Agriculture), and Eastern Mennonite College/University (VA) in 1983 (BS in Camping/Recreation & Youth Ministry and Christian Ministries), attended Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Philadelphia) for one year (1998-99) before attending and graduating from Denver Theological Seminary (CO) in 2000 (MA in Youth and Family Ministries and Counseling Ministries).

From November 1983 to November 1984, I served in voluntary service for one year in Ocean City, MD at Diakonia, a residential crisis shelter. Following this I was camp director at Bethel Mennonite Camp in southeastern Kentucky from May 1985 through August 1987. It was from this point on to the present that I have been involved in congregational ministry, except for the three years in seminary.

 From September 1987 through August 1998, I served as Director of Youth Ministries at Souderton Mennonite Church, Souderton, PA. In June 2000, I joined the pastoral team at East Goshen Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana.

Mary Yoder and I were married November 30, 1991. We live in Goshen, IN. Mary is an elementary school teacher. She enjoys teaching, as well as spending time working around our home, gardening, walking, cruising antique shops, and traveling. Our son Ian finds great joy in miniature people, horses and other animals, looking at books and being read to, being outside, and roughhousing with mom and dad. Austin was born November 22, 2002, and his adoption was finalized February 13, 2003. As a family we enjoy riding bike together, traveling to visit our families, day hiking if we’re in Colorado, and hosting people in our home.

 

Naomi YoderNAOMI YODER, Pastor

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I was born in West Lafayette, IN, and grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee.  As the middle of five children, I was surrounded by the activities of family, close neighborhood friends, and the small Mennonite church in which I was raised.  At Carleton College (a small liberal arts college in Northfield, MN) I studied history with a focus on the Renaissance and Reformation Eras. That study of early Anabaptist history during college deepened my commitment to the Mennonite faith.

After college, I spent a year teaching English to kindergarten and pre-school children in Nazret, Ethiopia with the Mennonite Central Committee's SALT program.  That time expanded my understanding of God's creation and my interest in the church's work in the world.  My college and SALT experiences led me to pursue religious studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, TN.  My time there—and particularly internships at a Mennonite church in Virginia and as a chaplain at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital—helped me explore my emerging sense of call to ministry.  I graduated with a Master's of Divinity degree in 2015, and in the summer of 2016 was delighted to accept a call to join the pastoral team at East Goshen Mennonite Church.

Outside of ministry, I enjoy any chance to spend time with my parents, siblings, siblings-in-law, and niece, who are in Tennessee and California.  My move to Goshen also lets me enjoy time with my local extended family, cook, host visitors, and be outdoors.

Welcome to our Sabbatical Pastoral Team Member

East Goshen Mennonite Church will be welcoming Frances Ringenberg to provide coverage for Pastor's Naomi Yoder's sabbatical starting in February, 2021 for 3 months. Some of you may know her from being pastor for Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart where she and her husband Ron live. Frances will be focusing on preaching, worship planning and pastoral care.

Frances RingenbergFRANCES RINGENBERG, Sabbatical Pastor

I was born in Upland IN where my father was a professor at Taylor University. My parents and older sister and brother were immigrants from Latvia and I was the ‘little American’ born in this country. My mother died when I was nine and my father had a series of strokes when I was a junior in high school and was unable to come home. Supportive Christian community was very vital to growing up years.

I attended Taylor University where I met my husband Ron. After he completed graduate work at Ohio State we moved to the Minneapolis area where our two sons were born. Later we moved to Wheaton IL where we connected with Lombard Mennonite Church which led to our deeper engagement with the Mennonite world. We both became involved in church leadership roles and I was drawn particularly into worship planning. While living in Wheaton our oldest son Ross developed a serious progressive neurological condition.

On my 40th birthday our small group spoke strongly encouraging me to seek formal theological training. I received a MA in Biblical and Theological Studies from Wheaton College, with credits from AMBS. In 2003 in a major life transition we moved to Elkhart County where Ron was employed by AMBS and I was able to earn an MDiv. I volunteered as a mediator for the Center for Community Justice in Elkhart and after an internship was hired as a part time chaplain assistant at Oaklawn. In 2010 I joyfully became part of the pastoral team at Prairie Street Mennonite Church where I served until the end of 2019.

Ross, with the strong support of Christian friends, was able to graduate from Taylor and work at Everence for almost 10 years before his disability limited employment. Always seeking to maximize opportunity he travelled to visit friends Scotland in November of 2016. He contracted an infection and died there a month later. Ron and I spent that month in Edinburgh at his bedside, again supported and blessed by Christian community.

Our younger son Joe is married and lives now in Vermont with his wife and four young daughters. We take deep delight in opportunities to visit and grandparent. I also delight in gardening, sharing plants and engaging our downtown Elkhart neighborhood.