Goshen College helps students to serve as Mennonite Church USA delegates

Goshen College young adult delegates for Mennonite Church USA Convention 2009:
Front: Nathan Grieser, Emily Graber, Greg Yoder, Libby Smith
Back: Bob Yoder – campus pastor, Amy Showalter, Maria Byler, Jennifer Speight, Morgan Kraybill, Betsy Houser
ABSENT: Caitlin Helmuth

GOSHEN, Ind. — Ten Goshen (Ind.) College students will serve as delegates for the upcoming Delegate Assembly at the Mennonite Church USA Convention 2009, June 30 to July 5 in Columbus, Ohio. To help make this happen, Goshen College is providing partial financial support for the students.Campus minister Bob Yoder said he wants to encourage students to get involved in the life of the church and this was one way Goshen College could help. All 10 students are active in campus ministries or have already served in one of three of Goshen College’s inquiry programs in congregations, camps and other faith-based service settings.

“These are students who have put considerable time and energy into exploring their place in our world and in the church,” he said.

Five of the students will serve as official delegates from their home congregation or conference. The other half will fully participate in delegate sessions except they will not be able to vote. Ron Byler, associate executive director of Mennonite Church USA, said church leaders are enthusiastic about this program and commend Goshen College for helping to involve a new generation of leaders in the life of the church.

Yoder said serving as delegates will help these students nurture seeds of vocational service and ministry that have already been planted.

Byler met with Yoder and the 10 students for an orientation session in mid April. In addition to the delegate sessions, the students will plan to participate in the young adult delegate program (YODA), which offers opportunities for conversation and mentoring with church leaders and other delegates as well as additional orientation.

Goshen College sponsored a similar experience for students at the San José 2007 assembly. “It’s a way for us to support young leaders and we heard it was a wonderful experience for those who participated,” said Yoder.

The 10 students include Maria Byler, Benton Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind.; Emily Graber, Methacton Mennonite Church, Norristown, Pa.; Nathan Grieser, North Goshen (Ind.) Mennonite Church; Caitlin Helmuth, Harrisonburg (Va.) Mennonite Church; Betsy Houser, Sunnyslope Mennonite Church, Phoenix, Ariz.; Morgan Kraybill, Community Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Va.; Amy Showalter, Community Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Va.; Libby Smith, First Mennonite Church, Iowa City, Ia.; Jennifer Speight, Friendship Mennonite Church, Bedford Heights, Ohio; and Greg Yoder, Perkasie (Pa.) Mennonite Church.

By Mennonite Church USA Executive Leadership staff

CONTACT: Marathana Prothro, Identity Director, Mennonite Church USA Executive Leadership. MarathanaP@MennoniteUSA.org, 722 Main St., Newton, KS 67114, (316) 283-5155, Ext. 248. Photo available.


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S. News & World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit www.goshen.edu.