Goshen College students explore call to ministry during summer

GOSHEN, Ind. – This summer, nine Goshen College students are exploring church ministry as they work with congregations across the United States through the college’s Ministry Inquiry Program (MIP).

The opportunities for MIP participants are vast; students can be involved in worship planning, worship leading, teaching in Bible and Sunday schools, leading music, pastoral visiting, community service and preaching.

The Ministry Inquiry Program is a joint effort of Mennonite Church USA and the five Mennonite colleges in the United States. The 23-year-old program enables students from Mennonite colleges to test their calling and gifts for ministry by serving as pastoral interns for a three-month term.

The summer 2011 Goshen College MIP participants are:

Kelly Frey, a junior nursing major from Shipshewana, Ind., is working at Shalom Mennonite Church in Indianapolis, Ind. Frey, daughter of Neal and Christine Frey, is a 2008 graduate of Bethany Christian Schools and attends Shore Mennonite Church.

Erica Grasse, a sophomore biology and interdisciplinary double major from Chalfont, Pa., is working at Blooming Glen (Pa.) Mennonite Church. Grasse, daughter of James and Lisa Grasse, is a 2009 graduate of Penn Ridge High School and attends Blooming Glen Mennonite Church.

Jonathan Harnish, a junior Bible and religion major from Colorado Springs, Colo., is working at Beth-El Mennonite Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. Harnish, son of Robert and Carol Brunk Harnish, is a 2008 graduate of Coronado High School and attends Beth-El Mennonite Church.

Grace Parker, a sophomore English and Bible and religion double major from Wichita, Kan., is working at New Hope Fellowship in Fairfax, Va. Parker, daughter of Greg and Nancy Parker, is a 2009 graduate of Wichita High School.

Patrick Ressler, a senior music major from Lititz, Pa., is working at Germantown (Pa.) Mennonite Church. Ressler, son of Gerald and Mary Ressler, is a 2007 graduate of Lancaster Mennonite High School and attends Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster.

Luke Slagel, a sophomore music major from Goshen, is working at North Main Street Mennonite Church in Nappanee, Ind. Slagel, son of Steven and Barbara Slagel, is a 2009 graduate of Bethany Christian Schools and attends East Goshen Mennonite Church.

Ben Sutter, a sophomore communication major from South Bend, Ind., is working at Franconia Mennonite Conference in Souderton, Pa. Sutter, son of David and Janice Sutter, is a 2009 graduate of John Adams High School and attends Kern Road Mennonite Church.

Kate Widmer, a sophomore Bible and religion major from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is working at Albany (Ore.) Mennonite Church. Widmer, daughter of Theodore and Linda Widmer, is a 2009 graduate of Mount Pleasant High School and attends Pleasant View Mennonite Church.

Beth Yoder, a junior interdisciplinary major from Bellefontaine, Ohio, is working at Belmont Neighborhood Fellowship in Elkhart, Ind. Yoder, daughter of Stephen and Christine Yoder, is a 2008 graduate of West Liberty Salem High School and attends Oak Grove Mennonite Church.

At the end of the summer, each student will receive a scholarship of $2,000 toward tuition costs for the next academic year, along with a $500 stipend from the host congregation.

Participation in the college’s inquiry programs (Camping Inquiry Program, Ministry Inquiry Program, Service Inquiry Program) includes the opportunity to take a one credit-hour May term course that explored vocation, goals for the summer, prayer methods and a blessing ceremony. 

– By Alysha Landis

Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.


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.