Members of Ohio Conference congregations who volunteer their time play a vital role in Conference life. Without the help of numerous volunteers, many of the programs and functions of the Ohio Conference could not take place.

Much of the work of Ohio Conference is done by the Leadership Team, the Ministry Development Team, the Credentialing Ministry, the Stewardship Ministry and the Gifts Discernment Ministry. Delegates at Annual Conference Assembly affirmed the following individuals for service:



Bob Sauder 2Name: Robert Sauder (Bob)

Home Congregation: Salem (Waldron, Mich.)

Occupation: Retired high school teacher (30 years, Spanish, Math, guidance counselor, basketball/track coach, athletic director), currently self-employed carpenter/owner Retired Handyman Construction

Previous Service: Church council, Sunday school teacher, church chair, elder, conference delegate

Family Information: Two adult daughters, Mary Sauder and Kelly Sauder-Neff, six wonderful grandsons and one unspoiled granddaughter

Goals: The Ohio Conference can continue to be an institution in which we can all grow as Christians, a place where we can worship and praise and learn together as we share God’s love to those around us.

Hobbies/Special Interests: Reading, woodworking, spending time with the grandkids, construction supervisor for Fulton County  Habitat for Humanity, volunteering at Sauder Village


Gifts Discernment Ministry — Chair

Mel Hathaway 2Name: Mel Hathaway

Home Congregation: Sonnenberg Mennonite

Occupation: Pastor

Previous Service: Gifts Discernment Ministry chair and member, Resolutions Committee

Family Information: Wife – Dottie Hathaway

Goals: Working with the Gifts Discernment Ministry Team and Conference Leadership Team to call forth the many gifts and abilities God has blessed us with, to strengthen the Conference and to build God’s Kingdom.

Hobbies/Special Interests: Reading, yard work and home improvement projects


Stewardship Ministry — Chair

Melanie Miller 2Name: Melanie G. Miller

Home Congregation: Maple Grove (Hartville)

Occupation: CTP, treasury analyst/accountant

Previous Service: Ohio Conference Stewardship Ministry, Indiana/Michigan Mennonite Women Treasurer

Family Information: I have been married to Rod Miller, pastor at Maple Grove, for nearly nine years, and we have two children, Cadence (6) and Keilana (3), as well as two cats, and a goldfish.

Goals: The desire of my heart has been to use my talents and interests in serving God. My goal for this term of service is to use my gifts and talents to assist in the oversight of Ohio Conference’s finances, so that Ohio Conference can do the work that God is calling us to do.

Hobbies/Special Interests: One of my hobbies is geocaching with my husband and kids. I also love spending time with friends by being real and sharing life and laughter together.

Ministry Development Team — Faith Focus

Ken Sims 2Name:  Kenneth S. Sims (Ken)

Home Congregation: Sharon Mennonite Church (2007-present) and Lee Heights Community Church (1961-2007)

Occupation: Financial services representative at Everence Financial Services, Plain City, Ohio

Previous Service: Served several times as elder at Lee Heights and currently completing final year of service as lead elder at Sharon Mennonite Church

Family Information: Married to Grace (Hostetler) Sims for 46 years; three adult children; seven grandchildren

Goals: To serve the greater church in areas of faith building and to learn from the faith experiences of others.

Hobbies/Special Interests: Detailing custom, classic and exotic cars; auto endurance racing fan; historical reading


Stewardship Ministry — Endowment Focus

Matthew Hochstetler 2Name: Matthew R. Hochstetler

Home Congregation: Oak Grove (Smithville)

Occupation:     Attorney at Day Ketterer Ltd.

Previous Service: Member of Ohio Conference Stewardship Ministry for preceding two years; former church board member

Family Information: Wife, Megan: daughter, Greta

Goals: Effective, faithful management of Ohio Conference’s finances

Hobbies/Special Interests: Playing with my daughter, cycling, reading, talking with interesting people


Credentialing Ministry

Miriam Zehr 3Name: Miriam Zehr

Home Congregation: Oak Grove (Smithville)
Occupation: Associate Pastor of Oak Grove Mennonite Church

Previous Service: Have been pastoring part time for more than 20 years. Served on Nurture Commission of the  Indiana-Michigan (IN-MI) Conference and on a Youth Task Force. Also served on the IN-MI Mennonite Women Planning Committee

Family Information: Husband, Doug, who is lead pastor at Oak Grove Mennonite; three adult daughters; two sons-in law; and two grandchildren

Goals: I have been licensed and ordained since coming to Ohio Conference seven years ago. The process is still quite fresh in my mind. I am looking forward to contributing to what I have personally benefitted from and encouraging healthy pastoral leadership within the Conference.

Hobbies/Special Interests: Reading, walking, baking with yeast, travel, spending time with grandchildren


Credentialing Ministry

Vickie Yoder 3Name: Vickie Dee Yoder (Vick)

Home Congregation: Sharon

Occupation: Ordained minister, board certified chaplain, therapy dog handler. I presently serve as a staff chaplain at Ohio Health in Columbus, Ohio. I often enjoy visiting with Shadow, a certified therapy dog. We visit schools, senior living centers, nursing homes and hospitals.
Previous Service: Member of Ohio Conference Gifts Discernment Committee, vice-chairperson for Ohio Mennonite Women (OMW), president of the Chaplains Association of Ohio, worked with Mennonite Health Services Planning Committee and gave several workshops nationwide. Vickie also was a guest speaker for OMW, speaking on the importance of “Being Real,” and served as worship leader for a Women’s Retreat at Camp Luz.

Family Information: Husband Bob, a retired pastor; two adult daughters, Mary (Jason) Sims and and Bobbi (Jason) Watkins; seven grandchildren

Goals: My goal for this term of service would be to serve with integrity, accountability and joy.

Hobbies/Special Interests: Pastoral counseling, therapy dog handler, and certified bereavement coach. I also enjoy flowers, crafts, playing the Native American flute, drumming, and silence.


Credentialing Ministry

LaVonne Hartman 2Name: LaVonne Hartman

Home Congregation: Pike

Occupation: Business – Auntie Anne’s/Cinnabon

Previous Service: Conference Council, Executive Committee Secretary, Assistant Moderator, Leadership Team, member of Credentialing Ministry, Ohio Conference representative to Bluffton University Board of Trustees

Family Information: Husband – Bill

Goals: Serving God, Conference and the church

Hobbies/Special Interests: Traveling, sightseeing, hiking, bird-watching, visiting with friends


Gifts Discernment Ministry

Linda Short 2Name:  Linda Short

Home Congregation:  Zion

Occupation: Interim pastor at Lima Mennonite Church, Lima, Ohio, since September 2015

Previous Service: Interim Pastor at Toledo Mennonite Church, Toledo, Ohio, January – April 2015

Family Information: Husband, LaVon Short; three grown sons; eight grandchildren; one great-grandchild

Goals: To support Ohio Conference as we discern how best to serve the churches within Ohio Conference and by seeking to discern and empower spiritual gifts at the conference level.

Hobbies/Special Interests: Reading, travel, spending time with family


Gifts Discernment Ministry

Alan Kauffman 2Name: Alan Kauffman

Home Congregation: Oak Grove (West Liberty)

Occupation: Farm consultant

Previous Service: Member of Gifts Discernment Ministry, member of Ministry Development Team


Gifts Discernment Ministry

Name: Nathan Beachy

Home Congregation: Lee Heights

Occupation: Physician


Gifts Discernment Ministry

Name: Rick Stoner

Home Congregation: Sharon

Occupation: Pastor


Gifts Discernment Ministry

Name: Stefanie Hathaway

Home Congregation: Toledo

Occupation: Psychologist