Among the Mennonite congregations of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, few family names have become as synonymous with producing quality pastors as Yoder. Now that tradition has been thrown by the wayside, as Northside Elkhart Mennonite Church has hired it’s first non-Yoder.
“Mr. Erwin Schmutz will be joining our pastoral team to serve alongside Johan Yoder, Peter Yoder, Henry Yoder and Yoda Yoder,” said church elder Joseph Yoder. “We’re putting him in charge of the youth. He better not mess this up.”
For centuries American Mennonites have turned to the dependable Yoder name to provide leadership in their churches. The hiring of a Schmutz is a historic occasion that did not go unnoticed by Mennonite congregations across the country.
“I don’t know what those crazy people in Elkhart are doing hiring a non-Yoder,” said one man from Goshen. “Oh, well, it’s their funeral.”
Others, however, were supportive of the Schmutzification of the Elkhart church.
“I’m glad someone finally broke through that glass ceiling,” said Belinda Fenstermacher from Lancaster. “Who knows, maybe some day they’ll even let a Hershberger or a woman break through.”
Reverend Schmutz will be on probation until he has proven himself capable of upholding the high pastoral standards of all the Yoders who came before him.
(photo credit: James Thompson/CC/modified)