INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner and the conference directors have approved the selection of two new Indiana Conference staff members. They are Ed Fenstermacher to be an Associate Director of Church Development, and Ruth Ellen Needler to be Assistant Director for Office and Conference Services.

Ed FenstermacherEd Fenstermacher, associate director of church development and revitalization of the former North Indiana Conference based in Marion, Ind., is a native of Harrisburg, Pa., but only lived there a few months. His parents, Bob and Anita Fenstermacher, were Methodist medical missionaries who served in the former Belgian Congo (now the DRC) and later served in Nome, Alaska. Ed has lived in northern Indiana since he was eight-years old.

He is a graduate of John Glenn High School in Walkerton and Taylor University where he was granted a B.D. Degree in secondary education English. He taught high school English in Kendallville from 1980 to 1984. He then served as Director of Church Growth and Revitalization at Simpson UMC in Fort Wayne from 1984 to 1995. For the past 14 years, he has served as Associate Director for Church Development and Revitalization in the former North Indiana Conference.

His mother, Anita, who died in 2000, was a Lay Leader for the North Indiana Conference served in the area of spiritual formation. His father is retired and lives in South Bend. His oldest brother, Mark, is senior pastor of Trinity UMC in Elkhart. He also has two sisters and a younger brother.

He and his wife Marlene are members of Covenant UMC in Fort Wayne where Marlene serves as a diaconal minister in the area of children’s ministries. They are the parents of Erik (17, a high school junior), Kyle (16, a sophomore) and Andrew (14, an eighth grader). The Fenstermachers spend a lot of time watching their three boys’ sporting events. Ed also volunteers at “In As Much,” a downtown ministry that serves the poor. He also likes to play racket ball, work crossword puzzles, garden and collect banana stickers.

In his new position which becomes effective July 1, he will develop and implement the conference strategic plan for church development, with a focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Key functions of this position include among other tasks: identifying and motivating transformational leaders and carrying out the church’s development strategic plan within the new North and Northeast Districts, working in collaboration with their district superintendents. He will be supervised by the Rev. Mark Gough, the new conference director of church development. Other Associate Directors of Church Development will be announced in the weeks to come.

Ruth Ellen NeedlerRuth Ellen Needler, assistant administrator for office and conference services of the former North Indiana Conference based in Marion, Ind., is a native of Sweetser, Ind., five miles west of Muncie, and a 1977 graduate of Oak Hill High School. She was employed by the North Indiana Conference right after graduation and for the past 32 years has worked in various areas of the conference service center. For the past seven years, she has held her present position. She is a life-long member of the Mount Olive UMC in Marion. She is married to Roger Needler, her high school sweetheart. They have three adult children: Pete (25) and wife, Jenni, who live in Carmel; Ty (22), a senior at Taylor University and Brad (21), a junior at Indiana Wesleyan University. As pastimes, she enjoys sports, reading and travel.

In her new position which becomes effective July 1, she will provide oversight of office services, including supervision of the support staff pool and conference services, including support needs of the annual conference session. She will be supervised by Brent Williams, the new conference director of administrative services.

Other positions in the new Indiana Conference will soon be announced.