INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner and the conference directors have approved the selection of four Indiana Conference staff members to continue in similar positions.

They are Ed Fenstermacher as Associate Director of Church Development, Ruth Ellen Needler as Assistant Director for Office and Conference Services, Ed Metzler to continue as Secretary to the Bishop and Erma Metzler to continue as Communication Assistant.

Ed 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 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 began 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 is 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 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 became effective July 1, she provides oversight of office services, including supervision of the support staff pool and conference services, including support needs of the annual conference session. She is supervised by Brent Williams, the new conference director of administrative services.

Ed Metzler, current Secretary to the Bishop, will continue to work with Coyner as secretary. He began working as a freelancer with the Hoosier United Methodist conference newspaper in 1994 and has served nine years full-time in the area office and has served two bishops.

Erma Metzler, current Communications Assistant, will continue serving with Communication Director Dan Gangler. She has served 14 years as communication assistant to two directors of communication.

Both of their position descriptions will remain similar in the new conference. Ed and Erma Metzler, husband and wife, will continue their current positions at the Indiana Area office and will move this fall into the new Indiana Conference Center on the north side of Indianapolis.

Both are natives of Erie, Pa. Ed served 20 years as a public affairs specialist (both public relations and journalism) in the United States Air Force. Upon retirement, the Metzlers moved to Indianapolis, where Ed had previously served. They have two grown children and three grandchildren.