A Steering Committee provides basic oversight and administration of MennoPIN. Meet the members.
Tom Harder: My wife Lois and I are co-pastors at the Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita, KS. In January 2011, we participated in the Jerusalem Seminar led by Patty Shelly (of Bethel College) and Doug Miller (of Tabor College). It was a transformative, life-changing experience for me, to listen to Scripture from within its original, geographical context, at the same time that we learned about the current socio-political situation in the holy land. I met Christ there. He was working through organizations such as Sabeel, and ICAHD, and CPT. I met him at the separation wall in Bethlehem. I met him at the wailing wall in Jerusalem. I met him beside the Sea of Galilee. I met him in Hebron, while standing on a street of walled up shops, listening to the Muslim call to prayer. I met him on the south steps of the Temple mount, where he used to teach his disciples. There, he called me anew, to be a vessel for God’s gospel, a builder in God’s kingdom.
Joy Lapp: I first went to the Middle East as an Eastern Mennonite College student in 1981, for “Jerusalem Term.” We spent 5 days in Jordan, 5 weeks in Jerusalem, and 10 days in Egypt. I loved that trip, and it has shaped many things I’ve done since. Later I spent 3 years as an MCC volunteer in Egypt (1988-91), teaching English. I learned to know Rev. Naim Ateek, Director of Sabeel, when he was the speaker for our MCC Middle East Retreat one year. In 2004 I spent a month in Bethlehem as a partcipant in the “Palestine Summer Encounter” program organized by the Holy Land Trust. I lived with a family in Beit Jala, taught English in Walaja, and studied Arabic. I also spent a few days that summer volunteering at the Sabeel office in Jerusalem. That fall I attended the Sabeel Regional Conference in St. Paul where I met Sister Elaine Kelley. She told me that they would like to hold a Sabeel Regional Conference in Denver, but couldn’t find anyone to organize it. I agreed to help with the conference, which took place in October 2005 and was great fun. I have been working with Sabeel ever since. I co-lead a Sabeel Witness Trip to Israel/Palestine for 2 weeks each summer. Sabeel is ecumenical so over the years I have heard a lot about what other denominations are doing in relation to justice in Palestine, and have been asking myself for years, “Where are the Mennonites?!” I connected with Tom Harder when the Peace and Justice group at his church was interested in becoming a local Sabeel Group, and through our discussions we connected with Jason Boone and Andre Gingrich-Stoner and MennoPIN was born! I live in Mount Pleasant, Iowa where I teach religion at Iowa Wesleyan College and attend Pleasant View Mennonite Church.
Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach serves as Director of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. Washington Office, where she monitors U.S. policy related to the Middle East. She leads workshops, writes and speaks on U.S. policy toward the Middle East and meets regularly with congressional offices and Administration officials to convey MCC’s perspective on public policy. She also speaks to groups about the intersection of faith and politics from an Anabaptist perspective. Rachelle worked at the MCC Washington Office from 1998-2003, before returning as Director in 2007. She holds an M.Div. from Eastern Mennonite Seminary and is a graduate of Goshen College. She was a member of the Rolling Ridge Study Retreat Community (Harpers Ferry, WV) for four years, where she planned and led retreats. She is a member of Peace Fellowship Church in Washington, DC and is married with two children.
Timothy Seidel is a member of Community Mennonite Church in Lancaster, PA. He teaches courses on politics, development, and peacebuilding in the Department of Applied Social Sciences and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. He has worked over the past ten years in various development and peacebuilding contexts in North America and the Middle East, including working for several years with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), first as peace development worker in Palestine-Israel and then as director of Peace and Justice Ministries. He has led delegations to Palestine-Israel for MCC, Interfaith Peace-Builders, and Lancaster Theological Seminary and was a contributing author to Under Vine and Fig Tree: Biblical Theologies of Land and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict (Cascadia Press, 2007), Nonviolent Resistance and the Second Intifada: Activism and Advocacy (Palgrave, 2011), and Conflict Transformation and the Palestinians: The Dynamics of Peace and Justice under Occupation (Routledge, 2017).