Moderator-elect nominee brings wide-ranging career of church service

Lehman Lehman

The Mennonite Church USA Executive Board has nominated Marty Lehman of Goshen, Ind., as moderator-elect for the delegate assembly cycle beginning July 2023. Lehman is a former MC USA associate executive director for churchwide operations.

Pending affirmation by the delegate assembly on July 7-8, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo., Lehman will serve alongside the incoming moderator, Jon Carlson of Lancaster, Pa.

“I love our church and believe in what our church is doing and trying to do,” Lehman said. She hopes MC USA can “be known as people that are reaching out and caring for the most vulnerable in [our] communities . . . people that show up . . . people who serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, so that God’s healing and hope can flow through us to the world.”

Lehman was raised on an Amish dairy farm in Indiana. Her parents migrated to a conservative Mennonite congregation when she was 10 years old. Lehman describes the transition as “not a particularly good experience.”

After high school, she attended Rosedale Bible College in Irwin, Ohio, affiliated with CMC, formerly Conservative Mennonite Conference. She completed her studies at Indiana University in South Bend, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in public affairs. She was the first in her family to earn a college degree.

Lehman began her professional career as a social worker in Elkhart, advocating for abused children.

She joined the staff of Goshen College in 1990, serving as the director of admissions for eight years and, later, as an adjunct faculty member for two years.

In 1998, when the merger that created MC USA was starting to stir, Lehman joined Mennonite Board of Missions as vice president for internal operations. During the merger transition, she served as interim president of Mennonite Board of Missions and as senior executive for advancement for its soon-to-be successor organization, Mennonite Mission Network.

In 2004, Lehman accepted the position of MC USA associate executive director for churchwide operations. She managed denominational funding, stewardship education, the Corinthian Plan, communication, advancement, the archives and more during her 10 years on the Executive Board staff.

Lehman then served as the administrative pastor at her home congregation, College Mennonite Church in Goshen, from 2014 to 2018.

Stan Shantz, chair of MC USA’s Leadership Discernment Committee and lead pastor at James Street Mennonite Church in Lancaster, described Lehman as a “bridge builder . . . who listens to both sides and is sensitive to the issues.”

Lehman and her husband, Rex Hooley, enjoy spending time with their “daughter,” Christy Smith, whom she lovingly refers to as her “daughter by another mother.” They connected while Lehman was working at Goshen College, where Christy was a student. Through Christy, they are “grandma” and “grandpa” to three grandchildren, one of whom just got married, Lehman said, smiling. She relaxes by cooking and reading and often can be found with her hands in the soil. “I find gardening very therapeutic,” she said. Always up for a challenge, she is learning to propagate African violets.

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