Edgar James Metzler

Edgar James Metzler, 91, of Goshen, Ind., died May 12, 2021, at Goshen Hospital.


He was born Nov. 12, 1929, to Alta Mae and A.J. (Abram Jacob) Metzler in Masontown, Pa. He was a peacemaker who championed justice and nonviolence

through ecumenical service and international development work

During his years at Eastern Mennonite High School, he joined the “seagoing cowboys” on a United Nations ship carrying horses to war-torn Poland. In 1948 he joined a voluntary service unit at a hospital in Kansas City for the summer before going to Goshen College. In 1951 he married Ethel Yake. In 1954 they moved to Washington, D.C., where he served as Mennonite Central Committee representative at the National Service Board for Religious Objectors.

He became the pastor of First Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont. He received his bachelor of divinity degree from Goshen College Biblical Seminary and was ordained in 1957.

In 1962 the family moved to Akron, Pa. As executive secretary of MCC Peace Section, he was a witness to the federal government on

peacemaking and nonviolence and traveled to India and Russia. He became a participant in the civil rights movement, sharing his beliefs with his young children by taking them to protest marches in Lancaster, Pa., and Washington, D.C.

He accepted an invitation to join the Peace Corps as program director in Nepal, and in 1967 moved the family to Kathmandu. For seven years, he worked as a Peace Corps director and trainer in Nepal, India, Thailand and Iran.  

Returning stateside in 1974, he taught ethics and political science at Goshen College and served as director of addictions services for Oaklawn Psychiatric Center, then as director of Peace and Justice Concerns for the Mennonite Church, director of Mennonite Board of Congregational Ministries, and coordinator of New Call to Peacemaking, a cooperative effort of historic Peace Churches. He chaired the first steering committee of Christian Peacemaker Teams. He traveled to Asia with MCC and served briefly as interim director of the Washington office.

In 1989, he and Ethel returned to Kathmandu as joint appointees of Mennonite Board of Missions and MCC to United Mission to Nepal. As executive director, he led a staff of more than 2,000 Nepalis and 400 expatriates from 30 church-related agencies from more than 18 countries.        

Leaving Nepal in 1998, he and Ethel returned to Akron, where he rejoined MCC as

director of international programs. In 2003 they settled into retirement in Goshen, Ind.

Survivors include children Michael (Maaret Koskenalho, deceased), Mary

Martha (Gordon Prieb), Peter (Kathryn Rowedder) and Philip (Sandra Anstaett); siblings Carl (Doris Gunden), Jay (Jill Lalko), Joyce (Jep) Hostetler and Alice (Willard) Roth; and four grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Ethel Yake, on July 27, 2019; and a sister, Dorothy Brunk.

Sign up to our newsletter for important updates and news!