Virginia Conference terminates pastor’s credentials

Nov 6, 2017 by

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Virginia Mennonite Conference has terminated the credentials of a pastor who Mennonite Church USA concluded acted in ways to protect a sexual abuse perpetrator, to the detriment of caring for a victim.

VMC leadership terminated Duane Yoder’s credentials for ministry with the conference on Oct. 24, basing the decision on findings of a VMC investigation team. Before his March 3 retirement, Yoder was pastor of Lindale Mennonite Church in Lin­ville.

An external review found Yoder did not disclose everything he knew about allegations of sexual abuse in 2014.

On March 20, 2016, Lindale pastors and elders acknowledged that an alleged “abusive relationship” involving former Eastern Mennonite University vice president of enrollment Luke Hartman was brought to staff attention in August 2014 when a woman approached Lindale associate pastor Dawn Monger.

Hartman and Yoder met with EMU President Loren Swartzendruber on Sept. 2, 2014. The two men described the relationship as a consensual affair with a 19- to 20-year-old woman from the congregation — diverging from her descriptions of verbal abuse and threats of physical violence. “When asked by Pastor Monger, Pastor Yoder was not truthful regarding what he had reported to the leadership at EMU,” says MC USA’s findings, issued Jan. 14.

Yoder did not contest the findings “by declining to participate further in this process,” according to a VMC statement.

Comments Policy

Mennonite World Review invites readers’ comments on articles. To promote constructive dialogue, editors select the comments that appear, just as we do with letters to the editor in print. These decisions are final. Writers must sign their first and last names; anonymous comments are not accepted. Comments do not appear until approved and are posted during business hours. Comments may be reproduced in print, and may be edited if selected for print.

About Me