Ben and Mary Jane Newcomer from Harrisonburg Virginia are serving as volunteer Directors of SOOP and hosts for our Guest House. Ben grew up in northern PA, Mary Jane in Kalona, IA. They met at Rosedale Bible Institute in OH and were married in 1971. Ben completed his ag education degree at Penn State and took his first teaching job at Kutztown High School, Kutztown, PA.
They moved to Kalona, IA, in 1977 to assume the ag education position at Iowa Mennonite School. Ben earned a sabbatical there, and they, along with their three children, took a five-year assignment with MCC in Guatemala as community development workers in ag education and literacy.
After MCC, they moved to Lake Wales, FL, where Ben taught at Warner University in their missions program, as well as working with a local, dynamic social service agency. Mary Jane completed her degree in English education at Warner University and taught English for nineteen years at Frostproof High School while they raised their family and saw them all off to college.
In Dec. 2015, they did a two-week SOOP stint in Glendale, AZ. It was a delightful experience that whetted their appetites for a good place to blend their more relaxed schedule/interests with a dynamic SOOP opportunity.
After serving one year, Ben and Mary Jane have agreed to return as Host and Directors for the 2017-18 season.
Sheryl Shantz grew up in Hesston, Kansas as part of the Hesston Inter-Mennonite Church. She attended 1 year at Grace Bible Institute before graduating with a diploma RN from Immanuel Hospital School of Nursing in Omaha, Nebraska. After working one year she returned to school at Eastern Mennonite University and received her BSN.
Wanting to become a better disciple of Christ, she came to the Phoenix area in 1977 to be part of the Discipleship Volintary Service program (VS) with Gene and Mary Herr. After VS she remained in the valley and worked as a public health nurse for Maricopa County for 19 years. Because her husband was transferred to Yuma, she worked for the Yuma County Public Health Services District. She returned to school at the University of Phoenix and completed her Family Nurse Practitioner degree in 2003. She worked for a local OB/GYN physician for four years before returning to Yuma County Public Health to organize and run the Family Planning/STD Clinic, retiring in 2013.
Sheryl has been married to Kim Shantz for 32 years. They have 2 married daughters and 3 grandchildren all living in the Phoenix area. Sheryl has been involved in community coalitions and committees during her career, has organized conferences and health fairs, been on church boards, played piano and taught Sunday School in churches, and many other activities. To be able to unite her faith and nursing in the Parish Nurse position seems like a “dream come true.”
Sheryl Shantz, RN, is volunteering as a Faith Community Nurse under the Hospitality Services Center. Faith Community Nursing believes in wholistic health where mental, physical, spiritual and emotional aspects of a person interact to cause wellness or illness. She visits people in homes, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, on the phone and in church.
Kim Shantz grew up in Fairview, Michigan on a small dairy farm. After attending Goshen College in Indiana for one year, he transferred to Michigan State University and received a BS in Crop Science. During his college years he worked in residential construction.
He moved to Phoenix in 1974 due to an arthritic condition influenced by weather. After working 3 years on the University of Arizona wheat project, he joined a start up plant breeding company and eventually became a senior wheat breeder. He was transferred to Yuma, AZ in 1997 and remained there until he retired with 35 years of service having developed more than 20 wheat varieties for the western United States.
He and his wife Sheryl returned to Phoenix in 2014 to be near their 2 married daughters and grandchildren. Upon completing their move back to Phoenix, he expressed interest in the Home Repair program and became the coordinator. He has a strong interest in helping people who are unable to perform or pay for their own home repair.
The HSC Board of Directors are responsible for the ongoing operation of the various ministries which includes the Guest House, SOOP program, Home Repair, and Faith Community Nursing. The Board is also responsible for policies and procedures that affect the daily programs.
The Board members are (l to r) Kurt Goering; President, Janeth Duncan, Jeannette Slater, Peter Wiebe, Sheryl Shantz, Jay Shetler; Vice President and Secretary, Marlin Hershberger; Treasurer.