ELKHART, Ind. (Mennonite Mission Network) — On John D. Yoder’s last day before retirement, his employees offered him a tip of their helmets.
Adorned with bright clothing and flashing lights, eight members of Mennonite Mission Network’s communication staff biked as many as 18 miles – one-way – to meet Yoder for a farewell breakfast before forming a peloton to the office.
Since he started working on a special fund-raising project at Mennonite Board of Missions, a predecessor agency of Mennonite Mission Network, in 1999, Yoder regularly rode the 15-plus miles from his Goshen home to the Elkhart offices. A biking enthusiast, Yoder also regularly encouraged co-workers to ride to work, citing environmental issues, physical health benefits, rising gas costs and sheer enjoyment as reasons enough to ride.
Plus, he said, biking is an efficient way to add exercise into a day.
"It always amuses me to see people driving their cars to the gym for a workout," he said. "Wouldn't it make more sense to walk or bike?"
Many Mission Network employees follow Yoder’s lead; some days, the lobby at the office space the agency shares with Mennonite Church USA Executive Leadership is full of two-wheelers.
Yoder retired as director of communications at the end of June, but will return as interim senior executive for advancement during the month of August.
Leanne Farmwald, who joined Mennonite Mission Network in July 2007 as director of marketing, is the new director of the combined marketing/communication department. Farmwald previously served Mennonite Board of Missions, a predecessor agency of Mennonite Mission Network, in several roles, including director of mission education. Before joining the Mission Network, she most recently was a development associate for Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.