Hesston College to host disaster and trauma response professional

Hesston College will host trauma educator and pastor Ruth Yoder Wenger on campus Oct. 29 to 30. The public is invited to hear stories of her work with several national disaster organizations during a 7 p.m. presentation Tuesday, Oct. 29, in the Hesston Mennonite Church Community Center and during an 11 a.m. Hesston College chapel service Wednesday, Oct. 30, in the Hesston Mennonite Church Sanctuary.

Wenger will be joined by Paul Unruh (Hesston, Kan.), a community worker with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), for the Tuesday evening program entitled “Bridging Gaps: Stories of Peace and Hope in a Troubled World.” Hesston Mennonite Church pastor John Murray will serve as moderator.

Wednesday morning’s chapel service will focus on “Finding God in the Midst of Trauma.” Consideration will be given to traumatic incidents that befall students, including anxiety, depression and conflicts with friends.

Wenger (New York, N.Y.) is the director of training for the National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN) where she facilitates disaster chaplain and spiritual care worker trainings. She is co-author of the Interfaith Disaster Chaplain training curriculum.

She also serves as executive vice president of New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS), where she represents MDS on the board of directors and represents NYDIS among its partner organizations. She is a training coordinator for Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) NYC where she trains leaders in the effects of trauma on individuals and communities and the steps towards healing.

Wenger was MDS’s Restoring Hope Project Manager in New York City following 9/11. Prior to the September 11 attacks, she directed community based education programs in the Northwest Bronx. She is also pastor of North Bronx Mennonite Church and moderator of the New York City Council of Mennonite Churches.

“We are pleased to host Ruth Yoder Wenger on campus,” said Russ Gaeddert, director of the Hesston College Disaster Management Program. “Her experience with disasters and working with the people who go through them is beneficial information for students, pastors, disaster response volunteers and leaders of churches or organizations.”