Kara Carter (March 1/24)
Liminal Transformational Pastor

 tel. 519-669-5123 ext. 24

Charleen Jongejan Harder
Associate Pastor

 tel. 519-669-5123 ext. 22 

Arlene Wyngaarden
Office Administrator

 tel. 519-669-5123 ext. 21

Our Staff Team

Elmira Mennonite Church uses a 2-pastor team approach to ministry.  Depending on the congregation's needs, up to 2-FTE positions are filled at a given time.  In addition, a Lay Ministry Team assists with preaching, leading congregational prayers and visitation.  When qualified persons are available, EMC chooses to keep a balance of female and male leaders. 

Kara Carter - Liminal Transformational Pastor (beginning March 1/24)

My husband Al and I enjoy the spaciousness and joys of country living on our 9-acre hobby farm. We have been married 43 years and are parents to two adult daughters, and  grandparents to twin grandchildren. I grew up at Breslau Mennonite Church where I was baptized. At the age of 15 my family relocated to the Listowel area and Listowel Mennonite Church became my home congregation for many years.   

Prior to God’s call to pastoral ministry in 2001 I enjoyed a career as an optometric assistant/office manager. Working with the public in a helping profession nurtured strong organizational and administration skills, communication abilities, and a love for working alongside and with others.

A deep desire for further education accompanied my call to serve at Poole Mennonite Church as a youth pastor (September 2001 to April 2008). As I began youth ministry, I enrolled in my first university course at Conrad Grebel University College. Following 7 years of youth ministry, completion of a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies, and an intentional discernment process, I responded to God’s Spirit nudges and entered full-time seminary studies.  

Following completion of a Master of Divinity degree, I accepted a call from Wellesley Mennonite Church and served as full-time lead pastor from November 2011 to December 2023. Connecting with the community has always been a high priority for me, whether in my first career, when planning and leading service trips during youth ministry years, and most recently in my role at Wellesley Mennonite. Shaped by a calling of “sentness” as disciples of Jesus (John 20:21) has been life giving, challenging, and transformative.  

Amidst tremendous change both culturally and in the church over the past years I pursued doctoral studies. The Pastoral Leadership program provided a structured framework to think about, read, reflect, and develop further leadership capacities amidst a sea of change. Through the gathering of stories from MCEC pastors I identified potential stumbling blocks that risk keeping a missional church stuck as well as “burning bush” places that shimmer with the presence of God.    

I enjoy gardening, biking, reading, swimming, singing, spending time with family and friends, and ongoing learning. Spiritual practices ground me and remind me of my belovedness as a child of God. Spiritual practices including journalling, prayer, retreats, meeting regularly with a spiritual director and more, encourage stillness of mind, body, and spirit which increases my capacity to listen for God and respond to the love of God.

Charleen Jongejan Harder - Associate Pastor

Charleen Jongejan Harder is Associate Pastor at Elmira Mennonite Church.  She is married to Kendall, and they have two children, Tobias and Mattea, who are attending Rockway Mennonite Collegiate.  They recently moved to Kitchener from Leamington where Charleen and Kendall co-pastored at North Leamington United Mennonite Church.   That’s where they weathered out the pandemic in their home.  

Prior to that, they co-pastored at Valleyview Mennonite Church in London.  A highlight there was being part of launching the London Interfaith Peace Camp.   

Charleen received her M.Div at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart IN, and her BA at Calvin University in Grand Rapids MI (English, French and Theology).  She was raised in the Christian Reformed Church, and became a Mennonite as a young adult after participating in Mennonite Voluntary Service in St. Paul MN.   She was drawn to the peace position and community life.  

She loves singing, camping, canoeing, board games, reading, and walking with her dog Ruby.   

Perhaps most significantly, before and after all of these details, Charleen is a beloved child of God, and she believes you are, too.