by Jennifer Svetlik, Salford congregation
“I love that my job is to gather articles that others have written about the amazing things going on in the conference, and then to be the conduit to share those things with a broader group of people,” says Sue Conrad Howes, editor for Mosaic Mennonite Conference. “This work has allowed me to get to know the conference at a much deeper level.”
Sue joined the conference staff in January 2020. Her part-time role primarily involves editing, writing, and overseeing the production of the weekly e-newsletter, Mosaic News. (Though the newsletter is automatically sent to pastors, credentialed leaders, and conference delegates, anyone can sign up here to receive it.)
Ideas for newsletter and blog articles often originate with conference staff. Sue also reviews bulletins and newsletters from conference congregations and Conference Related Ministries. Through reading these, she learns of events and stories to feature.
Sue grew up in Franconia Conference as part of the Blooming Glen (PA) congregation, but left eastern Pennsylvania for college. After 30 years, she has recently returned to her home area. Her husband, Michael, serves as pastor of West Swamp congregation (Quakertown, PA), where Sue is a member. Although Sue’s primary vocation is a trauma chaplain in two area hospitals, she feels grateful to reconnect with and serve the conference in her role.
Sue appreciates that her job is flexible and that she can work when she is not at the hospital, or when she gets the inspiration to write. Her role has evolved over time because as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the need for clear communication across the conference has increased.
An aspect of her role that Sue has particularly enjoyed has been coordinating the translation of the new conference website, as well as polity documents, and other information into five languages (Chinese, Haitian Creole, Indonesian, Spanish, and Vietnamese).
“I greatly appreciate the investment that the conference has made to ensure that documents are available in the many languages spoken in our conference,” Sue says. “And I have enjoyed getting to know people from different cultures who care deeply about the church and are also passionate about ensuring accurate translation,” Sue shares.
Sue is an ordained pastor in Mennonite Church USA and was a pastor for a number of years in Lancaster County (PA). Prior to this, she was a professor of communication at Goshen (IN) College. “I’ve had two tracks in my professional life: communication and church. When these two passions overlap, as they do in my current role, it makes me very happy,” Sue says.
Another passion in Sue’s life is finding joy and making people laugh. “Laughter is a huge part of my life, because of who I am, but also because my work as a trauma chaplain is intense,” she reflects. “I enjoy watching comedians and figuring out what makes them funny. I also have done some stand up comedy myself. It’s not your everyday hobby.”
Sue enjoys organizing things, whether it is a closet or an event. “I enjoy making things pleasant, joyful, and fun,” she adds.
She loves interacting with her nieces and nephews, who are a big part of her life. She also enjoys playing and watching sports, especially tennis. One of her life goals is to be a contestant on the game show, Wheel of Fortune, which she grew up watching with her mom and grandma. Don’t be surprised if someday you see her spinning the wheel and sharing her joy with the TV audience.