ROSE BENDER COOK STAFF PROFILE
by Jennifer Svetlik
“I believe being formed in the way of Jesus means we operate differently than the broader culture around us which divides and puts people into camps,” shares Rose Bender Cook, Leadership Minister for Formation for Mosaic Conference. “In this role, I hope to help those within our Conference explore how we think, respond, talk to, and love one another even when we disagree.”
Bender Cook has served as Interim Leadership Minister for Formation since October 2023, and in January 2024 transitioned to permanent status. Mosaic Conference has a Leadership Minister for each of its three priorities (missional, formational, and intercultural).
“In this role, I work with the formation team to equip and support our credentialed leaders, congregations, and Conference-Related Ministries so they can be formed more and more into the image of Christ,” Bender Cook explains.
“Formation is about the spiritual disciplines and practices that we engage in as disciples of Jesus. It is about being transformed so that we live out the prayer to do God’s will ‘on earth as it is in heaven’.”
Since 2021 Bender Cook has helped lead Mosaic Institute, first as a curriculum developer and adjunct professor, then as Assistant Director, and then Director.
“As a pastor, I am always thinking about formation for the congregation I serve, and in this new role, I will be challenged to think more broadly about creating spaces where we can all be formed by the Word of God and the Spirit’s work in one another,” reflects Bender Cook.
Originally from Wellman, IA, her first profession was as a social studies teacher for sixteen years. In 2010, she became the pastor of Whitehall (PA) Mennonite. For four years she worked as an adjunct professor for Eastern Mennonite University’s STEP Program, and she has also worked as a research assistant.
“I have done a lot of curricula writing over the years, so this new role is a perfect combination of teaching, designing curricula, and pastoring,” Bender Cook says. “Through the Pathways process, we have heard that congregations want support in navigating difficult conversations, so that is something we will be working on in 2024,” she adds.
Through her role as a pastor at Whitehall, Rose served on the Conference credentialing committee for three terms (12 years) and now serves on the ministerial committee.
In her free time, Bender Cook enjoys walking her beagle, Bailey, reading or listening to books, doing puzzles in the winter, playing board games, quilting, and cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes. Bender Cook also coached girls’ basketball for over ten years. When she was in high school, she played the six-on-six version (Iowa was the last state to switch to five-on-five).
“Since November, though, being a grandma tops the list! My grandchild lives about six hours away but whenever I can get a snuggle, I am there for it!” Bender Cook shares.
Jennifer is Communication Associate/Editor for Mosaic. She grew up near Houston, TX and spent a decade living in intentional community in Washington DC, before moving to Lansdale, PA with her spouse, Sheldon Good. She is a graduate of the University of Texas and Washington Theological Seminary. She serves as Children’s Faith Formation Director at Salford Mennonite (Harleysville, PA). Jenn has two elementary-school-aged children and loves biking, camping, gardening, and vermicomposting with her family.