Mediation Team

Who are we?  

We’re church members and Ministers of Word and Sacrament who have completed training by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center in how to have healthy conversations, facilitating difficult conversations and mediation. We have a passion to support our churches and Classes as they seek to speak the truth in love and handle conflict in a growth-producing manner.

Our Team:

Joan Garnar, Columbia-Greene Classis

Rick Behan, Albany Classis

Paige Convis, Columbia-Greene Classis

Lindsey DeKruif, Schenectady Classis

Kay Grosch, Schenectady Classis

Brian Engel, Montgomery Classis

Abby Norton-Levering, Albany Synod Ministries Coordinator

Bob Hoffman, Albany Synod Administrator


What do we do?

–Provide educational events for Classes and congregations re: how to have healthy conversations and how conflict can be handled in growth-producing ways

–Facilitate difficult conversations between persons or groups of people that need to happen but have been avoided, or that have so far been handled in ways that have resulted in distress.

–Plan and lead a mediation process between willing participants (e.g. between two church leaders, between a Consistory and pastor, or within a Classis or congregation divided over a particular issue)


How do we get involved?

We only enter in when we have been invited – and then only when we believe that we may have the skills to provide support in the ways most needed. Generally such requests will come from a Consistory leader, pastor, or Classis leader or committee liaison.  Please contact the Synod Office ( and we will arrange for a team member to schedule time to discuss the situation you are concerned about and explore with you what type(s) of support might be most helpful.