Tag Archives: Rockhill Mennonite Community

Local artist’s exhibit to open at Rockhill Mennonite Community

by Rockhill Mennonite Community staff 

"Cyclamen blooming," by Melissa Olson
“Cyclamen blooming,” by Melissa Olson

Artist Melissa Olson of Glenside will be exhibiting her work at The Gallery at Rockhill Mennonite Community beginning on April 18, 2015. Earlier this year, two of her paintings were featured with the Philadelphia Society of Botanical Illustrators at the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show.

Olson’s love for nature is among the many inspirations that influence her work, as she constantly looks for different ways to interpret its intricate detail and countless shades and textures. Her exhibit at Rockhill Mennonite Community will showcase a broad range of her talent.

Created and managed by Rockhill residents, the venue is open to anyone. Resident and exhibit planner Helen Zartman pointed out that many living at Rockhill have attended art shows all their lives.

“It’s amazing to think that they now have a gallery in their home stocked with work that they can browse or purchase anytime they’d like,” says Zartman.

Beyond local residents, the exhibits often attract visitors from neighboring towns as well as fans of the artists on display. “We see it as a way to offer something very special to Rockhill’s residents and visitors while helping local artists promote their work,” added Zartman. “As for us, we get the privilege of displaying all this beautiful art in our gallery!”

Olson herself will be appearing at the gallery on the exhibit’s opening day on April 18, 2015 from 2–4pm. For the event, Rockhill will be providing complimentary refreshments. The exhibit run through June 13.

The Gallery at RMC is open daily from 9am–5pm and is fully accessible to visitors with disabilities. For more information, please contact Juanita Nyce at 215-257-2751, ext. 142.

Rockhill Mennonite Community receives a perfect score

RMC Personal Care Assistant Director Jamie Dierolf (l) and Director Lili Meyers (r).

Adding to its list of achievements, Rockhill Mennonite Community, a continuing care retirement community, recently received the highest rating from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (formerly the Department of Public Welfare) during its annual visit to Rockhill’s Personal Care Center. Of 1,229 facilities surveyed by the department each year, 10 percent receive a perfect score. Rockhill Mennonite Community is part of this elite group, receiving a deficiency-free rating for two consecutive years.

“Rockhill Mennonite Community’s staff consistently provides high-quality compassionate care to all of our residents,” said Catherine Fox, vice president of Health Services. “Receiving a deficiency-free survey from the Department of Human Services is a significant achievement for our Personal Care team. I commend them for all they do, every day,” she added.

Director Lili Meyers and Assistant Director Jamie Dierolf lead a Personal Care team of 38 staff that serve 57 residents. Both have worked at Rockhill Mennonite Community for over 25 years.

“This is the work that God has given me,” says Meyers. “We love the residents. Their happiness is our joy. We honor God by providing the highest quality of care for mind, body, and spirit. I am so proud of our team and this accomplishment!”

CEO Karen Lehman believes a perfect score on this state inspection demonstrates the high level of care and compassion that sets Rockhill Mennonite Community apart. “We are all about the residents. Providing care, dignity, and enrichment to each person is what drives our work every day.”

Listening for a new move of God

by Lora Steiner, managing editor

Penny NaugleWhen Penny Naugle announced she was retiring after ten years as an elementary principal at Penn View Christian School in Souderton (Pa.) to become a chaplain, the teachers weren’t surprised.

“Well, duh,” one responded, “That’s what you do to us.”

If there is a usual path to chaplaincy work, Naugle didn’t follow it. She has taught in Christian schools for over 30 years, including Johnstown Christian in Hollsopple, Pennsylvania; Lake Center Christian School in Hartville, Ohio; and Bluffton College—now a university—in Bluffton, Ohio. Hoping to work at the college level, she earned a master’s degree from Kent State and completed a dissertation while teaching at Bluffton. After Bluffton, hoping to be closer to grandchildren, she accepted the job at Penn View.

About three years ago, over a lunch with a pastor friend, chaplaincy training came into the conversation. Naugle doesn’t remember what prompted it, just the thought that popped into her head: “I’d love to take that!”

The training in clinical pastoral education, which required her to work in a hospital, she says, was “a pure delight.”

For Naugle, ministry has always been an important aspect of her work. She knew early on she was being called to work in Christian education, and it became clear in recent years that she was being called towards chaplaincy.

And at a time when many of her peers are looking towards retirement, Naugle knew she wasn’t ready to slow down, but that she needed a new focus to re-energize her, and a balance in her life that the long hours spent at her work had not permitted.

She resigned her job without a clear path, knowing God was inviting her to step out.

“It really felt that God was pulling me in that new direction,” Naugle says.  “I have said this to my teachers over the years, I always think we should never feel trapped where we are; we should feel called where we are, and we need to keep our eyes and noses and ears up above the fray to see what else is there.”

Now, she’s a chaplain at Rockhill Mennonite Community in Sellersville (Pa.).

Naugle’s primary area of visitation is in nursing, which means that she visits all residents in the hospital, and follows up with them when they arrive home. Part of her work also involves what’s known as “cold calling,” or dropping in on residents without scheduling a visit in advance. Some chaplains have found this intimidating or un-energizing, but Naugle says it can open up incredible exchanges with people who have long and eloquent things to say about their lives.

For Naugle, she’s increasingly interested in spiritual direction, too, and the importance not only of prayer but also of listening for God.

Not to always be looking for something new, she says, “but to be aware of new possibilities so that we can say, ‘We’re here because it is where God has called us to be.’ Or, ‘Is there new space where I could be excited about it?’ If we are too narrow in our sights we might miss those opportunities.”

Eight set for first terms

Delegates at Phoenix convention elect moderator-elect, board members.

by Everett J. Thomas, The Mennonite, reposted by permission

Members of churchwide boards of directors are chosen in one of three ways: elected by the delegate assembly, appointed by the Executive Board or co-opted by the board on which they serve.

On July 2 at the delegate session in Phoenix, seven people, including two from Franconia Conference, were elected to serve for a first term on the following boards: Executive Board, Everence, Mennonite Education Agency, Mennonite Mission Network and The Mennonite, Inc. The delegates also approve the selection of moderator-elect.

Moderator-elect: Patricia Shelly is professor of Bible and religion at Bethel College, North Newton, Kan., and a core adjunct faculty member in Bible at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary—Great Plains, also in North Newton. She has completed eight years on the Executive Board.

Executive Board: Yvonne Diaz, Terlingua, Texas, is a member of Iglesia Menonita Comunidad de Vida, San Antonio, Texas. Yvonne is the former executive director of Iglesia Menonita Hispana. She was nominated by the Iglesia Menonita Hispana to represent the group on the board.

Executive Board: Joy Sutter (right), East Norriton, Pa., is a member of the Salford (Pa.) Mennonite Church. Joy is a hospital administrator.

Executive Board: Isaac Villegas, Durham, N.C., Chapel Hill (N.C.) Mennonite Church where he serves as pastor.

Mennonite Mission Network: Barry Bartel, Golden, Colo., is a member of Glennon Heights Mennonite Church. Barry is an attorney who served in Haiti and Bolivia through Mennonite Central Committee.

Everence: Karen Lehman (left), Furlong, Pa., is a member of Plains Mennonite Church (Hatfield, Pa.). Karen is CEO of Rockhill Mennonite Community in Sellersville, Pa.

The Mennonite, Inc.: Elaine Maust, Meridian, Miss., is co-pastor of Jubilee Mennonite Church and works for Maust Woodworking.

Mennonite Education Agency: Judy Miller (no photo), Othello, Wa., is a member of Warden Mennonite Church. Judy is a retired professor.

The names of candidates for church-wide boards are nominated by the Leadership Discernment Committee.

LDC members include Duncan Smith from Beaverton, Ore., and a member of Portland Mennonite Church, chair; Paula Brunk Kuhns, Colorado Springs, Colo., and a member of Beth-El Mennonite Church; Horace McMillon, Jackson, Miss., and a bivocational pastor serving Open Door Mennonite Church; Kim Vu Friesen, Minneapolis, and a member of Emmanuel Mennonite Church; Dionicio Acosta, Lancaster, Pa., and a member of New Holland Spanish Mennonite Church; Edie Landis, Telford, Pa., and a member of Zion Mennonite Church; George Stoltzfus, Lititz, Pa., and a member of Landisville Mennonite Church; and Louise Wideman, Bluffton, Ohio, and associate pastor at First Mennonite Church of Bluffton.

Rockhill Comm. merges with Community Home Services

Rockhill Mennonite Community merges with Community Home Services and announces new CEO

Sellersville, PA – The Boards of Directors of Rockhill Mennonite Community and Community Home Services are delighted to announce a new strategic partnership.  Rockhill Mennonite Community is a continuing care retirement community with a long history of providing residential care in Sellersville.   Community Home Services of Souderton, established in 1995, is a licensed Home Care provider. Both organizations are Conference Related Ministries of Franconia Conference and are non-profit and faith based, with a like minded vision to provide seniors in this area with quality and compassionate care in a variety of settings.

Therefore, effective July 1, 2013, Community Home Services will become a subsidiary of Rockhill Mennonite Community.  The new entity, a registered 501(c)(3) corporation, will be known as RM Home Services but will continue doing business as Community Home Services.

“We are excited about this venture,” affirms Mary Tidey, Executive Director of Community Home Services.  “In aligning ourselves with the talent, leadership and resources of Rockhill Mennonite Community, we will continue to build on our reputation for providing the best in home care.  This announcement is the culmination of many months of work on the parts of the leaders of both organizations.  It represents a new milestone for us as we position ourselves to grow within the changing landscape of healthcare.”

Glenn Bauman, Vice Chairman of the Board of Rockhill Mennonite Community and board member of Community Home Services notes that “it has been exciting to be involved in developing this partnership.  It has been a lengthy but rewarding process for us all in getting to this place where we can now publicly announce the merger.  We are looking forward to the many ways that we can not only serve in-home care to the elderly here on our campus but also in the surrounding community.”

While leadership of both organizations go about the work of integration in the coming months,  operations of the CHS office in Souderton will continue as it has for the foreseeable future.

The Board of Directors of Rockhill Mennonite Community is also delighted to announce the appointment of Ms. Karen Lehman as RMC’s new Chief Executive Officer. Formerly the Executive Director at Pennswood Village, a retirement community in Newtown, Pa, Ms. Lehman will begin on June 17, 2013.

Ron Hertzler, RMC Board Chair, is pleased with the decision. “The Board of Directors is excited to announce that Karen Lehman will be our new Chief Executive Officer.  She brings a wealth of experience to this role having served in leadership roles in other CCRC’s.  We anticipate her leadership will bring many wonderful possibilities for Rockhill Mennonite Community in the future.”

Ms. Lehman offers over 24 years experience in the health care and retirement industries. She has successfully led several communities – in Indiana, Maryland and Pennsylvania – in new development and construction projects, operational efficiencies, technological advancements and fiscal management. She is a leader in the senior care field, and promises excellent strategic visioning and planning for RMC. Most notably, Lehman was Chief Operating Officer at Greencroft Retirement Community in Goshen, the largest non-profit CCRC in northern Indiana.

“I am happy to join RMC and serve in the CEO position,” states Lehman.  “I look forward to helping set a strategy for the future that takes into consideration how RMC has been positioned for today, but also considers the needs and values of those we will be serving tomorrow.” Lehman’s initial focus will be to work closely with the Board of Directors on governance and operations, “not only to strengthen current programming and structures but also to look at opportunities for RMC to further develop leadership that takes into consideration the needs of all those served.”

Ms. Lehman has led communities both large and small to realize their full potential. She has been responsible for communities with as few as 425 residents to as many as 1,200. Operationally, she has directed staff ranging from 100 to 500 employees.

From an Amish and Mennonite family, Ms. Lehman resides in Furlong, Pa with her husband, Kent Beck. She currently serves as the Treasurer for Mennonite Women USA Board of Directors. She is also serving on the Leading Age (formerly American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging) Commission on Ethics. Most recently, she has been appointed to the Board of Resource Partners, a risk-management organization serving nonprofit mission and service agencies within the faith communities of Mennonite, Brethren and Quaker denominations.

In anticipation of joining RMC’s staff and residents, Ms. Lehman states, “Rockhill Mennonite Community is well known for its quality of care and caring, invested employees. I’m excited to be a part of the team that will help guide RMC’s residents and staff into the next chapter of a long and respected story.”

Orville Yoder will continue as Interim CEO until Ms. Lehman assumes her post on June 17th.


Founded in 1995 by five area retirement communities, Community Home Services of Souderton is a nonprofit ministry serving the Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lehigh and Montgomery Counties of Pennsylvania. Care and Support Services are uniquely designed to meet the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of each client and family. For more information, please call (215) 723-1906 or visit us on the web.

Also located in Pennsylvania, situated on 44 acres in Bucks County, Rockhill Mennonite Community has been providing services for over 75 years.  A full continuum of care includes 217 Independent Living residences, 53 Personal Care residences, a 90-bed Healthcare Center and Adult Day Services.  All of these services are provided under one roof, which permits changing needs to be met by professional, caring staff.  For more information, please call (215) 257-2751 or visit us on the web.

A Place to Belong

Katherine (lower left) with her roommate (lower right) and two other nurses while in the Ukraine.

by Mary Lou Cummings, Perkasie

“Ever since I left home at age 17 to go to nursing school, I have always lived among strangers,” Katherina Efimenko says. Born in a German Mennonite colony in the Ukraine, Katherina now lives at Rockhill Mennonite Community in Telford, Pa.

Katherine graduated from nursing school in 1938 just as World War II erupted.  The Ukrainian community was caught between the Russians and the Germans.  Trying to survive, Katherine volunteered to join a medical unit of doctors and nurses that moved with the German army. She owned only a blanket, basin and pillow.

In the meantime, in three different deportations, Katherine’s loving stepmother and two brothers were sent to Siberia by the Russians. The villages were emptied, and all the relatives lost contact with each other, not reconnecting until many years later. Many had thought that Katherine was dead.

Katherine met Iwan Efimenko in a displaced persons camp in Salzberg, Austria.  She lived there with two other women in a cubicle partitioned off by blankets hung for privacy. She and Iwan decided to marry and try to build a life together.  Their daughter Alla was born a year later.

In 1949 the Efimenkos were accepted to immigrate to Brazil; once there they were housed and fed with 200 other immigrants dislocated by war. They tried to learn Portuguese and struggled to build a small house. Iwan worked as a mechanic and Katherine in a factory.

And there, Katherine became very ill and almost died of typhus. During the long month Katherine lay in the hospital, a German-speaking nun came to pray for her. Katherine prayed in desperation, “Please let me live so I can raise my child.”

“That is when I became a believer,” Katherine says simply. Iwan and Katherine began to worship in the Greek Orthodox faith.

A second daughter, Tamara, was born 10 years after her sister. In 1962 the family moved to the U.S. During those early years in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Katherine cleaned houses, worked on learning English, and began work as a phlebotomist (“collecting blood”) at Thomas Jefferson Hospital, where she taught many others, including doctors, her techniques. Her style of nursing was to help the patient in any way she could, even when not her assigned job.

Both of her daughters died early deaths, and when Iwan died in 1989, Katherine thought, “Now I want to look for a Mennonite Church.”

She found a listing for Doylestown Mennonite in Together newspaper and sought out a church home. She bonded with the congregation and with pastoral couple Ray and Edna Yoder.

“When I first joined at Doylestown, I said, ‘Now I belong, what can I do to help?’ They asked me if I could quilt. So I’ve been making quilts all these years,” Katherine says.

Katherine Efimenko now.

Katherine, now 93, struggles with Parkinson’s Disease, and is ready to give up sewing comforters every Thursday morning, but her church friends have told her to keep them company while they work. It will be difficult for her to stop “helping,” however, because helping others and working hard is the way she has lived her

Katherine has three adult grandsons and five great-grandchildren, with whom she is very close. She has family members in Canada, Brazil, and in the Ukraine with whom she keeps in touch. But her Doylestown church family continues to be precious to her, and her friends at Rockhill provide special tokens of friendship—such as the daughter of her late neighbor who plants flowers on her patio each spring.

A victim of World War II and conflicting ideologies, Katherine has lived a hard life—a life of terrible losses. But now, between her friends at Rockhill Mennonite Community and her Doylestown church family, she finally has found where she belongs.