Our Pastors

Pastor Caleb Kragt

Phone: (765) 914-5247Email: caleb.kragt@gmail.com

Caleb KragtCaleb’s journey has been incredibly blessed by contexts and mentors who have always sent him to the next chapter of life well-prepared. Many of these experiences have now come full circle: having grown up in Goshen, Indiana, learning Spanish through school was quite a normal thing for Caleb to do. African professors in his college sociology major helped develop intercultural competence and perspective. And seeking a female mentor in seminary led to Caleb being placed with Nancy Heishman, at West Charleston, while he was still a student minister.

Now ordained and hired as pastor serving alongside Irv, Caleb is regularly using his Spanish, is one of the leaders in an intercultural community including African refugee families, and is quite thankful to still be serving his first pastorate at West Charleston. Beyond the appreciation for how much a multilingual, multicultural context improves his reading of scripture, Caleb has found a deep appreciation for ministry in partnership.

With his wife, Allie, Caleb is happy to be raising two children, and thankful that his part-time role allows him the flexibility to spend significant time with them as Allie works full-time. The Kragt family is always happy to have a guest over for dinner and perhaps some board games!

Pastor Irvin Heishman 

Phone: (540) 383-1274Email: wccob.pastorirv@gmail.com

Irv HeishmanIrv likes to speak of the spiritual life as an adventure of faith, one he readily encourages everyone to embark on.  This adventure took him to a diverse inner city congregation in Harrisburg, PA.  There he helped develop a faith based nonprofit, Brethren Housing Association, which provides transitional housing for homeless women and children. 

The next step in his adventure took him to the Dominican Republic, where he served for nearly eight years as a mission coordinator, gaining competency in Spanish and increased international, racial, and cultural understanding. 

Now it is his joy to serve as co-pastor of a semi-rural congregation which has meaningful small town and urban connections.  The congregation has opened its doors with unconditional welcome to immigrants, refugees, and LGBTQ folks, becoming rich in diversity and love.  Irv’s own journey includes long wresting with faith issues and fear before coming out later in life as gay.  The process of coming to affirm his authentic self has deepened his appreciation for scripture rightly understood as a message of good news for all people.  

Irv is a board member of On Earth Peace, an agency of the Church of the Brethren which envisions a world in Beloved Community liberated from oppression, violence, and war.  As a board member he was supported in writing “A Biblical Basis for Inclusion” (copies can be ordered from On Earth Peace).  He also represented the agency in conversations with the Church of the Brethren about its decision to join the Supportive Communities Network of the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests.

Without doubt, in addition to gardening, one of Irv’s great joys is his family. While not currently living in the same location, Irv and Nancy, as a mixed orientation couple, love each other and continue committed to walking a life-long journey as best friends.  Irv and Nancy are the parents of two wonderful adult children and a daughter-in-law they love dearly. They take great delight in their two grandchildren.