Tom Harder has significant historical connections with Hillsboro. His great-great-grandfather Johann Harder was one of the original settlers of the Gnadenau village just south of Hillsboro, having come from the Ukraine by ship in 1874. Johann is buried in the Gnadenau cemetery two miles south on Indigo Road (as are both Tom’s parents, Leland and Bertha). Tom’s great-grandfather David Harder was one of the early faculty members at Tabor College (and is buried in the cemetery on D Street). Tom’s grandfather Menno also taught at Tabor, while his grandmother Katherine had a beauty shop in town.
Tom grew up in Elkhart, Indiana, where both of his parents taught at the Mennonite seminary. He attended Bethel College (as did his parents and older brother John), majoring in music. His plan was to teach music at a major university, and to that end earned a master’s and doctorate in classical guitar performance. But God had other plans.
Tom and Lois met at Camp Friedenswald in Michigan (a very important place in both of their lives), had their wedding there, and two of their three daughters were born there. After serving six years as coprogram directors of the camp, they moved to Wichita in the fall of 1996, where they began serving as copastors at the Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church. During that time, they both earned their Master of Divinity degrees from AMBS (2006). They resigned just this past August after twenty-two years at the church.
Tom and Lois continue to perform together as a duo, but unfortunately their family band (“Five Times Harder”) is at least three times harder to get together, as all three daughters have now left home. Meanwhile, Tom feels very much at home in pastoral ministry.
Hank Unruh grew up in Newton, Kansas. He is the son of Mark and Tammy Unruh who have taught both college and high school classes around the Newton area. Hank is the eldest of two sons.
In high school, Hank participated in a myriad of activities, some of which included sports, debate, forensics, choir, and science olympiad. Also in high school, Hank met Erin and they began to date. After high school, Hank attended Bethel College where he continued competing in forensics and singing in choir. At Bethel, Hank majored in Bible and Religion / Communications, minored in philosophy, and received a certificate in youth ministry.
Shortly after graduating from Bethel in 2014, Hank and Erin were married at Tanganyika Wildlife Park, in Goddard, Kansas. Hank also began his ministry at FMC in the same year.
In 2016, Hank became the Assistant Debate and Forensics Coach at Moundridge High School and also began the MDiv connect program at the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary pursuing a Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry.
Hank and Erin live in Newton allowing them to split the driving distance for work. Erin works as a pharmacy technician at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. They enjoy exploring the world together and experiencing new things. They still enjoy going to zoos and spending time in nature. They also enjoy spending time attending games whether it’s the Hillsboro Trojans or the pros.
Hank loves working with the youth at First Mennonite. The support and nurturing he received as a child and youth brought him closer in his relationship with God, which gave rise to his passion for youth ministry.
Kara (Schlotthauer) Unruh is an Oklahoma girl who found Kansas by way of Tabor College, which recently became her alma mater. Her passions for both the Word of God and writing led her to obtain majors in Biblical Studies and Communications. While at Tabor, Kara met Hillsboro native Avery, who kindly gave her a shorter last name in October 2020, smack in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to serving at FMC, Kara can be found most weekdays and Saturdays serving coffee as a barista at Rhubarb Market just down the street. She loves working alongside her husband and inlaws to craft not only a great cup of joe, but also a cozy atmosphere for community.