To train the next generation of worshipers in the musical and visual arts, and in the process, make disciples of Jesus.

Arts Academy Mentors

  • Chara Fennig   Music   Violin/viola

    Chara received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Violin Performance from Portland State University, graduating with honors in 2001. During her time in Portland, Oregon, she played violin in orchestras including Bravo Concerts Northwest, Oregon Chamber Players, and Oregon Festival of American Music. Artists she performed with included Michael Card, Fernando Ortega, and Twila Paris. She built a studio of fifty violin students with levels ranging from beginner to Mozart Concertos, hosting recitals and community performances to inspire both performers and listeners. Chara has served on various worship teams, provided wedding music, and recorded string tracks for independent music projects. She lives in Jay County with her husband, Chris, and home schools their five children. 

  • Dr. Scott Lehman   Music   Organ

    Scott Lehman has served as the main organist at First Mennonite Church for over 30 years. His Sunday morning duties include playing preludes and postludes, accompanying congregational singing, and playing with the Chancel Choir and brass ensemble. He serves as organist for the Mennonite Choral Society in their annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah and in their spring concerts, and he has presented several solo recitals of more advanced classical and sacred organ music. He also serves the church unofficially as the “expert” on pipe organs and as the caretaker for the excellent pipe organ at First Mennonite. Scott studied with organ professors in the Indiana University School of Music and at Valparaiso University while he prepared for his career as an optometrist. Before that, he studied piano and organ with several teachers locally. Scott loves to teach and would be excited to introduce the world of pipe organs and organ music to anyone who wants to learn.

  • Brent Hyman  Music   Trombone / Euphonium

    Brent Hyman is currently the Music Director and Worship Coordinator at First Mennonite Church, where he has been serving since 2007. Before joining the staff at First Mennonite Church, Brent shared his passion for music and music literacy by teaching music at South Adams Jr./Sr. High School for 11 years. He has both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Music degree from Ball State University. His major instrument was the trombone, and he has studied it for over six years at the college level. Brent has played in nearly all of the area symphony orchestras including the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, Anderson Symphony, Kokomo Symphony, Marion Philharmonic, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra. He has taught low brass sectionals in most of the Kokomo area schools, and at South Adams Jr./Sr. High School, and has taught numerous trombone lessons throughout his career. He, his wife (Chris), and their three boys are all active members of First Mennonite Church.

  • Chris Hyman

    Chris Hyman Music French Horn / Trumpet

    Chris Hyman is currently one of the children’s directors at First Mennonite Church, where she has been serving since about 2012. Before taking time off to raise her children, Chris was a music teacher at South Adams Middle School for almost 4 years. She has a bachelor of science in Music Education from Ball State University where her major instrument was French Horn. She has had the opportunity over the years to play with many area symphonies including Muncie, Marion, Anderson, and Kokomo Symphonies. She also taught horn lessons at Taylor University for several years. She loves serving alongside her husband Brent and their three boys as active members of First Mennonite Church.

  • Dave Knuth  Music   Guitar

    "I started playing the guitar when my parents got me guitar lessons for my 12th birthday. I have been playing the guitar off and on for over 50 years. I have played in the worship band at First Mennonite for almost 18 years."

  • Pastor Jim Schwartz  Music   Guitar

    Jim is currently the Care/Visitation and Adult Ministries pastor here at the church.  He started taking guitar lessons in 4th grade and didn’t do so well, so his parents decided to not waste money on more lessons and they let him quit.  When he got into high school Jim bought his first guitar and began learning chords and decided that guitar playing could be fun.  As a youth pastor for almost 30 years, Jim has led youth praise bands and taught many students to play the guitar.  He begins by teaching chords so the student can begin playing songs quickly.  The purpose is to allow the student to enjoy playing guitar at whatever level they desire.

  • Mary Zuercher  Music   Vocal

    Mary Zuercher, mezzo-soprano, has been singing since childhood. She has a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and has sung many roles in operas and musicals. She has sung with several choral groups and conductors and enjoys performing sacred choral pieces. Mary has sung on worship teams for many years. She currently sings in the Mennonite Choral Society and church choir. With her Masters in Deaf Education, professionally Mary serves individuals with hearing loss as a Certified Auditory-Verbal therapist.

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  • Lessons in the arts will be taught through private and group instruction at First Mennonite Church. At the beginning of each lesson, the mentor (teacher) will lead the student through a short devotional and a prayer. The remainder of the lesson will be devoted to instruction in the arts.

  • Each mentor will set the cost for the lessons they will teach. Most lessons will be approximately 30 minutes in length. Methods books will be chosen by the mentor and purchased by the student. Students will be responsible for buying their own instruments (if applicable).

  • To schedule your initial lesson with a mentor, please contact First Mennonite Church. A mentor’s (teacher’s) contact information will be given to you. Once you make the initial contact through the church, weekly lessons can be scheduled through the mentor. You may contact First Mennonite Church by phone at 260.589.3108 or email