Behind the scenes at Shalom Counseling & Mediation Center is a board of directors helping to make decisions.
Part of their work is to help further its mission of “providing Christ-centered, results-oriented professional counseling and mediation to all people.”
Two board members who know something about the work of Shalom are Becky Rupp and Ed Yoder, who recently completed nine and 16 years on the board, respectively.
“I’ve had my last meeting, so I am now emeritus,” Rupp said.
“It says in our bylaws that board members may serve up to three terms. After that, we’re encouraged to go off for at least a year. We can come back if we want, but I don’t think anyone ever has.”
“I guess I have broken whatever rules there were,” said Ed Yoder. “I have July 29, 2004 minutes of a meeting and my name is showing as being present.”
For Rupp, being on the board comes down to a Bible verse.
“John 10:10 says that, ‘the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’
“At Shalom, we’re trying to help people along the path where God said, ‘I want to give you an abundant life.’
“If you have broken relationships with a child or a spouse or a business associate, you’re living less than what God wants to provide for you.
“God wants to give us an abundant life. If you go to the gym to work on your physical body, why wouldn’t you work on your emotional and mental health, and your relationships with people?”
Yoder got involved through Allen Rutter, Shalom director.
“I knew Allen as an area pastor, and it was through him that I became interested in serving on the Shalom board,” Yoder said.
“I knew a bit about Shalom because our church told us about it, and they wanted the congregation to put a budget number in. Having been part of the church treasury, I knew what that dollar amount was.
“I guess that’s what turned me on. Somebody has to pick up the ball within congregations and help make it go.
“Knowing Allen Rutter and knowing something about the Shalom budget request for dollars helped me be interested in being a part of it.”
Shalom started when area Mennonite ministers saw a need for a counseling service in the area.
The board has nine members, three of whom are usually pastors. Others include business people and church representatives.
Begun in 1998, Shalom has changed Archbold locations three times during Yoder’s tenure, starting on Vine Street, moving to Ditto Street, and finally to its current location on St. Rt. 2.
Most recently, a second location in Bryan was added.
“When we opened an office in Bryan, we said we need to try and find people from Williams County to be on our board to let them have some ‘skin in the game,’” Rupp said.
“I don’t think we actively were looking (to move into Bryan). There was a counselor who was moving out of the area. He was very concerned about his clients (in Bryan) and asked Allen if we would be interested in having a presence there.
“We’ve already had to expand in Bryan.”
“Shalom has enlarged. It has more clients, more therapists,” Yoder said.
“While our income has increased, our expenses have also increased.
“We’re a not-for-profit organization, but we still need funds from the community, individuals, and area churches.
“We can’t get along without (those funds), and hopefully, all of these (groups) that I have mentioned are getting value out of Shalom.”
“The number of (counseling) sessions has changed tremendously. We had right around 1,000 clients in 2010. We’re currently seeing over 8,000.
“We’ve also gone from one or two therapists to 14 total between the two locations.”
Probably the biggest change has been the recent move to telehealth counseling.
“We can really see this becoming an option for counseling that people really like,” Rupp said.
“Perhaps they don’t have a car, or anyone to watch their kids. They can still receive counseling.”