David Boshart, executive conference minister for the denomination’s Central Plains Conference, is EMU's Distinguished Service Award winner for 2012. Boshart has worked at better relationships with Hispanic-Mennonite churches in the Central Plains Conference of Mennonite Church USA.

Distinguished Service Award: David Boshart

Some people dream of a denomination that grows by embracing diverse groups of people. David Boshart ’86, MA ’87 (religion), is facilitating such growth in his corner of the Mennonite Church USA. Boshart, who is executive conference minister for the denomination’s Central Plains Conference, has worked at better relationships with Hispanic-Mennonite churches.

When told that he had been singled out for an EMU award, Boshart said he was not sure he deserved it and gave credit for thriving Hispanic churches to Ramiro Hernandez, the Hispanic ministries coordinator for Central Plains Conference, and to classes offered in his conference by the Instituto Biblico Anabautista of the Mennonite Church USA.

In nominating Boshart for EMU’s Distinguished Service Award, Margie Mejia Caraballo ’84, associate pastor of Templo Alabanza, a Mennonite church in Moline, Ill., wrote: David is a forward-thinking leader who has served within the Anglo Mennonite Church in numerous levels of service and responsibility. However, what sets him apart … is that he has demonstrated the ability to also embrace Hispanic Mennonites and to lead us forward alongside our Anglo Mennonite brothers and sisters in love, peace and understanding.

Caraballo, EMU’s 1997 Alumna of the Year, stressed the historic impact of Boshart’s role: “Twenty or 30 years from now when we Hispanic Mennonites look back at our history, we will certainly include David Boshart as a part of that history.”

In Boshart’s words: “We are developing partnerships among the emerging congregations for the purpose of mutual support and collaborative learning. We want to facilitate rich relationships to the enhancement of our collective spiritual vitality.”

An ordained minister for 26 years, Boshart has spent most of that time in Iowa. As moderator of Iowa-Nebraska Conference in the 1990s, he helped navigate its merger with Northern District in 2000 as part of the launch of the newly merged Mennonite Church USA.

At the national level, Boshart has served on the executive committee of his denomination’s board and chaired the board of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. He is frequently sought out as a speaker and organizer.

Boshart, who lives in Wellman, Iowa, works out of the conference’s ministry office in nearby Kalona.