Past Executive Directors

God has blessed YPM with a long line of dedicated and committed leadership.

  • Rev. Carl Geissinger (2018-2023)
  • Rev. David Bowen ((2013-2018)
  • Rev. Larry L. Coleman (2011-2013)
  • Rev. John Rush (2001-2011)
  • Wayne Benjamin (1994-2000)
  • Rev. Don Ripple (1990-1994)
  • Rev. John Mostoller (1986-1990)  – In 1986 The Yokefellowship of Pennsylvania and The Yokefellowship Prison Ministry merged to form Yokefellowship Prison Ministry that exists today. Rev. Mostoller was also the Executive Director of Yokefellowship of PA from 1968-1986 when merger occurred.)


Rev. Carl Geissinger – Carl accepted the part-time position of Executive Director in July 2018 and served through February 2023. Carl continues to be involved and has been involved with Yokefellows for 35 years serving as the SUN Council Director for 10 of those years and as a Yokefellow volunteer in the Snyder County Jail for 25 years. In addition to shepherding people, Carl has also been a sheep shearer since 1976. Carl pastored Manbeck Mennonite Church for twenty years, served as interim pastor at Boyer Mennonite Church, and as a pastor at Barrville Mennonite Church. Carl also served as chaplain at Snyder County Prison for six years.


Rev. David Bowen – David accepted the position of Executive Director in July 2013 and served through June 2018. David has a Masters of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary and served as a pastor for 26 years. David served as chaplain in the PA Department of Corrections for 21 years: at SCI-Huntingdon from 1990-1997 as a part time contract chaplain and at SCI Smithfield from 1997-2011 as the Facility Chaplaincy Program Director.  During those 21 years David supervised Yokefellowship ministries in both prisons. Since David retired in 2011, he and his wife Reba have been serving weekly as Yokefellowship volunteers  in SCI-Smithfield. Additionally, Reba and David have been sharing the love of Christ  in many churches, prisons, and jails throughout Pennsylvania.


Rev. Larry L. Coleman – Larry accepted the position of Executive Director in July 2011 to help YPM transition into a regional organizational structure. Larry’s attention to detail and his many years of dedication to YPM’s core disciplines and values assured the time-tested ministry approach would not be lost in the transition. Larry resigned, effective June 30, 2013, to devote more time to an aftercare mentoring program, Capital Region Ex-Offenders Support Coalition, he helped to found, in the Harrisburg Area.

Larry is a Certified Correctional Chaplain with 20 years of full time experience in a County Detention Facility and 20 years of pastoral leadership in parishes as a full time pastor. Larry also has extensive experience in re-entry ministry: helping to form a “transitional congregation” for work release residents and their families in Dauphin County; chairing the Mentor Committee for the Capital Region Ex-Offenders Support Coalition; and spearheading a symposium on mentoring ex-offenders. Larry received degrees from the University of Nebraska, Wesley Theological Seminary, D.C., and Drew Theological School, and also completed 5 units of Clinical Pastoral Education (400 hrs/unit.)


Rev. John Rush – John served as YPM Executive Director from January 2001 through June 2011, traveling the state to support and grow the Area Councils. YPM was just one of many hats John wore in his professional commitment to help ex-offenders successfully transition into society. While serving as part-time Executive Director for YPM, for many years John also served as Executive Director of Justice and Mercy.

John’s prison ministry began in 1966 in Richmond, VA working with juvenile delinquents. He served as Chaplain at the Berks County Youth Detention Center from 1971-1985. In 1976 he founded Freedom Gate Ministries, a halfway-house in Reading, and served as their Executive Director for 20 years followed by 8 years as Chaplain of the Berks County Prison. Currently John is Executive Director of New Person Ministries in  Reading, PA.


Wayne Benjamin  (1930-2017) – Wayne served as YPM Executive Director from 1994 through December 2001.

Wayne became active in 1983 after meeting with Newman Gaugler, founder and onetime president of the Yokefellowship movement. Newman, who came to a new experience with Christ while serving time, read numerous books by Elton Trueblood and shared his personal testimony at Yokefellowship conferences. Wayne caught Newman’s passion, became knowledgeable in every facet of the movement, and in September of 1983 held the first meeting of the Lehigh Valley Area Council with 13 men in attendance. Professionally, Wayne was a very successful salesman and used those skills and abilities to grow the ministry and inspire and train new prison ministry volunteers.

Wayne was impassioned for the lost and was the natural choice to succeed Don Ripple as the Executive Director of Yokefellowship Prison Ministry, a position in which he faithfully served for 7 years.


Rev. Don Ripple (1925-2004) – Don served on the Board of Directors as secretary from 1970-1990 and then as Executive Director from 1990-1994. During that time he focused his efforts on starting new Area Councils and strengthening existing ones. Don volunteered at SCI Camp Hill and Union County Jail and was the Pastor Counselor for the S.U.N. Area Council.

Don was a United Methodist pastor who served numerous churches in Central Pennsylvania including Sunbury and Milton. He was married to Bea, the daughter of a Methodist pastor. Bea was a wonderful choice as a clergy wife and both were zealous in prison ministry. Many questioned whether Yokefellowship would continue beyond Don’s death, but it did. Don was a stalwart servant of God.


Rev. John Mostoller (1922-1994)Yokefellowship Prison Ministry