Rev. Mary-Margret Ruth – Associate Pastor

Born in the Lancaster General Hospital, Mary-Margaret was the daughter of Richard Geist Overly and Elizabeth Brunner Overly of Bareville, Pennsylania. (Bareville is a small town on Road 23 East, between the metropolis of Leola and the metropolis of New Holland.

A graduate of Upper Leacock High School (now Conestoga Valley), Mary-Margaret (whom everyone calls “Mimi”) pursued her baccalaureate education at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, where she majored in Latin Education, and minored in American History and English. Following her graduation, Miss Overly taught Latin and English and directed drama productions for five years in the Pennsbury School District, Bucks County, PA) , after which she returned to Lancaster County upon being contacted by the President of the Donegal School Board about teaching Latin and Drama at Donegal High School, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. (Latin teachers were hard to find!) For the next 36 years, Mary-Margaret served on the teaching faculty at Donegal, where she not only taught in the classroom, but directed numerous plays as advisor to the Dramatics Club and served with the music teacher as drama coach for many school musicals. She was also appointed as coordinator of the Donegal Gifted Program. For many years, under her direction, and with the assistance of Mrs. Ro Ann Lau and Mr. Glenn Hess, Donegal High School students presented a major annual tribute to community servicemen and women on Veterans’ Day in programs involving 150-200 members of the Dramatics Club, Band, Chorus, Art Department, and student audio-visual technicians.

Mary-Margaret did her graduate work in Latin at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and her graduate study in Education at Temple University.

After 41 years of teaching, Mrs. Ruth retired from those wonderful years in education to respond to a call from God to serve the church. She completed her studies at Gettysburg Theological Seminary as an Associate in Ministry, a rostered lay leadership position; but when she had concluded that education and was approved by the Candidacy Committee, she was called in by the Synodical staff and received the bad news that there were no openings anticipated in the Synod for an Associate in Ministry for a year or more. Upon consultation with the Bishop and her parish Pastor, the Rev. Timothy J. Bettger, (St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Lancaster), Mrs. Ruth was encouraged to return to Gettysburg Seminary to study four more years for service as an ordained Lutheran pastor.

Following the conclusion of her pastoral education in 2006, Mrs. Ruth was called as Associate Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, East Petersburg, and was ordained on June 9, 2006. She has joyfully served in this position ever since her call.

In addition to her teaching credentials and pastoral education, in 1990 Pastor Ruth earned paralegal certification from the Pennsylvania State University. And for twenty years, after drama rehearsals at school, and over the summers, she worked in the Insurance Department at Norlanco Medical Center, Mount Joy.

Other Staff

H. James Tanner – Interim Senior Pastor

Eldonna Marie Filardi – Director of Music
Cindy Miley – Parish Secretary
Vickie Swiontek – Parish Secretary
Pat Crawford – Financial Secretary
Linda and Doug Stoner – Sextons