Today we share a story from our Better Together series about a campus pastor and a sales advisor who work at different Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS) communities but come home to each other every night.
Pastor Steve Hoffer, campus pastor at Presbyterian Homes of Bloomington, and Mary Hoffer, housing advisor for Marvella, the newest PHS community located in St. Paul, Minn., say that they are better together ever since they married 35 years ago, raised 4 children and now enjoy 2 grandchildren.
They served for 23 years together at the Woodridge Church in Medina, Minn., Steve as a staff pastor and “church planter,” and Mary as the lead musician on the church’s music team. During those years, Mary was the owner of Keyboard Kids piano studio in Plymouth, Minn.
Seven years ago, they answered a call to move to northern Minnesota. Steve served as senior pastor at Roseau Evangelical Covenant Church and Mary was the city of Roseau promotions director.
After several good years there, they began to pray for what God might have in mind for them next. “We both had been talking about what an ‘encore’ career might look like,” said Steve. “We weren’t really looking for anything, but agreed that, if we were to change, we wanted God to be the initiator.”
To their surprise they heard from their long-time friend Cathy Bergland, dean of the PHS Leadership Institute. Cathy says, “When I heard that [the Bloomington’s campus pastor] was retiring, God popped Steve’s name in my head. I simply made the connections.”
Through a series of phone calls and interviews, the possibilities of returning to the Twin Cities and working for PHS felt right. They were especially drawn to the PHS commitment to Christian ministry as a value and practice. Confident that God was leading them to serve here next, they were ready to answer the call.
One year ago today, Steve first led Sunday worship at Presbyterian Homes of Bloomington. The next day Mary started with Marvella. They firmly believe this was all God’s doing.
In the year since, Mary and Steve have felt at home in their work. “Neither one of us had worked for an organization as large as PHS,” said Steve. “It was kind of like jumping into the big river with my ‘floatie’ asking where’s my place?” he laughed.
They appreciate how the people they serve with work together as a team and that everyone — employees, residents, prospects — has been gracious and supportive along the way. Mary observed, “I’ve been impressed at how hard PHS works at keeping everyone on the same page. It’s clearly well thought out and intentional.”
Watching how Mary and Steve have found their places, Cathy is grateful and glad that she felt the Spirit’s nudge to reach out to them. “Steve’s fit at Presbyterian Homes of Bloomington has been so natural. He just stepped in and worked well with the team,” she said. “Mary is a quick learner who loves a big challenge with clear goals, so the housing advisor role in a start-up is perfect. She is energized and loves interacting with the potential residents — and they love her.”
Steve says he feels especially blessed by the residents and hearing how God is working in their lives. He exclaims, “This is more than just a place to live — it’s a community!”
Mary’s enthusiasm is also evident. She said with energy, “I can’t wait to move people in and say, ‘Are you ready to see your apartment?’ It will be so fun!”
Nearly every day they come home and say to each other, “I just love my job!”
Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to join our team at www.preshomes.org/careers.