Nelson L. Bowman

Pennsylvania Mennonite bishop and minister disciplined, resigned

In 2020, Nelson Bowman (b. 1951), a former bishop and pastor, was disciplined by Lancaster Mennonite Conference for “cross[ing] boundaries by inappropriate brushing and touching” of “a couple adult women.”

In a letter from Martindale District leadership to Martindale Mennonite Church, Ephrata, Pennsylvania, Bowman placed the incidents ten years ago. The district leaders stated that, “While these incidents happened a number of years ago, we understand the pain these women experienced has been very difficult to process.”

Bowman reportedly agreed to multiple requests by the Lancaster Mennonite Conference credentialing commission, including meeting with a professional therapist and refraining from public ministry.

The district leaders drew on scripture to introduce their letter, stating, in part: “We are told that in some instances what has happened is clearly evident and in other cases, what has really happened comes out later (1 Timothy 5:24).”

Later that year, Gehman Accounting, Inc. announced on social media that it had placed Bowman on administrative leave from his position as chief operations officer. On September 23, 2020, the business announced that this was the first time they had learned of any allegations against Bowman, and that “after careful review of the situation,” they had “accepted Nelson’s resignation.”

Church-related positions

  • Minister, Lichty’s Mennonite Church, 1981–?
  • Teacher, Terre Hill Mennonite High School, 1985–?
  • Bishop, Lancaster Mennonite Conference, 1995–2017
  • Overseer, Martindale Mennonite Church, ?–2015
  • Overseer, Cornerstone Mennonite Fellowship, “early years

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