NEW PALESTINE — Jim Peters will retire as executive director of Love INC of Greater Hancock County, effective April 1.

Karla Whisenand, currently the transformational ministry coordinator of the Christian clearinghouse ministry, will succeed Peters as executive director.

Peters announced his retirement Saturday at the organization’s third annual Love Thy Neighbor Banquet at Adaggios Banquet Hall and Conference Centre. After the banquet, Peters said he struggled with making the announcement there but found it a good way to notify many people at once.

Peters was named executive director in March 2014. During interviews for the position, he told the board he anticipated being a transitional leader.

In the nearly three years since he left his business management consulting firm to lead the organization, its growth has included more staff members and partner churches, which turn to Love INC when parishioners are in need. During his tenure, Love INC leaders worked to shape the ministry’s vision with the help of a consultant paid for by Hancock County Community Foundation, which donated another $1,000 to Love INC on Saturday night.

Peters commended the first executive director, Brenda Rodgers, and expressed confidence in Whisenand, his successor.

“I’m definitely humbled and honored,” Whisenand said.

She said she hopes to pick up where Peters has left off, continuing programs in place that are working and building on them.

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Anne Smith is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at