February 2019 Volume 42 Number 3
Annual Business Meeting
The mood was light this year at the annual business meeting on January 27 after the morning worship service. Moderator, Steve Lehman opened in prayer then rolled through the items of business efficiently. Sharon Neuenschwander served as Secretary and Rick Sprunger as Parliamentary. The 2018 Business Meeting minutes were approved and then tellers appointed for the affirmation ballots of several appointed responsibilities. Those affirmed at the meeting were:
Ministries Council Members:
Mike Habegger (Stewardship/Facilities)
Damara Neuenschwander (Worship Commission)
Rod Mosser (Care Commission)
Fred Linn (Witness Commission)
Michael Mosser (Disciple Commission)
Endowment Board of Trustees Members:
Spiritual Guidance Cabinet:
Pastor Jeff Linthicum’s year-end report included information from the Conference Pastor Meeting in Goshen where more and more Indiana congregations are showing strong interest and taking action to join the Lancaster Conference. Year-end reports from Pastor Jim Schwartz, Youth Pastor Bill Helmlinger, Children’s Pastors Chris Hyman and Debby Neuenschwander, and Worship Pastor Brent Hyman were available in the Agenda. Also, in the Agenda were reports from the Spiritual Guidance Cabinet, Ministries Council, Stewardship Facilities Commission, Care Commission, Disciple Commission, Witness Commission, Worship Commission and the Endowment Board. During this time, Steve Lehman also reminded the congregation about the listening group available each month after Sunday morning worship services to hear concerns and answer questions. The listening board serves to record the concerns and questions and take them to the appropriate person or commission to address them accurately.
Next, treasurer, Greg Meyer, informed the congregation of the 2019 budget. The budget set for $713, 239, already approved by Ministries Council, was seconded and approved. Meyer praised the church for its ability to stay within budget, as the 2018 budget proved nearly perfect (a
a deficit of only .6%).
The meeting was closed with a prayer of thanksgiving for this season of peace at First Mennonite Church. †
Meat Canner Changes
By Sondra Lehman
As I write this, snow, wind, and cold are in the forecast, and that brings to mind past MCC Meat Canners where weather made having enough volunteers able to get to the church a difficult endeavor. But this year, the problem with staffing wasn’t weather related. Rather, finding four young men with a CDL license willing to sign up for a two-year commitment proved a real struggle. Back in May, John Hillegass first informed us of the difficulty he was having staffing the Mobile Canning Unit. We had concerns as the summer went by and there were still not enough men to staff it. Many conversations were had discussing how the canning schedule would be affected.
As the calendar turned to fall and October, the Mobile Canner Unit was on the road beginning the canning schedule. It was on a reduced schedule, so instead of 14 stops before Christmas, only 6 stops would be made. Thanksgiving week brought a lot of decisions that needed made for our project here in Berne. Permits were needed from the USDA, supplies ordered, and most importantly, the turkey ordered. John and Jeff talked, and the hard decision was made not to can in Berne.
The Canner would be going to Goshen where it is scheduled for 10 days of canning with different churches in charge of each day. We have been sending money for the last couple of years to help with purchasing enough turkey for that many days, with some of the cans of turkey stamped with our label which has the names of all the Berne area churches involved here. This year the Berne project sent money once again to assist the Goshen project and on January 11th, eight men from our congregation made the journey to Goshen and spent the day working at the canner.
John Hillegass told Jeff that they finally have four individuals to staff the Canner Unit and beginning in February the canner will be back canning at the rest of the scheduled stops. He also said that next year the plan is to have a full crew and be back canning at all stops, including Berne. †
You Trained for This
By Lana Shoaf
“…train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7b-8
Competitive swimming is no joke. It takes hours of practice to perfect an efficient stroke and build muscles strong enough to endure a race. I swam competitively for 12 years of my life. I loved the feeling of gliding through the water during practice, but hated the bundle of nerves before each competitive event.
Before competing, my heart would pound as I stretched my arms in a pre-race ritual. I would glance at my teammates resting leisurely or eating a snack and had one wish: to trade places with them. I didn’t like that nervous feeling. I knew the challenge ahead in each race and avoiding such pain was a welcome thought. But the coach selected this event for me and as a part of the team, it was my turn to use what I had gained in my hours of practice to compete and win against the opponent.
During the race, my adrenaline would propel me off the starting block and before I knew it, I was pushing for the wall. I could see my teammates now, on their feet, cheering, sometimes jumping to encourage me to push harder towards the finish. Always, I could hear the distinct whistle of my coach no matter how much water was rushing past my ears. It was as if the whistles were chanting, “Come on now, you trained for this!” And I would remember each technique, utilize every muscle and reach the wall, exhausted but confident I had given my best. Sometimes I reached the wall first and sometimes I didn’t, but my teammates would reach down to help me climb out of the pool and slap my back for a job well done.
Living for Christ can be the same. We are placed in situations we wish to be released from, looking around at others leisurely enjoying life, longing for peace and rest from our pain and suffering. We wish to be back in the comfort of our routine Bible study and prayer, but our situation requires intense action, recalling and living out the sacred truths we’ve learned. And what a joy to experience the true encouragement of the saints within the struggle! And to hear the distinct voice of our Creator whispering, “Come on now, you trained for this!” So, with every ounce of our spiritual and emotional energy we press on toward the goal, appreciating each moment spent in training for godliness. The season of suffering may last for a time and God grants intermittent rest until the day we meet Him in heaven when we anticipate those precious words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23). †
Dinner for Eight
Groups of eight will meet for dinner and fellowship in homes during the months of March and April. All couples and singles are invited to participate and can sign up until February 28th. A form is available in the church foyer to complete and turn in at the box by the forms. During the first week of March, hosts will be contacted and the hosts will then arrange the dinner dates and details. †
College-Age Students “Lean In”
Twenty-two college-age students and four adult leaders lugged their bags and pillows onto the First Mennonite bus at 3:00 am on January 2nd for a ten-hour trip to Atlanta, Georgia. There, the students joined about 40,000 other young adults in worship and learning at the Passion conference organized by Louie Giglio and Passion City Church in Atlanta.
Students attended five sessions of teaching by Bible teachers like Chad Veech, Christine Cain, Matt Chandler, and Louie Giglio. They also learned brand new worship songs released by the Passion band at the Passion Conference. The students were not only challenged personally but asked to step out in ministry through giving to the Deaf Community Bible Project to provide video sign-language interpretations of Scripture to the deaf populations in four countries using their heart language (country-specific sign-language). Together, the students attending the Passion Conference raised over $400,000.00 to provide these Bible translations in ten countries. Often the speaker would ask the students to “lean in” to what God speaks through His word and they were asked to “lean in” to the giving project. The students and leaders shared evidence of growth throughout the three days of sessions through group conversations at the end of each day.
The bus ride home was buzzing with new relationships built, conversations of encouragement in the faith, and an excitement to take what they had learned back to their campuses. Jake Hreha said, “Passion challenged me in my faith by encouraging me to live a life fully dedicated to Jesus and not letting anything hold me back!” Jake is a freshman Public Relations major at Ball State University. Jenna Smith recently graduated from Manchester University and is a high school chemistry teacher at North Manchester. Jenna felt the impact of the trip too, commenting, “Passion challenged me in my faith to trust God more with the future, to be more courageous and braver in and with my faith, and to desire Him above all else!”
All of the “leaning in” during the sessions at the Passion 2019 conference motivated the students toward a closer walk with Christ. Many are excited to make a return trip next year. †
Notes of Appreciation
It is plain to see that what I like to call “the Big Three” of the Lord’s Prayer, is a strong component of the congregation ‘lifestyle’ of First Mennonite Church of Berne. That is, that God be Glorified, that His Kingdom Come, and that His Will Happen on earth – in and through our lives, and in communities around the world. You are deeply engaged in helping that take place into some of the furthest reaches of the globe – as you pray and give, not only in November during the Missions Festival, but all year long. It is with a deep sense of belonging to First Mennonite, Berne, and being involved WITH YOU as partners in our South Asia outreach and trainings, that Yarna and I write, and for which we are so grateful. We appreciate so much your prayer, financial, and moral support!
Gordon and Yarna
The John Eicher family would like to extend a “Thank-you” to our brothers and sisters at First Mennonite Church. The cards, flowers, and kind words were encouraging to our family. We further wish to thank all who contributed memorials to the organizations John so believed in. Our meal following the funeral service allowed a time for family and friends to reflect and fellowship. We would like to express a heartfelt “Thank-you” to the kitchen committee. You provide an invaluable service, quietly and without fanfare. We do not underestimate your service. †
Elmer V. Graber, 97, of Berne passed away Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at Swiss Village in Berne.
He was born on Monday, October 10, 1921 in Adams County, the son of the late Peter A. Graber and the late Mary (Beitler) Graber. He was united in marriage to Vera Nussbaum (daughter of Frank Nussbaum founder of Berne Ready Mix) on January 15, 1942 in Berne, Indiana. She preceded him in death on November 30, 2005.
Elmer attended Monroe Township School and later served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Hagerstown, Winchester, Decatur, and Berne. He was also employed by Berne Electric for many years. In 1964, he began working for the City of Berne. During his tenure of 28 years, he worked 16 years as an accountant and 12 years as clerk-treasurer. After retirement, he was a volunteer EMT in Berne and he also enjoyed driving Amish from place to place.
He was a lifelong member of the First Mennonite Church in
Berne. Elmer was also a member of the Lions Club in Berne and the American Legion Post #468 in Berne.
Survivors include two sons, Stan (Millie) Graber of Carpinteria, CA and Rick (Karen) Graber of Albuquerque, NM; son-in-law, Tom (Deb) Walsh of Berne; three grandchildren, Shawn (Terri) Walsh of Berne, Shannon (Diana) Walsh of Rockford, OH, Chris (Emma) Graber of Encino, CA; and four great-grandchildren, Ella Graber, Killian Walsh, Emilio Walsh, and Sam Walsh.
Elmer was preceded in death by his daughter, Marsha (Graber) Walsh on May 12, 1980.
Gail B. Simon 79, of Berne, Indiana passed away Monday, January 28, 2019 at her residence.
She was born on November 4, 1939 in Berne, Indiana the daughter of the late Joseph Brewster and the late Ruth (Winteregg) Brewster. Gail was united in marriage to Larry Simon on October 11, 1959 at the First Mennonite Church. They were married for 58 years before Larry preceded her in death in 2017.
Gail was a member of First Mennonite Church where she was a mission band leader. She volunteered as a migrant aide, Cub Scout leader, and at the Et Cetera Ecke store in Berne. She previously attended Topeka Mennonite Church where she served as the librarian.
Gail worked a short time at International Harvester in Fort Wayne. She then worked as a secretary at Moser Motors in Berne, for 27 years.
Gail enjoyed spending time with her grandkids and great-grandkids. She loved to read, work puzzles, work with flowers, especially her roses at the lake and most recently enjoyed adult coloring books.
Survivors include her son, Mitch (Tracy) Simon of Berne; daughter, Victoria (Rex) Myers of Berne; brother-in-law, Sydney Stucky of Fort Wayne; six grandchildren. Dustin (Andria) Myers, Chris (Kathryn) Myers, Kirsten (Michael) Hough, Megan Myers (Jeremy Bowers), Cory Simon (Brandy Koenemann), Rachel Simon (Cody Grimm); nine great-grandchildren, Ava Myers, Jordan Simon, Devon Hough, Carter Wingard, Estella Wingard, Bentley Hough, Maksim Myers, Emma Hough, and Jackson Hough.
Gail was preceded in death by her grandson, Adam Simon and sister, Jane Stucky. †
Among Our People
Dave Wulliman had knee surgery at Lutheran Hospital on Dec. 5.
Barbara J Sprunger had heart tests at Lutheran Hospital on Dec. 5.
Betty Stuber was at Parkview due to a blood clot from Nov. 29 – Dec. 6. She was then moved to Swiss Village for rehab.
Jerry Flueckiger was at Lutheran Hospital for tests and treatment from Dec. 6-10, and then moved to rehab at Swiss Village.
Kendall Lehman was at Lutheran Hospital for a heart procedure on Dec. 11.
Rod Mosser had knee replacement at ACMH Dec. 10 and was released for rehab from home on Dec. 13.
Sheree Barkley had outpatient surgery at Dupont Hospital on Dec. 17.
Bestson, the Haitian child staying with Darin Ringger’s family, had outpatient foot surgery in Van Wert on Dec. 26
Al Neuenschwander - patient at Bluffton Regional with pneumonia for several days.
Louise Lehman had heart catheterization with 2 stents on Dec. 28 at Lutheran Hospital and came home on the 29th.
Janet Bixler had open heart surgery at Lutheran and then had a stroke and spent several days in ICU at Lutheran Hospital and then moved to St Rita’s Hospital in Lima, Ohio on Dec. 29 for rehab.
Jerome Flueckiger, after a fall at Swiss Village spent several days at ACMH for observation and tests and was then moved to Swiss Village for rehab on January 4.
Dan Dawson was a patient at ACMH with pneumonia from Dec. 28 - January 7, then moved to Swiss Village.
Fred Wulliman had heart tests and spent the night for observation at Lutheran Hospital from Dec. 31 – Jan. 1.
Rick Gorrell had back surgery on Jan. 8 and is recovering at home.
Carol Garringer had knee replacement surgery at Lutheran on Jan. 9 and came home the next day.
Carolyn Brown was admitted to ACMH after a fall on Jan. 13 and was transferred to Swiss Village on Jan. 18.
Vickie Beachey had knee replacement surgery at Lutheran on Jan. 16 and came home the same day. †