April 2017 Volume 40 Number 5
Spring Oratorio—The Brahms “Requiem”: A Mass for the Living
A requiem is traditionally a musical work written for a Catholic funeral service. Most are in Ecclesiastical Latin, and most follow a traditional requiem form that includes prayers for the deceased and fearful sections
about the Last Judgment. Brahms, however, intended his requiem (also known as the “German Requiem”) to be of comfort to the bereaved. He chose the scriptural passages from the German Bible himself. The texts can be separated into two over-arching themes: the Struggle with Accepting Death, and Reconciliation with and Victory over Death. Brahms also chose to write his requiem in the vernacular of German because he wanted it to mean something to the common listener. Brahms was first inspired to consider writing a requiem after his best friend, the famous composer Robert Schumann, died. But his mother’s death (about 10 years later) provided the impetus that he needed to get to work on it.
The Brahms “Requiem” is one of the four large works that the Mennonite Choral Society used to perform on a rotation. It’s the first work that Brent Hyman directed with the Mennonite Choral Society (this year being his third time to conduct it), and it’s also one of the most difficult works the Choral Society has sung. Its seven movements are in an arch form, with the fourth movement (its keystone) being one of the most beloved choral movements in the history of choral repertoire, “How Lovely is thy Dwelling Place.” It reminds us that this is not our home, and that there is something better waiting for those who trust in the Lord.
After having spent countless hours studying the requiem on his own, Brent Hyman had the opportunity to study it for two intense days with Don Neuen at his home in California. Brent will be conducting the work, accompanied by Gloria Wendel (from Van Wert, Ohio) on the organ, and Hyery Hwang (currently residing in Muncie, IN) at the piano. The guest soloists both currently study voice in Cincinnati. Jackie Stevens (who has sung on a couple of different occasions with the Mennonite Choral Society) will be singing the soprano solos, and Michael Young will be making his Mennonite Choral Society debut on the bass solos. The choir, composed of singers from all over northeastern Indiana and parts of northwestern Ohio, have been preparing weekly since the first Tuesday in February to sing this beautiful masterpiece.
The performance is slated for Sunday, May 7 at 7 p.m. A love offering will be received. †
Note of Appreciation
Many thanks for all of the prayers and support from the pastoral staff, cards sent and visits in my behalf. Also thanks to all who stood by Elsie and our family during my quadruple bypass surgery. Praise the Lord for His healing power.
Fred and Elsie Wulliman and family †
Would Prayer Have Made a Difference?
We have just celebrated Easter and the observance of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we reflected on this we were once again made aware of what it cost Jesus to die on the cross. The Stations of the Cross and the Good Friday services reminded each of us the price that He paid.
But I would like to reflect on an event that happened prior to Good Friday. It is when Jesus took three of His beloved disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane and asked them to watch and pray. Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow and He needed prayer support. Instead of Peter, James, and John spending time in prayer for Jesus, they fell asleep, not once but three times. And yet have there not been times that we have also failed in our prayer lives? Whether it was having our minds wander when we should have been praying, or not being diligent enough, or possibly not praying through till the answer came.
And then a little time later we find Peter in the courtyard. When asked whether he knew Jesus, Peter denied that he knew the man. Again not once, but three times. I can’t help but wonder if Peter had spent time in prayer earlier that evening, would it have made a difference? Would Peter have been strong and bold enough to admit that he was a follower of Christ? Peter failed because he was acting on his own strength. We should not be too critical of Peter as most of us have failed to stand up for Christ at one time or another also. I Corinthians 10:12 reads: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” Prayer is vital to a Christian’s life. Many battles are won while on our knees. Prayer does make a difference!
Remember…only when we have knelt before God can we stand before men. †
We have two upcoming trips. The first one is Monday, June 5 to the Ark Encounter in northern Kentucky. That is a one-day trip with a motor coach and a maximum seating capacity of 54 passengers. It was available to First Mennonite Church members only. The bus filled in about ten days. Currently we have a waiting list of ten persons. With the interest in this trip there is strong possibility of repeating this trip in the early summer of 2018.
A Different Conference
“A Celebration of Church Life” is Lancaster Conference’s annual event. Here church members, church leaders and the conference bishops gather to, as the conference newsletter’s banner stated, “Enjoy God, Encourage Others, Equip Disciples, Engage the World.” The conference reflected those four goals in worship, training and sharing of stories of mission outreach into new areas in North America among immigrants and urban dwellers. Pastor Jeff, Brent and Chris Hyman, Pastor Bill and I attended. While there First Mennonite was warmly welcomed into Lancaster Conference. Our church was one of 13 congregations joining Lancaster Conference this year. The sense of encouragement and vision made this a different conference.
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Among Our People
George Dynes entered Adams Memorial Hospital March 15 with pneumonia. He returned to Swiss Village March 21.
Sharon Wheeler had pneumonia and was at Adams Memorial March 21 through March 26.
Jayne Mann was admitted to Adams Memorial with cellulitis of the arm; she returned to Chalet Village March 22.
Catherine Smith had a knee replacement at Parkview Hospital March 28. She transferred to Swiss Village for rehab March 31.
Melvin Augsburger entered Lutheran Hospital April 7 with pneumonia and heart issues. He was able to return home April 12.
Ruth Mary Liechty was admitted to Adams Memorial April 13 for tests and blood transfusions. †
Winifred G. Foye, 97, of Berne passed away on Thursday, March 30, 2017 at Swiss Village in Berne. She was born on August 6, 1919 in Buxton, Maine to Albion and Gertrude (Phillips) Froburg. She was married on April 19, 1941 to William C. Foye.
She joined First Mennonite Church on April 15, 2007. She worked her entire lifetime as a homemaker. Prior to relocating to Berne, she was a member of the Church of the Open Bible in Burlington, Massachusetts, where she played the organ and piano. She was also involved in the Children’s Ministry and was a member of the Women’s Missionary Society. In 1972, she and her husband moved to Palm Coast, Florida, where they were charter members of the First Baptist Church.
She is survived by two daughters, Mildred “Milly” (Byron) Fox of Berne and Jane (Gene) Franks of Springdale, Arkansas; four grandchildren, Sara Fox, Ben (Diana) Fox, Andy (Jesica) Fox and Joe (Jackie) Fox; four great-grandsons, Grant, Calvin, Weston and Rebel Fox; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband on November 18, 2010; two brothers, Albion and Frank Froburg; and four sisters, Marian Froburg, Gladys Atkinson, Mildred Eisenhauer and Ruth Jeanes.
Visitation was from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 7 and one hour prior to the 10:30 a.m. funeral service on Saturday, April 8 at the Swiss Village Auditorium in Berne. Officiating was Rev. Jerry Flueckiger. †
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The Weaverland Mennonite Church, a congregation a little larger than ours, hosted the event. They also provided the worship team who led us in worship as we enjoyed God by rejoicing in His presence. We also enjoyed God’s amazing creativity reflected in the various ministries as they shared what God was doing in their midst. There really was an air of celebration.
Encouraging and equipping took place in 30 different seminars. Some seminars focused on leadership, some focused on discipleship, or music and several on financial empowerment. Several seminars were in Spanish. All were meant to help churches and their leaders be more effective.
Lancaster Conference has a long history of world missions. Before the conference began, our little delegation visited Eastern Mennonite Mission’s head office in Salunga, PA. We were warmly welcomed by Nelson Okania, the president, and Jerry Kenner, his associate. We also visited Global Disciples office in Lancaster and were invited to a Thai lunch with Galen Burkholder.
Who would have thought a 10-inch snow, Pastor Bill’s love for Taco Bell and a Pennsylvania Dutch smorgasbord would add so much laughter to a unique conference experience? If you have a chance to attend the “Celebration of Church Life” next year, don’t miss it. Maybe we could fill the van to capacity for the road trip to eastern PA. I came away encouraged and refreshed by what God is doing among us. †