October 2020 Update Newsletter

Mission Festival

“The Cost to Glorify God” is the theme driving the focus, planning, and prayers of Mission Festival 2020, The week of impact at First Mennonite begins on the morning of Sunday, November 1 and runs through the evening service on Sunday, November 8. The theme verse for the week is Luke 10:3, which says, “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” The week’s theme song, “So I Send You,” will lead all into a mindset and heart focus to hear the message from each speaker and the message to each heart from God. The schedule of speakers, along with information about each one, is outlined here to help prepare our minds and hearts for Mission Festival 2020.

Sunday, November 1: Morning and Evening Services
Gracia Bernham

Gracia grew up in a home that put the Lord and his Word at the center of their lives. She could sing hymns from memory even before she could read! When she was seven or eight, a caring Sunday school teacher explained to her the importance of committing her life to Christ. Not long after that, she begged for the opportunity to be baptized.
Upon graduation from high school, Gracia chose to attend Calvary Bible College in Kansas City because of their music program. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree, majoring in Christian education.
While she was at Calvary, a friendship flourished with a fellow student by the name of Martin Burnham. Gracia learned that Martin was the son of missionaries, Paul and Oreta Burnham, who were serving in the Philippines. Martin’s primary interest was aviation....and Gracia!

She and Martin were married in Kansas City in 1983. After several years of training with New Tribes Mission, they headed for the Philippines in 1986. For 17 years Martin was a jungle pilot, delivering mail, supplies, and encouragement to other missionaries. He also transported sick and injured patients to medical facilities. Gracia supported him whenever he was in the air by maintaining radio contact.
The Burnham’s three children, Jeffrey Paul, Melinda Joy, and Zachary Scott, were born in the Philippines and home-schooled by their mother.

On May 27, 2001, while celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary at Dos Palmas Resort off Palawan Island, rebels from the Abu Sayyaf Group seized the Burnhams and several other guests of the resort, and took them as hostages to Basilan Island. In the ensuing 376 days of captivity they endured incredible hardship and emotional fatigue. On June 7, 2002, Martin was killed in a firefight between the Philippine military and the Abu Sayyaf Group. Gracia was wounded in the leg but was freed.

Gracia now resides in Rose Hill, Kansas. She is the author of the book, In the Presence of My Enemies, which gives a gripping account of their year of terror in the Philippine jungle. In her second book, To Fly Again, Gracia reflects on the lessons and spiritual truths learned while in the jungle. She is a popular and engaging speaker in high demand at churches, colleges, and conferences across the United States. She is also the Founder and Director of The Martin & Gracia Burnham Foundation.

Tuesday, November 3: Morning Chapel
Douglas Bryan

Douglas Bryan is an educator raised in Berne. In 2009 he moved to Kigali, Rwanda to serve as the third-grade teacher at Kigali International Community School (KICS). A year later, he met his wife, Kerry, and they’ve continued to serve together in Kigali. They have two children, Elias and Adeline, and a baby boy coming any minute.

Douglas has a passion for teaching children about the love of God and the plans He has for each of their lives. He is teaching the next generation in Rwanda to impact the world for Christ.

Currently, the Bryan family is with the mission organization B2THEWORLD. The vision of B2THEWORLD is to bless children, parents, and families in countries that are recovering from war through transformative educational institutions. In Rwanda, a country recovering from war after the 1994 genocide and civil war, the Bryan family continues to invest in Chris-centered, transformative education.

Wednesday, November 4: Evening Service
Donovan A. Coley, Sr.

Reverend Donovan A. Coley, Sr. is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. He attended and graduated from Fort Wayne Bible College, and earned a Masters Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He attended Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana for post-graduate studies. Donovan is married to Grace, also a native of Jamaica, and together are the proud parents of four children.

Pastor “D”, as he is affectionately called, became the CEO of The Rescue Mission and President of the Rescue Mission Foundation in March 2008, after serving on the Board for two years.
Pastor Donovan is an avid reader and loves to play soccer in his spare time.

Sunday, November 8: Morning and Evening Services
Galen Burkholder

Galen is the Founder and President/CEO of Global Disciples, a ministry that assists clusters of churches around the world to develop locally sustainable approaches to equip and send disciple-makers and church planters among least-reached peoples. Global Disciples serves over 1,964 training programs they helped launch in 56 countries.

Prior to establishing Global Disciples in 1996, Galen served for 12 years as Director of the YES program and directed the Discipleship Ministries Department of Eastern Mennonite Missions. Prior to that, he was the Youth and Young Adult Director for Lancaster Mennonite Conference and a congregational youth pastor in Kansas.

Galen lives in Landisville, PA with his wife, Marie, and they attend Ephrata Community Church. They have three adult children and six grandchildren. He enjoys time with the family, reading, outdoor activities and sports. Galen is a graduate of Hesston and Bethel Colleges in Kansas and Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Virginia.†

Telling the Times

“You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at anyou do not expect him.” Luke 12:40

I teach ninth grade English, and although I love teaching Shakespeare, prepositions, Latin roots, and Robert Frost, one of my favorite parts about teaching is choosing an outfit with the perfect accessories from my closet each day. Something about looking “the part” channels my inner Maya Angelou and I feel ready to deliver language as an art! Each morning, as I prepare for work, I smile while adding the finishing touches... earrings, a necklace, and always, always my wristwatch.

My wristwatch plays an important role as an accessory, but truth be told, I never look at it to tell the time. In fact, I wore the battery out of many of my watches long ago and haven’t even bothered to replace them. This seems foolish, I know, but as a teacher who never checks the time on my watch, I don’t even miss the assurance of knowing I can tell the time at any given point in my day.

A recent bible study concerning the end times reminded me about the importance of knowing the time. Well, not just the time, but the times. As a friend of Jesus, I surprise even myself when it comes to my lack of attention to His second coming. I often tune out signs in current events which bolster claims of His eminent and expedient return. It’s like I’m wearing a watch with a dead battery.

Now, there are some who seem obsessed with watches and telling the time. My son, for example, is always looking at the next new watch and finds joy in tracking the time for various reasons. In fact, at times his watch can prove a real distraction from tasks at hand.

Telling the times would ask us to fall into a healthy relationship with our spiritual wristwatch. While we are well-equipped with God’s word, the Holy Spirit, and a saving faith, we must not live as though we aren’t concerned about the time. Jesus is coming! The time is near! For this, we must sense urgency and awareness of the quickly emptying hourglass. On the other hand, we must not be so obsessed with knowing the time, focused only on identifying exactly when Christ may return and lose sight of the lost souls around us.

A healthy relationship with our spiritual clock means we eagerly anticipate Christ’s second coming, glancing regularly at the signs and times around us. We do not consume ourselves with the times alone, but with the souls who do not possess the power of an eternal, life saving message and relationship with Jesus. With one eye on the sky, fueled by the Spirit, we work feverishly to share the gospel because we know what time it is. †

Among Our People

Alvin Lehman had hip replacement surgery at Parkview.
Reggie Steiner had knee replacement surgery at Adams Memorial.
Brenda Sommer had hip replacement at Adams Memorial.
Mary Bauman had surgery for a broken hip from a fall.
Bill Lehman had knee replacement surgery at Lutheran.
Vickey Beachey was hospitalized due to illness.
Miriam Liechty had surgery at Lutheran for pain relief. †


Mary Kathryn Eicher, age 94, of Berne, Indiana, passed away Monday morning, September 14, 2020, at Swiss Village in Berne.

She was born on August 8, 1926, in Berne, Indiana to Palmer and Edna (Lehman) Moser. Mary graduated from Berne High School in 1944 and married John Eicher on November 1, 1947. John and Mary celebrated 71 years of marriage, and he preceded her in death on December 1, 2018.

Mary was an active and faithful member of First Mennonite Church. Her church activities included Women in Mission, teaching children’s Sunday School, and visiting the parents of newborn infants as a member of the Cradle Roll Committee.

Mary is survived by her three children and their spouses, Phil (Cindy) Eicher, Jim (Linda) Eicher, and Greta (Scott) Lehman, all of Berne; one sister, Margie (Dick) Baum of Bloomington, Illinois; one brother, Millard (Janean) Moser of Berne; two step-brothers, Kenyon (Mary) Sprunger of Poneto, and Benjamin (Sue) Sprunger of Bluffton, Ohio; nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

In addition to her husband and parents, Mary was preceded in death by stepmother Viola (Sprunger) Moser and stepsister-in-law Betty Sprunger. †

Pastor Appreciation

October is Pastor Appreciation Month! We will be showering our pastoral staff again this year with gift cards. Let’s thank our leaders by sending cards,gift cards, notes of encouragement, or anything else you would like to do to thank them for all they do to bless our congregation! Some may wish to give a Bible in a pastor’s honor through Gideons International. Cards and gift cards may be dropped off in the Spiritual Guidance Cabinet mailbox by the office. The cards will be divided up by the SGC and distributed to the staff next month. †

Prayer for Our Missionaries

Mission Festival 2020 begins with an opportunity to pray. Small group prayer meetings in various homes during the week of October 25-31 offer just that! Participate by choosing the day, time, and location that works best for you. There are also opportunities during the week of Mission Festival. Join a group for prayer to experience God’s leading and cover our missionaries in prayer. Sign up sometime on or before October 25th. Thank you for your participation in God’s Kingdom work. †

Notes of Appreciation

We would like to thank the congregation for their prayers and well wishes during this time while we have been dealing with Jim's heart attack, stent placement and heart catheterization with 2 more stent placements. I, Janet, would like to thank you all that mentioned Jim at the store.We know that you will continue to uphold us in your prayers.
-Jim and Janet Dennison

Many thanks for all of the prayers, cards, and phone calls as I struggled with my stomach issues. It’s going much better, although I will be having more tests in a couple of months. It means so much to have a church family that is so caring and understanding. It was much appreciated. “God is so good.”
-Fred Wulliman

I want to thank the church family for all the cards, gift cards, flowers, food, and most of all, prayers for my surgery and recovery. God is graciously healing me and I praise Him for this.
Thank you and God bless!
-Mary Whitehurst

Dear Church Family,
I would like to thank you for the love and support you showed to Jamie and me at the recent “home going” of my mother. Thank you for your prayers, the many cards received, and the words of encouragement given. We are so blessed to have such a loving, caring church family.
In gratefulness,
-Marcia Cressman †

Specific Help Needed
Marriage Matters-Adams County Strong:

Are you a seasoned spouse with a partner willing to lead, share, and encourage couples in their marriages? First Mennonite Church and Adams County needs your help!
If you would be interested in being a church point person for an exciting, county-wide initiative to strengthen marriages, please see Chris Hyman or Jim Schwartz.

Church Mobile App:

Do you know the inner workings of a mobile app? The church needs this expertise! If you are interested in helping get a church mobile app up and running, please call the church office or contact a staff member. †

Update is the publication of the First Mennonite Church, Berne, Indiana. It is published once a month to keep our people informed about the news and events in the church.
Senior Pastor Jeff Linthicum
Editor Lana Shoaf
Among Our People Jim Schwartz