THE CORPUS Schwenckfeldâ€™s writings convey relevant spiritual truths in a digital age
T R A D I T I O N S
Editor: Gerald A. Heebner Business Manager: Michelle Pritt Design: Robin Hepler, email@example.com Artist: Frank Batson Photographer: Lee Schultz Reporters: William Potts, IV, Central Rev. Edward O. Winslow, Missionary Leah Tyson, Olivet Karen Kriebel, Palm Diana Weir-Smith, Perkiomen School Glenna R. Fulmer, In Retrospect
In this Issue COMMUNIT Y CENTERED Central Church opens an adjacent state-of-the-art facility.
Publication Committee Rev. David W. Luz, Chair Jean S. Ross, Secretary Luanne Stauffer, Treasurer Publication Office Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center 105 Seminary Street Pennsburg, PA 18073-1898
1940 SCHWENKFELDERS PASTOR SCHWENCKFELD
Some things change and some things remain the same.
MISSION TO NASHVILLE
Exploring the relevance of Caspar Schwenckfeld’s Christian faith.
THE SCHWENKFELDIAN is published during the Winter, Spring, and Fall quarters by the General Conference of the Schwenkfelder Church, under the direction of the Publication Committee, in the interest of the churches. Material presented in this magazine does not necessarily represent the beliefs and teachings of Schwenckfeld or the Schwenkfelder Church.
$12.00 per year, $5.00 per copy. Free to each Schwenkfelder Church member household.
THE CORPUS DVDs of the surviving writings of Caspar Schwenckfeld are now available.
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A Palm Church mission team provides flood relief to homeowners.
ABOUT OUR COVER
The first impulse to collect and publish a comprehensive and scholarly edition of the writings of Caspar Schwenckfeld came from a letter sent by Dr. Hartranft asserting that Schwenckfeld had penetrated farther into the spirit of religious liberty than any other leader of the Reformation. A committee was appointed and over 900 documents were found in the libraries and archives of Europe. Their efforts to compile and print the 19 volumes of the Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum began in 1884 and continued through 1961. A complete set weighs approximately 109 pounds.
Updates from Central, Olivet, and Palm.
Marriages, births, and deaths.
IN RETROSPECT Looking back at the accomplishments of members.
YEAR OF CELEBRATION The 100th anniversary of the dedication of Palm Church.
A new book chronicles the story and images of building Palm Church.
ISSN 0036 8032
If you move, please advise us promptly, giving both your old and new addresses to ensure uninterrupted delivery. To discontinue mailings, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215679-3103.
ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Sunday, September 11, 2011, to celebrate the completion of the Central Schwenkfelder Church Community Center, a 17,000-square-foot building located on the Anders farm property adjacent to the Church. The Community Center was dedicated to Allen M. Koehler, a beloved church and community leader who mentored youth and adults alike and served on various boards. Kenneth and Frances Clemens were also recognized for providing leadership throughout the construction process. The Central Community Center includes a state-of-the-art gymnasium, kitchenette with café, two multi-purpose activity rooms, youth lounge, assembly area, and an office. A new soccer field will be developed using the soil from the site’s excavation. The facility will benefit Central’s congregation and the surrounding community as an ideal venue for: • Recreational offerings like basketball, volleyball, and soccer leagues for youth and adults. • Exercise classes and family gym night. • Youth group meetings and activities. • Book clubs, lecture series, support groups, and Bible studies for community participation; and informal worship.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY SARA GOWING
PHOTOGRAPH BY ROD MOYER
Pictured above (from left to right) are: Carl Sensenig, Tony Cinelli, Paul McDonald, Rev. David McKinley, Harris Gramm, Ken Clemens, Al Koehler, Rod Moyer, Dan Buch, and Leon Martin. Photograph by Sara Gowing.
Pictured above are Allen M. Koehler (left) and Frances and Kenneth Clemens (right). THE SCHWENKFELDIAN
Almighty God, who hast called us to profess a living faith with a living past â€”filled with the memories of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrsâ€” grant that what is said and what is heard may be the work of the Spirit as it reveals our heritage unto us, so that we too may live the faith of our fathers. Amen.
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B Y R E V. M A RT H A K R I E B E L
here are two problems that are found among Christians who belong to a Schwenkfelder Church. The one problem stems from indifference to Schwenkfelder heritage. A Mason can tell you why there is a Masonic Order, a police officer can tell you why there is a Fraternal Order of Police, and a veteran can tell you why there is an American Legion; but not every member of a Schwenkfelder Church can tell you why there is a Schwenkfelder denomination. For too many people are too indifferent to the life and thought of the Protestant reformer whose name our church bears.
The other problem—which in many respects is the more serious problem—grows out of a misunderstanding of the Schwenkfelder heritage. Gather a group of Schwenkfelders and ask them to describe the beliefs of their church. One will say, “We’re like the Lutherans.” Another will say,“We’re like the Mennonites.” Another will say,“We’re like the Presbyterians.” Another will say,“We’re like the Quakers.” And the listener will answer, “I’m confused!” For each of these denominations is entirely different from the other. Now, I’ll admit that these problems of indifference to and misunderstanding of the Schwenkfelder heritage may be excused, or at least tolerated, because of the existence of other problems. First, the writings which would acquaint a person with the Schwenkfelder heritage do not make for light reading. The thoughts of Schwenckfeld, from whom we trace our expression of the Christian faith, are written in sentences that are long and involved which represent a beautiful style of German but not English. In twentieth century terms, “it’s deep stuff.” Secondly, the writings which speak of the Schwenkfelder traditions are dated. Schwenckfeld wrote during the sixteenth century—a century that thought of life in terms of kings and princes and magistrates, of a Roman church that was not seasoned by the spirit of a Pope John XXIII, or war waged with arrows and fire and stones— a century that bears little resemblance to the century in which we live, and therefore, Schwenckfeld’s thoughts were written in an age that is foreign to ours. And too few scholars have tried to glean from that past the spiritual truths that will speak to our present. There is a dire need for this heritage to be expressed in terms of twentieth century living. But this is not an easy task, for it involves several dangers. There is the danger of limiting the experience of the Christian faith to only those things contained in the writings of Schwenckfeld. There is the danger of making him a god rather than a guide along the Christian way of life. There is also the danger of believing that his thoughts possess some supernatural power that enables them to speak to issues peculiar to our century. And there is also the danger of judging Schwenckfeld to be so out of date that he has nothing to say to this age. There is the danger of scrapping
the entire heritage, believing it to be an expression of the Christian faith that is no longer valid. And yet, even though there are these dangers, I believe that the problems of indifference and misunderstanding may be overcome, for I believe that the Christian faith as expressed by Caspar Schwenckfeld can be made readable and can be made relevant. And, furthermore, I believe this is one of the greatest challenges of our day. For there is a golden thread woven first in the pattern of the writings of the New Testament and continuing through the thoughts of Schwenckfeld, and this golden thread represents spiritual truths that were relevant in the first century and in the sixteenth century and should be relevant in our century, if we are truly Christians, disciples, followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospels declare that Jesus taught, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your mind.” And the Apostle Paul admonished Timothy to,“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” And Schwenckfeld said toward the end of his life, “How could I reject the Scriptures whose testimony I need and use constantly, yea more, I meditate therein day and night.” If Schwenckfeld were pastor, his would be a scholarly ministry with long hours spent in the study where he would pour over the Scriptures in their original tongues. For you who speak Pennsylvania German know what happens when a story must be translated into English; it loses all its zip. So it is with the Scriptures; only in the languages in which they were written can they be properly understood, and in these languages of Hebrew and Greek, Schwenckfeld would study them. But to his reading he would also bring additional knowledge gathered from the commentaries, archeological evidence, and the most recent developments in biblical theology. For he who was acquainted with the Church Fathers’ thoughts as well as the thoughts of religious scholars of his day, and he who read almost every book that appeared on the market during his lifetime, would, I am sure, continue that kind of scholarship if he lived in our day. Men like Harnack, Heidegger, Barth, Bultmann, Brunner, would be well known to him for his would be a scholarly ministry in which he would spend many hours loving God with all his mind, seeking to handle rightly the word of truth. The Gospels declare that Jesus prayed in the temple daily and withdrew for periods of meditation. And one of the New Testament letters THE SCHWENKFELDIAN
urges Christians to,“Pray without ceasing.” And this is what Schwenckfeld did. His friends reported that he rose early in the morning and retired late at night, so that he would have much time for prayer. If Schwenckfeld were pastor, his would also be a meditative ministry in which he would not only pray for others, but he would teach others how to pray for themselves and for one another. For he who gathered his sixteenth century friends into small study-prayer groups, would, I am sure, continue that practice today, so that throughout the congregation there would be gatherings during the week, as well as classes meeting on Sunday. There would be businessmen meeting before breakfast, housewives meeting after the children are sent to school, farmers meeting between milkings, factory workers meeting during the lunch hour, people representing all walks of life taking time during the day to pause for Bible study and prayer. And, I suspect, that under Schwenckfeld’s influence these groups would possess the same degree of creativity that was so characteristic of the first gatherings. For according to the evidence the first prayerstudy groups were very productive; their members composed prayers, hymns, poems, catechisms—a trait lost to our day, but one that would be regained under the pastorate of Schwenckfeld. For his would also be a meditative ministry in which he and his people would “pray without ceasing.” The Gospels declare that Jesus commissioned His first disciples to, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper, cast out demons.” And the Apostle Paul reminded the Christians in Galatia to,“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”And it was said of Schwenckfeld that,“The peasants aroused his compassion.” In his words,“No one seems ready to advocate their cause. They are harassed.” If Schwenckfeld were pastor, his would also be a social ministry in which the peasants of our day—the poverty-stricken, the migrant worker, and the harassed—the Cuban, the Puerto Rican, the Vietnamese, would be his chief con-
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cern. For Schwenckfeld who in his own century poured out his money and his food upon the peasants, and in the course of doing so earned condemnation from the church leaders and government officials, would, I am sure, stop at nothing to bring about fair-housing, adequate education, job opportunities, equal rights, for all races. And, I suspect, that church people and church facilities would be employed to accomplish these means. For whether we like it or not, if Schwenckfeld were pastor, we would be up to our necks—and perhaps losing our necks—in a social ministry in which we would literally “bear one another’s burdens.” The Gospels declare that Jesus stressed that man is called to worship God “in spirit and in truth.” And the Apostle Paul wrote that, “The letter kills but the Spirit gives life,” and by that Spirit we should walk. And Schwenckfeld believed that too. Again and again he wrote about living the life of the Spirit. And so, if Schwenckfeld were pastor, his would also be a spiritual ministry which would probably be expressed in at least four different ways. First, in terms of church policy. Jesus said the Spirit, or Comforter, will teach us all things. Paul also said,“If we live by the Spirit, let us walk by the Spirit.” And Schwenckfeld advised, “Let no one allow his mind to be bound by creeds and articles of faith that he may not accept something better.” I suspect, if Schwenckfeld were pastor, he would turn a deaf ear (and he had two of them!) to the person who always gives as his reason for doing something, “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” I suspect that every decision made in Diaconate, Board of Trustees, or any group within the congregation would need to withstand the attack of that piercing, one-word question, “Why?” And I suspect that the new building we have just dedicated would have been completed in an entirely different manner, because of that one-word question, and a building would have grown out of definite need, a program would have dictated a plan.
Secondly, it would be a spiritual ministry in terms of church membership. Jesus said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” And Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” And Schwenckfeld said, “A Christian is one whose spirit is one with the spirit of Christ.” I suspect, if Schwenckfeld were pastor, our church membership would be drastically reduced, for many would rebel against his expression of Christianity, and would be excluded according to the standards set by Christ, Paul, and Schwenckfeld. And I suspect that there would be certain requirements for church membership, since Schwenckfeld believed that the Christian fellowship is only for those who are able to profess that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, and give evidence in daily living that they are a new creation, filled with the Spirit of Christ. Thirdly, it would be a spiritual ministry in terms of the Lord’s Supper. According to the Gospels, Jesus instituted the Meal as a means of remembering Him, especially His death. And Paul added that he who eats forgetting this, eats and drinks damnation to himself. Schwenckfeld was so disturbed by the “damnation” that abounded when the Supper was celebrated in his day that he called a halt—”Stillstand”—to future observances until Christians could partake of the elements with a sense of understanding. If Schwenckfeld felt compelled to declare a “Stillstand” in his day, what on earth would he do today, if he were pastor? What would he do with a congregation that needs to be invited, or reminded, of the Supper of our Lord? And what would he do with a congregation that suddenly doubles in size when the Communion Table is spread, then shrinks back to normal conditions when the Table is bare? What would he do? And lastly, it would be a spiritual ministry in terms of church unity. Jesus prayed that His disciples may be one. And Paul wrote that we though many are one body in Christ. And Schwenckfeld believed that, “There is a holy
Christian Church on earth today, namely the company of all chosen believers and saints of God, who have the spirit of Christ, which is the Catholic Church, correctly speaking; whose members are scattered hither and yon throughout the whole world and known only to Christ her head.” I suspect, if Schwenckfeld were pastor, he would be right up front in this thing called the ecumenical movement. I suspect he would be rejoicing that a spirit of unity he tried to nurture is at last dawning on the horizon of our day. And I suspect that he would laugh at the way we view with suspicion every document brought into our church from another denomination, judging it to be a piece of subversive literature destined to corrupt us. And I suspect that he would grow a little irritated with us when we balk at fellowship with a larger group of Christians, arguing that such cooperation will eventually lead to our death. For I suspect that he would remind us, as he had to remind the sixteenth century church-goer, that the Christian Church does not consist of buildings, ceremonies, statements of belief, or denominational structures, that it is not composed of family trees or museums filled with manuscripts, but the Christian Church is composed of those who are filled with the spirit of Christ. If Schwenckfeld were pastor, ours would be a church in which the spirit of Christ would control every expression of our congregational life. How many would want that kind of church? Sometimes I fear, if Schwenckfeld were pastor, we wouldn’t want him and he wouldn’t want us; we wouldn’t want to be a Schwenkfelder Church, a Christian Church! Good Lord, deliver us from the reality of that fear! Amen. n Rev. Martha Kriebel served the Palm Schwenkfelder Church from 1959 to 1972, when she was elected to be one of three assistant conference ministers of the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ. She has been pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Collegeville since 1979 and is chair of the Collegeville-Trappe Ministerium. She is the author of “Schwenkfelders and the Sacraments” and “Retracing Our Roots.” Pastor Martha preached the preceding sermon on Sept. 19, 1965.
his past year, the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center completed the tremendous undertaking of scanning the entire Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum. This 19 volume, 18,000 page document will now be available on DVD to all who want to purchase a copy. But what is the Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum and why is it so important? The term “corpus” refers to an entire body of work. Literally translated, the title Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum means “collected writings of the Schwenkfeldians.” The Corpus itself consists of 1,252 surviving documents written by Protestant reformer Caspar Schwenckfeld von Ossig.
Originally, the Schwenkfelder Board of Publication and Corpus editor and researcher Dr. Chester David Hartranft, intended to include the works of multiple contemporaries of Schwenckfeld and theologians who shared his school of thought. The volumes were to be a critical edition containing not only footnotes and citations, but also bibliographies, translations, notes, and accompanying historical and theological articles. It soon became apparent that it was simply not feasible to include writings other than Schwenckfeld’s. To do so would have resulted in the Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum being over 100 volumes long. Caspar Schwenckfeld himself was such a prolific writer, his works alone were enough to fill 19 volumes. Referring to Schwenckfeld texts uncovered in Germany, Dr. Hartranft wrote, “the literature of archives is a perfectly overwhelming mass. I found it immeasurably more voluminous than my largest dreams.”1 As such, it took over 50 years to research, compile, and print the Corpus. Volume I was supposed to be issued no later than 1890, but was not finished until 1907. Only relentless dedication and passion on the part of a handful of scholars and Schwenkfelders finally yielded a complete Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum in 1961. Beyond being a remarkable academic undertaking, the Corpus is a window into the mind and faith of Caspar Schwenckfeld, and the tumultuous setting of Reformation Germany. Schwenckfeld’s was an era of information; a media revolution. The move from rural to city living, the invention and proliferation of printing presses, and the increasing number of universities fueled an explosion of theological debate and dialogue. Instead of having to hand copy theses, reformers could now print Flugblätter (“flying leaves”) and Flugschriften (“flying writings”), brief tracts and pamphlets for the masses. Schwenckfeld himself was a prolific writer. Educated in Cologne and Frankfurt, he composed myriad letters, books, tracts, and pamphlets. It is reported that in 1561 as he lay dying, Schwenckfeld told his friend Jacob Held von Tieffenaau that his writings would serve in his absence.2 It was Schwenckfeld’s hope that God would call others to carry forward the work he began.3 In the decade following Schwenckfeld’s death, his followers attempted to make his dying wish a reality. They printed four folio volumes of his letters. However, persecution from both the Roman Church and other Protestant groups made dissemination of his tracts increasingly difficult. His writings became scattered in European libraries, private collections, and in the homes of Schwenkfelders. The Schwenkfelder immigrants brought what manuscripts they had with them to America. Scattered and often considered heretical, Caspar Schwenckfeld’s teach-
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ings became virtually unknown outside of the Schwenkfelder community. It was not until the 1880s here in Pennsylvania, that a concerted effort was made to find and publish Schwenckfeld’s written works. As a compilation of theological texts, the Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum is more than just an impetus for historians and theologians to study Caspar Schwenckfeld. It gives insight into Schwenckfeld’s world, and further illuminates the pivotal moment in church history known as the Reformation. Schwenckfeld’s letters to Reformation era theologians, nobles, and German princes, provide a wealth of facts and data about these historic leaders. His tracts offer a glimpse into the culture of 16th century Europe, and serve as an exemplar of German philosophy. Many of Schwenckfeld’s writings were burned during his lifetime and following his death. He and his followers suffered persecution and defamation. The publication of the Corpus essentially vindicates Caspar Schwenckfeld as a brilliant scholar and theologian. In a letter from 1884, Dr. Hartranft stated “The world has let Schwenckfeld sleep for over three hundred years, and has never yet done him justice.”4 It was the hope of Hartranft, fellow researchers and editors, the Schwenkfelder Board of Publication, and the Schwenkfelder Church in Pennsylvania, that the Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum would do just that. The Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum also speaks to faithful Schwenkfelders today, reminding us of the importance and often controversial nature of his message. It was dedicated to the memory of “the founders, confessors, martyrs, and apologists of the Middle Way,” the term used to describe the spiritual path that anchored Schwenckfeld’s theology somewhere between that of Luther, Calvin, and the more radical Anabaptists. This “Middle Way” insists that the reformation of individuals is a prerequisite to reformation of doctrine. The burdens of scriptural interpretation, relationship with Christ, and personal salvation fall on the individual believer. One’s internal spiritual life precedes external dogma; spirit is emphasized over the letter, and spirituality over literalism. Even the sacrament of communion is but a ritual representation of a believer’s internal communion with Christ. Such inspired truths were downright radical in Schwenckfeld’s day. The Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum reminds faithful Christians of the rich cultural and religious heritage modern Schwenkfelders have inherited. It highlights Schwenckfeld’s writings as a source of many modern Protestant characteristics. Schwenckfeld’s teachings on the essential unity among all Christians, the importance of laity in the church, freedom of con-
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science, and the separation of church and state, are echoed in the doctrines of diverse Protestant denominations. The Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum provides a window not only into the scholarly world of Schwenckfeld, but into his spiritual world. Within these volumes lies Schwenckfeldâ€™s own sacred journey, giving fellow Christians a guide and traveling companion. The Corpus represents an unbroken line of religious debate and dialogue spanning almost five hundred years. It makes real the man who helped plot the course of the Church; the reformer for whom the Schwenkfelder Church is named. It brings to life Caspar Schwenckfeld von Ossigâ€™s message, preserving it for generations to come. n 1Meschter,
W. Kyrel. Twentieth Century Schwenkfelders. Pennsburg: Schwenkfelder Library, 1984. Pg. 43.
2Meschter, W. Kyrel. Twentieth Century Schwenkfelders. Penns-
burg: Schwenkfelder Library, 1984. Pg. 37.
Chester David ed., et al. Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum. Volume I. Norristown: Board of Publication of the Schwenkfelder Church, 1907. Pg. I.
Chester David ed., et al. Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum. Volume I. Norristown: Board of Publication of the Schwenkfelder Church, 1907. Pg. II.
Rev. Leslie B. Kearney is pastor of the Olivet-Schwenkfelder UCC.
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A Year Of
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celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the dedication of Palm Schwenkfelder Church building was conducted as a series of events throughout the year beginning in September, 2010, and culminating on Sunday, September 25, 2011. Several of the Church organizations celebrated the year in a variety of ways.
The Board of Christian Education began with a monthly request for members’ written responses to twelve questions related to the history of the Church: a favorite Sunday School teacher, a favorite part of the building, a recollection from childhood of programs of the Church, etc. Also, the Board requested the Sunday School classes and/or groups of the Church to gather items for a time capsule which would be put away on September 25, 2011, to be opened as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations in 2061. All the collected memories the congregation provided were also included in the time capsule for posterity sake. Each month during Children’s Church, leading up to the 100th Anniversary Celebration, the youth (and congregation) learned a piece of the Palm Schwenkfelder Church history. As the children learned about the beginning when the Schwenkfelders made their journey to Pennsylvania, the construction of our current Church, and the different ways our building was used before the current day. In order for the children to get a visual of how long 100 years is, the children traced their feet on paper, cut them out, and colored and numbered them until we had 100 feet to hang around the Church. The youth learned that it takes the faith of each person that walks through a church to keep the congregation alive with the spirit of God so we will have many years to continue serving in Christ’s name. As its contribution to the celebration, Board of Music Ministry oversaw the purchase and installation of a new digital organ manufactured by the Allen Organ Company of Macungie, Pa. (See “The King of Instruments” in the Winter 2011 issue of The Schwenkfeldian.) The new instrument was first used in a worship service in August, 2010. A dedicatory recital, featuring nationally known organist Aram Basmadjian was held on October 17, 2010. The Board also planned for several special musical events to be held in the sanctuary including a recital by pianist Jim Hendricks and a Zion Choral concert. The Ladies’ Aid Society created a commemorative Christmas ornament which was sold throughout the year celebrating the anniversary year. The Society also sold saffron bulbs, honoring our Schwenkfelder cake heritage. The Ladies’ Aid generously provided pew Bibles for the sanctuary. Large print Bibles were presented in honor of the 100th Anniversary year by members Waldo and Lena Johnson. The Mission Board took the month of May, 2011, to establish the Child Sponsorship program, a ministry of the Wider Church Ministries of the UCC. They introduced both of our sponsor chil-
dren—J. Vignesh from Kasam, India, and Rita Arabian from the Armenian Evangelical Secondary School in Bourj Hannoud, Lebanon (near Beirut). A Narthex display was created to provide information to the congregation about our children and the Child Sponsorship program in general. On occasion, during the Sunday morning worship service, Mission Moments were used to talk about the children’s lives. On two separate Sundays, the Board provided refreshments after worship with food from these two countries and had the congregation write notes to Vignesh and Rita. The Diaconate scanned pictures that the congregation provided of Church activities over the years and showed these at the Anniversary Celebration. As part of the celebration, they reviewed the Church safety activities including: purchase of a defibrillator and coordinating the training for the new device as well as offering CPR training. The main Diaconate activity was a summer visit to each of the three meetinghouse sites (Hosensack, Washington, and Kraussdale) for a worship service. At the Hosensack meetinghouse, the sermon and prayer were presented in Pennsylvania Dutch. A book titled The History of the Building of the Palm Schwenkfelder Church was published in time for the September celebration. The book was based on the photographs taken by Oscar Schultz during the construction and a narrative of the construction which he wrote for the 30th Anniversary celebrations in 1941. The narrative was edited by Anne Goda and Robin Hepler did an exceptional job designing the layout of the book. Supplementary material provides historical framework for the text and pictures. The Anniversary year culminated in the rededication of the building on Gedächtnestag Sunday, September 25, 2011. A special Sunday School program showed a film of the Sunday School members of 1934. Sunday morning worship reflected the anniversary in song and message. A combined Day of Remembrance and rededication service was held in the afternoon. The service was highlighted by an inspiring sermon offered by Rev. Martha Kriebel and participation of past ministers of the Church and daughters of the congregation ordained in Christian ministry. Composer Joseph Martin was commissioned by Palm to write a choir anthem in commemoration of the anniversary. A 60-voice choir comprised of singers from all the Schwenkfelder Churches and the United Schwenkfelder Choir presented the anthem “The Solid Rock, The Firm Foundation.” A meal between the services was shared with ample time allowed for admiring an array of memorabilia gathered and placed on display. The year of celebration concluded with the traditional meal of bread and apple butter. n THE SCHWENKFELDIAN
ow that the year 2012 has arrived, an important event to genealogists will occur. The Federal census of the nation is taken every 10 years in years ending in zero, the latest one being in 2010. The specific data obtained from these census records is kept from the public for 72 years by congressional law. Genealogists love these records because of the wealth of information they reveal about their ancestors. On April 2, 2012, the 1940 census will be made public and many more tidbits of information will become available that will help the current generation reconstruct the lives of their parents and grandparents. Or depending on a personâ€™s age, it may be oneâ€™s own self that is revealed for the first time.
It seems like a good time to look at Pennsylvania Schwenkfelders as they existed 72 years ago in 1940. A review of The Schwenkfeldian for that year uncovered many fascinating stories. Some readers of this issue may be able to recall those events because they lived them. To set the stage, a look at political history shows that France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, and Romania fell to German occupation. Russia took over Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and a portion of Finland. Winston Churchill succeeded Neville Chamberlain as the British anticipated an invasion of their country. Britain also removed its forces in Shanghai, China.
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The first Social Security checks were issued in January; the total outlay that month was $75,844. Vermont widow Ida May Fuller, age 35, received the first check. Interestingly, she lived to age 100! Unemployment was at 14.6 percent of the population. The first commercial airliner with a pressurized cabin was introduced by Boeing (the 307-B). It was capable of carrying 33 passengers. The U.S. had 1.34 million miles of paved roads and 1.65 million miles of dirt roads. One of the paved roads was the newly opened Pennsylvania Turnpike on October 1, 1940. The first McDonald hamburger (before it became a fast food chain) was sold in Pasadena and M&Ms found their way to the market.
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The twelve issues of The Schwenkfeldian comprised Volume 37 and was published monthly. The typically 20-page issue was about half the size of the current publication in dimensions and carried five pages of advertisements. One ad offered a brand new Schwenkfelder Genealogical Record at a cost of $15 for a single volume and $25 for the deluxe two-volume set. A Genealogical Record book in excellent condition currently sells for about $300 at the Heritage Center. Seven financial institutions advertised along with five undertakers/funeral directors. They wanted your money, dead or alive. The editor was Rev. Harvey K. Heebner. Associate editors were Rev. Levi S. Hoffman, Rev. Robert J. Gottschall, Rev. Elmer E.S. Johnson, and Rev. Lester K. Kriebel. This accounts for the strong leanings toward articles from the religious community. The issues frequently reprinted letters from Flora K. Heebner, the Schwenkfelder missionary in China. As late as December, Flora did not feel threatened but confessed to having “her ear to the ground” listening for problems that might arrive from the government. Perhaps the most significant ministerial activity was the ordination and installation of Rev. J. Maurice Hohlfeld as pastor of the Lansdale Schwenkfelder Church in June. Later, he moved on from Lansdale and
earned a doctorate degree at the University of Pennsylvania and was involved in teaching African languages through the Kennedy School of Missions. It was noted that Rev. Kurt Ernesti, a key person to Schwenkfelders, died in Germany. For 28 years, Ernesti delved into the writings of Caspar Schwenckfeld as a part of the staff that was in the process of composing the Corpus Schwenkfeldianorum. It is said that no one else was more familiar with Schwenckfeld’s letters and thoughts. He was also remembered for being part of the bicentennial tour of the Schwenkfelder homelands in 1934. The year 1940 represented the 100th anniversary of the Worcester Schwenkfelder Church and the 200th anniversary of the death of Rev. George Weiss, the first spiritual leader of the Schwenkfelders in America. That year, Gedächtnestag (Schwenkfelder Memorial Day) services were held in the Worcester Church during both the morning and afternoon on Tuesday, September 24, a working day of the week. It was noted that “many times throughout the exercises, earth shaking blasts in a stone quarry a mile away recalled that worse blasts are occurring in England and on the Continent.” An innovation that year was the publication of the first “SchwenkTHE SCHWENKFELDIAN
feldiana.” There are only eleven issues falling into the category of “Schwenkfeldiana” and each is devoted to a separate subject. The prior year marked the 150th anniversary of the passing of Rev. Christopher Schultz. Presentations at the Gedächtnestag service of that year were so thoroughly enjoyed that the people wanted copies for their own reference, so, in 1940, a compilation of those presentations was made available to those who attended Gedächtnestag. A May 1940 statistical report noted that Palm Schwenkfelder Church had 387 church members and 373 Sunday school members at the beginning of the year. Central church membership was 528 but the Sunday school membership was broken down to 213 at Worcester and 381 at Towamencin (594 total). Lansdale’s figures were 209 church members and 230 Sunday school members. Norristown Schwenkfelder reported an amazing 730 Sunday school members compared to 464 church members and First Schwenkfelder Church of Philadelphia had 465 Sunday school members and a listed 460 church members. Total Schwenkfelder Church membership had gone up by 42 from the year before. Norristown Schwenkfelder Church dedicated a new organ with chimes, pedals, two manuals, and over 500 pipes in September, 1940. The Combined Schwenkfelder Choirs presented two concerts, both at 3:00 p.m. The first one was on October 13 at Towamencin Schwenkfelder Church and the second one on October 27 at Palm Schwenkfelder Church. Elmer K. Schultz established an arboretum at Perkiomen School “for the sake of further improving the beauty of the property and to provide enjoyment for the nature lovers of the community.” It included rare and ornamental trees, evergreens, shrubs and hardy perennial plants. The plants consisted of nearly 100 lilacs, 165 peonies, 360 irises, 70 day lilies, and 44 rose bushes. Also included were asters, poppies, flowering crab trees, rhododendrons, laurel and chrysanthemums. Mrs. Chris(tine) Shearer gave a talk on the importance of flowers to Schwenkfelder women at a Ladies Aid program. She noted that they were first mixed with vegetable gardens and later as decorative areas around a residence, particularly when grass lawns came into existence. They also appeared in their handcrafts in stitching, drawing, and pottery. Oddly, she claimed that flowers were rarely gathered and brought into the house. Likewise, flowers were not sent to the sick or seen at funerals. Some features of The Schwenkfeldian still exist in today’s issue. We still identify births, marriages, and deaths that occur within the church membership—a definite boon to genealogy researchers seeking family information and dates. We offer a summary of events that have occurred in each church and report on the annual meeting held at Spring General Conference with statistics included. While the number of issues per year has decreased to three, many topics are more fully developed and color has been added. Some things change and some things stay the same. n
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Mission To ashville N H
istoric flooding took place in Nashville and Middle Tennessee on the first two days in May, 2010. More than 13 inches of rain was recorded over a two day period, doubling the previous record. The Cumberland River reached nearly 12 feet above flood stage and it topped out just under 52 feet before the waters began to finally recede. Hundreds of people were rescued from their homes by boat and canoe. The Nashville flood of 2010 displaced thousands of residents and flooded hundreds of businesses which included extensive damage to the Grand Old Opry, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and the Opryland Hotel. At least 30 counties in Tennessee were designated as major disaster areas by the federal government. Nashville and Davidson Counties were also declared a Federal Disaster Area on May 4, 2010. This flood was in the national news only briefly, but the devastation it caused lingers yet. A little over a year later, almost 1,000 homes are still in need of recovery work. The homeowners, either financially and/or physically, cannot do the repairs needed to be able to live in their homes. Shortly after the flood, United Church of Christ National Disaster Ministries partnered with United Methodist Disaster Ministries to help raise money and complete the repairs needed
B Y R E V. B A R B A R A P E N C E
through the work of mission teams from churches. Palm Schwenkfelder Church decided to be a part of this relief work too. So, in the first week of August, 2011, a group of 12 people went down to Nashville, stayed at Brookmeade UCC, and worked through the United Methodist Disaster Ministries to repair homes in the city of Nashville, Tennessee. We spent our time at three different work sites. The first site had sustained damage from four feet of water, the second from six feet of water, and the third from two-and-a-half feet of water. Since none of these homes have basements, all the damage was on their first floor living space. The Palm Mission Team cleaned out a flood damaged garage and shed, took down sheets taped to windows for privacy and replaced them with blinds, replaced hinges on doors, hooked up appliances, replaced lighting fixtures, and painted, among other things. The team also took some time to talk to the homeowners and heard about their flood experiences. The Nashville Mission Team included Phillip Badman; Bob, Beth and Kirsten Croll; Gail and Dan Ferry; Christal Horn; Joanne and Dayna Jalowy; Rick Kleppinger; Barb Master; and Rev. Barbara Pence. n
Pictured are: (left) Rick Kleppinger, Dan Ferry, Bob Croll; (center) Barb Master, Joanne Jalowy, Kristen Croll, Dayna Jalowy; (right) Phillip Badman, and Beth Croll.
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The Summer special Sunday School program continued on August 7, featuring Pastor Ray Garcia, with the Christmas in August program. Pastor Garcia founded the group The Philadelphia Project and the Christmas in August program is one of many sponsored by Central’s mission programs. Pastor Garcia’s projects include Habitat for Humanity type projects in the city of Philadelphia. Christmas gifts, offered by Central Church members, were presented to Pastor Garcia for inclusion of his group’s work. It was a privilege to have Rev. Dr. Drake Williams and his family visit Central Church on Sunday, August 14. Our thanks to Patricia Simpson who substituted for organist Don Eby. A special recognition is also due to James Stevenson, son of Russ and Ali Stevenson, who was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. Following his induction there was a reception held for him in Fellowship Hall. Summer 2011 passed quickly and we wish to thank those who presented and attended the adult Sunday School discipleship program. Leadership was provided by Associate Pastor Rev. William Kalajainen, Peter Colvin, Mary Beatrice, and Janet Singer. Many thanks to the folks who participated in the American Red Cross blood drive on September 6. Special thanks to the leadership of the blood drive—Linda Schmidt, Barbara Rodenbough, and Jim Shaw. Sunday, September 11, was a huge day in at Central Church! It began with the dedication of teachers, superintendents, Board of Christian Education members, and Christian Endeavor advisors. During the traditional ser-
vice, Associate Pastor Rev. William Kalajainen presented Bibles to the third graders: Ryan Apple, Shane Harris, Emily Harris, Gail Hartman, Shyanne McGonigle, Erik Ritchie, and Brenttany Tha. The sermon was presented by guest minister Rev. Dr. David Coryell, Executive Director of Christian Endeavor, MidAtlantic. Rally Day was held in the Sanctuary during the Sunday School time period. Leadership was provided by Sunday School Superintendent Penny Krosskove. The opening prayer was given by Youth Pastor Julian Scavetti. Music was provided by the Praise Band and Choir Leader Wayne Wurtz. A humorous video was presented, starring Jeremy Behne as the thief of the time capsule and Tim Heebner as Justin-Time, the recoverer of the time capsule. A closing prayer was given by Rev. William Kalajainen. At 3:00 p.m., the dedication of our new Community Center and celebration of Central’s 60th anniversary took place. Moderator Carl Sensenig was master of ceremonies. During the program, Allen M. Koehler, longtime member and teacher at Central, was recognized. The Community Center was dedicated to Allen and a plaque, in his name, will be mounted in the entrance hallway. A plaque was also presented to Kenneth and Frances Clemens for their leadership provided in the construction of the building. The dedication was followed by a luncheon supervised by the Taste of Fellowship group. What a day! Our annual country fair, held on Saturday, September 17, was a huge success too! Special thanks to Beth Anne Mininger, the fair’s chairperson, for many consecutive years of doing a fantastic job—one with many challenges. This Fall, two new Sunday School classes began: Christianity 101, lead by Senior Pastor
David McKinley; and a class to review the book Read the Bible for Life. Youth Pastor Julian Scavetti, Bruce Rothenberger, Kim Alloway, and Bryce Simon participated in the Philly Blitz, sponsored by the Philadelphia Project, from September 30 to October 2. They spent most of the Saturday working on an infirmed resident’s house. Laity Sunday, held on October 9, included laity participants Chris Eckardt, Jim and Karen Faber, Jeff Ost, Lois Forbes, Amy Ramsey, Wendy Williams-Hartman, and C. Lloyd Radcliff who presented the sermon. On pulpit exchange Sunday, our sermon was presented by Pastor Leslie Kearney of Olivet Schwenkfelder UCC. During the traditional service, Brad and Lynn Jankowski of Orlando, Florida, spoke about their ministry with the Jesus Film Project. That afternoon, the School of Christ was held, including reflections by Schwenkfelder pastors. The Fall General Conference followed with a discussion of the situation with the Perkiomen School. Additionally, the Wired Group returned from a weekend retreat at North Bay Adventure Camp, North East, Maryland. The retreat was an opportunity for the youths to connect the Gospels to life’s daily situations. A harvest workcamp dinner was held on the evening of October 30 to raise funds for next year’s annual mission. Many thanks to all who participated and especially to Jeanne Kelly, Susan Alloway, and Lori Schmitz. Senior Pastor Rev. David McKinley was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on November 6 to officiate at the marriage of former interim pastor Rev. Dr. Tim Trumper and Brenda N. Dunn. Dr. Tim serves as Senior Pastor of the Seventh Reformed Church there.
Worship: 9:00 a.m., 11:15 a.m. Church School: 10:00 a.m.
Worship: 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. Church School: 9:00 a.m.
Worship: 10:15 a.m. Church School: 9:00 a.m.
Central Schwenkfelder 2111 Valley Forge Rd., Lansdale, Pa. 19446 610-584-4480 www.centralschwenkfelder.com
Olivet-Schwenkfelder United Church of Christ 619 Township Line Rd., Norristown, PA 19403 610-539-7444 • www.osuccpa.org
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Palm Schwenkfelder P.O. Box 66, Palm, PA 18070 215-679-5321 www.palmschwenkfelder.com
CHURCH PHOTOGRAPHS BY GERALD HEEBNER
sitespecific Church Briefs
Our annual Country Auction, held on Saturday, November 12, consisted of unique items available through silent and live auctions and a complimentary dessert. Proceeds will be used to further the mission of Central’s Community Center. Thank you to auctioneers Roger and Tim Heebner, narrator Susan Alloway, and musicians Lettie Schultz and Robin Lohse. Guest speaker for the Sunday, November 13, services was Richard Aichele, Executive Director of the Keystone Opportunity Center in Souderton, Pa. One of the missions of the Keystone Center is the Interfaith Hospitality Network, of which Central Church participates. In November, Central members hosted two homeless families. Many thanks to coordinators Carolyn Channel and Trish Simpson. Thanks are also due to the 28 people who worked with Schwenkfelder Missionary members to serve a pre-Thanksgiving meal at the Ford-Pal Community Center in Philadelphia. Central’s guest speaker on November 20 was Colleen Augustin, a representative of Christ’s Home for Children (one of our mission designees). Christ’s Home for Children is a nonprofit, nondenomination facility for children, newly-born to age eighteen, who have been separated from their parents. With a campus in Warminster, Pa., and one in Paradise, Pa., this program has been able to assist young people emotionally, spiritually, medically, and physically since 1903. ✞
OLIVET Summertime and the livin’ is easy —at least it is in the song. We continued to enjoy a slower summertime pace at Olivet. Larry Tiblis and the Second Sunday Singers provided
Schwenkfelder Missionary 2010 Reed St. Philadelphia, PA 19146 215-334-4658 Worship: 10:45 a.m. Church School: 9:30 a.m. Perkiomen School 200 Seminary Street Pennsburg, PA 18073 215-679-9511 www.perkiomen.org
beautiful music while the choir was still on vacation. Members provided proof that it is more blessed to give than receive with our Garden Give n’ Take table. Those with an over abundance of tomatoes, zucchini, etc., left their overflow on a table for those whose thumbs weren’t as green. On August 20, we enjoyed a clam steam led by Everett Tyson along with the helping hands of Arthur Meacham and Vince Nyce. As in July, our mission focus was Interfaith and Project Hope. As usual, the pace picked up in the Fall. The choir got their last vacation Sunday on September 4 when Lore Slough was the soloist. The following Sunday was very busy. First, the teachers in our Christian Education Department and L’il Angels Preschool were installed. Next, we held a reception for new members where David Sauerbaum and Richard and Nancy Houyoux were honored. We ended the morning with a delicious welcome picnic. Church Council held a special meeting during coffee hour on September 18 and presented a slide show highlighting improvements that need to be done to our Church and parsonage. September’s mission emphasis was the West End Preschool, presently housed in Christ Church UCC but started by the Norristown Schwenkfelder Church. On October 1, our furry, feathered, or scaly friends attended a blessing of the animals service. Once again, members celebrated World Communion Sunday with prayers in other languages and communed with breads from around the world. Those fortunate to be at our 8:00 a.m. service enjoyed a duet by Jenny Smith and Beth Slating. Following the service, members participated in the Church World Service CROP Hunger Walk. Our walkers raised
$868. YouthServe also held their annual basket auction that night. Cooks got time off on October 12 as we all headed to Burger King for the L’il Angels fundraiser. We were saddened when Rev. Ed Winslow couldn’t be with us due to illness for pulpit exchange Sunday, but were happy to welcome Alfred Duncan, pastoral assistant, in his place. Fifteen children had a wonderful time at a safe Halloween party on October 22. A day later, we joined other churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples in the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths. November’s mission focus was Mission 1 which ran from November 1 to November 11. During this period, we collected 285 food items and sent 29 letters to our congressmen and President Obama along with 57 collage letters from our Preschool. As part of this project, we were pleased to welcome Kary and Nanette LaFors of the Norristown Advocacy Group on Hunger and Nutrition to Sunday School and the 10:00 a.m. service. We observed All Saints Sunday with a living memorial and prayer wall in our sanctuary and honored church family and friends who passed away this year. Women’s Fellowship held their annual roast beef dinner on Saturday, November 5. Dinner was provided to 18 veterans with our thanks for their service. Sheila Tornetta organized a night of games and snacks, on November 11, that was enjoyed by 19 adults and 5 children. Our cooks got a break again on November 12, this time for breakfast, when L’il Angels Preschool held a flapjack fundraiser at Applebee’s. Doug Emerson and Michael Good spoke about “What My Church Means to Me” at Stewardship Sunday on November 13. After the service, we held our annual congrega-
Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center 105 Seminary St., Pennsburg, PA 18073 215-679-3103 www.schwenkfelder.com Mon.: Closed • Tues., Wed., Fri.: 9–4 Thurs.: 9–8 • Sat.: 10–3 • Sun.: 1–4
Schwenckfeld Manor 1290 Allentown Rd. Lansdale, PA 19446 215-362-0227 www.advancedlivingcommunities.org Office Hours: Mon.–Fri. 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. THE SCHWENKFELDIAN
tional meeting and election of officers. Our harvest home breakfast, on November 20, was a hot one! The smoke alarm went off and summoned several fire trucks. We invited the fire fighters to join us but none could stay. Our harvest home celebration continued into our worship service when we accepted donations of nonperishable food items for Interfaith. Audrey Haimbach also performed a solo. The newly elected church council officers were installed on November 27. Thanks in large part to the hard work of YouthServe, who raised over $1,200, we were able to order an automated external defibrillator and will be receiving it shortly. We pray that we never have to use it, but it will be a comfort to know it’s available if needed. ✞
PA L M Our mission team went to Nashville, Tenn., during the first week of August. They spent their time at three different work sites repairing homes that had been damaged in the terrible floods the area had experienced. Team members included Phillip
Badman; Bob, Beth and Kristen Croll; Gail and Dan Ferry; Christal Horn; Joanne and Dayna Jalowy; Rick Kleppinger; Barb Master; and Barbara Pence. (See “Mission to Nashville” on pages 14-15.) Fall started off with our annual Ladies’ Aid harvest dinner on Saturday, September 10. Roast beef, turkey, and all of the trimmings were served to the happy crowd. Rally Day was held on September 11. As always, the Sunday School year got off to a great start with a breakfast and lots of information about the program. The mission team also shared their experiences from a recent Nashville, Tenn., visit, and we watched the 1934 homemade film of the Sunday School students exiting the Church. This year, we celebrated the annual Day of Remembrance with an added bonus—the commemoration of Palm’s 100th anniversary. The sanctuary was packed for the Church service which included special music and an increased focus to remember our past here at Palm. A book, The History of the Building of the Palm Schwenkfelder Church, is now available for purchase. Edited by Anne Goda and
spotlight Personal Notes MARRIAGES Shaun Francis to Kirstin Kronenbitter at Central Schwenkfelder Church on August 13, 2011. (Central) Bradley G. Hoffman to Melissa A. Keyser at Palm Schwenkfelder Church on July 17, 2011. (Palm) Larry Tiblis to Pauline Vargas at Salford Schwenkfelder Meetinghouse on October 8, 2011. (Olivet)
BIRTHS Thomas Gerard Colvin, son of Andrew and Erica Colvin, September 29, 2011. (Central) Maia Elizabeth Gibbons, daughter of Merle D. and Sarah Gibbons, Jr., May 26, 2011. (Olivet) Olivia Ann Hoffman, daughter of Bradley and Melissa (Keyser) Hoffman, July 19, 2011. (Palm)
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designed by Robin Hepler, it is a pictorial and narrative history of the construction of the Palm Church. The photographs were taken by Oscar S. Schultz during the construction. On October 28, our youth enjoyed a costume party in the Church’s social hall. The evening included a covered dish dinner and a costume parade with prizes awarded for such categories as scariest, funniest, and most original. It was a great time for all involved. The Ladies’ Aid held an election day bake sale on November 8. Donated baked goods were sold to the voters coming to cast their ballots. Another great way to raise money and to make the voters happy! On Saturday, November 19, we hosted a holiday bazaar. The fun-filled day included good food, good fellowship, and numerous crafters offering holiday shopping opportunities. A light lunch was served to keep the shoppers well-fueled as they made their way around the tables. At the kids’ corner, where parents could drop off their children while they shopped, the kids enjoyed music, reading, toys, and crafts—which was much more exciting to them than shopping! ✞
A U G U S T – N O V E M B E R 2 0 11
Joshua Robert Neff, son of Michael and Robin Neff, November 8, 2011. (Central)
doah; September 6, 2011. Services September 10, 2011; interment private. (Olivet)
Carter Joseph Reed, son of Chris and Lindsay (Seipt) Reed, August 23, 2011. (Central)
Ben Kaneda, age 86, husband of Sumako Aihara Kaneda of Lansdale; October 22, 2011. Services November 25, 2011; interment private. (Central)
Ethan Matthew Wheeler, son of Justin and Nicole (Seipt) Wheeler, September 11, 2011. (Central) Kara Elise Yancy, daughter of Will and Kori (Casey) Yancy, July 20, 2011. (Central)
DEATHS Blanche Cahill, age 91, of Doylestown; September 26, 2011. Services October 3, 2011; interment private. (Central) Evelyn (Rea) Hunsberger, age 84, wife of the late Henry B. Hunsberger, of Lansdale; September 18, 2011. Services September 21, 2011; interment private. (Central) Robert M. Jones, age 87, husband of Shirley (Frost) Jones of Lansdale, formerly of Blue Bell and Shenan-
Cleta K. Landes, age 92, wife of Wilbur S. Landes of Frederick, formerly of Lansdale; October 19, 2011. Services at Frederick Mennonite Community. (Central) John H. Olson, age 78, husband of Barbara (Bush) Olson of Lansdale; October 12, 2011. Services October 17, 2011; interment private. (Central) Alistair S. P. Rae., age 43, of East Norriton, formerly of Blue Bell, September 30, 2011. Services October 6, 2011; iterment private. (Central)
CORRECTION (FALL 2011 ISSUE): J. Howard Shelly, age 78, husband of Claire (Miller) Shelly, of Zionsville, Pa.; May 7, 2011. Services May 12, 2011; interment at Hosensack Schwenkfelder Cemetery. (Palm)
heritage In Retrospect 50 YEARS AGO A special service observing the 400th anniversary of the death of Caspar Schwenckfeld von Ossig, a Silesian nobleman and reformer, was held December 10, 1961, in the Central Schwenkfelder Church with members and friends of the five Schwenkfelder churches in attendance. Keynote speaker was Dr. George H. Williams, Winn professor of ecclesiastical history and head of the church history department at Harvard Divinity. On November 23, 1961, Selina Gerhard Schultz, editor of the Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum was granted an honorary doctor’s degree by the Evangelical Theological Faculty of the University of Tübingen,West Germany. During the Fall General Conference in the Norristown Church, on Saturday, October 21, 1961, it was decided to proceed with research and plans to provide housing for the aged. The results of a questionnaire regarding this matter were presented and discussed by Dr. Paul T. Bergey, of Lansdale, chairman of the special committee for laying the groundwork. The Men of Central Church purchased and sent six Brahman yearling bulls and one Holstein yearling bull to Haiti. Wilbur Seipt, of Oakleaf Farms, accompanied the cattle shipment by cargo plane from Miami, Florida, to Port-au-Prince in Haiti. On several occasions, Andrew Berky, director of the Schwenkfelder Library, showed slides of his recent trip to Europe. He spoke of his impressions of life behind the Iron Curtain and of the old Schwenkfelder landmarks as they are today. Rev. Jack Rothenberger, of the Lansdale Church, was recently reelected to his fourth term as president of the Lansdale Ministerium. He also attended the State Pastor’s Conference in Harrisburg, the special 50th Anniversary Activities of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, and the 99th State Sabbath School Convention in York. ✞
BY GLENNA FULMER
tist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Central Church was the site for the 124th annual Pennsylvania State Sunday School Convention on October 9, 10, and 11, 1986. This marked the first time it was held in Montgomery County. Special services observing the 75th anniversary of the building of Palm Church were held on Sunday, November 2, 1986. Rev. William Stauffer, a native of Palm, gave the sermon at morning worship with nearly 300 in attendance. At 3:00 p.m., an open house attracted many to see displays of snapshots, programs, and certificates of events and activities. At a 5:30 p.m. banquet, 150 people heard remembrances and inspirational messages from the pastors who grew up and/or served in the Palm Church: Rev. William Stauffer, Dr. Jack Rothenberger, Rev. Howard Kriebel, Dr. Martha Kriebel, Rev. Melody Herr, Rev. Sharon Joseph, and Rev. Ronald Krick. Master of Ceremonies was Rev. Dave Luz. The Board of Publication and members of the General Conference mourned the passing on November 14, 1986, of a devoted and beloved colleague, Wilbur Seipt. He served in many ways on the Board of Publication, General Conference, Vice Moderator at Central, Board of Trustees, and as a Sunday School teacher for 45 years. He was a member of the Building Committee of Central Church and also served in many other areas, including the community, the Dairy Farmers of Pennsylvania, and the Interstate Milk Pro-
ducers. Nothing less than excellence showed in everything he did. A special service was held at the Norristown Church on Sunday, November 30, 1986, to honor the 100th year of the church building. Constructed in 1886, it was sold to the congregation by Grace Lutheran Church. Perkiomen School launched the Campaign of the Arts fund drive seeking $850,000 over the next five years to renovate and to provide an endowment for the school’s theatre and fine arts building, Kehs Hall. ✞
10 YEARS AGO The Pennsylvania Christian Endeavor Summer Work Camp took place for four weeks at Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Central Church sent a group of workers for the second week, with other participants from around the state. Teams were formed to work on two different houses that were severely damaged by previous flooding. Sunday School classes at Palm combined to see slides of the Living Hope Mission in Haiti. Kevin and Trudi Krick, of the Board of Directors of the school, had charge of the presentation. Peter Colvin, of Central Church, also reported on his mission to Peru. A congregational vote was taken at the Lansdale Church to change the name to Faith Community Church. It was felt that the name change would attract more seekers to the church family. ✞
The 12th annual School of Christ was held at the Central Church on October 19, 1986. The theme for the event was “The Apostle Paul and Church Growth.” The main speaker was Dr. Manfred Brauch, James Maxwell professor of biblical theology at Eastern Bap-
OSCAR S. SCHULTZ
25 YEARS AGO
On November 1, 1910, the last truss was placed in record time. Despite the weather, construction continued through the winter. Palm Schwenkfelder Church was dedicated on September 24, 1911. THE SCHWENKFELDIAN
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STORY BOARD The story of the building of Palm Church is chronicled in this 132-page book containing the glass plate photographs of Oscar S. Schultz. The accompanying narrative is based on Schultzâ€™s impressions of the construction process and captures the spirit and dedication with which this project was undertaken. Copies of the book may be purchased at Palm Schwenkfelder Church or the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center.
Published on Mar 4, 2012
Schwenkfelder Church History, Caspar Schwenckfeld, The writings of Caspar Schwenckfeld, and the anniversary of Palm Schwenkfelder Church.