The Historical Society of the Bible Fellowship Church
Hello again from the archives (cough, sneeze). Sometimes the dust that collects in old books and documents does set me off. It is dustier than usual because I have been repacking and re-storing the items I have collected. We continue to receive materials for storage. I just keep piling it up and pushing it back. I finally got desperate. I put up more shelves using some planks and cinder blocks. It is a cheap way to do good shelves. They won't win the Beautiful Home and Archives award but they do the job. Our archives have grown immensely in 20 years. When I started, we had a few records in a couple of file cabinets. Now we have four file cabinets and an overflowing room of materials. I am glad for it. I think it has helped to keep the story of the Bible Fellowship Church from being lost in a trash heap somewhere.
The big news of the month is next month's meeting. Of course, you are planning to be there. I know we have two special presentations. Harold Shelly will tell you the story of the physician turned preacher, Jonas Schultz. Rick Paashaus will tell you the story of one of our oldest churches, Coopersburg. We will meet at Coopersburg. If it is a nice day, there might be time for a stroll through the cemetery and a look at some of the graves. Jonas Musselman, Abel Strawn, Milton Kauffman and Joseph Fackenthal are just a few of the people buried there. If you have never attended one of our meetings (I hate to call it a meeting. It sounds so formal. It's more like a gathering.), you need to get there. You deserve a fall treat. Send in your reservation today.
More news. Bright and Joyce Heist who have been members of the Historical Committee and the Historical Society from its beginning are going to move to Virginia. It is a real blow to us. We have always held our committee meetings at their house. Their input and interest is a lot of the story of the development both of the committee and the society. The good news is that they have promised to return for our meetings. We must find a new place to meet. That part is easy. The hard part is finding someone who can make french onion soup. For those who are not aware, Joyce makes the best and serves it every time we meet. It is an official part of our meetings and I don't see how we will meet without it.
I don't have good news about our planned production of a video. We did not get any response from you about home movies you have. Either you were unwilling to admit you took home movies or you didn't want to get involved. All is not lost. Our undaunted vice president Jill Davidson is making contacts and coming up with some possibilities. Stay tuned on this. If you have something to share, bring it to the society meeting next month. We don't want to use the mails.
That is all the news for now. I have saved my contribution for this letter to the end. I knew that you wouldn't read any current events if you read a historical piece first. I know how you are. I first read the following report of a trip through Pennsylvania when I was doing research for William Gehman and enjoyed it. I hope you too will enjoy the observations.
I know little about the authors of this report, J. and E. Guy. They sometimes submitted letters to the Gospel Banner. If you know anything about them, let me know.
[From the Gospel Banner, Volume 15 #17, September 1, 1892]
[Note: I have retained the misspellings of the original article. My computer didn't like me after I ran the spell check but I wanted to keep it as it was.]
Our Trip to Pennsylvania
We left St. Catharines on the morning of July 25th. The first item of interest was the passing through the tunnel under the Welland canal, then the crossing of the great Suspension Bridge at Niagara. We could see something of the great falls on the one side and the whirlpool on the other. Reaching the other side in safety we took the Lehigh Valley train to Waverly, then to Wilkesbarre over the mountains. Would be useless to attempt a discription of the grandeur of the scenery. We did just as Bro. Bowman said we would, we looked and looked till our eyes were tired. A person can get no proper idea of its beauty without seeing it himself. We reached Reading at 10:30pm. The heat was very intense, we were soon aware that we were in a warmer climate. We found comfortable lodgings and after a good rest and a refreshing bath, we continued our journey reaching Royersford at 11 A. M. Were very warmly received at Bro. H. B. Musselman's where we found our dear Sis. Weber. The brethren were all out in the grove preparing the tents and ground. After dinner I wended my way to the camp ground where I found a number of the ministers helping the committee with their sleeves rolled up and the sweat running off them. And oh! such a greeting! shouts of praise and tears of joy, not the least demonstrative was our beloved Bro. M. Weber who with open arms received us in a way peculiar to himself.
That eve, we attended a prayer meeting in Royersford chapel where the glory of God was manifested. On Wednesday evening the camp was opened by a sermon of great unction and power from the P. E., W. B. Musselman, who on account
of the excessive heat preached without either coat vest or collar, but with a cool flexible colored shirt. He was the picture of ease and comfort. Amen! Brethren, let us take a lesson. The key note of the meeting was struck and God set His seal on the first service. The rules and regulations were read by the P. E. and rigidly enforced by him throughout the entire camp, and I admire the plan and would like to see it adopted and enforced in Canada. The five o'clock meetings were well attended. No snoozing was allowed. All were expected to be there unless sick or lawfully detained.
A sweet spirit of love and unity prevailed and the power of God was manifested in every meeting and though the visible results were not so flattering yet the work done, we believe, was thorough and many were heard to say, "This is the best camp meeting I every attended." We shall ever gratefully remember the kind forbearance of our German brethren and sisters with the English, a number of them testifying and praying in English for the first time for our benefit. The Lord reward them. The camp closed at noon on Wednesday Aug 3rd and we preached in Norristown M. E. church in the evening, spent the night with Bro. and Sis. Rittenhouse who entertained no less than eight of us in a hospitable manner.
The next day a number of the brethren accompanied us to Philadelphia. We met that evening with Bro. Trumbauer of the H. R. Association; had a blessed season. After seeing some of the sights of this great city we took a train for Gratersford where we had an open-air meeting. The Lord met with us. The pilgrims are encouraged. Here Brother N. Detwiler and Bro. M. Weber had their last tabernacle meeting. It was a victorious one. They will build a church in the near future. God bless them! We were hospitably entertained by Father Wismer that night. Bro. Wismer is a New Old Mennonite of the Holy Ghost stamp, and although he felt somewhat embarrassed in speaking English we enjoyed our visit very much.
The next day we went to Zionsville where we met the smiling face of P. E., Bro. W. B. Musselman and after a pleasant stay at his home he and wife accompanied us to Coopersburg where it really seemed like Canada to be with Bro. and Sis. N. Detwiler, and Bro. and Sis. Weber in their home. Sabbath morning we spoke with some liberty, to an interesting congregation, on the "peace that flows as a river." Wife had the meeting in the afternoon. Subject "Eternal Life." The light shone. Hallelujah! P. E. followed with a telling exhortation. The work at this point is thriving under the ministry of Eld. Fidler, and Sis. Lucy Musselman (Mother of P. E.) Bro. and Sis Fackenthall drove with us over to Quakertown for the evening meeting, when my wife after fortifying herself by Scripture for taking the stand, spoke with freedom on "The Principles of Faith." The brethren at this place are in the rear, the Sisters seems to run before. Brethren wake up! Bro. Zyner seems interested in his charge and when he get the Baptism of fire I should like to hear him preach from 2 Tim. 2:4. Study it dear Bro. and may God give thee understanding in all things.
The following morning we called at Bro. Fidlers then spent a short time at Bro. Zyners beautiful abiding place then took train for Bethlehem. Bro's Gehret and Hillegass met us. The Lord was with us in the evening meeting. P. E. had the after meeting and after service, several seekers and one set gloriously free. Glory to God! In the morning we were away to Allentown where with P. E. and brethren Detwiler, Weber Gehret and Hillegass we spent a profitable time at the home of our aged Bro. Strawn who was not so well in body but seems anxious to help on the work. In the evening the heat was almost unbearable, we never had such a sweet bath before, but the heat was not all in the outward man the fire burned in our souls as we spoke of the wondrous union of Christ and His bride.
Left the next morning for Upper Milford dined with Bruner also called on Ex. P. E. Gehman. Bro. Gehman greeted us cordially but did not weary us with talking as we could not understand each other. Should have enjoyed a conversation had it been otherwise. In the evening we had the privilege of preaching in the oldest Mennonite church of our denomination in Pa., to a number who could not understand a word we said but they said they could feel it. Spent the last night with the P. E. and his dear family. He accompanied us to Allentown in the morning where we were greeted by dear Bro. Shupe and others. In a few moments we gave the parting hand and boarded the train for home. Reached Buffalo late in the evening and found our way up to Bro. Menno Moyer's where we enjoyed a good night's rest and reached home safe and well the next afternoon where kind friends and smiling faces greeted us. All glory to God! This trip, the camp at Spring City, and the kindness heaped upon us by the dear pilgrims while there, will never be forgotten by us, and we earnestly pray God's riches blessing upon all who in any way administered to our necessities and enjoyment.
On reaching home we received word from Sis. Critenden of Toronto that she would spend Sabbath with us also a card from Sis. Nellie Little of Dornoch now staying at Atwood, saying she would be with us over Sabbath, and last but not least a telegram from Bro. Garland of Toronto asking us to meet him at the boat as he would spend Sabbath with us. Well, Hallelujah! We praised the Lord and set about preparing to entertain our guests. Sabbath morning came bright and clear and the Lord helped us to talk of "Freedom indeed." In the afternoon we spoke on baptism, then had the pleasure of baptising our three visitors in Lake Ontario, truly the glory of God shown round about. Amen! In the evening the Lord met with us in power, surely he set us in a large Place and we can say the first Sabbath after our return was one of glorious victory. All glory to the Lamb! All for Jesus. J. & E. Guy, Jordon Ont.
Aug. 15th 1892
That's all for now. I do hope to see you next month. Don't forget to send your stories or questions. You can help to make our newsletter interesting for everyone.
723 South Providence Road
Wallingford, PA 19086-6940