The Bible Fellowship Historical Society
March means a lot of things. Winter is on its way out. Daylight savings time is here already (that is relatively new). Flowers are poking their heads through the soil to see if it is safe. Birds are starting to sing spring songs. March Madness is upon us (for college basketball fans - I confess to being one of them). Annual Conference reports were due 4 weeks ago.
If you are starting your gardening or watching basketball finals, this edition of our newsletter may come at an inconvenient time. I can assure that nothing of what you read here is time sensitive. So, if you want to set this aside to read later, go ahead. Actually, it is nice to know you can do that on occasion.
This edition is a collection of unconnected articles.
I will give you a sneak preview of an article to be used in this year’s yearbook. This year, 2008, is our 150th Anniversary if you date from the first meeting held in the home of David Musselman. Harold Shelly wrote for us.
LeRoy Wilcox sends us the fruit of his research. In his most recent submission, he turns his attention to the Musselman family and ties them together in a thorough way. Family connections are a complex thing in our history.
The third article happened accidentally. I began to review the Annual Conference of 1908 to write an article for this year’s yearbook. It was decided to use the article by Harold Shelly for our anniversary year. My review of 1908 showed that little there was newsworthy so I am somewhat relieved. One item that caught my eye and roused my curiosity was the removal of L. F. Haas from our ministry. It set me off hunting for who he was with the result that I was led to explore some of our holiness connections.
The fourth submission is a sampler of articles from the 1893 Gospel Banner. I have been preparing an index of articles that relate to the Pennsylvania Conference. I have reprinted some of the articles I found because they tell you what we were excited about and what we were thinking about.
I have added a few more names of Gospel Heralds. I keep coming across names of those who served at some time or other. No list of men who served is available so it will probably not be possible to compile a list that is anywhere near complete. I welcome any memories sparked by any of these names.
Happy 150th Birthday, Bible Fellowship Church
by Dr. Harold P. Shelly
The Bible Fellowship Church was born in September, 1858, in Upper Milford Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, in the home of David Musselman. America was rushing headlong into a bloody civil war between the states. Revival fires were burning in the land, awakening people spiritually as they had in two previous Great Awakenings. Plain, German-speaking Mennonites rejected wars as a solution to political problems; most also took exception to revival practices, preferring nurture to emotional conversion experiences. Nevertheless, the plain, German-speaking folks in rural Pennsylvania could not remain unaffected by the fires swirling all around them.
Eleven years earlier John Oberholtzer had led a movement to adopt new ideas. A major split occurred when John Oberholtzer of Milford Township, Bucks County, pushed for certain innovations, such as a rolled collar, minutes for business meetings and a written constitution. He and his followers, dubbed “new” Mennonites, soon found themselves outside the conservative Franconia Conference of the “old” Mennonites.
Before long, three divergent factions arose among the Oberholtzer “New” Mennonites. Some were more progressive and more “light.” These progressives soon adopted Reformed Theology and founded Freeland Seminary in 1858, which later became Ursinus College. The more conservative ones insisted on the ordinance of foot washing. A third group, doubtless influenced by Evangelical revivalism, wanted more “fire.” They longed to feel their faith and carry revival fires to others. Their cups were full and running over.
Among these firebrands influenced more by revivalism than by Mennonite traditions was young William Gehman. In 1849, at age 22 he was chosen by vote and by lot as one of the preachers in the Upper Milford “New” Mennonite congregation. His preaching was spirited and contagious. He effectively used the new methods, including prayer meetings, in homes and meeting houses to bring new faith and spiritual warmth to all who would attend. As these revivalists saw nothing unusual in this. "Through the convincing grace of God and the direction of several converted and pious Mennonite Preachers called of God," they recalled in their first church manual of faith and polity, "several of their members united themselves with them in the year of our Lord 1853, in order to pray with and for one another." Within four years the Oberholtzer “new” Mennonites felt constrained to evaluate these prayer meetings.
On May 1, 1856, the sixteenth session of the New Mennonites met at Skippack, Pennsylvania, in the midst of the swirling controversy over prayer meetings. As the day passed the council did not come to the topic on most peoples' minds. Gehman asked the council to consider the matter. Since it was late, the chairman, Oberholtzer, asked that the matter be referred to the bishops to decide; Gehman agreed. He seemed to trust the bishops. Perhaps he reasoned, Bishop Moses Gottschall had supported him and Bishop Shelly was also a practitioner. How could the other bishops reject prayer meetings?
For the next two years, the bishops vacillated in their opinions regarding the prayer meetings. When it appeared that the bishops would reject the prayer meetings, Bishop William Shelly submitted a formal protest which was denied. Division was inevitable.
The High Council, May 1858 struck the name of William Shelly from the “preacher-list.” Council gave the other revivalists until the October Council to recant or be dropped from the preacher-list. But they would not recant. At the 21st Council-meeting of the East-Pennsylvania Conference that met in Gottschall's Meetinghouse, near Schwenksville, Montgomery County on Thursday and Friday, October 7 and 8, the name of William Gehman was stricken from the list when he did not appear.
Two weeks earlier, frustrated in their attempt to bring enthusiastic revivalism into their Church, Bishop William Shelly, Elder William Gehman, two preachers, Henry Diehl and David Henning and three deacons, David Gehman, Joseph Schneider and Jacob Gottshall, met on September 24, 1858 at a central location in the home of David Musselman in Upper Milford Township, Lehigh County where they formed Die Evangelische Mennoniten Gemeinschaft. And so 150 years ago the Evangelical Mennonite Fellowship, now the Bible Fellowship Church, was born.
THE HOUSE OF CHRISTIAN MUSSELMAN
by LeRoy Wilcox
The name Musselman, by one source, means “man by the Meuse River”, the name
originating as Meus – el – man. Another source, however, says it means “one who fishes
for mussels”. The family is Swiss in origin and was known as Mosiman. Many were driven out because of their Anabaptist beliefs and came to America via Germany. The branch of the family that settled in Upper Milford Township descended from Peter Mosiman, who was born around 1520 in Lauperswil, Switzerland, in the canton of Bern.
His fifth son, Jacob, also had a son named Jacob and he had a son named Hans, who married Verena Jost. Their first son, named Christian, married Barbara Jau, whose sixth child was named Michell. His first son, Jacob Martin Musselman, came to Philadelphia. Jacob married Anna Landis, whose father, Jacob Landes (note spelling difference) came here from Germany. Jacob Musselman settled in Milford Township, Bucks County, near the West Swamp Mennonite Church and served as a preacher, having been ordained before coming to America. Their fifth child was Maria Magdalena, who married Johannes Hottel, an ancestor of the three Hottels who became preachers in our Conference. The third son of Jacob and Anna was also named Jacob. He married Maria Bassler, whose father, Michael, came to America from Germany in 1753 on the ship “Eastern Branch”. Their first son was named Christian. He married Elizabeth Geissinger, daughter of Johannes and Anna nee Landis Geissinger. Johannes’ father, Johannes Paul, also had come to America. Many Swiss emigrated to Germany before they or their descendants came to America.
Christian is listed as being a private in the 7th Company of the Pennsylvania Militia. Many Mennonites served in the Revolutionary War, apparently without problems with their churches. Johannes Siegfried, a Mennonite of Northampton County, was a lieutenant-colonel who fought in the Revolutionary War, serving under Israel Putnam. He died in 1793 and was buried in the Old Mennonite Cemetery which is now included within the borough of Northampton.
Jacob deeded his farm to Christian, who sold the farm in
1790 and moved from Allen Township to Upper Milford
Township where he had purchased 116 acres from Jacob
Hiestand. A daughter of Christian, Esther, was born on August
14, 1804. She married Samuel Kauffman, son of Abraham
Kauffman, an early preacher. Samuel became the father of a
son named Abraham, an early preacher in our Conference, and
Milton, who was an active layman in our Conference.
Abraham became the father of Horace, who also became one of
our preachers but died in 1918 of influenza. His son, Horace Jr., has served in many responsibilities in our Conference.
The eighth child of Christian was Henry, who was born on February 22, 1812. He married Catherine Geissinger. Their daughter, Mary, married Solomon Young Hottel. One of Solomon’s sons, Franklin, became one of our pastors and served at Bethlehem from 1923 – 1932. Another son, Henry, became the father of William, who also became one of our pastors, serving at Bethlehem from 1914 – 1920. Henry and Catherine had a son named Henry, born in 1848, who married Violetta Lesh. They had a son named Milton who married Mary Long and became a lay leader in the church at Bethlehem, serving as trustee and steward for 35 years. Milton, born on June 27, 1875 died on March 1, 1954 in the East Stroudsburg Hospital. His wife, Mary Long, was the daughter of Milton and Elizabeth Long. Her sister, Sallie, married William J. Fretz, who became a preacher in our Conference for a time.
David, the seventh child of Christian, was born in Upper Milford Township on May 9, 1807. He married Sarah Hiestand, daughter of Abraham and Susanna nee Borneman Hiestand and farmed in Upper Milford Township. On September 24, 1858 he hosted a meeting in his farmhouse which resulted in the birth of what is now the Bible Fellowship Church. Much has been written about this meeting and the men who formed our Conference. An interesting article about David appeared in the Town and Country News on Saturday, August 3, 1901.
David MUSSELMAN, of near Dillengersville, Lehigh County, is beyond a doubt one of the oldest residents in that county. Mr. MUSSELMAN has always led an
exceptionally active life and at the present day, notwithstanding his wonderful advanced age, he has the full use of all his faculties. He was born on what is known as the Rev. William GEHMAN farm, near Dillengersville, on the 9th day of May, 1807.
His parents died when he was nineteen years of age. He then started out in the world by learning the trade of a weaver. After five years of service at his trade he was
married to Miss Sarah HIESTAND. After working at his trade for ten years he
purchased the farm of Lorenz STAHLER, at Dillenger. Here Mr. MUSSELMAN
toiled the soil successfully for a period of thirty years. He then purchased the farm of
Heinrich GEHMAN, at Vera Cruz. During his twenty years on this farm he met with
exceptional success and increased the valuation of the property almost double. After
fifty years of successful toil upon the farm he retired from active life and moved to
the borough of Emaus, where he lived a retired life. Two years later, on the second
day of December, 1890, his wife died. A few years later he decided to make his home
with his son, Abraham, who resides near Dillengersville. This remarkable old man
reads without the aid of glasses and his mind for a man ninety-four years of age is
really wonderful. He will relate incidents that happened during his boyhood days in a clear, positive and interesting manner. Mr. MUSSELMAN is highly respected by all in the community in which he lives.
David and Sarah were quiet, godly people, respected by their neighbors. Not all neighbors, however, were honorable. One night a young man gained entrance to the house and threatened their lives if they didn’t give him some money. They not only obliged but offered him food as well, yet informed him that he could not harm them unless God allowed it. Neighbors later urged them to press charges, which they did, and the young man then again gained entrance to the house and poisoned their coffee. Newspapers from the 19th Century have noted many incidents of thieves poisoning the coffee of their victims. Through God’s grace the poisoning was discovered by David and Sarah and they were spared from harm.
It seems that these German and Swiss immigrants liked to have large families but David and Sarah had only two children, both boys. The first son was Abraham, born November 18, 1833. He married Catherine Bechtel Gehman, daughter of Heinrich and Elizabeth nee Bechtel Gehman. Heinrich, who farmed in Hereford Township, Berks County, near the present Lehigh County line, was the son of Johannes and Catharina nee Gable Gehman and an uncle of William Gehman. Abraham and Catherine had a moderate-sized family, consisting of three boys and three daughters. The oldest son, David Gehman Musselman, married Rose Lambert, who had served several years on the mission field, laboring in Armenian Turkey. She was a maternal granddaughter of William Gehman, one of the founders of our Conference. They moved to Texas where they ran a ranch and owned oil wells. Rose also served as a postmistress. Henry, the second child, lived only about 18 months. Edwin, the next son, born in 1872, died in 1902. A daughter, Sarah Catherine, was born in 1869.
Charles Brunner was a son of Joel Brunner, and a nephew of Lucy, wife of Jonas
Musselman. Charles as a young man labored on a farm near Dillenger’s Station and
then labored for one year on the farm of Abraham Musselman, his future father-in-law.
He then went to Coopersburg and learned the carpentry trade from Daniel Schaeffer,
with whom he lived during that time. He spent weekends with his uncle, Abel Strawn.
Later he worked as a carpenter in Bethlehem and helped erect buildings at Lehigh
University. On September 29, 1888 he married Sarah
Catherine Musselman at her
father’s home. The ceremony was performed by William Brunner Musselman, now a preacher, and the oldest son of Jonas Musselman. He was also a cousin to both Sarah and Charles.
Charles was very active in the Bethlehem church and served as their first Sunday School superintendent. In 1890 he attended Annual Conference as a delegate and in 1891 he served as secretary. In 1892 he entered the ministry, serving at Erwinna, in Bucks County. Sarah also felt led to enter the ministry and served alongside her husband. She was licensed to preach in 1892 and preached with her husband until the Conference stopped using women as assistant pastors. In 1897 Charles Brunner was elected as Presiding Elder. He founded and headed the Home Mission Society in 1899 which became the Gospel Herald Society. In 1900 the Conference was divided into two districts and Home Missions was placed under the district headed by Charles Brunner. In 1900 Annual Conference passed a resolution that stated,
Resolved: that C. H. Brunner is authorized to appoint his wife, Mrs. C. H. Brunner, to any office in the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Home Missionary Society as he sees proper, and is privileged to make any rules which may be beneficial to the work of God and the church.
In 1903, Annual Conference was held in Mt. Carmel. At the conclusion on the Sunday evening sermon (open to the public), Sarah got up and invited the congregation to respond. Two years later at Conference it was reported that “H.F. Meltzer shall preach tonight followed by Mrs. C. H. Brunner”. A photo of the Gospel Herald Society, taken around 1902, lists Sarah as a district leader. Sarah continued to actively support her husband’s ministry after the use of women preachers was discontinued. Charles served our Conference as Presiding Elder, head of the Gospel Herald Society and also served on many boards and committees. He suffered a stroke on August 18, 1948 and died on November 20 in the Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown. Sarah, born on September 22, 1869, lived until February 17, 1950, also dying at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown. She had been living with her daughter Dorothy and son-in-law Herbert W. Hartman, in Allentown. Herbert and Dorothy had been married on September 15, 1931 in her father’s parsonage in Philadelphia. Herbert W. Hartman served faithfully as a pastor in many of our churches, dying in 1957. Dorothy, a faithful pastor’s wife, born on November 10, 1906 in Emaus, died on April 7, 1986.
Catherine died on August 30, 1909 and Abraham then moved in with his daughter
Annie in Bethlehem who had married Milton Edelman. Abraham became a faithful
member of our Bethlehem church, located then on Laurel Street. He died on June 5, 1916
at his daughter’s house and services were held Friday at the Laurel Street church. On Saturday services were held in the Zionsville church and he was buried in the adjoining cemetery.
The other son, Jonas, was born on November 12, 1839. A man named Johann William Brunner had moved his family from the township of Upper Saucon to Upper Milford around 1828. A daughter named Lucy Ann, born on February 16, 1842, attracted his attention and they were married on October 29, 1859. At first they lived with Jonas’ parents but later had their own place. Jonas, like his father, began farming but was impressed with this new organization called the Evangelical Mennonites that had formed in his father’s house. He felt called to preach and in November 1861 was listed in the first list of preachers. In 1868 he left his parents’ home and moved to Richland Township, Bucks County, purchasing land from Joseph Taylor and Joseph Weirback. In 1872 he was assigned with William Gehman to hold meetings at Fleetwood. Other assignments followed. In 1881 he sold his farm to Tilghman Osmun and moved to Emaus. In April of 1884 he moved to near Coopersburg and served a circuit of four churches: Coopersburg, Springtown, Ruch’s and Saucon Valley, assisted by John Knauss.
In August of 1884 three people from Bethlehem attended the camp meeting at Chestnut Hill, having attended the previous year, and asked Jonas if they could be formed into a church. In those days a congregation didn’t have to go through any procedure to become a church but could be declared a church by a pastor willing to take responsibility for the group. Jonas did form them into a church and Bethlehem was added onto the circuit. Jonas continued to serve at Bethlehem but became afflicted by dropsy, a disease which seemed to afflict many people in those days. His weight increased to over 400 pounds and he had trouble staying awake, thus affecting his study time for sermons. On the way to church his wife, Lucy, would read one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons to him which he would then preach. The disease finally ended his life on March 26, 1886. His funeral was held on March 28 with Abraham Kauffman conducting services at the house and William Gehman at the church in Coopersburg. He was buried in the adjoining cemetery. More than150 carriages were in the funeral procession.
The first child born to Jonas and Lucy was William Brunner, his middle name taken
from his mother’s maiden name. He grew up working on his father’s farm but later
worked as an iron molder. In April of 1879, he married Mary Ann Oberholtzer, the
daughter of Tobias and Anna nee Reiff Oberholtzer. Tobias was the son of Isaac and
grandson of Joseph, whose father, Heinrich came to America from Germany, though
Swiss in origin. He and his father, Hans Jacob, arrived at Philadelphia on September 5, 1730 on the ship “Alexander and Ann”.
Iron molders received good pay. William began to accumulate some of this world’s goods. Four years after his marriage, however, he felt a call to the ministry but had no support from his wife, parents or church. He was, however, accepted by both the Quarterly and Annual Conferences and began his preaching as a probationer in 1884,
serving the circuit of Fleetwood, Blandon and Reading. In 1885 he requested to have only the Reading church and this was granted. In February 1887 he was assigned to the Bethlehem – Coopersburg circuit and was also ordained that year. His father, Jonas, had been pastor of Bethlehem – Coopersburg before his death in 1886. The first permanent building for the Bethlehem congregation was erected during William’s ministry in 1888. He was sent to the Allentown – Catasauqua circuit in 1889 and in a letter to his grandson, W. Bruce Musselman, he said that he “left a pretty little church in Bethlehem.” In 1890 he was elected Presiding Elder, replacing William Gehman, who retired.
On September 19, 1893 he baptized 17 people at Walnutport in the Lehigh Canal and that evening organized the church at Walnutport. He also organized a group of seven young women in our Conference called the Gospel Worker Society. This was formed in Annandale, NJ, a small town adjoining the borough of Clinton, on January, 5, 1895. They engaged in home mission work, ministering in tents and halls. The first Gospel Worker was Lucy, his widowed mother. In 1898 William asked to be relieved of the office of Presiding Elder so that he could devote his time fully to the work of home missions. His request was granted. His cousin, Charles Brunner, became Presiding Elder. William moved his headquarters to Williamsport, PA around 1899, remaining there until 1907.
The Gospel Worker Society women sold a periodical called the Ram’s Horn and later sold the Gospel Banner but soon realized the need for their own publication. No one in the group was a printer but a compositor from the Williamsport Sun Printing Company offered his services. William Musselman served as editor and the Gospel Worker Society Herald was printed. This soon became simply the Gospel Herald. Men in the Home Missionary Society sold this publication and the organization then became known as the Gospel Herald Society. The printing firm established by William Brunner was first called the Gospel Worker Society House, then the Gospel Herald Publishing House and finally the Union Gospel Press. Sunday School literature began to be printed and in 1907 the organization moved to Cleveland, OH. They worked from a multi-story building but later were able to establish their operations in a one story building. William’s daughter, Mary Euphie, was of great help to her father, serving as supervisor of the composing room. When William’s health began to falter she took over his responsibilities. William’s mother, Lucy, also came out to help, dying in Cleveland on October 20, 1916. William died in Cleveland on February 21, 1938 and his wife died on October 28, 1946 in Beverly Shores, IN. All are buried at the Brooklyn Heights cemetery in Cleveland, named because of being on higher ground in a section called Brooklyn, once a separate city but annexed by Cleveland.
The third son born to Jonas and Lucy was Allen, born on December 29, 1872. He married Alice Baus and became a pastor, serving in Canada. He entered the PA Conference in 1899 and was sent to our Reading church but died there on May 2, 1900. A son, Perth Ward, didn’t become a pastor but was an active layman, serving as Class Leader and Sunday School Superintendent for 40 years. He died in the fall of 1958. A daughter, Pauline, married David E. Thomann, who served many of our churches as a pastor and also was Director of Pinebrook Bible Conference. Pauline attended Nyack Missionary College and worked in the bookstore at Pinebrook Bible Conference when her husband was the Director. She also served as Treasurer of the Women’s Missionary Society at our church in Lancaster. Pauline died on December 12, 2004 and was buried in the Cedar Hill Memorial Park Cemetery in Allentown. David remarried on November 18, 2006, taking as his wife Lena Deppe. He said he wanted to make sure he got married before he turned ninety. He just made it. Now they reside at Fellowship Manor in appropriately named Musselman Court. A son, David, continues to serve as pastor at the Lancaster church. A daughter, Betty Lou, married Arthur Frable, who was a pastor in our Conference for several years. The second son of Arthur and Betty Lou is a pastor in Oklahoma.
The second son of Jonas and Lucy Musselman was Harvey Brunner, who was born on February 11, 1868. In 1881 he worked as an apprentice under John Stauffer at the Quakertown Printing and Publishing House where he remained for two years. The following year he attended camp meeting at Chestnut Hill where he made his decision for Christ. Harvey became active in the Quakertown church, teaching Sunday School and serving as Sunday School Superintendent in 1889 and 1890. He fell in love with a young woman named Annie Baus and they were married at her home by his brother, William, now a preacher. Annie was the daughter of John and Sallie nee Rauch Baus and the sister of Alice, who married Harvey’s brother, Allen. Harvey felt called to the ministry and was asked to preach at the Quakertown church in 1889. He accepted the invitation and it was noted that the people “stood in wonderment at the eloquence” of this young preacher. He was licensed to preach. His first assignment, in 1891, was to serve at the Royersford – Spring City circuit. In 1900 he was elected Presiding Elder and served in that office until 1905. He was again elected in 1907 and continued in that office until 1945. He also served as chairman of Annual Conference from 1908 to 1945. In 1924 he served as chairman of the General Conference at Brown City, MI.
Harvey loved to write sermon notes and would remove the binding from a large Bible, add extra pages and have the book rebound. He would then carefully print his notes on the blank pages. He would even list at the bottom of the pages the type of ink he used. He kept figures of how many barns could be painted with the cosmetics sold in one year. “I’d rather see the red on the barns” his notes stated. From 1922 to 1931 he lived at 1129 N. 18th Street in Allentown where he pursued his hobby of caring for rose bushes.
He died on May 18, 1956, having lived a long life of serving the Lord. His obituary states that he was living with his son, Baird Bryan, in Allentown R.1 for the past five years and died in their house. The funeral service was conducted by the two District Superintendents, F. B. Hertzog and C. E. Kirkwood, the office of Presiding Elder having been abolished. The pastor at Allentown, Walter Frank, assisted. On his eightieth birthday he had preached a radio message which was recorded and played at his funeral. Thus the main message at the funeral was preached by Harvey himself. The Easton express stated, on May 23, 1956, “Rev. Musselman’s voice heard at funeral.”
Five children were born to Harvey and Annie but two died as infants. The first child, Baird Bryan, also became a preacher. Clarence, born on March 7, 1903 married Grace Gehman, daughter of William George Gehman, the other Presiding Elder. Clarence didn’t enter the ministry but did teach at Bethlehem Business School for ten years and also became a noted businessman in Allentown. An active member of our Allentown church, he served as Sunday School Superintendent for twenty years. On November 7, 1951 Clarence died of a heart attack in Allentown. His wife, Grace, died on May 3, 1982 in Kilgore, TX. Harvey’s youngest son, Jansen, became a prodigal son and created some controversy in the Conference as his father was Presiding Elder. Some felt that Harvey should relinquish his office because of his son but Harvey continued to serve.
The first son, Baird Bryan, known as B. Bryan, was born on October 18, 1890 in
Allentown. He fell in love with a young woman from the Fleetwood church named
Cora Bridgetta Rothermel. They were married in 1911. According to one source the
Rothermels in America trace their genealogy back to a Johannes Rothermel, who won
fame in the early wars of Germany. Johannes was a brave soldier and frequently dyed
his arm in the blood of his enemies. His comrades designated him as der Roth Ermel
(red sleeve), and thus he acquired the surname of Rothermel. Another source, however,
states that this is a fanciful tale and that “red sleeve” was the designation of one who
farmed, as most farmers slaughtered their own meat.
One source states that Johannes Leonard Rothermel was a descendent of this early warrior (if he existed). Johannes was born in the Province of Wachbach, Germany in 1688 and married Sybilla Zimmerman, a sister or daughter of the famous General Zimmerman of the Dutch army. Six or seven children were born to this couple. Religious wars were causing difficulties and Johannes determined to come to America. In the spring of 1730, Johannes, his wife, five sons, his daughter, Anna and her husband, Peter Fetherolf, travelled down the Rhine River to Rotterdam. They sailed to England, boarded the ship "Thistle of Glasgow", and set sail for America. Johann took ill and died and was either buried at sea or buried on the banks of the Delaware River. The remainder of the family landed at Philadelphia, on Aug. 29, 1730, and in the following year located in the part of Philadelphia County that is now included in Berks County.
A son, Johann Paul, married Margaretha Maurer and they had nine children. Paul,
the eighth child, married Sarah Groscoff, who died after giving birth to a son they
named Solomon. Johann Paul then married Hannah Breil who bore him eleven
offspring. The ninth child, Moses, married Leah Manmiller and they had nine children.
The eighth was Harrison, who married Bridgetta Mangel and they had seven children.
The fifth child was Cora Bridgetta.
Baird Bryan attended the Bethlehem church with his mother as the family lived in Bethlehem and in 1913 he was recommended for the ministry by the Bethlehem class. He began his ministry that year serving at the circuit of Blandon, Fleetwood and Terre Hill. In 1916 at Annual Conference, held in Philadelphia, he served as Assistant Secretary and on Saturday, September 23, it was resolved that: “the Brethren B. Bryan Musselman and H.A. Kauffman be ordained on Sunday afternoon.” He served at Reading from 1918 -1920 and then became the pastor at Bethel Church, Allentown, where he remained for twenty-five years. Under his ministry it became one of the most influential evangelical churches in the Lehigh Valley. In 1920 he was elected Second - Vice Presiding Elder and in 1925 he became First Vice - Presiding Elder. B. Bryan assumed other responsibilities and when William George Gehman died in 1941 it appears that B. Bryan assumed William’s offices of both Presiding Elder and head of the Gospel Heralds. Active in civic affairs he worked with the Community Chest and annual March of Dimes drives. In 1942 he was the chairman of the Mile O’ Dimes campaign.
B. Bryan continued with the Gospel Heralds and as pastor at Bethel Church but trouble was brewing. Rumors began to circulate. No charges were put into writing but B. Bryan was removed as head of the Gospel Heralds in 1946. On October 17 he resigned from the ministry stating that “I have been unable to continue as an itinerant in the Conference because of other commitments … I hereby ask the Annual Conference of the M. B. in C. Church to accept my resignation from the active ministry … to take effect at the close of the session with the signing of the minutes.” His obituary noted that he resigned to give full time to his radio ministry. Baird Bryan was struck by a car in 1954 and never fully recovered. He died on July 27, 1957. The funeral was conducted by Franklin B. Hertzog, the District Superintendent of the Allentown District. He was buried in the Grandview cemetery in Allentown.
His oldest son, Reuel, followed his father’s interest in radio. He graduated from the RCA Institute in New York City and became a radio engineer. He and his sister, Olivia, operated station WSAN in Allentown from 1949 to 1980. He also raised hackney ponies on his farm. Reuel became the director of the Lehigh County Agricultural Society and the Allentown Fair and also served as president of the Girl’s Club of Allentown and the Whitehall Exchange Club. In May, 1948 he married Joyce Keller, the daughter of Charles and Helen Keller. Jill Davidson, in a paper on significant lay people, noted that Reuel and Joyce were members of the Allentown church and Joyce began writing to missionaries. Jill wrote, “The missionaries responded, also sharing prayer requests. With the information she received, she wrote a folksy letter for the missionaries to give them news about the other missionaries and churches. Other churches found out about it and asked for the letters to be sent to them which they then duplicated and distributed. Out of this project Joyce developed the monthly prayer calendar which she wrote for over thirty years…”
Reuel died on Friday, September 21, 2001 after his tractor overturned on him on his farm. Services were held on Monday, July 30 at the Cedar Crest Church and he was buried in the Grandview Cemetery.
The son of Christian Musselman, David, hosted the meeting that gave rise to a new Conference, now known as the Bible Fellowship Church. A great - granddaughter, Sarah, married a pastor and became an assistant pastor herself. Many of his descendants have continued the vision both as pastors and lay people. We thank God for the Musselmans.
by Richard E. Taylor
Who is L. F. Haas? And, who were the Heavenly Recruits? How were we connected with holiness movements of the 1890's?
The Annual Conference Minutes of 1890 noted that Elder Frank Haas of the Heavenly Recruits was accepted as an advisory member of the conference. Most of the Annual Conferences were visited at one time or other by people who were made advisory members. In June, 1861, the preachers were joined by Levi Lukenbach, preacher of the River Brethren congregation, D. S. Tobias, preacher of the German Reformed Church, J. A. DeMoyer, preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Henry Althouse, preacher of the Evangelical Congregation. They all came from Center County, Pennsylvania. These men probably represented fruits of the revivals that were going on. They came to check on what was happening and perhaps to be checked on. They show the effects of revival networking as men of kindred spirit came to fellowship with fellow lovers of revival. While these four men did not stay, another visitor that year, Eusebius Hershey, did stay. In November, 1861, Jonas Schulz came to visit and also stayed. Christian Peffley, of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, was a frequent visitor at the conferences but never became a preacher with us. In 1864, Levi Jung came with Eusebius Hershey and was licensed to visit families and share the Gospel. That was how it went.
In 1890, Elder Frank Haas appeared like many before. That year he was joined by A. Ziegenfuss of the Evangelical Congregation, William Mohr and William Laros from Baptist Congregations, and William Bamford and F. M. Brady from the Methodist Episcopal Church. They had come to see and perhaps appreciate the zeal and fire that was reflected in these Mennonite Brethren Churches. On Wednesday of the conference, Haas was invited to preach a sermon on Acts 3:1-9. In 1891, he returned for a second visit.
Levi Frank Haas was born in 1856 near Reading, Pennsylvania, to William and Elizabeth Haas. By 1880, he was married to his wife, Chestie, and living at 1853 Darien Street in Philadelphia where he worked as a salesman. Their marriage would produce 10 children, 4 of which survived to adulthood.
An article on the history of the Evangelical Christian Church states,
In 1882 L. Frank Haas, along with four others, conducted open-air and hall meetings in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These efforts resulted in the conversion of many people. Haas and his coworkers assumed spiritual leadership for this rapidly growing fellowship of new Christians.
While the organization of a church was not the original plan, the necessity of organizing was soon realized. The converts needed to be established in holiness of heart and life and opportunities were opening for the expansion of the work into other communities. The name Heavenly Recruit Association was chosen and the new organization was granted a charter by the city of Philadelphia in 1884.
The evangelistic ministry spread rapidly into the areas surrounding Philadelphia. Churches were soon established in Chester and West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware. New missions were organized at other locations in eastern Pennsylvania and in the state of Indiana. At the Annual Conference held at Linwood, Pennsylvania, in 1889, resolutions were passed to establish an itinerant ministry, elect a presiding elder, and station pastors. Haas, president of the association was elected the first Presiding Elder.
In a book entitled, Idyls of the Old South Ward, by John E. McDonough, the author states,
The Old South Ward always had its full quota of churches. Indeed it was fertile field for creation of churches. The Heavenly Recruits, afterwards the Holiness Christian Association, was organized by the Rev. Jonas Trumbauer in Old South Ward and was for many years an active and zealous instrumentality in the field of Christianity, at least as long as it was permitted to have the fervor of its pioneers to direct it.
Jonas Trumbauer, interestingly enough, was from Lower Milford Township in Lehigh County and may himself have been a product of the revivals there.
The Heavenly Recruits were experiencing some of the turmoil of revival churches that had not thought about their organization and development. The history of the Evangelical Christian Church gives more information.
At the tenth Annual Conference, held at West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, in 1894, the denomination, which had outgrown the limitations of the original charter, voted to reorganize. At this time the church at Philadelphia withdrew, claiming the original charter and name. The conference then adopted the name Holiness Christian Association, elected Rev. C. W. Ruth as Presiding Elder and continued their sessions as the first Annual Conference of the reorganized denomination.
Christian Wismer Ruth had been born in Bucks County. In 1882, he had been
hired to work at the printing establishment of John Stauffer in Quakertown.
One of his colleagues was the son of a preacher named Harvey B. Musselman.
As he left one Friday afternoon, H. B. told C. W. that he was going to attend a
camp meeting. C. W. feared that H. B. would talk about what he had
experienced. As he anticipated, when H. B. returned, his discussions put C.
W. under conviction. He was converted or awakened through these events. C.
W. would leave for Indianapolis in 1884 to take a position with a printer there. He brought the Heavenly Recruits ministry with him and began a work there. He became an itinerant evangelist noted in the holiness movement and quickly rose to prominence. He is noted in the history of the Church of the Nazarene as one of the founders of that church.
In a picture taken in about 1885, probably in Reading, C. W. Ruth appears with 4 Mennonite Brethren in Christ preachers, Musselman, Gehret, Fidler and Hillegass. The timing of the photo probably indicates that C. W. had come for a visit or a preaching engagement and had joined his friends for a photo. Perhaps they wanted their photo taken with a man who had suddenly become a rising star.
In 1887, W. B. Musselman had an enthusiastic response to the Heavenly Recruits. “Brother L. Frank Haas and his co-laborers, belonging to the “Heavenly Recruit Association” held a three day convention in our Chapel here for the edification of the church, &c. I must say, I never witnessed such power before. The Gospel was preached in its simplicity. Since the convention we have, not only evening, but afternoon holiness meeting, and people from all churches are taking part and some are being sanctified every day.”
The Annual Conference Minutes of 1891 notes the visit of C. W. Ruth from the Heavenly Recruits of Indianapolis. C. W. returned for another visit in 1897.
In, 1895, C. H. Brunner reported on the camp meeting at Spring City. He wrote, “Bro. Andrew Good of Ohio, Bro. C. C. Brown and Sister Short of the Holiness Christian Association, and many others did noble service for the Master. They have been wonderfully used to sound forth the straight uncompromising Bible truths against sin like a mighty trumpet.” In April, 1899, H. B. Musselman, stationed then at Mt. Carmel, notes that he had preached twice in the Holiness Christian Church and expected to preach there again.
The accumulation of these facts seems to indicate that our “holiness” connection was strong. C. W. Ruth was associating with our preachers. In 1889, L. F. Haas was made presiding elder of the Heavenly Recruits. In 1890, he first visited the Annual Conference. In 1895, the Holiness Christian Assocation was being well received at our camp meeting. In 1899, H. B. Musselman is preaching in a Heavenly Recruit Church, now called the Holiness Christian Church.
L. F. Haas returned for a visit to the Annual Conference in1899. In 1902, Haas returned again, this time to stay awhile. He was received again as an advisory member. Later, it was noted that he had presented himself as a candidate for ministry, he was examined and approved and assigned to serve the Northampton / Cementon circuit. $30.00 was approved for his moving expenses.
For the next six years, Haas served Mennonite Brethren churches; 1902 - Northampton, 1903-04 - Emmaus and South Allentown, 1905-07 - Hatfield and Quakertown. The late Valeria Boyer, granddaughter of Jacob (Rose Jelly) Moyer, wrote in our newsletter of July, 1994,
After a number of years in Canada he [Jacob Moyer] returned to his native Pennsylvania where he met, and married, Jane Blackburn who was 20 years his junior. An interesting story is told by Byron [Cassel] about their wedding by Rev. Frank Haas, then pastor of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church in Graterford [?]. When our grandparents presented themselves at the parsonage and requested to be married, Rev. Haas was dubious. At that time grandfather had no steady employment and there was the difference in their ages. "Well," said Rev. Haas, "I must have a witness for the Lord before I can marry you!" He then left the room and, after a two-hour session with the Almighty, returned to our grandparents and proceeded to marry them.
Then came the 1908 Annual Conference. The first session recorded, “Committee on Examination of Traveling Elders: We have examined the Traveling Elders and found no complaint but all found satisfactory. L. Frank Haas has been suspended so we did not examine him.” No clues are given in the Annual Conference minutes that offer an explanation. Whatever happened had happened by the time conference began. Later, the conference recorded, “Resolved, That we meet as a Committee of the Whole in the basement of the church this evening at 7:30 to consider matters relative to the Orphanage and Home, to L. Frank Haas, the work of the Executive Board and other business that may present itself.” The Committee of the Whole was the way the men could meet to talk openly about a problem without having to tell about it. While we know there was a problem, we don’t know what they talked about. We only know their conclusion. “WHEREAS, Charges have been preferred against L. Frank Haas, causing his suspension, which charges were sustained and admitted to, therefore
Resolved, That he be no longer a member of our Church and Conference.” Whatever it was, it was serious enough that they removed him. Was it moral or theological? Perhaps something will show up to tell us.
In 1910, Haas and his family were living again in Reading at 1109 Douglass Street. He listed his occupation as that of real estate agent. In 1930, he was still in Reading, now at 845 Schuylkill Avenue. He was serving as a clergyman in a Methodist Church. In 1939 -40, at approximately 85 years of age, Haas was listed as the pastor of the Chapel Hill Church of God in York Springs, Pennsylvania.
These observations raise the question of how the connections arose that led to our interest and enthusiasm for the holiness movement. How are the dots connected? There are lots of intriguing connections. 1882 seems to have been a pivotal year. The Heavenly Recruits began in Philadelphia. C. W. Ruth was converted / awakened as a result of his interaction with H. B. Musselman. How does C. W. Ruth become connected to the Heavenly Recruits and the meetings in Philadelphia? Does our interest in the Heavenly Recruits and the Holiness Christian Association come from our attachments to C. W. Ruth? Does Jonas Trumbauer of Lower Milford have a part of the connection? And what about William Ellinger who was living in Philadelphia during these years and not far from where L. Frank Haas was living?
A final note comes from the removal of L. Frank Haas in 1908. Because the conference offered no explanation for its action, we are left to speculate. Our conference had begun its journey away from the holiness emphasis that was promoted by ministries like the Holiness Christian Association / Church. Could it be that L. Frank Haas had begun to express displeasure at the direction the church was taking? The only way to answer is to find someone who was behind the “closed doors” of the Committee of the Whole meeting in 1908. Short of that, speculation is all we have at this time.
1893 Pennsylvania Sampler
January 3, page 12
From Vera Cruz
Bro. Hallman – God bless you in your important calling, is our prayer. Our Quarterly Conference here over Sunday was blessed of God. We could realize the presence of God in power. Bless the Lord! We have been holding revival meetings in Upper Milford for three weeks now. Bro. Weber has been helping us the last week. The Lord is working wonderfully. Many sinners are melted down. Eight have so far found peace according to their confession, five are still at the altar, and fresh ones are coming every evening. The power of God is manifested as I have never seen it before. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Pray for us.
January 10, page 11
By W. B. Musselman
Many gifts have been given and received in the past few weeks but no one received a gift that is in comparison to the Son of God to a lost rebellious world. Consider the giver, his character, then the character and unworthiness of the recipient. Consider he was the Jewel of Heaven beloved of the Father. Consider his love then our ungratefulness, for he is the sole source of our eternal salvation. But glory to His name! He is truly worthy of all acceptance for as many as received Him, He gave power to become the sons of God. Glory to His name! He is not only the source of Life, but the preserver. He is also the bread which came down from Heaven, our spiritual food. Also our righteousness and holiness, clothing.
This gift is not only an ornament but also a gift without which we could not obtain life nor preserve it in this world. Nor will it ever wear out not grow old. It is always new. Yes He is like a mighty bank of riches, jewels and such like of which we may daily unpack yet with all spiritual wisdom we can never fathom its content; the more we find the richer, more sublime, incomprehensible, and unspeakable it will become. O glory! Will you receive it? “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation”?
January 17, page 11
Dear Bro. Hallman.–
May the Lord bless you in your grand work. I am glad to tell you that Jesus saved me from my sins. And He also keeps me ay by day. I am fully trusting in Him this hour. Glory to Him who saved me! Christ is my all in all. He is my wisdom, righteousness, sanctifier and redeemer, and also my healer. A few months ago I took sick suddenly, indeed, I though I had to leave this world, buy my time was not up yet. My brother called for our Elder, Bro. H. B. Musselman, who prayed over me and anointed me with oil, in the name of the Lord, and the prayer was heard. Christ healed me wonderfully. Praise God for such a Physician! Brethren have you got that Physician? Every family should have Him. You need no money, all that He wants is the praise and honor. I am happy in Jesus. Bless the Lord for His goodness towards us. Our Royersford pilgrims are living in Canaan’s happy land where milk and honey richly flow. We are looking for great times in Zion, as it is recorded in the prophesy of Jeremiah. 33:3. “Call unto me and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” We are expecting the answer. God has wonderfully worked in the past. In our last revival meetings, sinners were converted, and believers fully sanctified. Our pastor feels great encouraged in his work, and so do the members. Pray for us. Yours under the blood,
Royersford, Montgomery Co., Pa.
March 28, page 4
Our Sunday School Work
By W. B. Musselman
Our Sunday-school work is a principal part of our church work, and it ought to be looked upon as such. On some places there is a far greater interest on this line than in others, and we can readily see the effect that a good Sunday-school has upon the increase of the membership of the church with which the Sunday-school is connected. Where the Sunday-school is neglected there are generally but a few or no young active members of the church. Where such is the case, the church is to some extent weakened. We need young and old in our church work. Where there is a flourishing Sunday-school work connected with our churches, conducted on pure gospel principles, there is a promising future for our church.
But some may ask, “How can an interesting Sunday-school work be kept up”? We answer from observation. Where there is an interest kept up in our Sunday-school work there are almost without exception some older members of the church connected with the work. They are found amongst the officers, teachers, and in the Bible Classes. Old and young in our Sunday-school means young and old in our church work general. If the older people are too old to take part with the young in our Sunday-school, the natural result will be that the young are too young to get converted, or if they get converted, they imagine themselves too young to take active part with the old in regular church work. O pitiful sight indeed when the church proper and the Sunday-school or the old and young once get divorced!
Vocal music is also a very effectual feature of our schools which always tells for itself, either good or bad. Some of our Pennsylvania Sunday-schools have learned the secret, and where all the old with the young have encouraged the learning of notes, years ago as well as last year when our dear Bro. Shupe from Canada was with us, there the schools have been wonderfully strengthened. One school has almost doubled in numbers since Bro. Shupe has instructed them in vocal music. Good singing is a feature of the Sunday-school work which helps to keep up the interest. Where our people care very little for good singing and sing over and over again the same old hymn, the scholars get tired and will finally drop out. We are compelled to learn music either vocal or instrumental to keep up the interest. Will we learn the notes like our forefathers did or will we come down to the modern way of singing by instrumental music in our Sunday-school? Will we stoop to instrumental music in our school? We say no! a thousand times no! Or will we then keep the old rut, have our own way and sing the old hymns (with new introductions) over and over again, until all are tired of them and our schools are wearisome and monotonous to the scholars, and one class after another dwindles away. What will we do? Will we oppose the learning of notes and take the lazy way of going around trying to catch the tune of some new hymn here and there, of some parties who learned the notes, and then try to sing it to our schools? Or will we study music ourselves and get new hymn books now and then into our schools and introduce new hymns and get a general interest worked up at some sacrifice and expense of our own, by which we can show the Christians, the world, and the devil that a successful Sunday-school can be conducted without stooping to instrumental music. We will not say that there are not good Sunday-schools where people can not sing by note, nor do we desire to advance the idea that old hymns are not as good as new ones, but we do know that wherever there are some Sunday-schools close together that the school which continually introduces new hymns and sings new and old ones will hold its own, and will draw the scholar away from the school which only sings old hymns and never introduces a new hymn unless they caught it in the neighboring Sunday-school. If it is a sin to study notes it is also a sin to learn the tune from some one who studied them. Singing is by tune and the Holy Ghost does not learn us the tunes and whether we learn them by air, from some one who learned them from the notes or from the notes directly it does not matter. We do not believe in publicly correcting the class-leader in prayer-meeting in case he pronounce a word incorrectly, for we are not there for that purpose, but we believe in getting our Sunday-school scholars to read the Scriptures correctly. We do not believe in beating of time in prayer-meeting for we have deeper thoughts but we do believe in correct singing in Sunday-schools and if our Sunday-schools are properly conducted it is natural for the reading and singing to be correct in the church without any effort on the part of the members.
May 2, page 4
Teach the Children
by Mrs. Jonas B. Knerr
This is a subject that lies very close to my heart. Upon the proper training and teaching of our children depends the future prosperity of the church. Besides, I love the children. In all this world, there is nothing so pure, sweet, lovely and lovable as a little child, and it is sad to se on growing up under a bad system of training and sadder still, to see in mature years, the effects of unrestrained evil in the springtime of life.
Parents too often forget that the seed sown in childhood will bear fruit in manhood or womanhood.
If Gospel seed is sown in young and fertile minds the mature life will produce the gospel fruit, provided the seed has received the car it needed till it was able to bear fruit. It must not be planted and allowed to germinate among weeds, which will choke it to death. The weeds must be rooted out, the good seed properly watered, nourished, and cultivated in clean soil, and the fruit will follow as a natural result.
Observation teaches us that there is a great lack of religious teaching among our children. If you reprove a child for using profane language, or for any other wicked act, as is often the case, they will look at you with innocent surprise as if they never had been reproved for wrong-doing.
Even in the Sunday Schools, where they gather from Sabbath to Sabbath, the time, which belongs to their training is taken up by the large scholars in explaining the quarterly lessons which they do not understand and are not benefited by. It would be better to relate some simple Bible story which could interest them.
Are there not hundreds of instances where the children of Christians parents are not properly trained? And is it not lamentable that such golden opportunities go unimproved? My dear fathers and mothers, who neglect the early religious teaching of the children God has given into your keeping, you are missing pleasures and privileges, yea, duties that will be as a poisoned arrow to your remembrance in later years. “Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’ (Eph. 6:4), was not said for naught. It is a divine command, and they who do not feed their children on the bread of the living Gospel will not be found guiltless before God. The only way to keep the dear children from drifting way from us it to get them to love Jesus so much that they will not want the pleasures of the world. This can only be done by a Gospel “nurture and admonition” begun in infancy and continued through life, for where the parent’s control ceases the church’s should begin.
It is a mistaken idea that man’s real state of purity and religious advancement can not equal the ideal. Man’s grandest, loftiest ideal can not excel the Bible standard of holiness. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48). If you as Christian parents would make that divine stature your aim, and teach your children also to aim to reach that high standard there would be less mourning for wayward children than there is today.
We fail oftentimes, simply because we expect to fail in what we undertake, but parents who undertake the sacred duty of training immortal souls for glory, should never think of failure. Faith never fails nor falters. She is founded upon the solid Rock – Jesus Christ – in whom is strength for every duty. Here the true parent rests the hope of the children’s Christian attainments, and labors that both in teaching and example their lives shall be an honour to God and his holy cause. “And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deu. 6:6,7). “That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Psalms 78:67). This was a divine command to our fathers, to teach their children the statues of Israel, that they might not forget the good way set before their fathers. It is no less a command to-day. “To bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” means nothing less than, teach them what Jesus taught you and admonish them as he has admonished, you to bid them cleave to that which is good (Rom. 12:9), and to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22), perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (Cor. 7:1). “that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Thess. 4:12).
July 25, page 12
From Upper Black Eddy
Dear Bro. Hallman and readers of the Banner. --
Our tabernacle meetings here have been owned of God and attended by much blessing. On the 7th and 8th two large loads came down from Coopersburg. The Lord made them a great blessing to the tabernacle meetings. Shouts were heard in the camp and victory was on the side of the Lord and His people. Praise His name. Bro. Fidler was with us the greater part of three weeks and was a great blessing to all, as were also Bro. Dreisbach, Bro. Musselman, and sister Musselman. On Friday Bro. Detwiler and sisters Nora Brunner and Lizzie Christman arrived from Norristown. We indeed rejoiced to see the “reinforcements coming up.” Yesterday (Sunday) a number of Springtown pilgrims were here. In the morning Bro. Detwiler preached on baptism after which two were baptized in the Delaware. In the afternoon two were sanctified and one reclaimed. In the evening three were admitted into church-fellowship. Truly this was a great day in Zion on account of the Lord’s presence. The services were all blessed and spiritual, praise His name.
“The devil’s mad and I am glad,
He lost some souls he thought he had.”
Last Tuesday we baptized a dear aged brother near Erwinna who had been sick of a chronic disease for some time and was very weak. The doctors had given him up, but the Lord blessed him at the baptism and he is steadily improving in health since. Praise the Lord, if human aid fails and the wise of this world stand back we can give the case over into the hands of the great Physician with great confidence and He never fails. We are all greatly encouraged in the Lord’s work.
Last night (18th inst) we closed our tabernacle meetings here by short farewell addresses by all the workers. The Lord was with us and the attendance was good. In the afternoon we had a solemn and impressive feet-washing and communion service. This was the first time that feet-washing had been observed at this place, and none but a few had ever seen it before. Deep impressions have been made upon some souls. May the Lord bless them and lead them out into the full liberty. The dear pilgrims of this place and Erwinna have been greatly encouraged. Although the visible results were not so great as might be desired still we believe that a solid work has been done and trust that many a good seed has been sown. I believe that a great part of the success of our entrance into this community is due to the faithful prayers of a dear brother in our church who had been pleading and praying for years that the Lord would send somebody to bring the full gospel to these dear people. He can now already reap the earnest and ultimately the fulness of the travail of his soul. Yours saved,
C. H. Brunner
July 17th 1893
August 1, page 2
by W. B. Musselman
This subject has been discussed to some extent in the columns of our dear church organ and with some interest and faith on the part of a few apparently; but we believe the greater portion of the church have never thought of such a thing. We will speak the mind of the Pa. conference only, to the best of our knowledge. This conference is not prejudiced against education, we confess that we feel the lack of it to some extent, still we cannot in any way support the Mennonite school movement. We sincerely believe it to be a failure even if such a school could be established. Our people here would not send their small children away from home training and influences simply to get into a Mennonite school, while they have good public schools right within their bonds. And even if the children are 16 or 18 years of age and well advanced in their studies very few would be sent hundreds of miles away from home while there are good High Schools all around us. We believe we would not have sufficient material in our church to keep up the school, nor money to even start a school to compete with our neighbor churches and consequently being inferior in architecture, surroundings, and many other things generally connected with such schools, we could not expect to draw any support from other churches who have grand schools of their own, nor from the public in general, and we would not undertake to promise any scholars from Pa. conference (we know the mind of the conference).
Again we would say, that although we are in favor of good education and feel the need of more, yet we cannot support such a school financially, for this conference would be unwilling to undertake any more just now, as we believe in paying our honest debts, and we assumed the responsibility of paying our portion of the printing office debt, which we paid immediately after assessment, and as we were unable to raise it all at once we borrowed some money toward paying what we all honestly owed, and now we are raising that borrowed amount which will just set us free from such debts, and we have not the least idea that we as a conference will assume any more of a similar character. We expect to see more and more money paid out in our conference in the future, but for missionary purposes, etc., and in case there are such who want to take a theological course, we know that there are places now to go without putting a burden on our small Mennonite denomination. There is the Christian Alliance Training College 690 eighth Ave. New York City, (and others,) under the influence of tried, deep, spiritual men, while we fear our trouble would be to get teachers of the right stamp who were real Mennonites. Such who are real spiritual might lack education, and such who are, or would be seeking the office, even if sufficiently educated might lack true spirituality and spiritual understanding, while they would represent Mennonitism. Better not do too much educating at the feet of Gamaliel.
More Gospel Heralds
In the last few months, these names have been added to the list of men who served in the Gospel Heralds. Some names you will recognize while others are still a mystery. The earlier list of Heralds was in our August, 2007, issue.
David J. Davis
C. J. Edward
H. Walter Feldges
William O. Hannon
William S. Hottel
Emmanuel E. Kublic
H. Frank Meltzer
George W. Reed
George M. Reinbold
William H. Stutzman
S. Oscar Willow
W. W. Zimmerman
R. W. Zoller
Menno P. Zook
You have reached the end. Time for me to remind you that your memories, questions, observations, and comments are always welcome and, if appropriate, will be shared with others.
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