The Historical Society

of The Bible Fellowship Church

September, 2002

I am pleased to announce that this publication contains some “firsts” for the Evangelical Mennonites / Mennonite Brethren in Christ / Bible Fellowship Church. For the first time ever we have a list of every pastor who has ever served in our churches. And, for the first time ever, we have a complete list of every place a pastor has served. You will see those lists later. But, they need some explanation. So, grab a cup of coffee or an iced tea and find a soft chair because the explanation is going to take a while.

These lists evoke the memory of Charles Henry Brunner, secretary extraordinaire. For 40+ years he was the secretary of Annual Conference and editor in charge of publishing the Yearbooks which first appeared in 1896. He was apparently a man who enjoyed lists and keeping statistics. The 1896 Yearbook contains a list of all the annual and semi-annual conferences which had been held including date, location, chairman and secretary at each one. He later added a list of general conferences with year and place with the names of the Pennsylvania delegates.

In 1908, he added a new list entitled, Record of Appointments. He listed each church and the pastor who had served in each church. He began the record with 1874. A glance at the minutes in Verhandlungen gives the explanation for beginning that year. Prior to that, pastoral appointments were not recorded. From that time on, the Annual Conference recorded the assignments of pastors and so a list was easy to maintain. Other lists would be added. In 1917, he began a list of camp meetings including year, number of tents and locations. Some of the meetings would probably be unknown if it were not for his list.

At several times, the list of appointments was updated. In a poignant way, we note that the list was updated in 1941, the last year of C. H. Brunner’s work as secretary and editor. Those who followed in the task of editor, made a couple of updates. The last update of the pastoral assignment list included in a yearbook was in 1952. All assignments from 1874 to 1952 can be found there.

The task of updating the list fell next to Willard Cassel. I am now into the area of my own recollections which may add an additional error factor. However, if my recollections are faulty, someone who reads this with better recollections will lovingly and gently correct my error (and I will be glad for it). Willard gathered all the data from 1953 to 1976 and included it in the Faith and Order published that year. He did a further update bringing the list up to the year 1993. That is the last bit of listing that has occurred and now the list is only 8 years out of date which is not so bad.

A few years ago, the Historical Committee talked about computerizing the list and I suppose the bug took hold of me because I knew how to do it on the computer. And so, a few weeks ago, the project was completed. I worked for a couple of years entering the data that allows us now to have access to all the information that C. H. Brunner and Willard Cassel had collected and maintained. Now that information is at your fingertips (if your fingertips are at home on a computer keyboard).

From this computer list, it was possible to compile complete lists of both men and places that have been part of our history.

But our explanation needs to take us in another direction. Some are going to ask why some places are listed and others are not? Why do some men appear and others do not? The quick answer is that I have reproduced the data which Brunner and Cassel recorded. That does not entirely answer the question because there is a background to the original decisions.

The explanation needs to consider how and why places were chosen for assignments. Prior to 1874, we have almost no idea about how places were chosen in which to plant churches. It seems that the decisions about opening churches were pretty dependent on the pastors. When they were located, they simply looked for additional places to preach. There does not seem to be some well thought out strategy. Some of these new preaching places yielded fruit and the church was born. In June, 1868, the Conference minutes include the following: “4. It was decided that on the first Sunday of every month until the next Conference, one of the brethren should travel to Juniata county to preach there and to look for new preaching places, to make family visits and to preach while traveling back and forth wherever there is a request.” (Verhandlungen, page 55)

That is as much of a statement of strategy that we will get from this era.

Later, church starts became more deliberate and yet the rationale for the choices is not always clear. In some cases, men simply started preaching in another town. In other cases, the committees of Annual Conference seem to recognize the need in a town and sent someone to preach.

Later, the Gospel Workers and Heralds fanned out over Pennsylvania and into New Jersey. They might make the choice to go into a geographical area. For instance, a number of church plant attempts took place in the Coal Regions. Someone had a vision for the area. On occasion, individuals might request that a church be planted in their area. Not all of these attempts became established churches. You may see names of towns you don’t recognize or have long since forgotten.

With the Home Mission Department, later the Church Extension Department, church starts became more strategic and plans were formulated and followed. With the end of the Gospel Heralds and the beginning of the Home Mission Department in the early 1950's, more deliberate strategy began to guide.

The assignment of men is documented since it became a function of the Annual Conference to make assignments of men. Prior to 1874, little is know about who served where and how they came to serve there. After 1874, assignments were made by the Annual Conference and recorded in its minutes. The assignments were simply recorded in the minutes. In 1880, the task of making the assignments was given to the Stationing Committee. Their report indicated where men were to serve in the following year. The minutes of 1885 indicate that the Stationing Committee was composed of the Presiding Elder and all the delegates at Conference. In 1893, the Committee was identified as the Stationing and Boundary Committee which is more likely to be recognized by some of the older readers of this publication. In 1896, this committee became the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee. Clearly, many significant decisions would flow from this group of men.

In addition to having read the minutes of many conferences, I have listened to many a story of a retired pastor and have gained an impression of how the process worked. The roll of the pastors would be called. The pastors would respond with one of two responses, “unconditional” or “conditional.” The correct response was, of course, unconditional. That was the indication that a pastor would go wherever he was assigned. If he answered, conditional, he had better have a good reason for answering that way. A good reason for being conditional was sickness which was often the indication when a man answered that he was conditional. The men who answered, conditional, but had no good reason were not going to make it. After the statement of the pastor’s intentions, the will of the church (determined by the annual poll taken in the local church) was added to the intentions of the pastor (conditional or uncondtional) and mixed with the needs of the denomination (brought by the presiding elder or district superintendent) and a decision was made. In the final days of this process, the decisions of the Stationing Committee were announced on Thursday evening after which the pastor called home and told his wife to pack or that they were staying for another year. On Sunday morning, the church might see a familiar face in the pulpit or an entirely different one. The people might not know until they arrived.

Another factor came into play when a man’s assignment was considered - the time limit. I have heard on many occasions about the time limit which was said to be between 3 to 9 years. While doing my rather quick survey about how pastors were assigned, I found no reference to a time limit. The data suggests that there was no pattern. At most times, you can find a pastor whose assignment and re-assignment went far beyond a time limit. The fact that I found no reference to a time limit may mean that I did not look in the right place or look hard enough. If someone can find reference to the limit, it will fill out our understanding. If there ever was a rule regarding a 3 year time limit, it apparently never found its way into print.

To find references to a time limit, I had to go forward to the studies done in preparation for the current system of pulpit supply. By working back from that I came to 1945 where the following was recorded, “Resolved, That we go on record as favoring a time limit for Pators and Presiding Elders, and that we petition General Conference to permit us to determine the tenure of service.” [Page 32- 1945 Yearbook] Four years later, the following was approved by the Annual Conference, “Resolved, That we establish a time limit of nine years duration for our Pastors and Presiding Elders. Resolved, That this plan be retroactive.” [Page 28 - 1949 Yearbook]

For many years, the time limit may have been an unwritten rule or a guideline followed in the privacy of the Stationing Committee meetings or it may have been one of the guidelines which were applied when it was convenient for some reason.

Throughout the later half of the decade of the 1960's, the Annual Conference studied and discussed the matter of how pastors would be assigned to churches. The discussion ended and a new system of pulpit supply began in 1971. The following decision put the new system in place:


Resolved, that we declare that our Pulpit Supply System shall become effective at the adjournment of the 88th Annual Conference, October 15, 1971. This means that all relationship established at this Annual Conference shall continue indefinitely. It also means that each of the churches that is without a pastor has the privilege of invoking all of the provisions of our system immediately.

Resolved, The we declare that the “FORM OF CALL” shall be used by each particular church when it next calls a pastor to its pupit. IT is the recommenatin of the Committee, howevre, that each of our hurches make an effect when itis establishing it next budget, to bring its financial support of its Pastor into line with the provisions contained in the “FORM OF CALL.”

Resolved, that the Ministerial Relations Committee accept the care of the churches that are without pastors at the adjournment of the 88th Annual Conference on October 15, 1971. [Page 26 - 1971 Yearbook]

Well, there you have it. The explanation of the lists that follow. As you read the names of the men who have served, you will recognize many and perhaps recall the day of your conversion or the service of your baptism or a special characteristic. These pastors, past and present have served in God’s project of building His church. You can thank Him for His goodness in giving them. As you review the list of the places where men served, memories of meetings and buildings now gone and times nearly forgotten will be aroused.

At the conclusion of the lists, you will find some pictures which allow you to put faces to some of the names. Three pages of pictures are taken from the 1929 Yearbook in which a photo album of pastors was printed. The last page is of photos I have collected.

The first list is the list of places where men were assigned. Some of these places were listed because Gospel Heralds were assigned there. In those cases, we never had an established church there. I have included them in the list because they were added to the data. There are a number of missions which were not included. I won’t try to answer why some made it and some did not. For sake of space and ink, when a place is in Pennsylvania, the state is not listed. How many of these places do you recognize?


           Allentown (Bethel)

Allentown (Cedar Crest)

Allentown (Lighthouse)

Allentown (Salem)



Belvidere NJ


Binghamton NY



Brooklyn NY (1)

Brooklyn NY (2)

Camden NJ

Camden DE

Carmel NY

Chesapeake VA




East Stroudsburg


Edison NJ

           Piscataway NJ

Elizabeth NJ


Englishtown NJ

           Aberdeen NJ



Finesville NJ


Franklin NJ

Freehold NJ



Glendale LI NY


Hackettstown NJ





Holmes NY

Howell NJ

Irvington NJ

Jersey City NJ




Las Cruces NM




Mays Landing NJ

Miller Heights


Mt Carmel

Mt Pocono


Neptune NJ

New Fairfield CT

New Tripoli

Newark DE

Newark NJ (2)

Newark NJ (1)

           Denville NJ





Ocean County NJ



Philadelphia (Wissinoming)

Philadelphia (Roxborough)

Philadelphia (Salem)

           Maple Glen

Philadelphia (West)

Philadelphia (Emmanuel)

Phillipsburg NJ


Pleasant Valley NY

Port Richmond NY

Staten Island NY

Poughquag NY



Red Hill


Richardson Park DE




Sinking Spring

Somers Point NJ

Spencer MA

Spring City




Terre Hill

Thompson CT

Trenton NJ

Union County NJ


Wappingers Falls NY

           Beacon NY

Washington NJ


Western, PA

Whaley Lake NY

Wilkes Barre

Wilmington DE



The second list is the preachers who served prior to 1874 whose names do not appear in the Brunner / Cassel lists.

Henry Diehl

Charles Ehrig

Jacob Gottschall

David Henning

Eusebius Hershey

William Hunsberger

Levi Jung

David Lambert

Sidenham Lambert

Joseph L. Romig

Joel Rosenberger

David Schwartz

William N. Shelly

Abraham W. Stauffer

Abel Strawn

The third list is the list of preachers. How many do you recognize or know?

Allen, Daniel P.

Allen, Russell T.

Armstrong, W. David

Arnold, Jonathan W.

Arnold, Raymond E.

Baer, Paul Edwin

Baker, Delbert R.

Barber, Kenneth F.

Barnhart, Donald

Barrall, Jacob Franklin

Barshinger, Thomas

Bartron, William H.

Batchelor, James R.

Bean, Ernest Wismer

Beil, James A.

Beil, Thomas J.

Bennett, Charles Lawrence

Bergstresser, Robert

Betz, W. C.

Bickel, LeRoy J.

Bitting, Owen

Bomgardner, Clyde D.

Boone, Clifford B.

Boyer, James L.

Branning, David L.

Brosius, Bert N.

Brunner, Charles Henry

Brush, R. Jerome

Bult, Dean

Burnett, Raymond G.

Butler, Brian H.

Byrd, Terris L.

Cahill, Dennis M.

Campbell, George A.

Campbell, M. Leslie

Carpenter, Larry A.

Carver, David

Cassel, Alva C.

Cassel, Carl C.

Cassel, Emanuel Nyce

Cassel, Willard Emanuel

Chappell, David W.

Clapier, G. Wayne

Clark, Gerald D.

Clauser, Alfred Monroe

Clewell, T. E.

Clineff, Kevin W.

Coble, Bernard N.

Cole, Charles E.

Commerford, Robert S.

Cook, David L.

Cooper, Brian H.

Coulbourn, Hugh C.

Cowen, Timothy S.

Crossgrove, Andrew T.

Curcio, Louis S.

DeLozier, Daniel F.

Denlinger, Ronald K.

Detwiler, Noah

Dickert, Robert William

Dodge, Dennis

Dommel, Albert J.

Donche, D. Shane

Dotts, Raymond R.

Dowling, Willis I.

Draper, Robert L.

Dreisbach, Robert D.

Duane, William H.

Dunn, John

Dunn, William J.

Edmunds, W. F.

Edwards, C. J.

Ellingson, Bruce A.

Ellwanger, Donald R.

Entler, Robert J.

Erb, Ronald C.

Ettinger, Milton W.

Feldges, H. W.

Fidler, Joshua E.

Fischer, Jr., Carl J.

Flyte, Edwin H.

Frable, Arthur H.

Frank, Walter H.

Franklin, William B.

Fretz, William J.

Frey, F. E.

Frey, Samuel H.

Frisbie, Arthur J.

Fritz, Harvey J.

Gardner, Reynold D.

Gehman, Rudy Hollinger

Gehman, Richard J.

Gehman, William George

Gehman, William

Gehret, Adam B.

Gehret, Timothy D.

Golla, John E.

Good, Kenneth L.

Gordon, Norman F.

Graybill, William L.

Grossman, Randall A.

Gundrum, David E.

Haas, L. Frank

Hagy, Ronald C.

Harding, W. Neil

Harris, Richard D.

Hartman, Ernest B.

Hartman, Herbert Weidner

Hartman, Jansen Ellsworth

Hartman, Wilbur Weidner

Haws, Mark D.

Head, Jimmy D.

Heffner, William A.

Heffner, William F.

Heimer, Thomas

Heineman, David N.

Heiser, Elwood L.

Heller, LeRoy S.

Henning, David

Henry, Joseph B.

Herb, Frank L.

Herb, George E.

Herb, John H.

Hertzog, Franklin Benneville

Hertzog, Roy A.

Heywood, E. R

Hibbs, Donald R.

Hillegass, Oswin S.

Hosler, Earl M.

Hottel, Frank M.

Hottel, Winfred Bruce

Hottel, William Solomon

Huratiak, Glenn R.

Jansen, Ronald

Johnson, Robert F.

Jones, David H.

Kauffman, Abraham

Kauffman, Horace A.

Keeler, Kenneth D.

Kirkpatrick, Kevin R.

Kirkwood, Clarence Edward

Kirkwood, Donald T.

Kline, M. H.

Kline, Richard H.

Knauer, Donald R.

Knerr, Jonas B.

Knerr, Sylvester B.

Koch, James G.

Kramer, Charles E.

Kratz, Harvey K.

Kublic, Emmanuel Edward

Kuder, Paul B.

Lambert, Sidenham

Lawrence, Dennis J.

Layne, James B.

Layton, C. M.

Lea, Herbert K.

Lehr, William E.

MacMillan, Thomas P.

Mahurin, Ronald C.

Marshall, Barbabas

Martin, Carl T.

Martin, Eli W.

McConnell, Charles J.

McCreary, J. Mark

McIntyre, Robert Ellsworth

Merrill, W. H.

Miller, Charles Leslie

Minnig, Robert

Minsky, Barry J.

Morrison, Christopher J.

Morrison, Mark L.

Morrison, Philip E.

Moyer, Jacob A.

Moyer, Jerry L.

Moyer, Richard A.

Mull, William W.

Munyan, Edmund H.

Musselman, Allen Brunner

Musselman, Baird Bryan

Musselman, Elvin H.

Musselman, Harvey Brunner

Musselman, Jonas

Musselman, Paul Jonas

Musselman, Samuel M.

Musselman, William Brunner

Neff, William L.

Neher, James E.

Overpeck, Leon K.

Paashaus, Richard T.

Paul, Robert

Phillips, D. Thomas

Plows, Keith E.

Prontnicki, Louis

Ramos, Elliot H.

Ravis, Richard B.

Reed, Calvin T.

Reed, John

Reichenbach, Robert C.

Reinhart, V. H.

Reitz, Donald

Reitz, Roger

Riddell, David W.

Riggall, John H.

Ritter, Ralph E.

Robinson, Brent

Robinson, Frank T.

Roth, John C.

Ruhl, Jeffry L.

Ruth, Richard R.

Rutman, Elmer James

Salzman, Robert E.

Schaeffer, Donald B.

Schell, Henry A.

Schlonecker, William G.

Schoen, David N.

Seifert, Arlington L.

Shelly, Austin P.

Shelly, William N.

Shick, Edgar Tettemer

Shireman, John George

Shorb, Thomas P.

Simpson, Jr., Arthur J.

Sloan, Robert A.

Smith, Gene W.

Smith, Larry M.

Smith, Mark T.

Smock, Robert W.

Solt, Mark C.

Soper, Ralph M.

Spackman, Carl K.

Spinney, Dennis W.

Sprock, Arthur M.

Stauff, Leland E.

Stein, C. W.

Steinmetz, Wilson

Stengele, Paul Timothy

Stine, C. W.

Stortz, Dean A.

Stover, John R.

Strawn, Abel

Stringfellow, Robert H.

Studenroth, John C.

Sullivan, Arthur B.

Susek, Jacob J.

Tait, Jonathan P.

Tannous, Michael J.

Tareila, Terry N.

Taylor, Lewis B.

Taylor, Richard Emery

Thomann, David Arnold

Thomann, David Ernest

Trommler, Steven L.

Turnbull, Thomas E.

Uhrich, Gregory A.

Upton, Bryan G.

Van Eck, Stephen R.

Vandegriff, John C.

Vining, Gilbert J.

Vining, Ronald R.

Virr, Paul

Vivona, Allan R.

Watkins, David J.

Watson, G. C.

Way, David R.

Weaber, Harold C.

Weiss, Norman R.

Weller, Dana E.

Wells, Harold N.

Wentz, George A.

Wesley, J. H.

Wickstead, James A.

Widger, Byron

Wilcox, Leroy C.

Wolf, Norman H.

Woodring, Allen G.

Woodring, Richard Lewis

Yarrington, Harold D.

Yerrington, Philip E.

Yoder, Keith L.

Yost, George Franklin

Ziegler, Daniel G.

Ziegler, W. K.

Zimmerman, Paul G.

Zimmerman, William W.

Zyner, Milton A.