Yesterday I preached the morning sermon at a Mennonite church in Hartville, Ohio. That’s the town where I grew up. They’ve asked me to write a history book about the congregation.
At the end of the worship service, we sang, “We will follow, we will follow Jesus, we will follow everywhere he goes.” A simple Zimbabwean traditional tune, the song gave congregants the chance to affirm our desire to be followers of Christ.
The message was entitled “Called to Remember,” and I used Exodus 17:14 for my thoughts. Moses had been called to write down Israel’s stories in order to remember them.
I won’t soon forget the simple affirmation and conclusion in song after I preached. With instruments and congregational voices, we affirmed that we want to follow Jesus everywhere he goes.
Uncle Denver S. Yoder, Sr., passed away after 88 years of life and was buried in a traditional Mennonite manner at the Calvary Bible Fellowship, Mt. Perry, Ohio, June 16, 2015. Denver was married to Emma for years, with 11 children, 64 grandchildren, and 136 great-grandchildren. The family gathered around and filled in the grave with dirt, shoveling by hand. Relatives who wanted to help were invited to participate. Denver S. Yoder, Sr., was a godly man and lived a good life.
On October 2, 2014, the historian gave a lecture entitled “Sermons from Barns,” at the Lake Township Historical Society, Ohio. The Society members met in the Richard Werstler barn in North Canton, Ohio. The President of the Society asked to view Elmer S. Yoder’s 230 slides on barns taken over a thirty year span, which Elmer’s son gladly obliged. This is the barn where several hundred folks from northeast Ohio came to view the slide lecture.
It was a pleasure to stay with a Bluffton University host family at an 1852 farm house located on a Nature Reserve connected with the Ohio school. The historic house was built by the earliest Swiss Mennonite settlers to the west-central Ohio community. The historian saw geese, deer tracks, and signs of abundant wildlife, perhaps much like the way it was when the Mennonites migrated to the region decades ago.
The Historian had a very nice visit in the Archives and Mennonite Library at Bluffton University, Bluffton, Ohio. The librarians were friendly, the archives are well-kept, and books written by Historian Elmer S. Yoder from northeast Ohio were soon located on the shelves.
Menno Simons sports a baseball cap on a bust in a plaza at Bluffton University, Bluffton, Ohio, as seen by the Historian at a one day technology conference. Would Menno have launched his own blog?