Pleasant Grove Mennonite Church had its beginning in 1885, started as a missions outreach of the Northern District churches of the Virginia Mennonite Conference. Today the building is still usable, but no congregation meets there, except for the occasional special service. At the time of this photo, 2015, the pews were still in place inside, with hymnbooks, and a pulpit up front. One hundred and thirty years after it started, the church is closed, begging for research and study on the factors that led to its decline.
Pennsylvania 2015 brought together over 7000 Anabaptists from around the world, representing some 80 countries. Worship was inspiring and the speakers spoke of their lives in the global south. The Brethren Choral Sounds Choir from Zimbabwe (pictured) thrilled the audience with their lively and energetic music. Nearly five centuries later, from their early 16h century origins in Switzerland, Mennonites are now a global people speaking many different languages, but testifying to a common faith in God.
At the ancient Natural Chimneys in Mt. Solon, Virginia, July, 2015, three outstanding musicians charmed, entertained, and thrilled an eager crowd of listeners. Music lovers from many states gathered for three days of inspiring music. Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan performed fine acoustic music for grateful Red Wing Roots festival visitors.
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.
A middle level adjudicatory body met at the Big Spring Mennonite Church, March 9, 2015. The Northern District Council, consisting of around 25 representatives from about a dozen churches in the Virginia Mennonite Conference, welcomed a new congregation, heard overseers reports, and listened to a mission worker present new ideas for church growth.
Friends took a hike on the newly developed Bluestone Trail in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The trail is a function of the city of Harrisonburg and the sprawling and growing comprehensive university that dominates the landscape in the friendly city. Hikers and bikers shared the trail on a sunny day, which all revolved around the fourth president’s namesake school, an outstanding institution in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
The history teacher recently took fifty-five students to Charlottesville, Virginia, to take a one hour tour of the distinguished University of Virginia, and then a three hour tour of the outstanding mansion and grounds of Jefferson at Monticello. The students were challenged by Jefferson’s vision for America, his determination to stand for religious freedom, and his inventive genius.
The 800 year old Magna Carta was on display in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., on December 20, 2014, when the historian and family was privileged to see the historic document. When the nobles insisted on a few basic rights in the face of King John’s tyranny, in 1215, they set a course of representative government in the western world that paved the way for other historic documents of democracy.
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.
The Historian found a Mennonite meetinghouse on Mutton Hollow Road, Greene County, Virginia, on a recent forray off the Skyline Drive. Established as a mission station by the Middle District of the Virginia Mennonite Conference in the early 20th century, the church today, Mt. Hermon Mennonite, is a part of the Southeastern Mennonite Conference.