Four Hundred Years of Life

Posted November 16th, 2018

Reaching one hundred years of age is not uncommon these days.  However, in the McPherson Church of the Brethren, there are four women who turned one hundred in 2018.  That is uncommon!

On January 13, Jeannette Stump celebrated her one-hundredth birthday.  Born in a small town in Oklahoma, she came of age in the panhandle of Texas.  Married to Harley, they served churches in Texas and Oklahoma until McPherson College invited Harley to teach English. Reluctant, as he was “only a pastor”, the College pledged to help him hone his weekly writing and preaching skills into a professorship and so they came to McPherson. Born a Southern Baptist and baptized with her entire family, once backwards in a river, Jeannette found it prudent and “easy as pie” to convert to Church of the Brethren where she was baptized again by immersion, this time three times forward. Harley is gone now, but Jeannette remembers fondly serving churches and the College.  She had two sons, Harl who is a retired medical doctor in Hays, KS and Nelson a retired vocal music school teacher, who while living, had “such a beautiful high-tenor voice”.

On February 5, Gladys Naylor turned one-hundred.  Soon after graduating from McPherson College and marrying, she was immersed in the life and culture of Quito, Ecuador where spouse Kurtis, a conscientious objector, fulfilled his alternative service with Brethren Service Committee by starting a Boys Club. After WWII Gladys moved to Geneva, Switzerland where Kurtis served with the Brethren Service Commission overseeing aid operations in Europe and representing the Church of the Brethren at the World Council of Churches. At the invitation of the Russian Archbishop, they traveled to Moscow where Kurtis preached in a Russian Orthodox Church. Upon their return to the U.S., Gladys served in N.Y.C. as an Executive with Church Women United and they served churches in Denver, Wenatchee, WA and Pomona, CA where Gladys was Executive of the YMCA. These experiences and interactions solidified her deep and life-long commitment to the values of diversity and cross-cultural exchange. She is blessed with four daughters and their families; Merylee, Cherylin, Mariza and Illana.  Still lively, Gladys ponders, “I just don’t feel like one-hundred. How have I lived so long?”

Born one-hundred years ago on May 31st into the Sunnyside Church of the Brethren in Wenatchee, Washington; Hazel Snell was baptized not outside in a creek, as one might imagine for the era, but inside in a baptistery. She was gifted with a beautiful voice and a love for sharing that gift “for the Glory of God”. Only after a stroke in 1999 did she cease singing; in the choir, solos and duets with her beloved husband Art.  Honored as Lifetime Deacons Hazel and Art nurtured their fellow congregants through music and Caregiving. Hazel and Art lived and raised their family in Santa Ana, California.  They stayed there to be a part of daughter Ginny’s life and watch grandchildren grow until moving to Kansas in 1995 to be with son John and grandkids Becky and Amanda.  They were both school teachers and approached life thinking they “might as well be pleasant.”  To that end, Hazel still shares her positive disposition and she and Art’s endless reserve of corny jokes and puns; making it pleasant for us all.

On September 3, Miriam Hoover celebrated one-hundred years of life. Miriam was born into the Church of the Brethren in New Mexico.  Planning on being a professor’s wife and clear she “never wanted to be a pastor’s wife”, she married Wilbur Hoover, a Chemistry Major. Soon after Wilbur was called to the ministry and after Seminary began a series of placements, one of which was in Cambridge, Nebraska at the Afton COB.  He eventually served as the District Executive for Western Plains where they returned after assignments across the Midwest and Central Plains. They raised their children; Modena, Marlin, Marsha and Stewart – in situations Miriam remembers were “occasionally challenging” but because she was “so much in love”, she found a way to make it work.  She remembers when they moved to the Cedars sixteen years ago, they had a house dedication for their duplex.  Now, as she prepares to move again she wonders about having a dedication for “her new digs” in Assisted Living.

These four strong-willed, resilient women all live within the Continuous Care system of the Cedars Retirement Community in McPherson and continue to serve the McPherson Church of the Brethren through the ministries of prayer and presence. With vastly different lives and experiences all four believe they have grown and been nurtured by the Church. Their families of origin and their church family look forward to continuing the journey together – for whatever lies ahead.

Hazel Snell died Thursday, November 15, 2018

Text by Ann Stover and Kathryn Whitacre

Photo by Robert Dell

Musings from Ministry Team Members

Posted October 25th, 2018

Greetings Family,

On Monday I traveled to Great Bend and spent part of the day with others from the Western Plains District talking about what inspires us. For those that were there, I understand that is an oversimplification of the amazing conversations we had, but for the time I was there, I sensed the discussions anchored around what inspires us. Or maybe put differently, what about our communities of faith impact us in such a positive way, that we hunger for more? Spiritually. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally.

I left Great Bend with the words that were shared around our table of worship, and one thought that stuck with me was this: at the core of who we are, as a tribe and as individuals, is a deep desire for connections. We need each other. We need our sisters and brothers walking beside us, breaking bread with us, and serving the world together.

We need people to listen to us when we are hurting. We need folks who can hear our stories, even the darkest elements, and still love and welcome us. We need sisters and brothers who can openly, and honestly, challenge us and hold us accountable. We need spaces to disagree with one another, safely, without fear of losing a friend. We need to be able to sing, to pray, to give of ourselves, to unpack scripture, and we need to do it together, as the body of Christ.

Around our holy table, on Monday, we embodied what the author of Ephesians called the church to be: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and (Creator *changes by Jerry) of all, who is over all and through all and in all.…” Away from the table, we all could have been as different as apples and oranges, but to quote the well-known movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” at that table, “we are all fruit.”

As I drove home and reflected on my sisters and brothers around the table, I smiled and laughed and felt hope. Because the rhetoric of the world, especially in our politically charged climate, seems to push us against each other. But around that table, in that holy space, what might have divided us outside disappeared into the abyss. What walls that the world constructed to separate us, God tore down and helped us create a beautiful tapestry of humanity. Around the table were my fellow pilgrims, my sisters and brothers, who long to experience God in so many ways, and to see the church respond to God’s call to be the church.

Sure, if we were all pressed a little more, we might have strong opinions on how or why the church needs to be the church. I heard my sisters and brothers share that to be the church we must honor each other. That we need each other. That we must protect each other. That we work hard to listen to one another. That we sing songs and plant gardens and laugh and cry and build each other up. What I heard that day, and what spoke to me as I drove home, was that to be the church, we have to be there for one another.

We have to take the chance to be vulnerable for each other. We have to trust each other. We have to believe that the other, in our midst, wants what we want. The world might thrive on creating the us versus them dichotomy, but not so the church. The church creates spaces where we can turn our verbal swords and shields into pruning hooks and plowshares. Around all of the holy tables, we create, we can commune with God and one another, and honor the charge of the author Ephesians, who wrote “…one Lord, one faith, one baptism…” To the glory of God and for our neighbors good. Amen.


¹ Ephesians 4: 4-6 all scriptures come from the New Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

— Jerry Bowen

Good Beginnings Preschool Enjoys Fall Activities

Posted October 25th, 2018

All preschool teachers were glad to connect with parents during parent visits and conferences during October. It was very helpful for teachers and parents both to share and learn more about each child.

In November both classes will focus on Fall and Thanksgiving. The colorful leaves on the fall trees outside are “inviting” us to take a walk and see what else we can find! Some of the older children found a grasshopper on the playground and observed it very carefully.

Books which will help focus our learning include Fresh Fall Leaves, We Love Fall, and
The Leaves Are Falling One by One. The prekindergarten children will easel paint leaves, glue fall tissue paper trees, and stamp a corn shape. The three-year-olds will create leaf rubbings, turkey art, and capital letter collages.

We continue to be amazed at the individuality and enthusiasm the children bring to preschool as they learn and grow!! Thank you for your ongoing support and prayers. Thanksgiving blessings!

Carol Temple, Director

Annual Fall Festival — Sunday, November 4, 2018

Posted October 18th, 2018

Faith Formation Team invites you to the annual

McPherson Church of the Brethren’s Fall Festival.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

6:00 -8:00 PM

We want to take you all back to those spiritual moments

around the campfire sharing stories and singing songs…

Join us for s’mores, chips and dip.

(S’more’s ingredients provided.)

At the home of Barbara and Bruce Wagoner

755 14th Avenue

Looking forward to seeing you there!

News from the Caregiving Ministries Team

Posted October 17th, 2018

The Caregiving Ministries Team will be resuming meetings on the first Mondays of the month, beginning in November. In the coming months we will be reviewing and renewing our vision and mission, seeking guidance from the Spirit and our church family on how best to be the “right ear and right hand” of our congregation. We will be looking at questions such as: What do we do well, and what do we want to keep doing? How do we know what we are missing? What is the best way to establish relationships with persons of all ages within our church family? How well do we practice hospitality? Current Caregiving Ministries Team members are: Doris Coppock, Emilie Dell, David and Bonnie Fruth, Cheryl Hammarlund, Lynne Lichty, Elly Ullom, and Charlotte Loewen, Chair. There are also others who serve as needed. The Caregiving Ministers welcome input at any time regarding our mission and work within the congregation.