Update Newsletter

June 2019 Volume 42 Number 7

Historical Showcase Beginning June 20, the cabinet in the foyer will showcase a poem, “A Fatherland Farewell” by Abraham Lehman. Floyd Liechty, responsible for arranging the cabinet, wrote the following regarding this historically influential piece to our church. This heartfelt, profound poetry rendering was written by Abraham Lehman in 1821. The location was near Tavennes Ct, the Canton of Bern Switzerland. It was at that time that he bid farewell to his beloved homeland before he departed on his journey to America. Note his emotions in reference to his family, farm, and personal possessions. Also, note his bidding farewell to the site of his family graveyard. In addition, note his heart of forgiveness of those who persecuted our ancestors. However, his most important possession no man can take away from him was his faith in his Lord and Savior. Abraham Lehman was born on July 1, 1786 and was laid to rest on July 16, 1880. In 1821, he and his wife, Marie Lehman Lehman gathered their 4 children, Anna, Barbara, Isaac, and baby Johannes, just several months old, and started their long journey to America. Prior to their journey, there were other children brought into the Lehman family. However, they had not survived, and their remains stayed in their homeland as the family bid farewell. The Lehmans boarded the ship, Thetis, and headed to a new land and opportunity. Abraham Lehman was 35 years old at that time. When they arrived in America, they resided in Sugar Creek, Ohio. Several of Abraham's siblings had already emigrated from Switzerland to Sugar Creek, Ohio, and were residing there. Their son, Isaac, (March 3, 1818 - March 9, 1885) married Barbara Schenck (June 10, 1826 - January 5, 1898) in Wayne Co., Ohio. The First Mennonite Church in Berne, Indiana's connection to this family involves their son, Abraham S. Lehman. Abraham (May 2, 1846 - August 2, 1889) came to Adams Co. on November 26, 1870, from Kidron, Ohio. He received his formal education from First Mennonite School in Wadsworth, Ohio. He came here to teach and be a school instructor of learning. It was at that time in Berne that he met Marianna Sprunger (January 25, 1849 - April 30, 1915). Marianna was the daughter of Abraham J. and Katarina Sprunger. They were married in Berne on December 28, 1871. After several years of residing in Wayne Co, Ohio, they returned to Berne and lived there for the remainder of their lives. They purchased 23 acres of land and were in partnership ownership of the Grist Mill. This mill was later destroyed by fire. Of their union brought numerous children. One was William Henry Lehman (August 18, 1872-October 30, 1941). He married Caroline Flueckiger, (June 26, 1881 - August 8, 1941) on February 22nd, 1912. Their local children would have been Willis, Dennis, Mary Ann, & Weldon Lehman. Their offspring have been very instrumental in the spiritual and physical wellbeing of the greater Mennonite church and First Mennonite Church in Berne. Members of the Lehman family have served as conference pastors and professors, deacons, trustees, spiritual guidance counsel, Sunday School teachers, and so many other aspects of the Lord's church. TO GOD BE THE GLORY! †


Graduation Sunday Six high school graduates walked across the front of the church on Sunday, June 2, to receive a Bible from youth pastor, Bill Helmlinger. Many walked across a school stage the same day to receive a diploma, marking the accomplishment of graduation. First Mennonite celebrated the graduates through encouraging their participation in the service on Graduation Sunday and by a video interview shown during the service. Through the video, the seniors shared a common special memory in the catechism trip they took together to learn about church history. Students also called First Mennonite their “family” and look for prayer and encouragement as they finish school. They will move into new roles next fall, all as college students. The graduates recognized on Graduation Sunday included: Elizabeth Bluhm, daughter of Jim and Amanda Bluhm Adam Chrisman, son of Jeff and Julie Chrisman Sarah Kloepper, daughter of Darren and Heidi Kloepper Grace Lehman, daughter of Kent and Becky Lehman Michael Richardson, son of Shanti and Dan Miller Adam Scheiner, son of Pat and Laura Scheiner †


Worn Out Shoes and Blurry Vision By Lana Shoaf “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe...” Ephesians 1:18-19a Our eight-year-old son wore through three pairs of shoes over the last school year. When we discovered holes near the toes of his third pair after spring break, we purchased an indestructible pair of hiking shoes with rubber uppers that should last him longer than a few months (we hope)! When considering writing this column, I thought how inspiring it would be to wear out a pair of metaphorical shoes “fitted with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace” in the armor of God outlined from Ephesians 6. I’m not sure how my son manages to destroy an expensive pair of tennis shoes through everyday wear-and-tear, but if I were to practically carry that readiness with me through each day and each point of contact, I am likely to wear through a set of spiritual shoes every few months too. Here’s the kicker. Last week, I took the same son to the eye doctor and guess what? He desperately needs glasses. The eye doctor said if he were a sixteen-year-old at the license branch, he would fail the eye exam to get his license! When the eye doctor pulled a make-shift set of glasses up to our son’s eyes with his new prescription, he couldn’t help but smile. He could see clearly! He is excited to pick up his glasses this week so he can see well. I feel horrible for waiting too long to address his complaints about blurry vision. I was still shaking my head as we walked out of the doctor’s office when I saw his wrinkled and worn, but completely sturdy hiking shoes. And a new thought hit me. Spiritually speaking, this combination of worn out shoes and bad vision is a horrible pairing. Here’s why: I have a lot of great ideas. It’s a curse really. I think they are fabulous, achievable ideas! My husband often listens to an idea and then politely considers the ways in which the plan would be impossible to implement. I call him a pessimist; he says he’s a realist. At any rate, I run in circles at times. In fact, I would say that I have run in circles with my own plans so much in life that I have set out with a pair of shoes fitted with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace only to wear myself down. I’ve lost my vision. I forget where my focus lies and plans become mottled, feelings are hurt, and frustration abounds. Paul evidently saw this in the believers in Ephesus too. His prayer focus was the vision of their hearts. I want the vision of my heart to be set on Jesus and eternity. Perhaps when my spiritual vision is clear, my shoes will be fitted and ready with direction and purpose. I’m not sure my son’s shoe wear-and-tear will stop once he gets his glasses, but I can be sure he will know where he is going! I want to be efficient like that. I want to wear out my shoes, but know where God is leading. Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart! †


Notes of Appreciation Thank you so much for the prayer shawl and “My Little Bible” that you gave us to celebrate Parker’s birth! We feel so blessed to be part of the FMC church family and look forward to raising Parker in the church. Thanks again! Adam, Taylor, and Parker Lehman

I want to thank the congregation for your prayers offered on my behalf for my surgery. It all went well. I am doing fine. I also want to thank Jim and Mary Carol Schwartz for visiting me. Jayne Mann †


Among Our People Jared Dennison was at ACMH on May 1 - 2 with pneumonia.

Dan Dawson had a surgical procedure at Dupont on May 2-3.

Betty Reinhard had a surgical procedure at Lutheran- May 7. C

onnie Nagel was at ACMH on May 11-12 with pneumonia.

Al Neuenschwander was a patient at Bluffton ICU from May 14- 19.

Sharon Wheeler was a patient at ACMH from May 22-June 3 with pneumonia.

Braydon Gilbert had outpatient wrist surgery on May 22.

Jayne Mann had gall bladder surgery at ACMH on May 29-30. †

VBS: “The Incredible Race” During the week of June 3-7, laughter and shouting filled the church patio. Vacation Bible School brought around 120 students to learn about a very important race: the human race. Five continents and various countries shared the spotlight as students learned about the common gift offered to all people, regardless of location, nationality, or language. Among the many successes of VBS this year were eleven new choices to follow Jesus! Children without Bibles were also offered Bibles as a free gift. Collectively, the students brought school supplies for Haitian migrants attending school in the Dominican Republic. These supplies were delivered the following week by the youth team from church going to that location. The Children’s Hunger Fund also benefitted by a friendly competition between the girls and boys at VBS. Each day, totals were announced to calculate whether the girls or boys had donated more money to the Children’s Hunger Fund. Funds donated will purchase meals for those in need. In the end, the boys donated the most, but together the students surpassed the goal, almost doubling it, providing over 10,000 meals to kids around the world. †

Home Going Kent V Sprunger, 89, lifelong resident and building contractor of Berne, passed away on June 10, 2019 at Swiss Village. He was born on February 23, 1930, to Ziggy (Wesley) and Florence (Grime) Sprunger, the youngest of six children. He married Lillian Joyce Baumgartner on April 4, 1955. She survives him at Swiss Village. Kent loved his hometown, his family, his church, and his work. He counted himself fortunate to have work that was his passion and strove to continue the strong tradition of Swiss carpentry, woodworking, and construction. As a young man just returned from US Army service in Germany, he built his first house in 1953 just north of his home place on Sprunger Street. That house was followed by hundreds of residential and commercial projects over the years. He was the general contractor for half of the main Swiss Village complex. He was trusted and respected as a high quality and honest builder and enjoyed the confidence and business of countless customers over many decades of hard work. He had the great pleasure of working and laughing with many fine craftsmen on his crew over the years. At age 70 he started yet another business venture, Swiss Lock Box Storage, on Parr Road in Berne. His wife, Lillian, was his support through all his business projects. KV, as he was known, loved to laugh and lived to talk. He was quick to tell (and re-tell) one of his many stories or repeat one of his many sayings or quips. "There's always room for ice cream; it just fills in the cracks," he would often say. He was a true child of Berne, fondly recounting personal historical facts and stories of yesteryears. He loved horseback riding, beginning with his first horse, Maudine, which he purchased for $150 when he was a young teenager and used to deliver Journal Gazette papers. He loved his dogs throughout the years, and his last dog, Jackie-Ru was often seen riding shot-gun in his truck around town. He also enjoyed playing Euchre with friends and family, who always knew they would hear him sing his rendition of “Jack of Diamonds” at least once during the game. Kent was a faithful member of the First Mennonite Church in Berne, where he served as Trustee, greeter, and committee member on many, many projects. He also volunteered his time and expertise at Camp Friedenswald in Michigan. He was forever generous with advice, time, and materials to all who asked (and didn't ask). He was a dear husband, father, and friend to many. He is survived by his wife of 64 years; his children, Gaye (Kent A.) Yoder of Middlebury, and his sons Kent V of the Philadelphia area and Phil (Margaret) of Baton Rouge, LA; six grandchildren, Erin, Allison, Conrad, Carsten, Ian, and Jared; and two great grandchildren, Logan and Dylan. He will be warmly remembered by many in-laws, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Louise Howell and Patricia Magee; and his brothers Avery, Richard, and Thomas.


George Woodrow Dynes, 99, a long-time resident of Geneva, entered his eternal rest on Tuesday, June, 11, 2019, at Swiss Village. George was born on September 29, 1919 to the late Birthel and late Katherine (Knuess) Dynes. George graduated from Bryant High School in 1936. He served in the 5th Air Force during World War II and was stationed in the South Pacific. George married Floine Neuenschwander on December 30, 1950. George worked for over 46 years at Berne Furniture and he also loved to farm. He enjoyed hunting, cutting wood, fishing, and gardening. George enjoyed planting a large garden and sharing extras with friends and neighbors. George often called Flo to come and watch a beautiful sunset. He was a member of First Mennonite Church in Berne. He is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Floine Dynes of Berne; three sons, Sheldon Dynes of New Castle, Indiana, Brian Dynes of Berne, and Ted (Barbara A.) Dynes of Decatur; nine grandchildren, Matt (Karen) Dynes, Michelle (Steve) Cobb, Dr. Jennifer (Trent) McCormick, Andrew Dynes, Joseph Dynes, Daniel Dynes, Seth Dynes, Olivia Dynes, and Joshua Dynes; six great-grandchildren; and one brother, Gene Dynes of Berne. He was preceded in death by two daughters-in-law, Barbara J. Dynes and Carol Dynes; three sisters, Sylvia Fry, Selma Barnett, Frances Shepherd; and one brother, Lawrence Dynes.


Baptism First Mennonite Church offers baptism to new believers and those completing the Catechism class during their teenage years. Historically, the church has conducted a meaningful baptism of pouring. Modes of baptism are taught during the catechism class and this discussion includes the symbolism of immersion representing the death, burial, and resurrection and the pouring as a representation of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon a person. These two modes of baptism discussed in catechism are both paired with an emphasis on a public declaration of faith before the gathered body. Students learning through the catechism class were faced with a dilemma when considering their own personal baptisms. Some valued the idea of immersion, but knew it might mean being baptized elsewhere, sacrificing the experience of baptism before the gathered body of First Mennonite Church. In the past, many have decided on the baptism of pouring before the gathered body, while others chose immersion and met at other churches, on personal property, or another body of water with a much smaller gathering of their community of faith. The Spiritual Guidance Cabinet has decided to eliminate this dilemma for candidates considering baptism at First Mennonite Church. The church now has a baptismal suited for full immersion baptisms on a Sunday morning. Candidates for baptism can now freely make a personal choice on the mode of baptism. They can choose the historical pouring of baptismal waters, or can choose to be fully immersed. Both will be part of the baptism services before the gathered body and community of faith at First Mennonite Church. †