A Sunday at Forks Mennonite

On Sunday past, The Old Fool and his son Conrad drove the sixteen miles through beautiful Amish country to worship at the Forks Mennonite Church.  It was like moving from a big tent (CMC) to a small tent (Forks).  Forks was founded  a bit more than 150 years ago as a result of a split between Old Order and New Order Amish. Forks joined with a few other churches to form the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference.  

In its early years, D. D. Miller served Forks Mennonite first as deacon, then minister, and finally bishop.  He moved the congregation to join with a few other churches to form the Indiana-Michegan Mennonite Conference.  

D. D. Miller was the father of O. O. Miller who was one of the first two Mennonite Central Committee relief workers sent to Russia following World War I and served for many years as secretary of Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions. E. E. Miller,  another son of D. D. Miller, served as a President of Goshen College. Forks was also the home of Dr. and Mrs. Gage who were members of the first Mennonite missionary team sent to India. Forks Mennonite has an illustrious past.

The men on the worship team

Thrice ordained, D. D. Miller seems to have had a complex ministry.  He is remembered  as a progressive pastor, promotor of education and missions.  But as bishop he was also expected by the conference to rein in the maverick Goshen College and the church associated with it. In those institutions he is remembered as a strict conservative.

The ladies on the worship team

Conrad and the Old Fool were given a warm welcome.  Conrad is a member of the worship team and played his bass guitar. Other members of the team are Dennis and Jennifer Yoder and their daughters Emily and Ella.  (Emily and Ella were special friends to Rhoda.)  Going to Forks is like going home.

Sunday School classes preceded the worship service.  There were two classes for adults.  The larger class chose to study the International Series of Bible Lessons.  It studied Acts  27  which recounts the story of a shipwrck on the way to Rome.  The smaller class was studying the book, “Grace,” written by Max Lucado.

Since this was mission Sunday the worship service featured local ministries supported by the congregation.  Speakers represented the local Habitat for Humanity and the World Missionary Press.

Habitat for Humanity is a pragmatic and effective way to provide low income housing and life-training for those who qualify for such assistance. 

The Old Fool visited the World Missionary Press website. It’s founders, their successors, employees, volunteers and supporters are obviously sincere.  Conservative Christians of Mennonite and Brethren persuasions are drawn to it. 

The World Missionary Press provides millions of people with small booklets containing excerpts from the Bible. The Old Fool doubts that much good results from the effort.  Even God found that the Word must become flesh and dwell among us.   

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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