The Family Begins to Gather

While in close encounter with Paul Zehr I had reminded him of a quote from when he was bishop of the Pilgrim Mennonite Church and my brother-in- law Paul Lehman was a member. Lehman quoted Zehr as saying that the church needed a prophet who denounced splitting as the sin it is. Zehr acknowledged the quote with a broad smile.

On Friday evening, we lingered with Chester and Sarah Wenger. The stamina of this 96 year old veteran minister who continues to care for a vineyard, manage a fruit stand, give leadership to a family and, with help, cares for his wife who is limited by a recent stroke

On our way to Chambersburg the GPS and I became entangled in Harrisburg’s narrow streets. This was the most harrowing close encounter of our trek. We arrived safely about 10:00 p.m. at the Sleep Inn Hotel, and slept in for a long night.

Ruth, my brother's daughter, and My Joy

Ruth, my brother’s daughter, and My Joy

At noon on Saturday we met Ruth, my brother John’s daughter, the keeper of his ashes. We went to the Marion Mennonite Church. (See Marion church activities on its  face book page.) We interrupted a youth group meeting. They were making plans to attend the next Mennonite Youth Convention.

IMG_0503Ruth, My Joy and I shared thoughts as we roamed quietly though the church cemetery on the hill above the church. Then we trekked to Lehman Road and blueberry acres to begin our search for a place to scatter my brother’s ashes. Blueberry acres with its many lively memories has changed greatly. The house of my birth is almost hidden by trees and bushes, and the house that Rhoda and I built was being given a new roof.

Mr. Champion's granddaughter and one of her miniature horses

Mr. Champion’s granddaughter and one of her miniature horses

The center of activity was not the all-but-gone blueberry patch, but a large wood-working building where the owner, Mr. Champion and his sons work their magic. At 3:00 p.m. my grandson, Kyle, joined us.

Mr. Champion’s granddaughter showed us her miniature horses and pet goat.

Since Mr. Champion had no place to suggest for the disposal of John’s ashes, we parted from him to scout the family farm owned in turn by my grandfather David B. Lehman, uncle Walter Lehman, cousin Aldus Lehman, and remains as a part of his estate.  Then we scouted the Conocheague Creek area without complete satisfaction about the disposal of the ashes.

We ate evening dinner at Mrs. Kibbles Restaurant and Candy Shop. We knew we had not yet found the place for the ashes. After listening carefully to our conversation, Grandson Kyle began to tell us of rocky places that might suit John’s wishes. (Kyle lives in Wayesboro, Pa.) We listened to him with some hope for the next day.

The Marion Church has been one of the more progressive congregations of the Franklin Conference and has not split. Instead the church has used its resources to plant or energize other churches:  Pleasant View, Pond Bank, Williamson (now Mercersburg), and Cedar Street.

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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3 Responses to The Family Begins to Gather

  1. Duane Shank says:

    I am enjoying these reports of your trip. I know so many of the people and places, and memories of the family ties we share. Thanks so much.
    Duane Shank

  2. Nate Lehman says:

    You all may be interested to know Splitting is not in my dictionary. We might want to understand that we are all connected and a part of God our source of oneness. And now the ushers will take up a collection. Peace, Nate

    • It is so good to hear from you and your perfectly defective dictionary. Ruth asked me what was missing about our Sunday experience and I said, “Not seeing cousin Nate, as I always visit him when in Franklin County.” I know we are always connected, but I missed you anyway. You are doing a good work training youth and I would not interfere.

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