Life Fades Brilliantly

Soon after arriving in Tama, Florida

Royal Bauer as Bethany teacher from Google images

The first week of February is full of family memories.  On February 1, 1950 Rhoda, Rachel and I left for Florida which we became our home for the next 56 years.  We arrived on Feb. 4, and on February 10 we celebrated Rachel’s second birthday. This Sunday we will celebrate another birthday for Rachel and her son, Phil

The Last Sunday of January was likely the last time I will be in charge of a Sunday School class.  During class time we  honored a past teacher: Royal Bauer. In March, 1949 Royal and  his wife Evelyn were sent by the Mennonite Board of Missions (now MMN) as missionaries to India. Unfortunately, Royal’s wife became ill with polio so after only three years in India they needed to return to the US. Her exceptional recovery allowed her to review books, do art work and type on an electric typewriter with the aid of an arm-sling.   Until his retirement, Royal was a member of the faculty of Bethany Christian Schools, Goshen. Indiana.

Bauer at celebration

At the beginning of Greencroft fifty years ago, the College Mennonite Church was responsible for the appointment of Sunday School teachers at Greencroft.  Royal Bauer accepted an invitation to teach a SS class in the Gathering Room  of Evergreen’s Central Manor. He continued teaching forty-eight years.  The class had the privilege of celebrating his faithfulness.  For four Sundays we had been immersed in the Psalms so we did a short review and I wrote a psalm-like litany as a part of the celebrative service:


Praise the Lord from India
          Praise him for sending missionary couples
          Let the churches of India give thanks.

Praise the Lord from Bethany Christian Schools
          Praise him for faculty and staff
          Let the students give thanks

Praise the Lord from Greencroft Evergreen
          Praise him for faithful Sunday School teachers 
          Let the Residents of Evergreen give thanks

As was his custom, Royal played the organ for the class, and we closed with refreshments and a social time.  Since this was my last Sunday as teacher at Evergreen Place I am back to my usual routines at College Mennonite Church.  This includes attending the Borderlands Sunday Morning group and trying to resolve the  tension over how to behave when welcoming LGBTQ persons of faith.  For me, the tension melts away when I define “all” unconditionally.

All wonderfully 
gives graceful welcome to all
as we all received

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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1 Response to Life Fades Brilliantly

  1. your post again was a blessing to me. I join you and many others for the life and ministry of Royal and his wife!

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