Comments are welcome but please have the courtesy to sign your name. Unsigned comments will be deleted.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Life and Death Matter

While I take a break from sewing dozens of kit bags for CAM, I'll share with you excerpts from an article I clipped from Saturday's newspaper that impressed me.  It was written by Susan Shelly and I quote:

Nearly two decades ago, John Shelby Spong, a bishop in the Episcopal Church, wrote and released a book that attracted a lot of attention in religious circles.
The book, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, addressed the decline of mainline Protestant churches and argued that in order to reverse the decline, congregations should abandon a literal interpretation of the Bible and be willing to change with the times.
Almost 20 years later, mainline churches are still in decline. A 2015 report by the Pew Research Center revealed that these congregations are losing about 1 million members each year, while membership at many evangelical and fundamentalist churches is on the rise.
Marlene Druckenmiller, a retired deacon of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, (which, despite its name, is a mainline church) addressed this issue recently in a talk called "Does Your Church Need Hospice?". . . 
Within the Northeastern Synod, Druckenmiller said, churches are closing and buildings being abandoned or sold to another congregation or other group. Congregations are shrinking, with a particular decline in younger members.
Churches are no longer able to pay clergy and staff members, and positions are cut. Church buildings may fall into disrepair because the congregation cannot afford to fix problems.
As all these things occur, and members recognize that their churches are in decline, many experience a sense of loss and grief, similar to what is experienced with a loved one dies.

The article goes on to give advice for coping with a dying church. The number of churches that are closing or merging is increasing and the newspaper prints articles about them at regular intervals. This not only happens in mainline Protestant churches but in Mennonite churches as well. Our Mid-Atlantic Conference has purchased several buildings from other Mennonite churches that were forced to close due to dwindling membership.
The first two paragraphs of the article above identifies the cause of death of these churches. If we abandon the literal interpretation of the Bible and make it subjective rather than absolute, we destroy the foundation on which our faith is built and it cannot endure. If the Bible does not mean what it says, what's the point? Why bother reading the Bible or going to church if it's only a farce? 
The article says that while mainline congregations are losing members, "evangelical and fundamentalist churches" are growing. Only by standing on the solid foundation of the Word of God can a church grow in faith and numbers. 
Does the Bible say what it means and mean what it says? Absolutely! It's a life and death matter.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Bottom Line

Through many years of sewing for the family, I saved the scraps with intentions of piecing comfort tops for the needy when I'm an old lady. Years passed, the pile grew, and nothing happened. I was busy with other things I enjoyed more than piecing comfort tops and I wasn't getting old. Eventually I decided I will never get all those scraps used up and gave them to an old lady who needed something to do and was glad to have them.
Of course, I kept sewing clothes, curtains, and other things. The pile of scraps started growing again. I was still happily doing other things and not getting old enough to piece tops for pastime. Instead of spending most of my time with the sewing machine when I was an empty nester, it turned out to be my computer instead. Writing stories is more fun than sewing.
A couple years ago when my scrap bin was full to the top, I decided it is time to do something about it. I got as far as cutting all the reds and blues into blocks and piecing one top. But after that was done I decided I had enough sewing. I cut up the rest of the scraps and gave them to someone else to sew.
I was intending to give the red and blue top to the sewing circle for comfort knotting, but after it was finished I thought it was nice enough to quilt. So I added a border and put it away until I had time to quilt it.

Two years later, it was on my to-do list for this winter. I put it on the end of the list and if I didn't have time by March it would wait for another year. The other things on my list went faster than I expected and I did have time after all in February. On February 22 a group of Burkholder cousins came to help me quilt.

I marked it with all straight lines, so it was easy quilting. They got a lot done and I was able to finish the rest myself the next day. I did the binding today and here is the finished product.

It will be put back on the shelf now for a couple more years until the next granddaughter graduates from high school. This is the only quilt I have ever pieced from small blocks and there may never be another one. 
The bottom line of this story is that I have finished everything I had on my list for this winter and I still have two weeks of winter left to do some extra things. Don't worry. I haven't run out of ideas!

Monday, February 19, 2018

My Good Ancestor

My great-grandmother was a Powl. Her father, Josiah/Josias, was as far back and I could trace that line. I was not the only one who had tried to find Josiah's father without success. Then one day the truth came to light. His father was not a Powl but Abraham Good. His parents were not married and their children used their mother's surname but changed the spelling from Powell to Powl. That puzzle was solved but a new one took its place. Who was this Abraham? 
We had a family Bible record that confirmed Abraham was the son of Henry and Magdalena (Myer) Good. Who was Henry's father? Another brick wall. Steve Garver, who is also a descendant of Henry and Magdalena wanted to know, too. We started working together. We had a published genealogy that said Henry was the son of a Jacob Good but that was only a guess and there was absolutely nothing to support it.
After digging through lots of wills, deeds, and other documents, the evidence pointed to an earlier Henry Good who immigrated in 1730 with the German form of the name, Hendrich Gutt/Guth. He bought a tract of land in what is now West Cocalico Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In 1742 he sold this land and presumably moved to Ephrata at that time as he and his family were members of the Ephrata Cloister. 

Henry's 1754 will identified him as "an inhabitant of Ephrata." He named only his wife, Catherine, and "eldest daughter Anna Maria," but indicated he had other children. How many children Henry and Catherine had is not known, but from the evidence they appear to have had at least three sons—Daniel, Henry, and Christian. Salome and Rosina Good were single sisters at the Cloister in 1770 and may also have been Henry’s daughters.

Daniel Good
On June 17, 1766, Daniel Good accepted the warrant for a seventy-acre tract of land in Cocalico (now Ephrata) Township that had originally been warranted to Jacob Groff. It is southeast of the Mohler Church of the Brethren and just west of the East Cocalico Township line. Daniel died intestate on November 13, 1771. His oldest son, Henry, petitioned the court on December 7, 1786, to receive Daniel's land. The petition states that Daniel left a widow and five children, two of whom were still minors in 1786.
The name of the widow and some of the children were unknown until an unrecorded deed was discovered in May 2015 in which Daniel Good Jr. and his wife, Elizabeth, sold some of this land in 1793. In reciting the history of the property, the deed states that Daniel Good Sr. died intestate leaving a widow, Christina, and five children: Henry, Sarah, Elizabeth, Daniel, and Christian. The records of the Cloister show that both Daniel Sr. and Jr. and their wives were householder members of the Cloister. (Householders worshiped at the Cloister but lived off the Cloister grounds on their own properties and were not required to be celibate like those who lived inside the Cloister.)

This is the original deed which I bought on Ebay and donated to the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley for safe keeping.

Henry Good Jr.
In the family record Henry wrote in his Bible, he stated that his birth year was 1738. He also recorded the names and birth dates of his wife, Barbara Myer, and their children. The Bible appears to have been passed on to Henry’s oldest son, Jacob, whose children’s names are also written in it.
Born in 1739, Barbara Myer was the daughter of John Myer Jr. (d. 1787) and Anna of West Earl Township. The Myers were originally Mennonite but joined the Conestoga Brethren congregation at Leola, which was established in 1724 and divided in 1728, when Conrad Beissel withdrew and founded the Cloister. There is no indication that Henry and Barbara were ever associated with the Cloister but rather stayed with the Myer family at the Brethren church.
Henry and Barbara lived in Earl Township, probably near her parents in the part of Earl that is now West Earl Township. Because no deeds were recorded for him, he may have always rented. They had six children: Jacob, Michael, Anna, Abraham, Magdalena, and Henry.
Henry died intestate sometime in 1791 as Marcus Grove, Christian Myer, and Michael Good were appointed as guardians for his three youngest children who were minors. Barbara died before January 26, 1792, and her children received her share of her father’s estate.
Part of the family record in Henry's Bible, written in German.
Henrich Guth, ca. 1705-1754; wp. June 17, 1757; Sept. 15, 1730, immigrant
m. Feb. 7, 1730, Hassloch Reformed, Germany, Maria
Catharina Kauffman, dau. of the late Conradt Kauffman
Henry Good, 1738-1791
m. 1766 Barbara Myer, May 1, 1739-d. bef. Jan. 26, 1792
Abraham Good, Feb. 26, 1773-Sept. 9,1854; bu. Zeltenreich Cem.
m. May 28, 1793, Magdalena Meyer, ca. 1775-aft.1821
had at least 5 children with Margaret Powell
Josias Good Powl, July 15, 1816-June 2, 1878
m. Barbara Gerber, Oct. 15, 1816-Apr. 20, 1888; bu. Zeltenreich Cem.

Christian Good
Christian Good was born in 1744 and was a minor when his father died in 1754. He married Christina Becker, daughter of Peter Becker and granddaughter of immigrant Valentine Becker. 
In January 1788, Christian bought four tracts of land in Cocalico Township (now West Cocalico) from the heirs of Michael Miller, who was also a member of the Cloister. Later in the year, Christian and Christina sold some of this land. The deed for this sale identifies him as a millstone maker. In 1800, he and Christina sold more of the land and bought 221 acres from Emanuel Carpenter in what is now West Earl Township. This land was in the Brownstown/Talmage area and bordered the Conestoga Creek.
Christian and Christina were householder members of the Ephrata Cloister. He died in 1808 at the age of sixty-four and was buried in the Cloister cemetery. His will names his wife and five children: David, Samuel, Mary, Susanna and Christina. Three of them, David, Samuel, and Christina, remained in the Brownstown/Talmage area. They and many of their descendants are buried in the cemetery at Carpenters Church. Christian’s wife, Christina, died in November 1820 and was also buried in the Cloister cemetery, as was her daughter Susanna.

Steve Garver and I worked together to produce an article on Henry Good which appears in the January 2018 issue of the Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage magazine published by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. This blog is only a summary of the article which includes many footnotes identifying the sources of the information. 
Last summer Steve and I toured the Cloister with Gary Good who is another descendant of Henry. I grew up near the Cloister and was always fascinated with the place. I've been there many times but it was different this time knowing I was a descendant of immigrant Henry and his wife who were members of the Cloister.

While reading more about the Cloister, their beliefs, and what went on inside those walls, I was reminded those people were not as saintly as it appeared. They sang beautifully and wore white robes but they were not angels. They were infected with the same sinful human nature as the rest of us and secluding themselves did not change that. A lot of power struggles went on and other sins were committed within those walls. 
As James E. Ernst says in his book, Ephrata, A History, "Cloisters, away from the world, contain much unholiness and meanness. Selfishness, ambition and weakness of the flesh exist within the convent as without . . . The world is in man's heart!"

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Froschauer Bible

German Bibles and Testaments published by Christoph Froschauer from 1524-1589 were very popular because of the clear type, pictorial decoration, and popular language. Among the people, especially the Anabaptists, the first editions of the Froschauer Bibles and Testaments were greatly loved.
The Bible was reprinted several times. In 1744 a reprint of the entire Bible, i.e., the folio edition of 1536 was issued. The book was printed in Strasbourg "bey Simon K├╝rssner, Cantzley-Buchdrucker." The foreword states that it was reprinted because the edition of 1536 was in great demand for its faithful translation and had now become very rare. In 1787 the Froschauer New Testament was reprinted at Ephrata, Pa., by the Cloister Press, for the Pennsylvania Mennonites. 
Froschauer Bibles were more difficult to obtain in America but Mennonite ordained men were expected to have one. Immigrants brought their beloved Froschauer Bibles with them so used ones were sometimes available.
My Burkholder ancestors crossed the ocean in the Phoenix and arrived at Philadelphia on October 1, 1754. Francis Diller was on the same ship. He brought a 1744 reprint of the Froschauer Bible with him. A metal plate on the cover bears the date of 1754 and tucked inside was his passport dated April 10, 1754. The Bible was passed down through generations of his descendants until 1905 when it was placed in the Library of Congress in Washington DC for safe keeping. It does not contain any family records.

Francis Diller lived in the French-speaking section of Switzerland. Below is a translation of his passport. (Diller is spelled Tueller.) The other immigrants probably all had something similar but this is the only one known to have survived from that ship.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Twin Kiss Date

We got a nice variety of gift certificates to restaurants for our anniversary last summer. We don't go out to eat much but will go once in awhile for special occasions. We decided since we have so many certificates just now we will use one of them for Valentine's Day. We had Bible School that evening so we went one day late.
The certificate we chose to use was for the Twin Kiss. That seemed the most appropriate because the Twin Kiss is where our relationship began way back at the end of 1964, just as I was turning 17. At that time, there was a Twin Kiss in three locations--Myerstown, Ephrata, and New Holland. It was the place to go to see who else was there. Leroy says sometimes the guys hit all three in one evening. We girls weren't so adventurous. We usually just went to one and if there was "nobody there" tried again the next week and maybe at a different one depending on where we went to youth meeting. We usually went to youth meeting at a church somewhere on Saturday nights and to Twin Kiss afterward.  I was too tight to buy much to eat but often got a root beer float. We went to church somewhere on Sunday nights too but did not buy anything to eat afterward. First of all, we didn't spend any money on Sundays (not even to make a pay phone call) and no business places were open on Sundays.
Well, back to 1964. I "ran around" with three other girls every weekend. I was the only one who had my own car (1953 Chevy) so I was usually the driver. I don't remember where we were at church that Saturday night but afterward we went to the Ephrata Twin Kiss. Three guys we knew showed up. In fact, one of my friends was dating one of those guys but they only had a date on Sunday nights. So of course, we four girls linked up with those three guys.
We talked awhile and drank root beer floats. Then one of the guys suggested we go somewhere together. Leroy was driving that night so all 7 of us piled in his Corvair. The dating couple got in the back with the other guy and one of my friends popped in beside him. Four in the back was a tight fit! That left me and the fourth girl to sit in the front seat with Leroy. (It was a bench seat so it easily held three.) Whoever got in first would have to sit in the middle beside Leroy. 
My friend and I stood there, each waiting for the other to get in first. The pause was long enough that I started feeling sorry for Leroy because it was obvious neither of us wanted to sit beside him. I decided to be brave and got in. He says he didn't think I'd be interested in him or expect anything to come of it. I didn't have any intentions either when I slid into the middle of the seat. I was just going along for the ride, but while we were driving around I decided I liked that spot. He was a mature 21 and I knew his family. I was short and the Corvair was just my size.
The night ended and we all went home. But I told one of my friends I had liked that ride and she promptly passed the information down the grapevine through the guy she was dating. The next couple weekends we "just happened" to show up at the same places and had our first date the last Sunday of the year. More than 50 years later, I'm still going along for the ride.
We had a lot of fun reminiscing while we ate at Twin Kiss last night. Leroy got a root beer float to enhance the flavor of the memories. Unfortunately, the Ephrata Twin Kiss has been demolished so we went to Myerstown, which is closer to where we live anyway. The menu is bigger than it was in the 60s but the root beer floats are just as good and the memories never change. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

God's Valentine

God's Valentine gift of love to us
Was not a bunch of flowers;
It wasn't candy, or a book
To while away the hours.

His gift was to become a man,
So He could freely give
His sacrificial love for us,
So you and I could live.

He gave us sweet salvation, and
Instruction, good and true--
To love our friends and enemies
And love our Savior, too.

So as we give our Valentines,
Let's thank our Lord and King;
The reason we have love to give
Is that He gave everything.

By Joanna Fuchs

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Snow Daze

It's snowing again. We really have nothing to complain of this winter. There have been frequent snows but no fierce blizzards. But still, by February the white landscape is getting old and I'm wistfully thinking about spring. Groundhog day is past and Valentines is next week. After that, there's no reason to hang onto winter anymore. Seed and gardening catalogs are arriving in the mail, adding to the wishful thinking. 
John Steinbeck said, "What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness."
Winter is a time of solitude when we pause from the hectic pace of the other three seasons and take time to savor life and family time indoors. There is time to do things that are crowded out in the other seasons. What that is for each person will vary with their station in life and interests. For some, it will be playing in the snow with children and for others it is curling up with a good book and a blanket. 
Winter is a time to reflect on the past and plan for the future. It is a time to catch our breath and revive our spirits. The trees need a season of rest to produce a new crop and so do we. 

“For everything there is a season, and
a time for every matter under heaven:
     a time to be born, and a time to die;
     a time to plant, and a time to pluck up 
what is planted;
     a time to kill, and a time to heal;
     a time to break down, and a time 
to build up;
     a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
     a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
     a time to throw away stones, and a
          time to gather stones together;
     a time to embrace, and a time to
          refrain from embracing;
     a time to seek, and a time to lose;
     a time to keep, and a time to
          throw away;
     a time to tear, and a time to sew;
     a time to keep silence, and a time to
     a time to love, and a time to hate;
     a time for war, and a time for peace.”