G-A Ministerium, Part II
By SHARON BAUMBAUGH
In November 1954, the Ministerium would sponsor a 'Share Our Surplus' program in connection with the community Thanksgiving service to be held Thanksgiving morning. The program was held in the Greencastle Church of the Brethren on South Carlisle Street, with the Rev. Charles Miller as speaker.
The annual community Thanksgiving service, sponsored by the Ministerial Association of Greencastle in 1955, was to be held in the First Evangelical United Brethren Church on North Washington Street. Soon, the group would sponsor the community Week of Prayer, Jan. 1 through 8, 1956. The Rev. Ross McClintock was the speaker. Then, in April, the members of the Ministerium motored to Harrisburg where they previewed and bought $220 worth of new films for their lending library. And, they would again sponsor a hymn sing in September in the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The annual community Vacation Bible School, again hosted by the Ministerium, would be held in three local churches. The program would last for eight days and would begin on a Wednesday in June 1961.
The next year, churches of Greencastle would again join to host and sponsor a series of six Lenten services. The cooperative program would be held in the evenings. They would also sponsor a three-hour community service Good Friday. Participating in the service would be the Revs. Luther C. Heist, Arbe Dorsey, Marvin Rice, S. Boyd Dickey, Samuel D. Lindsay, Robert E. Thomas and Norman J. Wilson.
In October 1963, the Ministerium unanimously voted to donate a collection of religious books to the new Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library. The group also named the Rev. Robert E. Thomas, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, as president. He succeeded the Rev. Luther G. Heist, who had served as president for three years.
The January 1964 Week of Prayer services, sponsored by the Greencastle group, would have a special speaker. The Rev. B. Charles Hostetter, known for his international radio broadcasts of 'Mennonite Hour' and 'The Way to Life' would speak to those attending.
In January 1967, 15 delegates, representing seven local churches, took the first steps at organizing a United Church group in Greencastle. Named to serve on an executive committee were James Barnhart, president; Charles 'Whitey' Barkdoll, vice president; and Harold Kuhns, secretary-treasurer. The Revs. Dorsey and Leroy Plum were chosen as the two ministerial representatives on the committee.
The Greencastle-Antrim United Council of Churches announced that a community Thanksgiving service would be held in the Greencastle Presbyterian Church. This was the first 'larger' program to be sponsored by the new group.
During the summer of 1969, the Council would hold a special meeting in Grace United Church of Christ. The purpose of the session was to discuss plans to organize a permanent Greencastle-Antrim Community Choir.
Three ministers and a retiring couple were honored by the Ministerium of the United Churches of the Greencastle-Antrim area at a dinner at the Jerome R. King Playground in 1971. The Rev. George L. Detweiler, who retired as pastor at the Greencastle Church of the Brethren, offered the invocation. Other ministers honored were the Rev. Donald Thomas, pastor of Bethel AME Church; the Rev. Frederick Vaughn, of St. Mark the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church; and the Rev. Richard Gotshall and family of the Church of the Brethren. The Rev. Ralph S. Geiman presented gifts on behalf of the Ministerium.
In 1972, the United Churches of Greencastle and Antrim would conduct a Good Friday service from noon to 3 p.m. in the Presbyterian Church. The Revs. S. Boyd Dickey, Leroy Perry, Richard Gotshall and Nelson Martin would participate with the Revs. Warren Ziegler, Lester Meisner and Donald Bohn.
In 1975, a Dial-A-Prayer service was established for residents of the Greencastle-Antrim area. Members of the G-A Ministerial Association put short sermonettes on tape at a downtown business office for patrons to call.
In 1984, the Greencastle-Antrim Ministerium would sponsor weekly community vesper services at Jerome R. King Playground. The service would be led from the Veterans' Memorial Bandshell from mid-June through August.
The Ministerium would sponsor a CROP Walk in the fight against hunger May 17, 1987. Money raised by those walking the 10 mile course would help provide aid both internationally and at home. The previous year the walk raised $4,000, with $1,000 of that staying in Greencastle for a Food Pantry program.
For several years, the Ministerium presented 'The Living Last Supper', in Otterbein United Church in Christ. The first was given in 2000. The following year, as in the first, pastors from area churches portrayed those who sat at the Passover meal that Jesus ate with the Apostles the night before his death. The scene was taken from Leonardo De Vinci's fresco, 'The Last Supper'. The program was offered on Palm Sunday as part of the Easter season of programs.
With a variety of names, the ministers of the local churches have united to provide programs and services for the public for many, many years, including those offered at Thanksgiving.