Note: I thought this posted on 12 August. Just checked. Not posted then. My thought is not to ask why not? but to say, right now.
Close-Up #2 Saturday 12 August 2017 Last Sunday (6 August) Prairie Street Mennonite Church celebrated the legacy of John and Salome Funk, founders of the congregation in 1871.
The congregation, the Michiana Anabaptist Historians and others joined in unveiling a historical marker in front of the church.
A few added words
So many swirling words mark the nation’s contemporary scene. And posturing actions. What’s lacking is true communication. I’m going to let a couple collections of photographs, and fewer than 600 words, speak to what sums up my week.
Saturday was the annual Visioning Day for leaders of our congregation. We met at Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference-owned Amigo Centre near Sturgis, Michigan. During a break I snapped these close-ups.
Farm scene, corn on the cob, 25-foot tall Seward Johnson sculpture
Dedicatory prayer for the Funk historical marker
It was a delight to have Jane Goldsberry of South Bend, a great- great- granddaughter of John and Salome Funk attend the plaque dedication. Ervin Beck, professor emeritus of Goshen College, and president of Michiana Anabaptist Historians, talked about the years-long discussion concerning placement of such a marker in Elkhart.
Six-year-old Junia Epp Stutzman helped me cut the strings that held a plastic cover in place over the plaque. As congregational historian and archivist, I had the privilege of offering this prayer:
Dear God, Your name be praised for the lives of John and Salome Funk whom we remember in the unveiling of this plaque. You brought Salome and John from the urban genesis of Chicago to the promise of this prairie village along the St. Joseph River. You saw fit to entrust them with enormous, uncharted, humanly-overwhelming tasks.
You carried them in bereavement in the deaths of three of their five children. You tested them with bankruptcy. You heard their cry, understood their minds and hearts and heaped them with patience, endurance, purpose and joy in living the legacy we commemorate today. You led them in founding this congregation, of being the church in their home, of changing the vision of church for this body of people and others in your wide-ranging church.
In John Funk’s own words, this was a legacy of quiet people who had become too quiet, “so quiet indeed that in too large a degree their light was hid under a bushel.” It is the legacy of one, Funk wrote, “that standeth by the pure principles of the gospel, the life of peace, of righteousness and true charity, though his life be an humble one. . . May the history of that form of life which leads upward and makes us grow day by day more divine, engage our thoughts more and more, and ever find more acceptance in the minds of people and nation.”
Praise our souls the everlasting, the faithful, the merciful, the abiding God of grace, truth and love. Amen.
Featured photo: Reflections of the evening sun along the Elkhart River.