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Friday, March 9, 2012

Mennonites in the Valley LLI Class XV

Here is a copy of the outline for the fifteenth (and my last) class for JMU's Lifelong Learning Institute (for persons 50 and older), along with a list of some local Mennonite church services. I have thoroughly enjoyed this annual experience with around thirty of the finest students one could imagine. The class is full for this year, but we're hoping to see it offered in future years for those who are interested. I've provided some links to some of the sites below:

Mennonites in the Shenandoah Valley 
Spring 2012 Lifelong Learning Institute Class, Harvey Yoder, Instructor 

I. Some Course Goals
A. To become better acquainted with members of a diverse religious group in our area. 
B. To understand some of the similarities and differences among Mennonite subgroups. 
C. To un-learn some common myths and stereotypes about Mennonites.
D. To increase participants’ appreciation of their own faith history and traditions. 


II. Course Outline (classes meet from 9-11 am, except 9-11:45 on 3/26 and 9-12:45 on 4/2)
A. 3/12 Introduction/Overview
(Park View Mennonite Church Fireplace Room, ground floor)
1. Survey of Valley Mennonite roots and branches
2. Introductory slide show on Valley Mennonites

B. 3/19 Virginia Conference Mennonites
(at Eastern Mennonite School, rear entrance)
1. Meet in Choral room (Rm. 115, east end of new addition) at 9
2. EMHS Chamber Choir with Jay Hartzler 9:15-9:45 (Choral room)
3. WVPT documentary on area Mennonites: “Silent Grace” 9:50-10:30
4. Menno Simons Historical Library with Lois Bowman (3rd floor, EMU Library) 


C. 3/26 Old Order Conference Mennonites (gather at Weavers Mennonite Church, west 33) 
1. Brief orientation at historic Weavers Mennonite
2. Car pool to Mountain View Old Order School and/or the Burkholder Buggy Shop 

 (up to eight persons may visit the school during classes)
3. Pleasant View Old Order Church,11-11:30 am, meet with minister Lewis Martin

D. 4/2 Southeastern Conference Mennonites (meet at the Bank Mennonite Church)
1. Tour of Historic Bank Church Cemetery
2. “Susanna Heatwole Brunk Ballad,” sung by great-granddaughter Ruth Stoltzfus Jost 
3. Interview with Southeastern Conference minister James Goering, and introduction to book, "Vera's Journey"
4. Conversation about my own Augusta County Beachy Amish community
5. Home cooked noon meal ($17, tax included) with Old Order Mennonite Janet Shank 


E. 4/9 Crossroads Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center, 711 Garbers Church Rd. 
1. Report of church visits and other enrichment activities, writing thank you notes
2. Question/answer period, review and final “exam” 


III. Suggested Enrichment Activities
A. Attend a Mennonite worship service or tune in to Park View’s service at WEMC 91.7 FM. B. Visit Southeastern Mennonite Conference’s Berea Christian School (432-0007).
C. Tour Christian Light Publication and book store (Mt. Clinton Pike and Chicago Avenue). D. Visit other Mennonite-related enterprises at Shenandoah Heritage Farmers Market, Dayton

Farmers Market, Gift and Thrift Shop, Dry River Hay Auction (2nd, 4th and 5th Wed mornings on Rushville Rd), Rocky Cedar Enterprises (2156 Country Store Lane), Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction (Tue & Fri at 2839 Lumber Mill Rd), Riverside Plants (6377 W. Dry River Rd), Onyx Hill Fruit & Plants (6918 Onyx Hill Rd), or Mistimorne Plants (723 Pike Church Rd).
E. Check out Mennonite Church USA website <www.thirdway.com>.
F. Visit EMU’s Menno Simons Historical Library and/or Campus Book Store.
G. Attend Harmonia Sacra Hymn Sing at Harrisonburg Mennonite at 7 pm April 8. 



A Guide to Local Mennonite Services
All of these churches welcome you to join them for worship.

Old Order Mennonites  (worship services from 10-11:45 a.m., no Sunday School)
Pleasant View Church (take Eberly Road west at Hair Corral just north of Dayton, turn left on         Silver Lake Road, right on Bowman Road, go two miles, turn left on Rushville road)
     “Showalter” (or “Cline”) group meets here on 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month.
    “Wenger” (more conservative) group meets here on 2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays.
Oak Grove Church (take Pike Church Road between Rt. 11 and Dayton, then south on Liskey Rd)
    “Showalter” (or “Cline”) group meets here on 2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays.
    “Wenger” group meets here on 1st and 3rd Sundays.
Riverdale Church (Ottobine Road [257] west of Dayton, turn right on Old Dry River Road about         one mile to church--behind Valley Structures)
    Members of Showalter group only meet here each Sunday.
Mt. Pleasant Church (south side of Pike Church Road between Rt. 11 and Dayton)
    “Horning” (Weaverland [PA] Conference) group meets here (members use black cars).

Calvary Mennonite Church (Biblical Anabaptist Fellowship) meets in the former Mt. Clinton         Elementary School  (S.S. 9:30 a.m. worship 10:30 a.m.)

Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church (member of an association called “Fellowship Churches”)      meets at Old Whitesell Church Road  (9:30 a.m. Sunday School, worship at 10:30).

Beachy Amish (or “Amish Mennonite”) Churches, Augusta County  (9:30 a.m. Sunday School, worship service at 11)
Pilgrim Fellowship Church (largest and most progressive) (take White Hill Road two miles east of Exit 217 off I-81)
Mt. Zion Church (more conservative)  (take same exit, take White Hill Road east one mile, turn left and go one mile on Guthrie Road)

Southeastern Conference Mennonites
(Sunday School at 9:30 a.m., worship at 10:30)
    These are some of their churches near Harrisonburg:
Bank Mennonite Church (take Rt. 33 west, turn left on Bank Church Road just west of Dale  Enterprise)
Pike Mennonite Church (on Rt. 11 just south of Harrisonburg)
Rawley Springs Mennonite (about 10 miles west of Harrisonburg on Rt. 33)
McGaheysville Mennonite (about 12 miles east of Harrisonburg off Rt. 33)

Dayton Mennonite (Mountain Valley Mennonite group) (S.S. at 9:30, worship at 10:30)

Virginia Conference Mennonite Churches (times of services vary)
    There are dozens of area Valley churches belonging to this, the largest and oldest (but least “plain”), group of Mennonites in the Valley. As of the past several decades, most of their worship styles, lifestyles and manner of dress and appearance have become almost indistinguishable from that of members of other denominations in the community.

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