WAYNESBORO—“We’ve survived 100 years and the fact that we’re still here is something worth thanking God for and celebrating.”
That’s how John Weber, the pastor of Waynesboro Church of the Brethren, feels about the church’s plans for its year-long commemoration. “We need to celebrate these times,” he said.
In January, the church at 117 S. Church St. kicked off the calendar of events as members launched the collection of school supplies and money for 100 school kits for Church World Service. “These items will be sent all over the world,” according to Weber. Those attending the all-church picnic in August at Rotary Park will help fill the bags.
Highlights of the celebration include an historical exhibit, the assembling of a 100-block commemorative quilt as well as a quilt display, and the return of several former pastors, including Jesse Miles, Joel Nogle, Ben Simmons, John Paul Holsey, James Lucas and Ed Poling, who will speak at services throughout the year.
There will be a catered dinner and hymn sing May 14, and a celebration worship May 15. “We hope many join us then and look forward to seeing them throughout the year,” Weber said.
The celebration also will mark the return and the fifth presentation of the Living Last Supper drama, postponed due to COVID, in fellowship hall on Palm Sunday, April 10, at 2 and 7 p.m., and again Good Friday, April 15, at 7 p.m.
The historical exhibit opens April 24 in the social room and will feature a scale model of the church and numerous photos. “For the people who grew up here, it will be very meaningful,” Weber said. “The change in culture is really interesting. We were pretty plain in the beginning … women wore prayer coverings … and in how we worshiped. We’ve changed completely from that.”
Church member Carolyn Wolff, a longtime quilter, said the congregation has a long history of women getting together to quilt. “This is a way to honor that textile tradition, by displaying five quilts quilted by members of the church.”
The display includes a 1900s pattern, the Waynesboro Cherry Wreath, that was attributed to women of the Church of the Brethren; Grandmother’s Flower Garden, a quilt made in the 1940s (quilted in the 1950s) by the Ladies Aid Quilting group from the church that was pieced by Wolff’s grandmother, Nancy Gromley Biss; a quilt made in 1992 by the quilting group at the church. “It was machine pieced and hand quilted and donated to the annual auction in Cross Keys Village – The Brethren Home Community. A cousin bought it (at the auction) and gave it to me.”
There also is a congregational signature quilt made in 2010 as a retirement gift for former pastor Prue Yelenik, who will preach at the Oct. 16 service, and a quilt made in 2014, a representation of a stained glass window in the former Carnegie Library, now the arts center, on the campus of Juniata College (founded in 1876 as the first college started by members of the Church of the Brethren) in Huntingdon.
Church members and guests who attend anniversary events at the church will use an archival pen to add their signatures to the 100-block quilt, which will be presented Dec. 4.
“I’m excited about the display because the women who made the quilt in the 1900s were related to my grandfather, Dan Oller. We have a long quilting history in the family. I think the history of textile arts is important. It shows how women participated in the life of the church, because in many other ways they were not allowed to.”
Living Last Supper
“Is It I Lord?” is the depiction of the last 24 hours days of Jesus’ life through the disciples’ eyes, according to Sandy Koziel, director. “Everything revolves around Jesus’ actions, but he doesn’t talk. Each time I’ve done it – it’s presented every three years – I’ve added something. And the music we use is absolutely wonderful. It tells a story too.
“At the beginning, the disciples walk in and are introduced and Jesus washes their feet in the garden. They seat themselves at the table and each one gets up and tells who he is, where he’s from and his relationship to Jesus. The disciples have communion and then offer communion to the audience,” she added.
“The drama will highlight events such as when Judas gets 30 pieces of silver from the high priest, Jesus’ arrest in the Garden, Jesus’ crucifixion, Judas’ death and the disciples carrying Jesus to the tomb. And there is a narrator who ties everything together,” Koziel said.
The hour-long drama, which is presented every three years, features members of the church and representatives of a number of other churches. Admission is free; however, there will be a love offering. For more information about the celebration, call the church at 717-762-3835.