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Bits ‘n Pieces

Mar 1, 2005

With the Lord
Althea S. Miller
, 93, died December 24, two weeks after suffering a stroke. She is survived by her husband Robert E. A. Miller, who was a member of Grace Theological Seminary’s first graduating class, and eight children–Bill, David, Dorotheann, Sharon, Paul, Althea, Ardyth, and Mark, their spouses, 15 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. Educated at Philadelphia College of the Bible and Ashland College, she married Robert in 1935, intending to be missionaries in Africa. With the outbreak of World War II, however, they settled in Tracy, CA, pastoring the Brethren church there. She served 30 years as a pastor’s wife and another 30 in Jewish evangelism. For many years she wrote a column for the Brethren Missionary Herald magazine entitled “Under the Parsonage Roof,” and these columns were later compiled into a 96-page paperback book published by Moody Press in 1969. Services were in Yorba Linda, CA.

Missionary candidates

Nine new term missionary candidates recently completed a week-long core training at the Grace Brethren International Missions headquarters in Winona Lake, IN. All have been approved for service and will now be raising support for their ministries in France, Argentina, Cambodia, Chad, and southeast Asia. Candidates include Betsy Becker from the Ashland, OH, GBC; Melody Brickel from Basore Road GBC in Dayton, OH; John and Charlene Heydorn from Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas, CA; Kevin and Holly High from Manheim, PA, GBC; Kevin and Jill Kane from the Wooster, OH, GBC; and Bob Steiger from the Centerville, OH, GBC. An additional nine new candidates will go through the training this June.

Pastoral Changes
Steve Kern has resigned as senior pastor of the Woodville, OH, Grace Brethren Church to join the staff of the Wooster, OH, Grace Brethren Church.

Kim Robertson is the new pastor at the Ephrata, PA, Grace Brethren Church, effective the end of January. Prior to his coming, Dr. Rick Fairman was interim pastor. Robertson formerly served as associate pastor of the Canton, OH, Grace Brethren Church and as senior pastor of the Blue Ridge Grace Brethren Church in Winchester, VA.

Former San Diego pastor Phil Teran has assumed the position of Overseer of Publications for Ariel Ministries. Ariel is a messianic ministry located in Tustin, CA, under the leadership of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum. Teran is involved in the stylistic and contextual editing of a commentary on the book of Genesis. To view a complete description of Ariel, log on to

Simi Valley Tailback Receives Honor
Chad Kackert, a 5-foot-8, 177-pound tailback for Grace Brethren High School, Simi Valley, CA, was chosen Small Schools Player of the Year for his outstanding play and for helping the Lancers win their first 11-man CIF Southern Section Div. XII championship with a 34-6 victory over Ontario Christian. Kackert finished his senior year with a state-leading 3,445 yards and 55 scores. His touchdown total gave him a reported 131 TDs for his career, No. 2 on the all-time reported state list compiled by His career rushing total was 6,028 yards. He has no regrets about playing football at Grace Brethren, which has an enrollment of fewer than 190 students. “God has taken me here for a reason,” Kackert said. “I wouldn’t do anything differently.”

ImageSimi Valley, CA, Grace Brethren High School Football coach Terry Gourley was named the 2004 ABC7/National Football League’s High School Coach of the Year for the Southern California Region. This is in addition to a previous award as Coach of the Week. Gourley, whose team won the 11-man division championship with a season record of 13-1-0, was honored on a local Sports Zone show December 20, after Monday Night Football. John McIntosh pastors the Simi Valley Grace Brethren Church.

BMH Plans Hymnsing, Heritage Tour at Equip05
The Brethren Missionary Herald Company is sponsoring two optional events during next summer’s Equip05 conference in Winona Lake, IN. The first will be a hymnsing, to be held in the chapel of Grace Village Retirement Center, on Tuesday, August 2 following open houses of the national organizations. Dan Thornton will lead a volunteer choir, and Miriam Uphouse Christensen will portray Susannah Wesley as part of the program.

The second event is a “Brethren Heritage Tour and Dinner” to be held Thursday, August 4, beginning at 5 p.m. Dr. David Plaster and others will narrate a coach bus tour of northern Indiana locations significant in Grace Brethren history. Included will be the Rt. 15 Arnold’s Grove site of the 1882 Holsinger meeting (page 64 of Finding Our Focus by David Plaster at, a tour of the murals and monuments at Camp Alexander Mack, a dinner on the Camp Mack grounds, and a special tour of the Menno Hof Interpretive Center of Anabaptist History near Shipshewana, IN. A limited number of registrations, at $25 per person, are available through the Brethren Missionary Herald Company.

Kessler Gets 500th Win
Grace College men’s basketball coach Jim Kessler, shown here being honored by Grace president Dr. Ron Manahan, picked up his 500th career win in January as the Lancers defeated Spring Arbor College 70-67. Kessler has coached 28 years at Grace and holds a 500-407 career record. He was named NAIA National Coach of the Year after leading Grace to the 1991-92 NAIA National Championship and has twice been named NCCAA National Coach of the Year.

Northern Atlantic Fellowship Sets “Day Away”
The Northern Atlantic Fellowship of the FGBC will sponsor a “Day Away” Mature Adults Conference on Friday, April 8, from 9 a.m.

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