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Bits ‘n Pieces

Jan 1, 2005

With the Lord

Mary Ann J. HabeggerMary Ann J. Habegger

Mary Ann J. Habegger, 80, retired GBIM missionary, died Monday, November 1, 2004 at Decatur, Indiana. Habegger was deployed in 1952 as a registered nurse to Yaloke, Central African Republic. She spent 40 years working in Africa using her medical training and skill and retired in 1992 to Berne. The funeral was November 5 at Bethel Brethren Church in Berne, IN.

Ron Busch, who was executive director of the Winona Lake (IN) Christian Assembly from 1984-88, passed away on October 11 in Michigan from complications of diabetes and a surgery that took place on October 7. Busch had also served the Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference and was a board member for RBC Ministries.

Theodore Kiefer “Ted” Hobert Sr., 82, of Orrville, OH, died Sunday, Nov. 7, 2004, at his home after an extended illness. Hobert’s first wife, Dorothy, died in 2003 and he is survived by his wife, Hazel, and children Barbara Summers of Chambersburg, PA, Tad Hobert Jr, pastor of the North Riverdale Grace Brethren Church, Dayton, OH, and David Hobert of St. Valier, France, a career missionary with Grace Brethren International Missions.

Robert Gordon, 93, a major benefactor of Grace College and Seminary and the father of Grace College business professor Bill Gordon, went to be with the Lord November 16. Gordon and his wife, Frances, donated fund to purchase the former Sofamor Danek building in Winona Lake, IN, which was dedicated as the school’s $3 million new fitness and recreational center in October of 2003. The Gordons had also earlier given a $1.5 million donation toward the restoration of Westminster Hall, formerly the Westminster Hotel.

Richard Holmes, 80, former long-time member of the Grace College and Seminary board, went to be with the Lord Sunday, November 21 following a two-month-long illness. Holmes served a total of 34 years on the board, beginning in 1960 and continuing through the administrations of all five of the schools’ presidents (McClain, Hoyt, Kent, Davis, Manahan). He was board secretary from 1964 to 1991. He is survived by his wife, two children and grandchildren. Funeral services were held at the Grace Brethren Church of Wooster, OH.

Neil Paden, 95, father of GBIM missionary to Africa Linda Mensinger and former GBIM missionary Bruce Paden, went to be with the Lord November 10. He spent most of his life in the Yakima Valley in Washington state where he served the Lord faithfully at the Harrah and Toppenish Grace Brethren churches. Survivors include his wife, Enid, 94, and two children, Linda Mensinger and Bruce Paden.

Pastoral Changes
Gary Underwood
is the new pastor of the Delaware, OH, Grace Brethren Church.

Dave Rosner
resigned as pastor at Fort Wayne, IN, First Grace Brethren Church.

Eric Crawford
has resigned as pastor of New Horizon Community Church, Winona Lake, IN.

Dave Marksbury
has resigned as co-pastor of Grace Fellowship, Kent, WA.

Joe Cosentino
is the new pastor of the Canton, OH, Grace Brethren Church. December 12 was his first Sunday in the new position.

Wayne Ayres is the new pastor of the Norwalk, CA, Grace Brethren Church.

Walt Malick has announced his resignation from the Mount Vernon, OH, Grace Brethren Church effective December 31. Malick’s recovery from an accident in 2003 has progressed well, but he and his family have faced some additional physical challenges. He told his congregation, “With surgery coming up, a long recuperation time, and uncertainty of abilities in the future, it’s time to turn leadership over to those who are able at this time to do it without holding ministry back.”

Bob Belohlavek finished his ministry at the Heartland GBC in Cardington, OH, on November 30. Dean Risser is serving as Interim starting Sunday, December 5. Belohlavek and his wife Lois are joining former GBIM missionary Jim Hocking in developing a new ministry called Integrated Community Development International. ICDI seeks to work in six African countries to provide orphan care, well drilling, nutrition and AIDS education, literacy training, short wave radio stations, and micro-enterprise development.

Jim Sylvester has resigned from the Upper Arlington, OH, GBC and is currently considering the next step for his personal ministry.

New Website for Northern Atlantic District
Kork Moyer, Networking Coordinator for the Northern Atlantic Fellowship, announces the inauguration of a new website, It includes the Northern Atlantic Fellowship’s statement of purpose and history, directory of 30 eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New England member churches and pastors, calendar of NAF events, links to other churches and ministries, and more.

Tim Boal Named GBNAM Exec
Dr. Tim Boal, pastor of the Penn Valley Church of Telford, Pa., has been named the new executive director of Grace Brethren North American Missions (GBNAM). Boal has served the Penn Valley church since 1992. He will begin his duties with GBNAM on January 1, 2005, and will continue in his role as pastor at Penn Valley. He also pastored the Community Grace Brethren Church of Everett, Pa. He was president of the West Penn District Mission Board (1992-2001), and a board member of Grace Brethren North American Missions (1992-2004). In this latter position, he chaired both the Canadian Task Force and the Church-Planting Cpommittee, working closely with Kurt Miller, GBNAM’s national director of church planting, on implementing church-planting strategy. Boal has also been involved in starting churches in Pennsylvania and Nigeria. He is president of the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers, and in 2004 became the second moderator-elect of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.

BMH Plans Hymnsing, Heritage Tour at Equip05
The Brethren Missionary Herald Company is planning to sponsor 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. The second 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 as coach buses tour northern Indiana sites germane to 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. Further information will be available with conference registration materials or from BMH.

2005 FGBC DirectoryThe 2005 FGBC Directory is available.

2005 FGBC Directory Available
The new 212-page handbook listing all Grace Brethren Churches, pastors, national organizations and other pertinent information is now available. Included are the 2004 Moderator’s Address, as well as statistical and financial reports from the Fellowship. New features this year include a “Ministry Index” listing personnel by position type, and a 47-week prayer calendar enabling individuals to pray through the list of all FGBC churches in a year, one week at a time. The directories are produced by Tom Avey in the Fellowship Coordinator’s office and are available from CENational. Churches and pastors will automatically receive copies, and additional directories may be obtained for $6 each (plus shipping and handling) from CENational at or by calling Peggy at (574) 267-6622.

Survey Reveals Nation’s Unchurched Has Doubled in Last Decade
The proportion of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has doubled in the last decade and now stands at 16 percent of the population, according to a new study on religious identity. It noted that only Catholics (24 percent) and Baptists (17 percent) outnumber the people who don’t identify themselves with organized religion. Based on telephone interviews with more than 10,000 people, the nationwide survey by the Institute for Jewish and Community Research in San Francisco said about one in six answered “none” or “no religion” or described themselves as secular, humanist, ethical-culturalist, agnostic or atheist. Their ranks will continue to grow, and they’ll soon outnumber Baptists, said Gary Tobin, president of the institute and a co-author of the study titled “The Decline of Religious Identity in the United States.”

Residents of the West lead the nation in the proportion of those who don’t identify with a religion — 24 percent compared to 14 percent for the rest of the country, except New England, which had 21 percent. Men are less likely to identify with a religious denomination than women, 20 percent to 13 percent. The study also found that those raised without a religion are much more likely than others to have children who have no religion. And in mixed-religion families, children reared in both parents’ religions are more likely not to choose any religion.

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