By Dick Barrett
On June 9 Pine Grove Mennonite Church, just outside of Stryker, Ohio, held its last worship service. It was a time of both grief and celebration. Many recent and former members shared memories of God’s faithfulness during the congregation’s 70 years of ministry in the community.
Pastors Gary and Sandy Stuckey led the service with Gary sharing a Pentecost Sunday message. Gary challenged each of the congregation’s current members to discern where the Holy Spirit may be leading them as the church building closes.
Keith Short, an elder from Lockport Mennonite Church, which helped start Pine Grove back in 1949, read a letter of affirmation of Pine Grove’s ministry in the community during its 70-year history. Ohio Conference Minister Dick Barrett, who worked with the congregation the past several months as they discerned God’s will in preparing to close, shared from chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes, noting that as painful as endings may be, they are part of God’s plan.
A special treat was the impromptu request for a quartet of “the Schmucker Boys,” who grew up in the congregation and were visiting for the final Sunday, to sing a couple of hymns from the past.
The service concluded with the congregation singing “To God Be the Glory” and “God Be with You,” as well as a blessing from the pastors.
Please continue to keep the members in your prayers as they discern where to worship and as another church discerns continuing God’s ministry to the community from the church building.
Photos by Dick Barrett