He remembers the dramatic, “ant” anniversary of the church [I Know a Story column] | Together
I want to share with you a very joyful experience that my mother and I had on June 26, 2016. We headed to the south end of Lancaster County, to Bohm’s Chapel at the United Methodist Church, south of Will Street. It was the 225th anniversary of the original Bohm Chapel building of 1791, and all weekend was filled with activities. We were happy to be there all day that Sunday.
The weather was dry and windy, which was great for having breakfast, lunch and dinner under a large canopy. We attended all the special events in the renovated air-conditioned chapel. The morning service was very meaningful, and the sermon was delivered by Pastor Bohm, the Rev. Chris Eden. In the afternoon we all sat in front of the cornerstone of the present church. Some members of the church discovered a time capsule from 1899, as well as a 25-year-old time capsule from 1991 in a thermos.
We’ve all seen some artifacts, newspapers, currency and coins from time capsules.
In 1991, my mother and I also attended an evening dedicated to the 200th anniversary. In the 1991 thermos there were also letters that children
wrote about their hopes for the Boehm Church for the next 25 years. They wrote about the latest fashions, such as Crocs to wear instead of shoes. The 1991 program booklet was also in a thermos.
After that, we moved on to the annual meeting of the Bohm Historical Society. Then the annual evening began. The choir of the Euphrates Monastery sang during the service. The soloist sang “We stand on holy ground” and the trio Son Boehms – “Find us faithful”.
Bishop of the Conference of the United Methodist Church of Eastern Pennsylvania Peggy Johnson delivered the message “Eve’s History”. Eva was the wife of Martin Bohm. The bishop dressed in 1791 attire and wore a chestnut wig to depict the young Eve Bohm.
After the service we all left the chapel, which was filled with 170 people. The preacher on horseback was “commissioned” by Bishop Johnson. She proclaimed, “Go and spread the gospel of Christ.” Then the chain rider rode his horse.
Next we headed to the tomb of Martin and Eva Boehm. At this point, the most exciting, skin-numbered thing happened when each of the three bishops of the Lancastrian Mennonite Conference made remarks. For the first time in their 225-year history, Bishops Robert Brody, Lloyd Hoover and Stephen Weaver spoke on behalf of how Mennonite refused to participate in Martin Bohm’s Mennonite denomination. They thought he was preaching too much as an evangelist.
All three Mennonite bishops announced official and documented apologies and signed their names in a legal document. (Bem was reinstated as an honored bishop at the Lancastrian Mennonite Conference.)
Then Bishop Johnson accepted the proclamation and said, “You are forgiven!”
The day was a real blessing and brought back my faith that wherever you are with your brothers and sisters in Christ, you are united as one in the Holy Spirit. If we go to heaven, it will not matter where we worship God and where our membership in the church was. We will all be one in Jesus Christ.
If anyone enjoys reading the whole Boom story, visit the Global Encyclopedia of Mennonite Anabaptists at lanc.news/MartinBoehm.
The annual Sunday service will be held at Bohm’s Chapel at 3:30 p.m., June 26. The speaker will introduce Bishop Francis Asbury, the first bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church and who preached the funeral sermon of Martin Bohm.
The author lives in Lancaster.
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