Under the direction of Bishop Homer Bomberger, a committee of Louis Hurst, Donald Weaver, Aaron Jacob Newswanger, Leroy Weber, and Peter Shirk were appointed to look for a location for a new congregation. After considering several options, a four and one-half-acre plot was purchased from Mahlon and Arlene Stauffer on 14 April 1981 for $45,000. The same five men who were on the search committee were asked to serve on the building committee. Construction began early in the spring of 1981 with much of the labor and equipment rental being donated.
The first service in the new building was held 23 August 1981, with 102 in attendance. Bishop Homer Bomberger brought the message on "Humility" from 1 Peter 5:1-11. At this service, Homer asked George Reed if he would be willing to share some responsibility at Pleasant Valley. George had been ordained as a minister in 1961 at Churchtown Mennonite Church (Lancaster Conference).
The dedication service was held 13 September 1981. The message was brought by Bishop Aaron Bowman and the dedication prayer offered by Homer Bomberger. In a council meeting on 22 November 1981 the congregation approved receiving George Reed as a minister at Pleasant Valley.
On 12 December 1981, George Reed was installed as minister and eleven families were received into the fellowship at Pleasant Valley. These families came from other churches as well as Mid-Atlantic congregations. On 24 April 1982 nine more families and two women were received into the fellowship. On the same date, Arthur Good, who had been ordained as a minister at the Red Run Mennonite Church (Lancaster Conference), transferred to Pleasant Valley and was installed as minister.
George Reed was ordained as bishop on 20 March 1983. The Pleasant Valley Mennonite School was also built on the property in 1983. The school opened in September with 29 students. Elvin Eberly, Winona Kreider, and Lisa Boll were the first teachers.
Roy Ulrich was ordained as deacon on 27 November 1983. The congregation grew rapidly and the need for additional ordained leaders became evident. Stanley Fox was serving in Haiti when he was called home to share in the lot for a minister and was ordained on 30 June 1985. He served until 2012 when he returned to Haiti to administrate and teach in a Church Leadership Training Center for Christian Aid Ministries.
In the summer of 1985, Pleasant Valley's auditorium was overflowing and the decision was made to establish a new congregation. A new church was built at Blue Ball, Pennsylvania, early in 1986 and the first service was held on 25 May 1986.
Bishop George Reed died on Sunday, 27 April 1988. Glenn Kilmer, from the Blue Ball congregation, was ordained as bishop on 7 July 1988, and served until 1992 when he moved to Wisconsin. Ray Weaver (of Blue Ball) was ordained as bishop on 28 February 1993, to fill the vacancy. In 1993, Roy Ulrich asked for a release from his deacon office, which was granted by the congregation. On 11 December 1994, Melvin Martin was ordained to fill the deacon's office.
Eight Sunday school rooms were added to the Pleasant Valley church in 1994 when the average attendance for Sunday school was 245. Some of the crowding was relieved in 1996 when 13 families started a new MAMF congregation at Open Door Mennonite Fellowship.
In June 1996, Arthur Good transferred to Open Door to provide leadership for the new congregation and Larry Weaver was ordained to take his place as minister at Pleasant Valley. He was ordained as bishop in February 1999, after Ray Weaver asked to be relieved of the responsibility to lighten his work load.
Darrell Musser was ordained in October 2000 to fill the vacancy in the ministry at Pleasant Valley. Ed Shirk was ordained on 9 September 2007, to assist in the ministry. In 2013, Darrell Musser accepted the responsibility of opening another new MAMF congregation at Martindale, Pennsylvania. On 24 November 2013, Randy Hoover was ordained to replace Darrell at Pleasant Valley.
In 2013, Pleasant Valley had 225 members. The ministerial team consisted of Larry Weaver, bishop; Ed Shirk and Randy Hoover, ministers; and Melvin Martin, deacon.
Stauffer, Romaine, ed. Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship 1972-2013. Myerstown, Pa.: Little Mountain Printing, 2014.
Address: 149 Pleasant Valley Road, Ephrata, Pa. 17522
Denominational Affiliations: Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship
Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders
|Date Published||July 2014|
Cite This Article
Stauffer, Romaine. "Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church (Ephrata, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2014. Web. 26 Jan 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Pleasant_Valley_Mennonite_Church_(Ephrata,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=123528.
Stauffer, Romaine. (July 2014). Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church (Ephrata, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 January 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Pleasant_Valley_Mennonite_Church_(Ephrata,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=123528.
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