Tag Archives: Quakertown Christian School

Quakertown Christian School to Start a High School

Quakertown Christian School (QCS), a Franconia Conference Related Ministry, is starting a High School!  The Pennsylvania Department of Education has accepted and approved a request to add a Secondary Educational Program. This will allow QCS to graduate its first class of high school seniors in the spring of 2016.

Quakertown_Christian_School_5-28-15The High School will adopt a blended approach, embracing the emergence of Cyber education in concert with the great aspects associated with traditional learning. This pioneering endeavor, will add to the rich history of Quakertown Christian School.  Dr. Mark Slider, the Executive Director, is an expert in the realm of cyber learning with a decade of experience as a teacher, administrator and researcher in this innovative sector of education.  Slider states, “We can no longer afford to educate our students the way we always have. The future of education embraces virtual learning opportunities and new ways of communication and collaboration in order to make an impact upon our increasingly global society.  Our students will compete for jobs with others from across the world, and it is our responsibility to prepare our students for their success!”

For more information, please go to www.quakertownchristian.org and click on the link for the High School.

John M. Drescher, a saint for all seasons

John Drescherby Harvey Yoder

John M. Drescher, 85, passed away on Thursday, July 10 in his home. John was a well-known author, teacher, and pastor in the Mennonite community. He wrote 37 books, pastored a number of Mennonite churches, and served as editor of a church magazine and as a counselor at Quakertown Christian School. John was married to Betty and a member of Finland Mennonite Church.

I just received word Friday that my friend and mentor John Drescher had died early the previous morning.

John would strongly object to my use of the word “saint” in connection with his life. “That word doesn’t even appear in the Bible,” he always insisted, “It’s always ‘saints,’ in the plural. No one can be a saint by himself.”

But John, with his good wife Betty, came close, and yes, always as a part of a committed congregation. I grew to deeply appreciate him during the several years he was a member of the Zion Mennonite Church (in Broadway, Virginia) where I served as pastor for two decades. And Betty was her own special kind of woman—warm, hospitable and never complaining. She did a lot of the typing and proofreading of John’s manuscripts, and he clearly could never have accomplished what he did without her.

With John being the gifted and acclaimed preacher, writer, and editor that he was, I could easily have found it intimidating having him and Betty in the congregation. He was both older and far more experienced that I, having served as a pastor in three congregations, bishop or overseer in three conferences, a one-term moderator of the Mennonite Church in North America, the editor of Gospel Herald, and as a college pastor and seminary teacher at Eastern Mennonite University. But he was always a most loyal and supportive member of our congregation, frequently writing me an affirming note or otherwise taking the time to encourage me.

John was almost surely the most prolific and widely-read Mennonite author ever, having had 37 books and countless articles published, as well as serving as editor of the Gospel Herald (now The Mennonite) for twelve of its most successful years. One book, Seven Things Children Need, sold over 125,000 copies and was translated into over a dozen languages.

Spirit Fruit also went through several printings and was read by thousands, as was his book Why I am a Conscientious Objector. And in addition to all of his work as an author, Drescher wrote scores of articles published in over a hundred magazines, including Christianity Today, Reader’s Digest, and Catholic Digest, and I’m told these have been translated into in at least seventy languages. Can any other Mennonite writer seriously compete with that?

But I will always remember John not just for his greatness, but for his genuineness as a good man of God and a servant of the church. We owe him and his Lord a large debt of gratitude.

John M. Drescher was an ordained leader in Franconia Mennonite Conference. He was the loving husband of Betty Keener Drescher. He is survived by his wife and children, Ron (Inez) of Monterey, Tennessee; Sandy (John) Drescher-Lehman of Green Lane; Rose (Rich) Longacre of Quakertown; Joe (Janice) of Middletown, Connecticut; David (Rhonda) of Morrisville, North Carolina; 14 grandchildren,  nine great-grandchildren; his brother, Luke (June) of Harrisonburg, Virginia; and his sister, Ruth (James) Glick of Kidron, Ohio. John was a member of Finland Mennonite Church.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 26 at 3:30 p.m. at Franconia Mennonite Church (Telford, Pennsylvania). Calling hours will be Friday, July 25 from 6-8 p.m. and Saturday from 1-3 p.m. Memorial contributions in John’s name may be sent to Quakertown Christian School, 50 E. Paletown Rd., Quakertown, PA 18951 or to Finland Mennonite Church, 1750 Ziegler Rd., Pennsburg, PA 18073.

Congregational leaders discuss Mennonite Education Plan

by Susan Gingerich, Christopher Dock Mennonite High School

Penn View Schoolwide Service Project 002
Students from Penn View Christian School collect baby kits for MAMA Project. Penn View is a participating school in congregational Mennonite Education Plans.

Franconia and Eastern District conference leadership recently joined leaders from 10 congregations to discuss Mennonite education. This annual forum focuses on the Mennonite education support plan (MEP) that congregations provide for students of Quakertown Christian School, Penn View Christian School, Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, and Philadelphia Mennonite High School.

Attendees found this forum helpful as they shared successes, challenges, and opportunities related to mutual aid, accountability, mission, accessibility, and integrity for congregational support plans for students attending the three local Mennonite schools.

Several churches have committees that plan for and oversee the guidelines and financial status of the fund. The Mennonite Education Advocacy Team (MEAT) of Souderton congregation is one such special committee that was formed to advocate for Mennonite education at all levels and for the mission of MEP at Souderton. They have been successful in enhancing respect for informed and intentional choices in both Christian education and public school education. While MEAT looks after the financial piece for the church and families, they also remind the congregation of mutual aid, accountability, and accessibility in order to give the education plan integrity.

Table group discussions affirmed the Mennonite Education Plan as a missional opportunity for congregations to tend the well-being and spiritual development of young children and youth. Church representatives reported that not all congregants see MEP as missional, and a common challenge is meeting the MEP budget in this economic environment.

MEP is an opportunity for churches to invest in young people to raise faithful and radical followers of Christ. Attendees expressed a desire to validate families who choose to support public schools also.

In addition to a time of networking, the principal of each school shared stories of students whose lives are being impacted by MEP support. The schools plan to continue this annual forum to provide encouragement and to assist with programmatic challenges. Churches not involved with MEP that are interested in learning about a support plan may contact any of the participating schools’ principals.

Thanksgiving at the beach … and other tales, part 2

Holiday MealThanksgiving dinner at the firehouse
by KrisAnne Swartley, Doylestown

After Hurricane Sandy, our congregation held “storm kitchens,” where we gathered to cook for those without power.  After the initial crisis passed, we asked ourselves as a missional mentoring group, “What’s next?” One of the young women suggested thanking our local fire fighters.  For many in our group, cooking and serving food is our passion and gift, a way that we express love and care for others.  So on November 27th and 29th, we served Thanksgiving dinner at two firehouses in Roslyn and Hilltown (Pa).

It is important to us as a missional group to bless those who help our community thrive, and these volunteers (can you believe this is still done on a VOLUNTEER basis??) do just that. We wanted to bless them from our faith perspective, while recognizing they may not share our beliefs or practices. They were very open to that and were genuinely appreciative of the prayer of blessing we gave them and the time we spent with them that night… as well as the food, of course!

I served at the Hilltown firehouse.  Although the meal was outside of our comfort zone, we soon discovered that humor unites. Within moments of arriving with my big roasting pans and all the food, they were teasing me gently and I gave it right back to them.  The joking created a comfort level that made us all feel safe in each other’s presence.

It took conscious effort for those of us from Doylestown to not just talk to each other, but to break out of our “clique” and begin to visit with the firefighters and their families. Once we did that, however, we made connections and shared stories and the conversation flowed freely.

Jenni Garrido, who organized the dinner at Roslyn, said the folks at the firehouse couldn’t believe someone from their neighborhood would take the time and effort to bring them a meal… they were floored by the generosity.

This felt like only a beginning. The firefighters are looking for connections and relationships within the community and are very open to more conversation and time together. A few of us are gathering to pray there on Friday morning.  Who knows what more may come?!

PPC Thanksgiving
Members of Philadelphia Praise Center lead worship at Quakertown Christian School on Thanksgiving. Photo by Octavianus Asoka.

A Thanksgiving Retreat
by Aldo Siahaan, Philadelphia Praise Center

On a beautiful Thursday morning around 8 o’clock sounds of laughter and excitement  could be heard from Philadelphia Praise Center’s building in South Philly.  About 100 congregation members were anxious to depart for Quakertown Christian School, where we held a one-day Thanksgiving Retreat filled with sermons, games, fellowship, and other fun activities.

At this year’s retreat, PPC was fortunate to host not one, but two special guests from Indonesia. The guest speaker was Rev. Daniel Alexander, a well-known preacher in Indonesia who has been ministering in Nabire, Papua since the 1980s. In addition, Rev. Alexander also brought along Stevano Wowiling, one of the finalists from a recent Indonesian Idol, who led the congregation in ardent worship sessions.

Halfway through the day, members of Nations Worship Center joined us after spending Thanksgiving morning at Salford Mennonite Church. The Thanksgiving Retreat ended with dinner at a nearby Chinese buffet.

Whack & Roll Tournament raises funds for non-profits

by Sarah Heffner, Mennonite Heritage Center

Whack and Roll--MHEP
Teammates Donna Floyd and Courtney Floyd compete in the Mennonite Heritage Center's Whack and Roll Tournament on June 2nd.

Dan Lapp, Director of Development for the Mennonite Heritage Center, had a brainstorm several years ago about using a favorite backyard game as a fundraising event.  This led to Whack & Roll Croquet Tournaments on the lawn of the Heritage Center each summer for the last four years.

Croquet has been a favorite summer pastime in southeastern Pennsylvania for many years.  Accounts of croquet history vary, but it is thought the game began in Ireland and was introduced to England in the mid-nineteenth-century. The game traveled to America, and by 1882 an official National American Croquet Association was formed. Croquet was even played in the 1904 Olympics.  For most, however, croquet was played in back yards on Sunday afternoons and it is still a favorite activity at summer get-togethers and family reunions.

This year’s Whack and Roll Tournament was held the first weekend of June.  Friday, June 1 was the Senior Tournament for teams from local retirement communities. Teams of two enjoyed a friendly competition with the traveling trophy awarded to Living Branches. The evening Reception on the Lawn featured a dinner where the Reunion Vocal Band, Eastern Mennonite University friends since 1989, performed for an appreciative audience.

Saturday, June 2, players for seventy-two teams representing twenty-two area nonprofit organizations arrived early in the morning to sign in for the elimination tournament. These teams competed for cash prizes for their nonprofit organization on two dozen croquet courts set up on the Heritage Center campus.   Daniel Hackman, a Penn View Christian School science fair finalist, brought his croquet inspired science fair project “Croquet From All Angles” to the event.

Whack and Roll--MHEP2
Courtney Floyd and Rina Rampogu watch as Andrew McElhaney takes his shot.

Three teams of two players compete on each court. A match ends when time runs out or when both members of a team successfully “stake out” (hit the end post with their ball).  Each team played two matches in the morning. In the afternoon, twenty-seven teams advanced to the quarter final round and then nine teams moved to the semi final round.

After a long day of croquet, the first place winners were Phil Swartley and Andrew McElhaney who won $5,000 for Spruce Lake Retreat; second place prize of $2,500 was won by Paul and Rina Rampogu for Quakertown Christian School and the team of Donna Floyd and Courtney Floyd won third place of $1,250 for Keystone Opportunity Center.  Donations of $500 to each participating nonprofit organizations were sponsored by Bergey’s, Inc. and many local businesses were sponsors of the event.

For more information on the tournament, see the Mennonite Heritage Center website.

Family, nature, and service

Sheryl (Hurst) Duerksen, Principal, Quakertown Christian School

QCS photo
Sheryl Duerksen with student Grant Souder.

I grew up on my family farm in Bowmansville, Pa. Through my parents and extended family, I learned the language of love. For an outgoing child who loved being around people, our farm provided a wonderful opportunity to be showered with love and attention.

Highlights of my childhood were being outdoors around the farm, in the creek, or riding bike. After college graduation, I joined my brother and three other young adults to ride bike across the US. We flew to Los Angeles, Ca. where we each dipped our back bicycle wheel in the Pacific Ocean. After riding 54 days and covering 3,600 miles, we arrived in Asbury Park, N.J. where we each put our front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean.

Church and service were also important and college summers provided opportunities to participate in voluntary service. I met my husband, Rick, when he moved to Philadelphia to participate in two years of voluntary service at Crossroads Community Center.

In 1989 I was introduced to Christian education when the Duerksen family moved to Camp Men-O-Lan. The core values of Quakertown Christian School (QCS) resonated with me and I was thrilled to be hired as a second grade teacher. Twenty-two years later I continue to enjoy my involvement in the ministry of QCS. Teaching and education are truly my passion! Two years ago, I moved into an administrative role and now serve as principal.

Education in a Christian school is exciting because a biblical dimension is added to daily routines; we are able to integrate the teachings of Jesus in every subject. When home, church, and school partner together, children will be blessed in their faith development. It is exciting to be part of a ministry that develops radical followers of Christ.