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Seminary Cites Veteran Pastor for Ministry Work

Posted on January 20th, 2005

John M. DrescherJohn and Betty Drescher at the recognition ceremony held during the School for Leadership Training at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. Photo by Jim Bishop

A widely-known pastor, prolific author and speaker on marriage and family life issues was cited Wednesday, Jan. 19, at Eastern Mennonite Seminary for 50 years of ministry.

John M. Drescher, now residing in Quakertown, Pa., received a plaque and a letter of commendation during the annual banquet held during the annual School for Leadership Training.

Ervin R. Stutzman, dean of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, made the presentation at the recognition ceremony. In giving the award, Dr. Stutzman read an open letter noting Drescher’s work accomplishments over the past 50 years.

“I appreciate the confidence and affirmation this recognition gives to me and to my ministry in the larger church,” Drescher said. “I couldn’t have fulfilled this without my wife Betty with her gifts of helps and hospitality. We took the ordination vows together and we’ve worked in partnership all these years,” he added.

Drescher has served as pastor of four Mennonite congregations, as bishop or overseer in three district conferences, as editor of the former “Gospel Herald” magazine, 1962-73 (now “The Mennonite”) and was “churchman-in- residence” at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, 1979-83. In this role, he taught “Spiritual Disciplines” (later called “Formation of Personhood”) and the preaching courses and served as seminary pastor.

A 1951 EMU graduate, he received a Th.B. degree from the seminary two years later.

Drescher was ordained to the ministry May 2, 1954 at the Crown Hill Mennonite Church, Rittman, Ohio, where he pastored 1954-61. He was pastor at Scottdale (Pa.) Mennonite Church, 1973-78 and at Zion Mennonite Church, Broadway, Va., 1989-92. He served as bishop-overseer in Ohio, Allegheny and Virginia Mennonite conferences.

He was moderator of the Mennonite Church, 1969-71, and presided over the transition from the former Mennonite General Conference to the Mennonite General Assembly. He was a member of the first General Board of the denomination following the implementation of the new church structure.

Drescher completed his last interim pastor assignment on Aug. 31, 2004, at Swamp Mennonite Church, Quakertown, and continues part time as a resource to Franconia (Pa.) Mennonite Church, where he also preaches on fifth Sundays and teaches in their winter and spring Bible studies series.

Drescher has written 37 books, more than a dozen dealing with husband and wife and parent-child relationships. Many others address spiritual renewal and growth issues.

Numerous of his works have been published in other languages; “Seven Things Children Need” has been printed in 20 languages. Another, “If I Were Starting My Family Again,” was condensed in “Readers Digest” and at least 70 other magazines worldwide.

The veteran churchman has spoken or provided other leadership roles in conventions, marriage, parent-child and pastor retreats, seminars and in spiritual renewal meetings across North America and in eight other countries.

Drescher’s brother-in-law, Paul Gingrich, noted: “John Drescher is a churchman, not in the usual sense of the word. His heart is with the local congregation and with individuals in the congregation. He pastored pastors with vision and creativity, always aware of the people. He . . .sought to speak and act prophetically to all.”

The Dreschers have five adult children, 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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