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Seminary Recognizes Veteran Pastors

Posted on January 20th, 2006

four couples honored for 50 years of church ministryCited for 50 years of church ministry were (l. to r.): Dorothy and Eldon King, Peggy and Michael Shenk, and Sarah and Lloyd Weaver and Viola and William Weaver.
Photo by Jim Bishop

Four veteran pastors were honored Wednesday, Jan. 18, by Eastern Mennonite Seminary for 50 years of church ministry.

H. Michael Shenk, William M. Weaver, Eldon King and M. Lloyd Weaver, Jr., received plaques and letters of commendation during a banquet held during the annual School for Leadership Training.

Their spouses – Peggy B. Shenk, Viola Weaver, Dorothy King and Sarah M. Weaver – were also cited for their "significant supportive roles" over the years.

Ervin R. Stutzman, dean of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, made the presentations at the recognition ceremony.

Shenk, currently of Harrisonburg, was pastor of Newtown Gospel Chapel in Sarasota, Fla., 1953-56. He was ordained in 1956 when he began serving as pastor at Tuttle Avenue Mennonite Church, Sarasota, Fla., where he was pastor until 1971.

He graduated with a B.A. degree from EMU in 1970 and earned a master of arts in religion degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary in 1975.

Shenk was pastor at Trissels Mennonite Church, Broadway, Va., 1971-75. He then became pastor at Valley View Mennonite Church, Criders, where he continues to the present.

From 1971 to 1995, Shenk also served as a Bible and history teacher and guidance counselor at Eastern Mennonite High School and as recording secretary for the EMHS board of overseers. He has been deeply involved with church camping programs in Florida and Virginia and with the Shenandoah Valley Mennonite Historians.

Shenk has also been an overseer for the Northern District of Virginia Mennonite Conference from 1989 to the present.

In response to "a sense of God’s call to prepare for ministry," King studied at Goshen (Ind.) College 1953-55 and was licensed when he became assistant pastor at Beech Mennonite Church, Louisville, Ohio, in 1955. He attended Goshen Biblical Seminary, 1955-57, before becoming assistant pastor at Walnut Creek (Ohio) Mennonite Church. He was ordained in 1959.

He was pastor 1965-73 at Oak Grove Mennonite Church, West Liberty, Ohio; pastor at Roanoke Mennonite Church, Eureka, Ill., 1983-90; minister of evangelism for Ohio Mennonite Conference, 1990-92 and interim conference minister for Ohio Conference, 1992-94. He is an Ohio Conference overseer and served on the executive committee of the conference. He was on the Mennonite Board of Missions board of directors eight years and was a member of the board of directors of Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) for 27 years.

King went on to serve numerous interim pastorates in Ohio Conference, including Berlin Mennonite, Crown Hill, Smithville and Sonnenberg. From 1998 to 2004 he was part-time chaplain at Walnut Hills Retirement Community and Nursing Home. From 2001 to the present, he has been an interim regional pastor for Ohio Conference.

A native of Lancaster County, Pa., Lloyd Weaver Jr. moved to the Tidewater, Va., area in 1946, where he got involved in dairy farming and attended the Huntingdon Avenue Mennonite Church in Newport News.

In 1956, the congregation needed a leader, and Weaver was ordained as minister there, serving in that role until 1975. He was overseer from 1975 to 1994 of the Warwick District of Virginia Mennonite Conference and was co-founder of the Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center.

In the 1970′s he was a member of the trustee board at EMU, was president of Virginia Mennonite Board of Missions for 12 years and a past moderator of Virginia Mennonite Conference. He is a member of the board of Mennowood Retirement Communities and board chair of the Warwick River Christian School. Over the years he has also served the broader Mennonite Church in a variety of administrative roles.

Weaver has attended most of the annual School for Leadership Training programs for the past 30-plus years.

After attending EMU 1953-56, William Weaver was ordained to the ministry in 1956 and was pastor at the South Seventh Street Mennonite Church, Reading, Pa., until 1971. Between 1956 and 1971 he also taught at three Christian day schools in the Lancaster County, Pa., area.

He attended Eastern Mennonite Seminary in 1972 on a sabbatical year and became program director at Camp Hebron north of Harrisburg, Pa., and served there until 1981.

After a three-year interim pastorate at Rissers Mennonite Church, Elizabethtown, Pa., and also working at the Mennonite Information Center in Lancaster, he "planted" a new congregation, "Halifax Community Fellowship" near Camp Hebron and gave leadership there, 1984-95.

Weaver then held an interim pastorate three years at Diller Mennonite Church, Newville, Pa., and returned to Camp Hebron as groundskeeper, 1998-2003. He and his wife Viola moved to Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community in 2003.

"These pastors represent perseverance and success in ministry," Dr. Stutzman said. "But more importantly, they have demonstrated a passion for evangelism where they are and have been mentors to others."

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