Anabaptist Center for Religion and Society (ACRS) breakfast story

Where Northlawn, West Dining Room

Duration 1 hour 30 minutes

On MONDAY morning, Feb. 11, 7:30 – 9:00 in EMU’s West Dining Room, Peggy Shenk will share her life-story with us.

Peggy: The youngest of five siblings, all sisters. Born east of Lancaster along Lincoln Highway in Chester County Pa. The daughter of Pastor Milton Breckbill who also taught in the short term Winter Bible School at EMS (EMC), sometimes proudly known as “the bulwark against the liberalism of the Mid-West.” EMHS/EMS was a point of increasing interest to those who wanted the best for their children. Here at Eastern Mennonite High School Ms. Peggy met young Michael Shenk from Denbeigh, VA and began dating him at age 14. The marriage endured the strains of the changing times and cultures. Into the Shenk family were born three children: The oldest now an ordained Mennonite minister; the daughter, a generous helper of the needy (her marriage also made the Shenks an interracial family); the youngest, a professional actor who is gay—long marginalized in the Mennonite Church—is most recently (by divine invitation) also a pastor in a UCC Church in LA.

In 1970 when EMC’s young president, Myron Augsburger (40), called Peggy, his former church secretary in Florida because he needed help, Peggy responded. And so for nearly the next three decades she occupied the presidential suite at EMU, first with Augsburger (1970-‘80), then with Richard Detweiler (‘80-‘86), then with Joe Lapp (‘86-‘99). Here she transitioned from Secretary to Administrative Assistant, and finally to Assistant to the President. With it always came the job of Secretary to the Board of Trustees. No one in EMU’s history has shared so many of its secrets. No one has weathered so many of its storms on the high seas. No one has lived longer than Peggy with the operational truth: “An office manager is responsible for the smooth operation of the day to day business . . . . No excuses accepted.” Few, if any, know better than Peggy EMU’s sporadic tempests: financial crises, constituency conflicts and administrative brawls. No one knows better than Peggy the quiet gratitude of another year well ended. Peggy Shenk: Ever gracious; the rudder of the ship; the hidden steadying force exploring the deep waters and crossing turbulent oceans because the captains refused to let the ship rot in the safe harbor.

Please share this announcement with your friends and others interested in the life and times of Peggy: in family and in university weathering the struggles of the larger church and the society. Courage on the storm-tossed sea; invisible in still waters! Next month’s presenter and story-teller is Rick Yoder—a one-time EMU professor in business and economics, choosing the road less traveled.

Join us Monday morning at 7:30. If you wish to eat a full breakfast please go through the cafeteria line, then bring your food to the West Dining Room. Coffee and pastries will be provided.

Intended Audience General Public


Contact Information

Name Anabaptist Center

Phone # 540.432.4465