~ The following was published in the Floyd Press on 6/19/08
Thirteen branches were represented at the 300th year anniversary celebration of the Brethren Church, which was founded in Germany in 1708. The event took place at the Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren on Saturday and drew a full house of church members and guests. It was the first social event held in the church’s recently built Social Hall.
Members of the church dressed in period clothing, in styles that dated back to 1790 when Brethren from Pennsylvania first settled on the land that is known today as Floyd County. Event tables showcased historical church items, some of which were provided by Beaver Creek Brethren church member Donna (Spangler) Graham.
Graham lives in the house that once belonged to her grandparents. The house remains home to a number of family heirlooms. She pointed out an antique church songbook that had her grandmother’s name, Clara B. Vest, inscribed in it. It was a gift given to her grandmother by her grandfather prior to their marriage in 1919. Graham said her grandfather, Herman Spangler, preached at several Floyd Brethren churches, including the original Beaver Creek church, which moved to the current Ridgeview Road location in 1945. Among Graham’s collection of church memorabilia was a photo of a past congregation of men in front of the old Beaver Creek church. There was also a small bell she remembered as a child being rung when it was time for church to start.
Lester and Judy Weddle began the scheduled musical entertainment, leading the group in song. Judy Weddle is the daughter of a previous Brethren church pastor.
Guest speaker at the themed celebration was District Executive David Shumate. Mixing humor, prayer, and storytelling, Shumate spoke on the history of the church and on his own Floyd roots. He noted that Floyd has the distinction of being the first to allow English speaking members into the Brethren church in large numbers, which was considered very liberal in 1800.
~ Originally posted on loose leaf notes on July 2, 2008.