Dear Secretary Pastuszek,

Today a Conference E-mail listed Circle of Prayer churches for the week. Klinesgrove is on the list. I have fond memories of Klinesgrove and Mount Pleasant. Of course, my memory is not as good as it was, and I doubt anyone remembers me. Still it is heartwarming to see your websites.

My name is Brint Shafer. I am now 72, retired for 6 years, after serving 47 as a pastor. My first assignment began at age 19, August 15, 1963, just before my sophomore year at Lycoming. I was hired as assistant pastor and youth pastor for Snydertown Charge. I forget the name of the pastor in charge. I do remember Snydertown Charge had seven churches: Klinesgrove, Mount Pleasant, Irish Valley, Boyles Run, Millers Crossroads, Snydertown and Rushtown. (Boyles Run, Snydertown and Rushtown are now closed.) I served in that capacity for only one year. In 1964, the conference made Irish Valley and Boyles Run a student parish. I served them for the next two years, until I left for seminary in New Jersey.

I remember a man named Wayne—can’t remember last names—was the Conference Member from Mount Pleasant. A girl named Nancy was the key youth member at Klinesgrove. I drove a Renault Dauphine. One night at Klinesgrove, a group of boys picked it up and put it on cinder blocks. Fortunately, at the end of our evening together, they put it back on the ground for me.

I believe a Klinesgrove member had a sister, Phyllis Klock. Phyllis was organist at Irish Valley. She contacted me on behalf of Klinesgrove, inviting me to speak at Homecoming. I don’t remember the year, just that I had a good time sharing memories, especially with some of the boys who had put my car on the blocks. Of course, by then they were grown men.

I write to thank Klinesgrove and Mount Pleasant for their ministry to me. I was so young and you were so patient and supportive. I went on to have a wonderful ministry that most pastors would call “successful,” whatever that means. In my last appointment, I served for 19 years at First in Hollidaysburg. Over those years we went from two worship services a weekend to five. Our attendance grew from 200 to over 725. For the last few years, we had the highest attendance in Susquehanna Conference.

I mention those things, not to brag, but to thank Klinesgrove and Mount Pleasant. In the year we were together, you demonstrated some valuable truths about what it means to be a church family, to support and care for each other, and to nurture and encourage youth and young pastors. From my years on the Board of Ordained Ministry, I can tell you that young pastors mentored by churches like Klinesgrove and Mount Pleasant have a good foundation to become strong and caring pastors as they mature. Some pastors begin appointments in dysfunctional and unloving congregations.That can have a negative impact on them for a long time.

So, I hope you will convey my thanks to your congregations, especially any old-timers who might have been around in the mid 1960’s. I hope also you will continue to be congregations that help pastors learn the good and joyful truths about church and ministry. We need more churches like that. You are important and make a lasting difference. Thank you.

Grace and Peace,

Brint Shafer