WHAT THIS CHURCH MEANS TO ME BY TREVA MILLER
I grew up at the Baptist Church in Salem. When Larry and I returned from his Army service, I joined this church where he had grown up. Then, it was the old white church up the road. Then the exciting dream came of building a new church on Valley Road. When we added the Sanctuary 10 years later, we and our 5 children were asked to break ground to represent families. I can still see the 2 youngest using their feet on the spade! We were on the building committee and I got to choose the scenes for the stained glass windows. Then our family made 250 paper weights containing a wood shaving and pieces of floor and a mustard seed to give for keepsakes on our first Sunday of worship. Three of my children were married in this church, some of our grandchildren were baptized here, and the funerals of Larry and our son Dale were held at this church.
I was an only child, so I really appreciated having brothers and sisters in my church family. I have helped them by singing in the choir and a singing trio of Elise Buttermore, Lois Greenamyer and myself. I visit shut ins, attend bible studies on Thursday evenings, and assist with homework help. My enjoyment has been to lead a Jr. Choir, teach Sunday school and cooking for funeral dinners and the Ruritans dinners with the Damascus Methodist Women.
I always appreciated the church being open so I could stop in and pray when I felt the need. It has been fun to watch families grow, marry and become parents. I also like to look at old directories to see our members who now await us in heaven. You can feel others praying for you and I have seen some wonderful answers. I was reborn here, and have grown, and I am still growing in my faith. I LOVE THIS CHURCH!!!
Pastor Steven and Jamie Kenneally's Testimony:
It is a joy to sit back and recount our history at Damascus UMC. What stood out to us is that after nearly five years of visiting countless churches and searching for a place to call home, we decided to visit Damascus United Methodist. In 2009 we were living in Alliance and had two small children. Pastor Bob Amey was serving DUMC as Visitation Pastor and we had known him from Steve’s days in youth ministry, as he had served with Bob years before at New Waterford United Methodist Church. It didn’t take long for us to know we had found our church home. We fondly remember being greeted with friendly faces and always feeling welcomed by all members of various ages. Aside from the welcoming atmosphere, we were drawn to continue worshipping with this body of believers because 1) we were hearing the Word preached, edifying us as believers and 2) we also had a safe and supportive environment for our young children, Joseph (4) and Jameson (2).
Throughout our years at DUMC, we participated in several ministries of the church. Our children participated in the nursery, Sunday School, Junior Church, Kids’ Club, and various youth programs such as the Christmas programs, the Kids for Kids auction, VBS, and fun field trips. Mom and dad participated in a membership class and various adult Sunday School classes, as well as volunteering to help with children’s ministries in the Nursery, Children’s Church, Kids’ Club, field trips, hallway monitoring, VBS and Christmas programs. We enjoyed the fellowship, fun, and rewarding times spent volunteering and participating in these capacities that were so enriching to our entire family. We were also blessed to serve through the Children’s Ministry Team (Jamie), Social Concerns newsletter submissions (Jamie), Evangelism Committee Chair (Steve), and Lay Servant Training (Steve).
Whether it was a note of encouragement, a hug, a card, a birthday call, help with our kids… our church family at DUMC was ever-present in our lives for nearly five years when we departed, with their support and encouragement, to enter into the ministry and serve at two other churches. Now the children are 12 and nearly 10. Time surely flies. We continue to feel supported and loved through financial assistance for ministry education (the generous Bennet endowment) and we also covet your prayers, cards, and visits. We are never too far from home that we can’t join in the loving fellowship of DUMC. Our involvement in this faithful fellowship has both grown us and launched us in service to the Church. Know that we cherish the memories of our years with you all and we continue to lift your members and ministries in our prayers.
Together in Service,
Pastor Steven and Jamie Kenneally
Jade Papic’s Testimony
I have been in and around this church since I was born. From being baptized here all the way to being the adult I have become because of this church and the people in it. As a little girl, I loved helping roll silverware for church breakfasts, cooking for church events with my mom and grandma, helping others with the Kid for Kids auction, rummage sale, signing in plays and going on kids day outs. When I was old enough I got to be a part of even more in the church. I was able to join the church's yearly missionary trips this meant I got to help with soup and salads, breakfasts (doing more than just silverware), apple pie making, and then the actual trip in itself. Last 3 or so years I helped with VBS, luncheons, kids message, nursery, and this church helped me live a dream of mine to go to the Dominican Republic to help others. Growing up with the joy, love, care, and faith that all these experiences contained are undeniably what helped strengthen me into who I am today.
This church is not just a building I go to every Sunday it is much more. This church has been a second home for me throughout my life and will continue to be. I have stayed in this church and around this church because of the amazing people and the wonderful things that we do for others. It is a safe place I know I can come and talk to someone knowing that they will work their hardest with a full heart to help me with whatever it may be. My family goes to this church and are the reason I came to this church. Throughout these eighteen years it's hard not to call the people at this church my family too. They have all been there when I went through one of the hardest times in my life. In 2008 when my family and I were preparing for my first surgery we were never alone. We got calls and people coming up asking if we needed anything. Even if I was very young and at that time may not have known everyone in the church that did not stop
everyone from sending me get well cards with their prayers attached. Then in 2014, I was told that my condition got to the point I needed a second surgery. This is not really the news a fourteen-year-old girl wanted to get. I tried to be in the shadows and just get the surgery done with but the love from my church family never let me forget that everything was going to be okay and work out how God planned. Pastor Bob came to my house with a list of Bible verses and notes that I could read to help remind me of the love and support I had from everyone. I would not have had a positive spin on my condition if it was not for the wonderful people that never let me forget.
The joy I get from helping people came from growing up in this church. Everything this church stands for has shown me how to put others first, love others no matter what, think of the positives and rely on the people that want to be there for you. I have grown into someone I am proud of because of the help and guiding hands of my church family. I would not change anything I got to experience growing up. Thank you church family for helping me through the hard times and celebrating the good times with me. -Jade Papic
Steve Sprague’s Testimony
I stand before you today in awe that God would choose me to represent Him in any way. I am a most undeserving servant. Like many of you, I grew up in church. I am the son of the son of a preacher but that fact does not in any way automatically make me a Christian.
When I was very young, I thought that I was a Christian because we were a Christian family in a Christian nation. Later I learned that to truly be a Christian is to know that you have sinned and can never do anything to make up for it. It is only by accepting that it is the saving grace of Jesus taking the punishment that I deserve, that I can be forgiven. Accepting that gift of all gifts and letting The Holy Spirit change my life is what it took to be a Christian. I learned that in Sunday school and also at a friend's church. It was then that I made the decision that I wanted to be a Christian.
I've never been much of a runner. In high school wrestling, we had to run several miles every practice and I absolutely hated it. In my opinion, there is a reason you never see a smiling runner. I've never enjoyed running on a track or road and I'm not really good at it but I sure have done a lot of running spiritually. Growing up in the church, I heard the truth about accepting Jesus Christ and at some point I even made the decision to do so but, I did not follow through. After I became an “adult" I forgot all about my decision. I did what I wanted to do. I swore, drank to get drunk and smoked pot with my “buddies". Spending time in prayer was limited to meal time and spending time in The Bible never even crossed my mind. I was basically aimless. After high school, I went to work and let life happen. My high school buddies were gone and I just worked and made sure to keep running away from God. My life as I ran it was only leading to death. Then God gave me a life saving gift.
In 2006, I lost my job and found a new one that was out of the area that we had lived in most of our lives. I knew the Alliance area some because of a flying club that I had belonged to since 1990. So moving to the area was a good idea. I'm sure it was hard for Dina but she did know one person - a friend‘s wife from the flying club. My friend’s wife “just happened" to be a mature Christian. We waited until the summer of 2007 to move while the kids were on summer break. Our youngest would need to go to pre-school that fall and my friend‘s wife suggested Damascus UMC Pre-school. We needed to shop for a church and since Joey would be going to DUMC, we thought we would give it a try. Our new church family was so welcoming and full of love that we never needed to try anywhere else. DUMC had just received a new pastor and I remember him saying the very first time I talked to him that God had a plan for my life. Really? Pastor Mick didn't know me. How could he possibly know that God had a plan for me? Anyway, I had my own plans and they really didn't include getting closer to God. I was still running away.
Pastor Mick always made it clear that the alter prayer rail was always open for bringing serious prayer concerns. People would go kneel at the prayer rail during the last hymn so it could be private or Pastor could pray with you. One Sunday I could fight no longer. I knew that I needed to draw closer to Jesus and I knew that I had to stop running. I was now truly worshiping a Holy worthy God. That day I felt like I was almost being dragged up the isle to kneel at the rail. I was sobbing. Pastor Mick quietly asked what I needed to pray and I tried to tell him that I had truly wanted to stop running and commit to serving The Lord. Maybe just maybe it was time to stop running.
That summer our daughter Hannah would be joining the church. Pastor Mick would be baptizing her in the lake across the road. I had been baptized around the same age as Hannah but it was a sprinkling and I hardly remembered it. In fact I had to call my mom to confirm that it had happened at all. This was a perfect opportunity to show my new commitment through an immersion experience as well as share this awesome experience with Hannah. I was actually spending time in the Word now pretty regularly and prayer was a constant thing. I was ready. The baptism was more than I expected. I felt my Lord's presence as I came up from the water ready to serve Him as His child. What an amazing gift. It was also great to have a loving church family there worshiping and praising right along with us.
Over the last ten years, we have had a few surgeries and a few injuries but we can always count on our DUMC church family to be there when we need them most. God provides in many ways and one of the biggest for us has been the love and support of a wonderful church family. Our church is a wonderful resource that is being used by God to grow the faith of His flock as well as share His love. -Steve Sprague
Tim Citino’s Testimony
My name is Tim Citino, I have been a part of this church off and on all my life. I was
baptized here by Rev. Buell. My grandmother and long time member Lois Greenamyer is how I first became a part of this church. Over the years there have been many influences in my life from the church that have always made sure I stayed a part of it. I remember as a child the Gano family, Bill and Mary Phillips, and the Maris family all kept me in the church or the church in me. We had a lot of hardships throughout the years but I always remember there being a pastor present and a huge outpouring of support from the church family. I feel that being a part of the church helps me to recognize the biblical influence in life. It would be so easy to write things in life off as just a coincidence if you are not Christ focused when they are actually Gods work in action. When I lived in other areas and attended other churches they always felt more like a show than a worship and that's why its always comforting to be in DUMC.
Doris Stitle’s Testimony
My name is Doris Stitle. I was born on June 24, 1935, which was my Dad’s birthday. I was born on my parents’ farm in East Canton, Ohio. My father had graduated from the Ohio State University in 1918, with a degree in agriculture, and farmed all his life.
My parents already had a 10 year old son and a 12 year old daughter when I was born. That means I was not planned but they told me many times that they could not have done without me!
We moved to North Georgetown when I was 5 years old. I had the best childhood you could have had. There were 5 other girls in North Georgetown who were all about my age and we were always together. We went through catechism together and joined church together. This was the beginning of giving my life to Christ.
In our little town we had a Brethren Church and the Lutheran Church, which we attended. My father would fill in to preach if the minister was ill or on vacation. He always enjoyed
preaching and of course I thought he was great. He was very active in the church and was a great Christian role model for me.
After marrying Roger, we attended Concord United Presbyterian Church, where Roger’s family attended. Later, when we moved, with our family of four children, to a new home on Hartley Road and became involved in sports at West Branch, we became friends with Jan and Bill Buell. We started attending the Damascus Methodist Church at that time – 43 years ago.
Through the years when raising our four children, after everyone was settled down in bed, I would stay up an extra half hour and talk about my day with the Lord. It always helped me to relax.
We all need to trust in the Lord. Sometimes when you pray for something you think is important to you, it doesn’t happen. In the end it’s the “man upstairs” having His way and it’s usually for the best.
I have always been involved in the church in many ways, but as I have gotten older, I feel it is time to turn things over to the younger crowd. It’s a joy watching them, and they are doing a great job.
My Damascus United Methodist Church family has always been helpful. Following the loss of our youngest daughter, Lynne, they were there to support and pray for us during our grief.
In closing, Psalm 34:14 says: Turn from all known sin and spend your time in doing good. Try to live in peace with everyone, work hard at it.