Address – S.C. Godfrey, Red Lion No. 2, Pa.
Friends of the York Church:
I count it a great privilege to be permitted to have a part in our home-coming services. We have never given enough study to the subject of Church History to be able to give very much along that line. We leave that subject to others who have made it a study.
When it comes to give history, we always send for Bro. Falkenstein. He has studied the subject and he enjoys it and we enjoy listening to him, and I am sure that what we could give along that line wouldn’t be so interesting. In fact, most of us have never made it a study. We have in our possession a minute book that gives quite a number of names of the workers and the work that has been done, by those men of the Codorus congregation and that was prior to 50 years ago. I am sure if we want to give those names all it would take awhile. In fact, most of them wouldn’t be known by some of us at least. I have here only a few names and I am sure that as I give these names there are some here who can remember those Brethren that worked in the East Codorus Church, as I think it was then called.
The deacon body in the year 1878. Now by a little figuring you can easily tell it is a little more than 50 years; we find the name of John Godfrey. I understand that John Godfrey lived on what is now the Susquehanna Trail on the farm that Bro. Samuel Hartman of late memory lived for a number of years,. This appears was the only deacon at that time. Then we have also the name of Solomon Keeney, who was one of the deacons when these Church notes were taken in the year 1878. Now as I remember something of Solomon Keeney, it is very little, but I believe you have here on the deacon board Milton Keeney, son of Solomon Keeney. Brother Keeney was one of the deacons of the East Codorus Church. I have another name here, Jacob M. Myers. It appears that Brother Myers was one of the deacons, of the Church before he was a minister. There are many here who very well remember Brother Myers. He was at that time a very strong minister. If I could have only understood that man I am sure I would have enjoyed listening to him. Samuel Y. Keeney.–I think I remember something of Samuel Y. Keeney. Some of those who are older will remember him better. This Samuel Keeney was, a father of Daniel Keeney who was a deacon in the Codorus Church; father of Sister Henry Sweitzer and also Sister Jacob L. Myers of Loganville; father of those and Lewis Keeney of sacred memory. And then at that time also, Emanuel Myers. I faintly remember Emanuel Myers. There are some here who remember him better; his. untimely death, when he read a Scripture on Sunday morning and fell over and expired. A father of Milton Myers who lives today.
Now in going over the list of ministers at that time, was Elder Shamberger, presiding Elder at that time. I do not remember anything of Brother Shamberger. I’m sure many of you do. What I hear of others speak of Brother Shamberger, he was a man very much thought of; man of pleasing personality, a man that was liked not only by grown-ups but by children as well. I think that was a pretty good sign if the children are not afraid of the preacher.
Andrew Myers’ name is on the list. I believe Andrew Myers lived in Loganville~ I am not sure but think so. Also, Christian Ness, who is the father of Mrs. S. B. Myers as well as Mrs. Levi Krout and Thomas Ness and Edward Ness. They lived in the vicinity of Loganville; and a few others. He was our presiding elder for a number of years and some of them remember him even though he is dead perhaps 20 years. Then Jacob Aldinger’s name also appears. Brother Aldinger lived in York and was a father of Sister Sheets who lives today.
Now those are a few of the names of the men that worked before there was a York Church, while we were the Codorus Church. Brother David Markey was one of the deacons when the York Church was organized. We had about 6 deacons and 4 ministers that labored at that time.
On this fifitieth anniversary, we think of those who lived before us, and we believe that they did their work well. In fact, when we think of their meager attainments, and the difficulties under which they labored, and on the other hand, our improved methods of living, it puts us to shame that we are not more successful.
We do not mean to say that our fore-fathers’ work was perfect. They had their problems the same as we. We cannot tie to them as to a hitching post, but rather as a guide post.
The Church of today is largely what those who lived before us, have made it. The Church of tomorrow will depend on the sacrifice and labor that we are willing to bestow upon it.
Each generation has the task of doing their part to meet its spiritual need.
Were it not for the fact that the Church rests upon the faith and character of Christ’s followers; we would not have it today.
To have a part in building a Church is the greatest opportunity that the world can offer.
Jesus said, “The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” This tells us that Christ’s Church is not to be destroyed, because godliness of Christian Character is indestructible.
It is not to be destroyed because it lives not in Church buildings but in the faithful lives of its members. It is the Church’s business to lead persons into a sense of the reality of God. What is the Church’s main purpose? Perhaps we have gone far enough in the direction of efficiency. Perhaps we have more machinery than necessary. It is the Church’s main business to build Christ-like character and make men conscious of God as Father and Jesus Christ as Savior.
Worship in its truest sense has been sadly neglected in this modern age. We are not so much interested in the Church doing more things as we are in increasing her spiritual power.
The Samaritan woman said to Jesus, “In Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship,” but the Master gave a new idea regarding worship, when he said, “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father.” “God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.”
Again, we need to interpret Christianity as a kind of a life to be lived now. “Who knoweth whether we are not come to the Kingdom for such a time as this.” We like to believe that it is God’s purpose, that our lot should be cast in this very spot, and in this very age.
The happiest life is the busy one. We cannot be more like Christ, than when we have ourselves employed in useful activities. We have no right to exist, if we do not keep ourselves faithfully employed in the service of the King.
Jesus outlined his program of life when he said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor, he has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, the recovering of sight to the blind, to preach the Acceptable Years of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18).
Oh! for a religion that will challenge the best that is in us. One that will set us on a path to overcome the evil that exists in this present world.
Phillips Brooks ‘says: “The truth comes, to us more and more, the longer we live that on what field or with what aims we do our duty matters very little or even what our duty is, great or small, splendid or obscure, only to find our duty and certainly, and somewhere, some way to do it faithfully, makes us good, strong, happy and useful men, and tunes our lives into some feeble echo of the life of God.”
What could be better than the example of Christian living? It goes without saying that many serious-minded youth is guided by the lives of Church members. Youth has an aspiration to be like some person of his ideal. To be sure Jesus, is the true and perfect example but man is human, and as long as he lives, he will continue to have human models. Good Christian living, good Christian faith, honest dealings and love of God and man on the part of Church members will furnish some splendid examples of Christian living.
The fact that the work of God’s Kingdom shall go on, is evidenced by the York Church growing from a few members to nearly a thousand in 50 years. Let us pledge anew our allegiance, and renew our Covenant with God, and may we ever hold the banner of His Kingdom high until Jesus Comes!