Celebrating Memories # 1

Celebrating Memories # 1

Written By Carl Schaefer

This celebration of memories gives us the opportunity to remember moments and members who shaped us as a Community and who have been seen regularly at Emmaus events to provide consistent support and encouragement. 

One the most important Community events has been the monthly Gatherings when members meet for fellowship and worship. There are some members who were rarely absent from these events and are frequently seen together. Mary Lou Mackley, Shirley Swihart, and Barb Boner are among those icons who remind you of who you are and the ministry to which we are called. And while not seen more recently at Gatherings for reasons of health for her and her husband Mark, Novella Lieurance,  and this group of three, were all a part of the original committee that were instrumental in establishing Heart of Ohio as an Emmaus Community.

If we take these dedicated servants one at time we are pointed first to remember that Barb, who resided in Fredericktown, found it a long drive to the Greater Columbus Community location. Barb’s original Walk was with Southwest Texas where she attended Women’s Walk #6 along with her deceased husband, Al, who attended Walk #11 with that same Community. Barb went on to be Lay Director for Women’s Walk #’s 3 and 30. Gina Blackman-Kirkpatrick, Women’s Walk #6 remembers Barb as her Table Leader and was instrumental to get Gina to be long time serving member of the Community.

Mary Lou Mackley, originally of the Greater Columbus Emmaus Community, Women’s Walk #7 along with her husband Ken, Men’s Walk # 6 of that same Community, was also a part of that original group. Mary Lou would go onto sponsor numerous others to experience a Walk to Emmaus along with her husband Ken who was the original Heart of Ohio Emmaus Community Prayer Coordinator until the time of his death. Mary Lou was also one of the original Community members who experienced firsthand the Heart of Ohio Face to Face, a new ministry for older adults. Mary Lou also served in a first-hand way by being the Lay Director for Women’s Walk # 8 and holding all the team positions that one is required to hold beginning with the humble role of Assistant Table leader.

Shirley Swihart, along with her husband LeRoy, held even another distinction for having been part of the original Greater Columbus Community by both attending that original Community’s first Walk #1. Not only was Shirley a regular attendee at Emmaus events, her husband Ken served as one the Heart of Ohio Community’s Logistic servants on many of the adult walks. Shirley also served as Lay Director for Women’s Walk #39

You couldn’t help being uplifted each time you would  see the three of these individuals at Community events as they were often seen sitting together giving evidence that while you may no longer be able to be actively involved in teams, they were there to give historical support to new members. It was like looking at the foundational roots of the Community and letting people know that even one’s presence was a sign of support to carry on the legacy of the ministry. 

Speaking of about celebrating influential members of the Community, Novella and her husband Mark followed in Shirley and LeRoy’s footsteps by Mark attending Greater Columbus Men’s Walk #6 while Novella attended Women’s Walk #7. Bringing the experience and love of Emmaus to the roots of Heart of Ohio, Novella would go onto lead Women’s Walk # 6 and 31 as Lay Director and Mark, Lay Director for Men’s Walk # 4 and 13, would give birth to a new ministry called “Chunkendales” that would go on to provide years of joyful entertainment for Heart of Ohio Women’s Walk. Novella would also go onto to be one of the original committee members that would establish the new adult ministry Face to Face. She would serve both on the first team as well as serve as one of the original Prayer Chapel servants during the first three Encounters. 

As one can easily see, we as members of the Heart of Ohio  owe a lot to these faithful servants for making the Community what it is today with a record of over 25 years of Walk History and over 4,000 individuals that have experienced Walks, Chrysalis Flights and Encounters. 

Unfortunately, we have been unable to celebrate all of the original Community planners and I apologize for not including them here. But after speaking with Novella Lieurance as I am finishing this article, she suggested one way to celebrate them would be to include a list of the all the Team members from Walk #1 of whom many were equally instrumental in getting the Heart of Ohio Emmaus Community established. 

The List of the Team Members for the Heart of Ohio Walk #1 are as follows:  

  • LD –  Hope Seel
  • ALD –  Mary Lou Mackley
  • ALD –  Jenny Stalnaker
  • ALD –  Cheryl Thomson
  • LDIT – Bonnie Clements
  • Table Leader – Barb Boner
  • Table Leader – R.A. Cunningham
  • Table Leader – Jan Gessner
  • Table Leader – Novella Lieurance
  • Table Leader – Linda Felt
  • Table Leader – Sue Antolik
  • Asst. Table Leader – Sharon Gatton
  • Asst. Table Leader – Carol Morrow
  • Asst. Table Leader – Diana Partington
  • Asst. Table Leader – Claire Hills
  • Asst. Table Leader – Diane Geist
  • Asst. Table Leader – Shirley Swihart
  • Music – Linda Van Meter
  • Asst. Music – Betty Spoon
  • Spiritual Director – Ruth Ann Noble
  • ASD – Chuck Nash
  • ASD – Art Schultz
  • ASD – Rick Villardo
  • ASD – Jim Van Meter

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