Maple Grove History-Names and Age

By Marilyn Kettering Badger

November 30, 2015


The Bible is clear on what a brethren is and what a brethren is not. A brethren is a Christian that has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. A brethren is no more special than anyone else. Yes, a Christian brethren should treat another brethren with brotherly kindness, but brethren should also treat all people with brotherly kindness. Being a brethren is not being part of an exclusive club. Being a brethren is part of being an inclusive club where brethren do every-thing possible to have everyone become a brethren. See Matthew 12:50; Matthew 23:8; Matthew 25:40. (Internet: Bible Brethren)

Names – names:

Before Maple Grove Church of the Brethren (COB) went by that name, it went by Maple Grove German Baptist Brethren (GBB). Some people used the term Dunkards, Tunkers, or Dunkers meaning (in German) “to dip” as in baptism to refer to the believers. In the early days the fact that most of the services were in German defined the church. As time went on and English became the more common language the name was changed. In 1908 the denomination adopted the name “Church of the Brethren” because of the scriptures above.To “know they are Brethren” – has nothing to do with whether they are male or female. The church’s deed read German Baptist Brethren until the new church addition was built in 2002 when the deed was changed to Church of the Brethren. So for nearly 100 years our church building was titled German Baptist Brethren (GBB), but the congregation was called Church of the Brethren (COB).

How old is Maple Grove?

We celebrated 100 years in 1960 when Ivan Fausnight was pastor here, 125 years in 1985 when Paul Myers was our pastor, and 150 years in 2010 when the pastor was Bill Schaefer.    

For quite some time the starting date of Ashland Maple Grove has been held to be 1860 because that is what the 1914 Northeastern Ohio History says. It was written, in part, by the then - pastor of Ashland Dickey, which was also listed as being “established” on that date.   There is no way we can find out from him where his information came from. No written records were kept in the early years because the church felt it wrong to do so. Much of the written record of early council meetings would have been about people’s behavior choices and their discipline as set by the church. This was done so no records were kept to hold this against them. Written council meeting minutes did not come until 1875 for Maple Grove. Dickey’s old records were destroyed in a fire at Founder’s Hall at Ashland College when Rev. Miley was trying to write a history for them. There is also a Northern Ohio history book by Editor Edgar Diehm, titled The Church of the Brethren in Northeastern Ohio. It was published in Elgin, Illinois, by The Brethren Press in 1963 and uses the 1914 book as its reference and source. So that is not much help.

 Back to the date of starting the church - About 2013 Zachary Freer brought me an old book he had located, on history of Ashland County by Henry Howe, dated 1888, a much earlier date than the 1914 date mentioned above so was closer to the accuracy of the happening. It reads “the Maple Grove or Beighly (Beeghly/Beeghley) church was erected four or five years before the Dickey building” – which was 1860. (H.H., page 255) However it seems both were “officially organized” in 1860. (H.H., page 255) So Maple Grove was started about 1855 or before - in order to have a building built by that date - not the commonly held 1860. Are we five or more years older than we have celebrated? Until the building of a meetinghouse, they met in each other’s homes so the starting date would have been earlier. Are we five years or more older than we have celebrated? Should we celebrate 175 years in 2030 or in 2035 and 200 years in 2055 or 2060? Now what?

 Prayer: Lord, use us to continue Your work which has flourished for so many years in this location with us following Your guidance and Your will. We know You are in control. Amen.

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