Campaign Brings Healing and Engagement to Paul Ziegler’s Home Congregation

Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren held a celebration in honor of Paul Ziegler's 20th birthday on May 5
Photo by courtesy of Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren
Members of Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren holding a celebration in 2013, in honor of what would have been Paul Ziegler’s 20th birthday.

On Saturday, May 4, nearly 150 people gathered at Colebrook, Pa., along the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail to bike, walk, and ride horseback as a part of the 3,000 Miles for Peace campaign of On Earth Peace.

A report from the agency noted that the trail ride kicked off a long weekend of events in and around Elizabethtown, Pa., in honor of the late Paul Ziegler who would have celebrated his 20th birthday on Sunday, May 5.

“In a world where we are constantly bombarded by the bad news of guns, drones, bombs, wars, and domestic violence we just lived the good news of faith and peace,” commented Elizabethtown pastor Greg Davidson Laszakovits by e-mail after the weekend. “Inspired by Paul’s vision, refusing to feel powerless against an often violent world, we saw that we can and do make a difference; one step, one pedal revolution, one person at a time.”

Laszakovits also provided updated numbers for the campaign, which as of May 9 had raised more than $17,000, and logged 1,508 miles toward the 3,000 mile goal.

On Earth Peace's Bob Gross at the celebration at Elizabethtown (Pa) Church of the Brethren
Photo by courtesy of Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren
On Earth Peace’s Bob Gross (left) at the celebration at Elizabethtown (Pa) Church of the Brethren. Gross ended his walk from central Indiana at the celebration of Paul Ziegler’s 20th birthday on May 5–and celebrated logging 650 miles toward the 3,000 Miles for Peace goal.

Among the crowd were many friends and family of Ziegler, who had been a member at Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren. Included were his parents Deb and Dale Ziegler. Grandfather Woodrow Ziegler and his wife Doris, who are members of Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, were there. Aunt Karen Hodges ran registration, and brought in staff and faculty from Elizabethtown College. Uncle Don Ziegler welcomed everyone to the trail ride including On Earth Peace’s Bob Gross, who had just concluded a 650-mile walk from Indiana.

“We had a perfect day,” said Don Ziegler in the On Earth Peace report.

The trail ride was followed by a birthday celebration at Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren on May 5. Music, stories about the campaign, singing, discussions around peace, and birthday cake were enjoyed by all who attended. The congregation raised $6,524 in Ziegler’s honor.

The weekend was a demonstration of church and community coming together, reported Lizz Schallert, development assistant at On Earth Peace. “So many volunteers of Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren and members of Paul’s family worked to make the weekend a success; a time of support for the Ziegler family, and tangibly forwarding the programs Paul cared about.”

Find a video slide show of Bob Gross’ walk, courtesy of videographer David Sollenberger, at .

In more 3,000 Miles for Peace news

On May 18 the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., will be the starting point for cyclists embarking on a 150-mile, two-day round trip tour to Camp Emmaus in Mount Morris, Ill. These “Road to Emmaus Pedalers for Peace” are honoring the vision of fallen cyclist Paul Ziegler, and raising money for the On Earth Peace campaign, said a note from Jeff Lennard, director of marketing and sales for Brethren Press. Along with Lennard, cyclists John Carroll, Nevin Dulabaum, Jacki Hartley, Ron Nightingale, Mark Royer, and Ruthie Wimmer are part of the group. Find the Road to Emmaus Pedalers for Peace team website at .

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