By Walt Wiltschek
About 80 people gathered at Camp Mardela in Denton, Md., on May 19 to mark the 150th anniversary of the first Brethren arriving on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. In 1869, Jacob Kline and his family settled in Caroline County, near where the camp is now located. Brethren built their first meeting house about a decade later, in 1880, near Easton. Seven Mid-Atlantic District congregations are located on the Eastern Shore today.
The anniversary worship celebration, held as part of Mardela’s Camp Appreciation Day, included remarks from district executive Gene Hagenberger, a mini-concert and special music by Jonathan Shively of ArtistryLeads, robust hymn singing, and a litany of rededication that said, in part, “We rededicate ourselves, our congregations, our camp to being beacons of God’s light on the Eastern Shore.” The service concluded by singing “Go Now in Peace,” followed by a picnic dinner.
Other events are planned this year to celebrate the sesquicentennial, including vespers at the historic Round Top meeting house in Easton on Aug. 21 and a heritage-flavored love feast service in late fall.
Find an in-depth article about the Eastern Shore Brethren published by the Star Democrat of Easton, Md., at www.stardem.com/life/few-in-number-but-faithful-in-witness/article_acfee569-f25f-5d56-8549-d955faf423f2.html .
— Walt Wiltschek is pastor of Easton Church of the Brethren and serves on the editorial team of the Church of the Brethren magazine “Messenger.”