Keynote Speech: The Body’s Grace


Michael Witmer is a Deputy Attorney General with the state of California and has been a trainer of trainers in Faith Based Reconciliation since 1999. An active Episcopalian, he and his husband of 23 years, the Rev. Warren Nyback, are members of Pilgrim Place, an intentional community in Claremont California. He was the keynote speaker at Gethsemane’s conference, “The Body’s Grace.”

Biblical Womanhood: A Podcast

This recording of Dr. Amy Peeler was made at a conference held last year at Gethsemane. Once a year, we host a conference for the parish and community members to join together to discuss important issues both through faith and reconciliation. In an effort to continue this tradition, we ask humbly for donations via the link to the right of this page. Thank you for your time, and please enjoy the insights of Dr. Peeler!



Joy Hendey: A Survivor


Joy Hendey built fighter planes. A small woman, not quite five feet tall, an elf like demeanor, greying black hair, dark eyes. Underneath her grandmotherly appearance was the steel of a survivor.

Born in grimy, industrial Manchester, England in the 1920’s to an Italian immigrant family, she experienced the worst of the world wide Depression. Her father managed a living at his small grocery store.

Young Joy was educated in a nearby Catholic school. She recalled that she thought  the nuns were angels since she could not see their feet as the habits that were worn brushed the floor. She said that she was shocked when she first saw a nun’s shoes, believing that the sisters floated on air.

World War II came to Britain in 1939 and the nation’s survival was in question. In 1940, the Germans launched devastating aerial attacks on the nation’s industrial centers . Teenaged Joy went to work in an aircraft factory, crucial work in the Battle for Britain. She told of operating a metal lathe for 12 hour night shifts. People would faint of hunger at their machines. Joy told of strict rationing. Families were restricted to one egg per month, flour and sugar were sold in grams. For her, the worst part was coming home by the underground and not knowing if your neighborhood was still standing. Joy was no fan of monarchy. She recalled seeing King George and Queen Mary touring the ruins in Manchester. She observed that the royals were “twits” who went back to their safe quarters and certainly never worked a night shift.

At the end of the WWII,  Joy came to Marion as a war bride and became a long time parishioner at Gethsemane.

Bill Munn

Marion March for Justice December 7th, 2014





Several parishioners from Gethsemane gathered with representatives of Allen Temple AME Church, Calvary Baptist Church, as well as several other local churches and organizations for a  walk on Sunday, December 7th to pray for healing, reconciliation, and justice in Ferguson, Missouri, Cleveland, Ohio, and New York City.  At the end of the march silence was observed for all victims of recent violence.

Bill Munn

Letter from Father Jim November 2014

Gethsemane is approaching a significant financial crisis as I write this. We have been using the Trust Fund for years to supplement our annual income. When I came here at the end of 2002 the Trust held around $350,000. At the end of each year, we would take the income of the Trust, usually about $40,000, and transfer it into our checking account. That money would generally make up any shortfall in
pledge and plate offerings. (For those who don’t know, a pledge is the annual amount you commit to give to the church; it is supplemented with extra funds put in the offering to equal “pledge and plate”income.)

Since the Great Recession of 2008, this has not been the case. The principal of the Trust declined to $300,000, and our pledges (and plate) also declined and have not caught up again, even with our increasing attendance. Last year saw the lowest pledge amount in this century at just under $82,000. As a result, we’ll be removing $60,000 from the Trust this year. This has brought the amount in the
Trust fund to less than $200,000. To be clear, we need about $180,000 to operate the church at a basic minimum. We have cut the budget to the degree that further reductions will substantially impact what we can do as a parish.

At our current rate of withdrawal, we have three years before the Trust is empty. At that point, Gethsemane will no longer be able to support a priest.

There is no simple solution. Realistically, we know everyone can’t double their pledge for next year. Certainly Kresha and I can’t do that, but we can increase our pledge. Kresha’s salary has gone up a bit each year and we take that into account as we determine what we’ll give. I’d seriously ask all of you to consider prayerfully whether you can do the same. It would be good to get our pledging back into six
figures, where it last was in 2011.

We will need to do more than simply increase pledging. There are ways forward, and the vestry will be discussing these in the next few months. Anticipate an exciting and challenging discussion of this issue at the annual parish meeting in January.

Here are some ideas I’ve been considering to increase the overall financial picture of the church. Please add your ideas to the mix:

* Continue to develop our role as a venue that supports and sponsors divergent Christ-centered thinking. This has been one of the central aspects of our attraction to the faculty and students in our congregation. We are hosting another challenging reconciliation event in the spring, an opportunity to discuss the many issues around same sex unions and marriage. Such an event is only one way we can talk about being a reconciling community.

*We have ideas around focusing on the arts, using our trip to Israel next summer, and continuing as a vibrant aspect of the Marion community as our city and Grant County struggle to become more diverse and prosperous.

* We’ve got a group that’s going to look into getting grants to support some ideas along these lines. As Kresha and I are in the Middle East next summer, we will be excited to see stronger lay leadership grow and help broaden our approach both to ministry and fundraising. We hope to tie this in with the Lilly Grant.

*Build on the ministries to the neighborhood we already have. A new business is moving into the old car dealership behind us. What would happen if our whole block became more attractive and presented an opening avenue into Marion?

It’s always the case that we’re under some financial pressure, perhaps now more than ever. Still, we need to proceed with our lives together, confident that we have a guaranteed future in Christ, even if we cannot see exactly what that is.

Julia Norton: She yet Speaketh


A large white marble slab rests against on old brick chimney in the undercroft of the church. The tablet resembles ones that line the walls and floors of churches and cathedrals in England honoring royalty, poets, soldiers, and scholars.

The inscription on the tablet reads








Julia Norton was a teacher. Born in New York in 1819, her family came to Marion from Connellsville, Pennsylvania by way of Mount Vernon, Ohio in 1854.Marion was a small settlement on the banks of the Mississinewa. The first settlers had arrived only twenty odd years earlier. In part due to its role as county seat, the village was attracting tradesmen, lawyers, doctors and clergymen.

The need for schools arose and Julia Norton began teaching the youth of Marion’s pioneer families. School was a spotty affair, conducted in the Presbyterian Church, the County Courthouse, and in rustic cabins.Her obituary reported that Miss Norton taught for over thirty years. She was highly regarded by her pupils who recalled not only the “hard benches” that they had to sit on but also the Friday spelling contests that the students eagerly looked forward to.  A local history written in 1916 notes that Norton was reluctant to use the rod, a disciplinary tool used often resorted to in 19th century education. The Marion Chronicle described her as “ woman of a strong but peculiar character…who possessed a remarkable will and energy…”

Julia Norton was part of the early Episcopal community in Marion. No more than a handful of communicants, the group met for Morning Prayer in various homes, stores, and the county courthouse during the period 1850 to 1870. Circuit riding priests from Trinity Fort Wayne and Indianapolis would periodically celebrate the Mass and baptize new members. In 1890 Julia and her fellow Episcopalians became Gethsemane Episcopal Church when the new building opened for worship.

Miss Julia Norton was stricken by paralysis in 1891 and died in 1894.  Her obituary stated, “ Her life… has been devoted to teaching…and her death closes the earthly existence of a devout member of the Episcopal Church and a woman who will long be remembered.

Bill Munn