“In 1948, Burr Oak Mennonite Church conducted its first Community Bible School in Mount Ayr School.  Joseph Short “Joe” Neuhouser, a Mennonite preacher from Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, was superintendent of the two-week morning Bible School with tent services held in the evening.  It was concluded with a Friday evening program held in the gym.  The highest attendance was 142.  A team of dedicated teachers hauled in children from the country to attend the Bible School.  Some of the teachers remembered were Alice Marie (Yoder) Frey and Lydia Mae (Schmucker) Miller, who picked me (Clara) up along with my three sisters, Connie, Wanda, and Bonnie Armold.  The last few years of the huge Bible School were conducted by a young Mennonite preacher, Theron J. Weldy.  On August 8, 1954, superintendent Weldy married Evelyn Kauffman, a Mount Ayr girl, and held his last joint Bible School in summer 1955.

Beginning in 1956, the Mt. Ayr Methodist Church conducted their own Bible School for a few years in their own church.  Then in the late 1960’s – 1970’s again a community Bible School was held in the school, but it never regained the huge attendance of the “Uncle Joe” era.  The morning or evening Bible Schools of one week also concluded with evening programs which alternated between the Mount Ayr Methodist Church and the Mount Ayr Church of God.  In the late 70s-early 80s, this era of the community Bible School ended.  In 2012, no summer Bible School was held by the Mt. Ayr United Methodist Church or the Church of God, which currently called the Mount Ayr Apostolic Faith Assembly.  Burr Oak Church holds a summer Bible School at their church.”1

By Sharon Leichty and Clara Berenda.

1The Family History Division of the Newton County Historical Society and Members of the Mt. Ayr, Jackson and Colfax Community, (c) 2013, History of Mt. Ayr, Jackson and Colfax Townships Newton County, Indiana.

1948 Bible School held at Mt. Ayr School.
1948 Bible School held at Mt. Ayr School.
1950 Bible School class. Back row, 3rd from right - Ron Leichty; Back row, far right - Bonnie Nuehouser. Can you help us identify any others in the photo?
1950 Bible School class. Back row, 3rd from right – Ron Leichty; Back row, far right – Bonnie Nuehouser. Can you help us identify any others in the photo?