Day by Day with Pastor Bob

This week’s Day by Day is offered by Pastor Bob McMillen: Leaving a Legacy

Mrs. McGuffey couldn’t believe how tragedy could destroy so much of the promise and glory of her life. Her husband had been a bright, scholarly professor and a great Christian man. She was well educated. Things were going well, when her husband died, and her world changed, and the financial side of her life went terribly wrong. She had two bright young sons, and now she would have trouble getting them an education. There was no public, “free” schools. She would be able to feed them and maintain a small house, but how could she educate them?

The Presbyterian Church in Darlington, Pennsylvania did much to encourage them, but the mother still couldn’t believe that her boys wouldn’t have the opportunity to take after their father! The Presbyterian pastor and his wife, childless, talked about the gifts of these boys, and they agreed on a plan. They would pay the tuition for both of the boys through high school and college. Both boys did well. William Holmes McGuffey went to the Old Stone Academy (aka The Greersburg Academy) in Darlington, and then studied at Washington College (now Washington & Jefferson College, Washington, PA), graduating in 1826. He became Professor of Languages at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He would later teach at Cincinnati College, Ohio University, as president of Woodward College, and as a Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Virginia.

In 1835 he began work on four McGuffey Readers which would teach students from first to sixth grade how to read. He used the phonics method. His materials were gathered from foundations of morality, spirituality, and motivation. He used Bible stories, the lives of the saints, and he introduced the students to new words and foundational concepts. His books went through many editions, and more than 120 million copies of his books were sold from 1836 to 1960. Even since 1961, 30,000 copies are printed and sold each year, and are used by many home school parent-teachers. Let it be said that schools eventually forced the removal of the biblical and Presbyterian Calvinism from the latest editions, so that many of us want copies of the earlier, editions (e.g. 1836-1837 first edition). Whoever would have known that a young man could impact so many young lives as William McGuffey! His books were the most used during the 19th century in the public school systems. And many spiritual leaders were thankful for the good foundations they received by reading McGuffey’s Readers. And so much good was done by a church who cared for people like the McGuffeys who were struggling.

You can have a legacy. Old Bethel church touches lives in so many ways. One day at Community East, a young nurse noticed that my identification tag identifying me as a pastor from Old Bethel. The nurse told of how she benefitted from going through our Weekday School. An older nurse in the room then said, “I didn’t know that you went to Old Bethel’s Weekday School. I went there before you did. And I did well in every school I have been a part of.” The first nurse said, “Well, I did well in every school I went to. And I think about how Old Bethel prepared us for the lives that we could have: spiritually, educationally, and in serving God by helping people.”

Old Bethel has ministries that help people of all ages, of all income levels, -- reaching out to people irregardless of race and culture. We hope that you will invest your time, your talents, and your money in the work of the Lord as is it is centered in Warren Township and areas close by. God calls people like yourselves to make a difference in their lives, and even in terms of eternity. Be a light for Christ, and show His love in ways that bring others to Him. -Pastor Bob

Community Life: What’s Happening at Old Bethel

Membership classes are being offered in November. If you are interested in becoming a part of the Old Bethel Church family or would like to take the next step in your spiritual journey, come to our next Starting Point sessions, Sundays November 8 & 15, 12:45-3:00pm, in Fellowship Hall A. Learn about the vision and values of the Old Bethel faith community and what is unique about United Methodists. Childcare will be available if requested in advance. Please email if interested.


You are invited to attend the United Methodist Bazaar to purchase hand crafted items and gourmet food that support local, national and global missions, Saturday, November 7, 9am-3pm. Breakfast and lunch will also be available for purchase.

The Weekday School kicks off their Annual Scholastic Book Fair, this Sunday, November 8, with a wide assortment of children’s books available. Cash, checks and credit cards are gladly accepted. Proceeds from this sale help purchase birthday and Christmas books for the Weekday School students.

Our collection of new or gently used coats, hats, and gloves for all ages comes to an end this Sunday, November 8. Please place items in the specially marked box in the lobby no later than These will be distributed Saturday, November 14, 8am-noon.

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