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Pastor returns to city to spread message

Daniel Eshleman has assumed the position of pastor of senior adult ministries at Calvary Grace Brethren Church.

Daniel Eshleman has assumed the position of pastor of senior adult ministries at Calvary Grace Brethren Church.

January 06, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - A number of years ago, Daniel Eshleman and Doug Courter just missed an opportunity to work together as clergy at Eshleman's former church in Elizabethtown, Pa.

While that collaboration didn't come to pass, fate stepped in recently.

Now, the two men are under the same steeple, this time at Calvary Grace Brethren Church in Hagerstown, where Courter is pastor.

"I wanted him for youth pastor in Elizabethtown and now I'm back at his church with a senior ministry," Eshleman said. "It's ironic."

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Now 65 and battling some health problems, Eshleman recently returned to Hagerstown with his wife, Nancy, to assume the position of pastor of senior adult ministries at the church at Franklin Street and Bryan Place.

"I preach every Sunday night and conduct the Tuesday morning Bible study from 10 a.m. to noon," Eshleman said. "That is for anyone who wants to attend, but it's mostly seniors who don't work."

There are a fair number of older people at the church, Eshleman said.

"Now that I am 65, I have become more in tune with what older adults are experiencing," he said.

Part of his ministry involves helping older adults redirect their energies after retirement and find areas they can fit into, such as visitation with members who are homebound or in nursing facilities.

"The Grace Brethren denomination has an emphasis on senior ministry," said Nancy Eshleman, who noted there is a senior adult conference each year within the denomination.

While leaving his Lancaster County parish of 16 years in Elizabethtown was a difficult decision, Eshleman said the return to Hagerstown has many pluses for him and his family.

"Nancy and I wanted to be close to our three daughters, who live in this area," he said. The couple also has a son in Philadelphia.

"I'm really happy to be back in Hagerstown," said Nancy Eshleman, who is now working part time at The Bon Ton in Valley Mall. "This is home to us."

The Eshlemans are Hagerstown natives and served the Valley Grace Brethren Church in Halfway for eight years before heading to Pennsylvania.

Daniel Eshleman graduated from Grace College and the Theological Seminary at Winona Lake, Ill. He has been a pastor since 1964 and has also served congregations in Roanoke and Virginia Beach, Va.; Findlay, Ohio; and Stratford, N.J.

In 2001, he was named Pastor of the Year in the United States by the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Ministers. His leadership qualities, biblical preaching and spirit of evangelism were cited as the basis for the award.

Armed with those qualities, Daniel Eshleman is now back in his hometown, prepared to share his gifts with others as he has always done.

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