On Thanksgiving Eve at Territorial Headquarters in West Nyack, N.Y., family and guests celebrated with Majors Paul and Evelyn Merriam their 79 years of combined service.
Major Evelyn explained the rocks that were part of the table decor. Like the "living stones" of 1 Peter 2:5, she said she and Paul had been "tumbled and polished" through the "gritty powder" of difficult times and washed with "gentle clear water" by people who were "an unexpected means of God's grace."
Lt. Colonel James Reynolds, territorial secretary for business, reviewed the appointments in which the Merriams served, including 12 years as corps officers; 12 years in divisional appointments in Empire, NEOSA, WEPASA, and New Jersey; and nearly 15 years as territorial headquarters officers in Tokyo, Japan, and in West Nyack, N.Y., with Evelyn serving as an IHQ officer for three of those years as writer of Words of Life. Major Paul retires as assistant to the territorial secretary for business and Major Evelyn as personnel officer.
Reynolds recalled visiting a corps where the Merriams were stationed when Christmas fell on a Sunday and there would not be an evening meeting. He said that he and his wife appreciated the Merriams' thoughtful preparation of materials for families to take home for a meaningful evening devotional time.
Colonel William Carlson, chief secretary, in presenting the Merriams with their retirement certificate, expressed appreciation for their service and recalled the names of territorial leaders under whom the Merriams served—from Commissioner Bramwell Tripp to Commissioner R. Steven Hedgren, who said the service was a "wonderful witness to the power of God and His faithfulness."
In a time for affirmation of faith, Major Carl Ruthberg led choruses selected for their words of testimony, interspersed with Scripture read by Mrs. Commissioner Robert Rightmire, Dr. David Rightmire, Thomas Baker, Anne Carlson, and Lt. Colonel William LaMarr.
After their retirement Feb. 1, the Merriams will make their home in Lancaster, Pa.