In the early 70's I was in high school. A young couple came to our church and took on the task of leading our youth group. They were committed, open minded, creative, and fun. Just what we needed. As it happened 4 of us became quite close to them. One summer we met at their home in the evening once a week and talked about everything and anything. And they listened like no one else had. All this while raising 3 kids of their own. In fact Cheri was born during our time with them. Over the next 10 years of so we remained close friends and enjoyed reunions with them whenever the opportunity came. They were truly a big brother and sister, family.
Phil Rieman (64) and Louise Baldwin Rieman (63) went on to become pastors in the Church of the Brethren, not to mention mission workers in the Sudan from 1992-1996, pastors at churches in Iowa and Indiana, and peace witnesses and war tax resisters for decades. They gave 60 percent of their taxes to civil rights and peace programs, despite internal Revenue Service threats of liens against bank accounts, wage garnishments, and seizure of the family van. In an article in the New York Times on the subject, Phil was quoted saying "We will look back on war someday like we did on slavery."
Phil and Louie were most recently pastors at the Northview Church of the Brethren in Indianapolis. They were killed on December 26th in a car accident on a highway north of Indianapolis on their way to a family gathering. They are survived by their 3 children.
We did not see much of each other over way too many years but I still heard word of them and their kids and I still considered them very close friends. They will always have a very special place in my heart. A funeral service is available for viewing on the Northview Church of the Brethren web site.
And those 3 friends who grew up with me on those summer nights are some of my dearest friends. We don't get together often but they live in my heart and it has been a joy to connect with them during this sad time. Happy New Year everyone! Live life to it's fullest.