First Christian Church, Hot Springs, Ark. and First Christian Church Mahtomedi in Mahtomedi (St. Paul), Minn. have more in common than a name. Both churches recently have celebrated with ministers who have reached the centennial mark. Rev. H. Leon Berry of Hot Springs and Dale Webster of Mahtomedi, a licensed minister, turned 100 years old recently.
Berry “retired” to Heber Springs, Ark. in 1976 and immediately became active as an interim minister in congregations across the state of Arkansas. He and his wife Werdna moved to Hot Springs in the late 1980s and he was still preaching (when called upon) at FCC in Hot Springs at age 90. He is still active at First Christian in Hot Springs and, according to some, is “a quiet and unassuming soul whose constant presence speaks volumes.”
Webster is no ordinary fellow. He was licensed after retirement with a particular pastoral ministry in mind. Through Church World Service, he did compassionate resettlement of folks arriving from Vietnam and Cambodia, also teaching English as a second language, and helping those who wished to complete their GED. He recalls working with 15 families.