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Rev. Frank A. Strother, preacher, pastor, leader, erected forty churches



Rev. Frank Alexander Strother sometime in the 1890s. Photo by C. Fred Barr.

Frank Strother served with the 43rd Regiment of Virginia Cavalry – Mosby’s Partisan Rangers, in Company A. When his parole was issued at Winchester on 5 May 1865, he was eighteen years old.  Strother was converted and joined the Methodist Church in 1866. He attended Clifton Preparatory School at Markham and Randolph-Macon College from 1868-71. Strother was admitted on trial to  Baltimore Methodist Episcopal Church South (MECS) at Warrenton in 1872. He became a Deacon in full connection in 1874, and was later ordained an Elder.

As a church planter, Rev. Francis (Frank) Alexander Strother was a pastor who invested his time and energy to till new soil, plant fresh seed, foster new growth, and reap a new harvest. Rev. Strother was a determined and faithful pastor who sought to evangelize the lost and shepherd God’s people. He took the responsibility as the primary leader and principal evangelist. Rev. Strother did most of the heavy lifting when it came to sharing the gospel and invited people to believe in Jesus, not only from the pulpit, but out in the community as well. As a church planter he led in a hands-on and deliberate way, involved in nearly every decision, meeting and activity.

Rev. Strother would successfully make the transition from planter to pastor, watching the church mature, and gradually delegating the necessary tasks, empowering others to lead. He understood the principals of community evangelism, acting in partnership with citizens and local businesses to promote each new church build.

Rev. Frank Strother, for most of his long career, was an appointed preacher in the area of the Winchester District: Piedmont-Linden (1872-73), Piedmont (1873-74), Linden (1874-75), East Rockingham (1875-79), Berryville (1879-83), Brucetown Circuit (1885-87), Brucetown (1887-88, 1911-15), Winchester (1889-91), Stephens City (1890-94), Hamilton (1903-07), Fairfax (1907-11), and Edinburg (1915-18). He is given prominent attention at Duncan Memorial, where he is considered one of its founders, and also at Crums UMC, both churches in Clarke County. He is also credited with founding or revitalizing Refuge, Relief, Fairview and Macedonia UMC in Frederick County and Bethany UMC in Loudoun County. [1]

He was appointed to Stephens City Circuit 1889-93. Strother pastored Stephens City UMC from 1889-1892. He served 46 years under MECS appointment (1872-1918). His other appointments were Linganore, Md, Shepherdstown, WV, Fincastle, and Jefferson, WV. He retired in 1918 and died Aug. 22, 1925, in Stephens City (age 78). Strother is buried in Green Hill Cemetery in Berryville, VA.

One of the last of the Circuit Riders, Rev. Frank Strother was assigned to Berryville ME Church (now Duncan Memorial Church), in 1879 and helped establish funding to build a new two-story brick building constructed between 1882 and 1884, replacing the outgrown wood frame 1871 meeting house. Rev. Strother is honorably mentioned on the church web site history as an individual who served long and faithfully by preaching at five other churches on his circuit while serving the Duncan congregation.

According to Middletown historians and sisters, Lillian May and Lula Lauck, a cow was essential to rebuilding Fairview Methodist during the 1890s. Fairview was an old, small, and dilapidated church house (built 1861) between High View and Canterburg. The Rev. Strother, at a revival meeting, so stirred up the crowd as to the need of a new Fair View church (now Fairview), that an old lady started the new church fund by selling her cow. Miss Lillian May and Miss Lula, as young girls, worked ardently getting subscriptions for the church. It was built on the site of the old one, close to Friendship U.B. Church—both churches are still [1950] there, at a road intersection and this corner is now known as “The Double Churches.”

Encouraged by the success at Fair View, the Rev. Strother held a six- week revival in a big tent near the Fairfield School, a location then shown on county maps as “Fairfield” but which was far better known locally as “Lost Corner.” Rev. Strother said that this place should be known as “Lost Corner” no more—that he would build a church of refuge for the “Lost Corner” people. Subscriptions came in fast after the revival, the Lauck sisters said. The church was built and renamed “Refuge”; and Lost Corner is now known to everyone as the town of Refuge.

Again, in the 1890s, Rev. Frank Strother, then pastor of the Stephens City Methodist Church, held an evangelistic meeting in a grove near the schoolhouse. The meeting resulted in the organization of another Methodist church. George Thomas Massie, one of the converts, donated the lot, and the present church building was started in 1891. It was dedicated, free of debt, in 1892, and was named Relief Church.

Miss Lillian May and Miss Lula wrote in 1950 that there was a settlement known as “Lickspittle” on Middle Road about three miles west of Stephens City, an area part of Stephens City Methodist Circuit. There was no church at Lickspittle, said the sisters, and Rev. Strother set out to raise money to build one there. Again, he was successful; money came in, and soon the church was built. Rev. Strother said the church would bring the people relief from “Lickspittle,” so the new church was named “Relief,” which became the settlement’s name, and “Lickspittle” has been forgotten except by a few of the older residents. [2]

Another story tells how Rev. Strother prevented Macedonia Methodist Church from closing. Although the church was founded in 1843, and a new church was built in 1879, services were becoming infrequent there in 1894. Rev. Strother, the Stephens City MECS pastor at the time, declared the need for keeping the church open by having regularly scheduled services.

Rev. Strother began holding tent revivals, attracting around forty new members. The increased membership allowed the church to become part of the Stephens City Charge. By 1896, a church school was organized and the good Rev. Strother preached there two Sundays each month. Macedonia then went under the White Post Charge of the Methodist Church where it began to flourish.

Bethany Church was founded July 2, 1903, and from then until 1929 it was known as the Purcellville Methodist Episcopal Church South. Rev. Frank Strother, who was pastor of Hamilton Circuit, founded Bethany, and it was originally one of four churches served by pastors of that circuit. The others were Harmony at Hamilton, Trinity at Rock Hill and The Grove at Woodbury.

When Rev. Strother came to Hamilton as pastor in April 1903, he found churches all around Purcellville, but none in the town. Noted as a planter of churches, he lost no time in organizing a church in Purcellville with 36 charter members, most of who were transferred from Harmony Church at Hamilton. That fall the new church bought the property of the now closed Presbyterians, which they occupied until the present church was completed in 1929. Under Rev. Strother, the original membership of 36 increased to 64 by 1907. [3]

In a letter to Inez Steele in 1905 (published in her book, ”Early Days and Methodism in Stephens City, Virginia, page 75), Rev. Strother wrote, “I followed Rev. J. H. Du Laney on the circuit and found it in a healthy, prosperous condition. After two years administration, the circuit was divided and Middletown and Stephens City Circuits were formed. I was continued in charge of the Stephens City work and remained there two years, during which time two new societies were formed and thirty-eight hundred dollars were expended in building and repairing churches and four hundred paid to Middletown for interest in parsonage and the circuit was absolutely free from debt when I left. Truly much was accomplished and under God, it was due to universal and perfect unity and cooperation of people and pastor.

While it has been my privilege to serve in all my charges an exceptionally good and kind, generous and devoted people, Stephens City has equaled, if not excelled, any one of them.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch

19 October 1925, page 7

Hold Memorial Service.

WINCHESTER, VA., Oct. 18. –

A memorial service for the late Rev. Frank A. Strother was held today in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at Stephens City, where he died about a month ago. The principal address was delivered by Dr. H. P. Hamill, Washington. A tablet unveiled during the services contains the inscription: “Rev. Frank A. Strother, 1847-1925, Soldier, 1861-65, Mosby Ranger, Preacher, Pastor, Leader. Erected forty churches, Friend of Man, Servant of God, Teacher Golden Rule Bible Class.”

Memorial tablet located on the north side wall of the Stephens City UMC sanctuary. Nobody knows why the tablet was placed in this sanctuary. It could be because this was a beloved appointment for Rev. Strother and the members of the congregation were respectful of the work he did in the Stephens City circuit. Photo courtesy Mark Gunderman.

[1] History of United Brethren and Methodist Churches in the Winchester and Harrisonburg Region, 1777-2017, Volume Three-Churches in Frederick County, dated July 2017, page 979.

[2] Bill Garrard, “Scrapbook of Correspondents Who Have Been Writing for The Star for 54 Years, The Winchester Star, July 1950.

[3] History of United Brethren and Methodist Churches in the Winchester-Harrisonburg Region, 1777-2017, Volume Two—Churches in Loudoun County, dated July 2017, page 154.

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The global hobby with millions of fans



They look exotic, like butterflies and ballerinas. They have faces like monkeys, figures like humans, or long trails of petals like hair.

They smell like nothing or chocolate, vanilla, mint, pepper, and roses. To a bee, they smell like a bee. Some smell like rot to attract flies. Their scents have been called liars and seducers, yet they are beloved.

They are orchids, and their fans are legion.

Orchid cultivation is one of the world’s most widespread hobbies and is surprisingly social. In every state and every country, orchid enthusiasts meet regularly to exchange tips and tricks for growing this flower of many faces. Orchids attract every type of person, from farmers to attorneys. In fact, you can travel along ‘orchid trails’ to visit the greenhouses of growers in every state.

Travel destinations from California to Malaysia attract enthusiasts worldwide to see some of the 28,000 accepted species. In fact, there are more orchid species than species of birds and mammals. Only the number of species of bony fish comes close to the number of orchids.

Yet despite the orchid’s vast numbers, they were once very difficult to find and considered rare and exotic. So rare that in the late 1800s and early 1900s, people were thrilled with the adventures of orchid hunters who roamed the world looking to find unusual specimens.

Because of their historical link with wealth and style, growing orchids is sometimes said to be expensive and difficult, but it really is neither. You can buy a stem for about $20 at a grocery store these days. The flowers are best grown in pots since the microscopic seeds require specialized conditions. Orchids mostly require bright light but not direct sunlight. They require the grower’s attention since they need water and airflow, but not too much, and some may need mist, but only at certain times.

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Key things positive people do differently



You’ve probably noticed that successful people seem to live in a different world than everyone else. They have an attitude of gratitude, exude confidence, and appear to be in a better place in life.

Many people are trying to succeed in their lives, but they don’t know how to get there.

Successful people do things differently, and it’s important for you to adopt those habits if you want to move forward in life.

Everyone has heard about positive and negative people. It seems like it should be easy to tell who is a positive person and who is a negative person, right? Well, it’s not quite that easy. Many factors go into determining who is a positive person and who is a negative person.

How do you become more positive? Is it possible to change your mood? Is there a secret to becoming more positive? If you’re like me, you’ve often heard the term “positive thinking” tossed around.

For a long time, I thought that positive thinking was all it took to become happy and successful. Then I realized that my mind was playing tricks on me.

So let’s take a look at the difference between positive thinking and genuine positivity.

Positive people are often the ones who appear to have it all together. They seem always to find a way to make things work. They always seem to have the energy and motivation to do what they need.

And while there are definitely benefits to being positive, there are drawbacks to being positive too.

If you want to understand the differences between positive and negative people, you’ll need to understand why each of them has the traits they do.

Positive people don’t think negatively. They don’t see problems everywhere. They don’t expect failure to happen every single time. Instead, they focus on being grateful for everything they have and on getting even better and better at what they do.

It’s easy to see what kind of people do this, but sometimes it can be tough for people who don’t do that to see that. If you’re one of those people, read on to discover some things to look for in others that tell you whether they’re positive.

If you see that they think negatively, they’re probably not positive. They’re focusing on the negative side of things and seeing problems everywhere. For example, you might think that you have a hard day at work, and then you come home, and your family is fighting. You’re already having a bad day, and that’s adding to the stress.

Then, you focus on all the other things you could do to fix the situation. You’re thinking about all of your problems, and you’re just expecting to fail at everything you do. You’re not expecting to succeed.

Instead, you should be focused on being positive and seeing what you can do to improve your current work. You should focus on what you’re grateful for and see the positive side of things. You’re not always going to get things perfect, but you can always get better and better each day.

You shouldn’t just focus on what you’re doing wrong, but you should also see what you’re doing right. Even if you’re not a very good cook, you can still be grateful for the fact that you can eat dinner tonight, and you can appreciate that even if you’re not perfect.

It’s not a matter of not thinking negatively but rather thinking positively. Think of yourself as a positive person and see the good in everything that you do. Don’t expect things to work out perfectly, but don’t be upset when they don’t, either.

The key to becoming a positive person and feeling good about yourself is to eliminate all the negative thoughts you allow yourself to think about yourself.

Sometimes, you might find it difficult to do, but you can easily learn to control your thinking. It’s much easier to think positively rather than negatively, so you need to be mindful of what you’re thinking about yourself.

One thing you can do is change the way you think about things that happen to you. When something negative happens, rather than saying to yourself, “I’m a loser” or “this person is mistreating me,” you can try thinking of it as “I’m a winner,” “this person is treating me nicely,” “I’m a good person,” or something else like that.

At the moment when these thoughts come up, you can just think back on them and realize that they’re not true. These thoughts are the exact opposite of what you really are, and you don’t need to believe them because they’re only thoughts in your head.

The more you do this, the more you’ll get used to thinking positively about yourself and your achievements, and the more you’ll be able to control your thoughts and feelings. You won’t feel like a failure all the time, and you’ll be able to stop yourself from falling into negativity.

Another thing you can do to be positive is to be active, even when you feel like you’re not in the mood. You’ll find that you’ll be more positive and happier when you’re doing things you enjoy, whether watching television, playing a video game, or reading a book.

It’s okay not to feel like doing anything, but you can easily make up for it by doing something that makes you happy. Doing things you love can give you a much bigger boost than you might think, and it’s important to make sure that you don’t let your feelings of boredom get the better of you.

No matter what you’re doing, if you’re not positive, you’ll end up with no motivation or drive to keep doing it. That can make it very difficult to succeed in anything since if you’re not motivated, there’s little chance of you being productive.

When it comes to being productive, the biggest factor is whether you’re motivated or not. You can only be productive when you’re motivated to do what you’re doing, and you can only be motivated to do what you want to do when you’re positive.

Successful people are all positive and optimistic. They have a positive attitude that keeps them going even when the odds seem to be against them.

If you’re not positive, then you can’t expect yourself to be productive. You won’t have any confidence in yourself, and you’ll start to doubt yourself before you even get started. You might even start to worry about the fact that you’re not even doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

That’s not going to help you be productive or keep yourself motivated. Instead, you’ll just get yourself discouraged and demotivated, which is something that will only lead to failure.

How do you become a positive person? First and foremost, you need to start acting and feeling more positive. You might find that you feel negative about things you’re currently doing, but that’s not going to help you be more productive. Instead, you need to act more positively and start thinking more positively.

It’s much easier to think positively than it is to act negatively. You’ll get more done if you start to think more positively. You can do this by being more enthusiastic about your actions and keeping a positive attitude about them.

It’s also helpful to surround yourself with positive people. Having positive people around you makes it a lot easier to have a positive attitude and feel more energized.

Positive people don’t dwell on the negative things that happen but rather focus on the positive side of things. Being positive makes you more productive since you’re not worrying about the negative aspects of what you’re doing but instead are only thinking about the positive ones.

It’s not just a mental thing, though. It can affect your behavior as well. If you’re a positive person, you’re naturally going to be a more pleasant person to be around. It’s also easier to stay focused and get things done when you’re having a positive outlook.

Being a positive person also makes you happier. You’ll be much more motivated to do things.

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5 things to consider when choosing golf shoes



A good pair of golf shoes can go a long way to improving your game and increasing comfort while walking long distances on the course. Here are five things to consider when choosing a new pair.

1. Material. Leather is the most popular choice because it’s breathable, flexible, and stylish. Many leather shoes also come with a waterproof lining. Gore-Tex has many of the same benefits as leather but comes with a higher price tag, which may be worth it if you often play in wet or cold conditions. Polyester shoes are ideal for occasional golfers looking for value.

2. Style. Golf shoes range in style from Oxfords and sneakers to sandals and boots. The first thing to remember is that many golf courses have dress codes, so not all kinds may be suitable. Additionally, consider the golfing you do. For example, sneaker-style shoes may be great if you’re a casual golfer. If you often golf at business meetings, you may want to choose a more upscale style.

3. Spiked or spikeless. The decision between spiked or spikeless shoes comes down to climate and landscape. For instance, if you play in wet environments or on hilly courses, the enhanced grip of spiked shoes is hard to beat. Spiked shoes can be heavy but provide excellent overall support. Spikeless, however, are lightweight and can be worn off the course.

4. Laces. Traditional laces are the most popular because you can easily exact the fit of your shoe. However, Velcro fastenings and mechanical fittings are gaining popularity for their ease of use.

5. Size. Golf shoes usually fit tighter than everyday shoes to keep your foot secure and close to the ground. You should have no pain or pressure when walking and have about 1/4- or 1/2-inch of toe space.

Visit your local pro shop for personalized advice and fitting recommendations.

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Spring revelry: An ancient and riotous tradition



Soon it will be that time of year that delights students and worries parents. Spring break is upon us.

Despite newer destinations like Cancun beginning to rival Florida’s dominance, Florida will see hundreds of thousands of revelers.

Since Connie Francis sang “Where the Boys Are” in the 1960 movie, things have changed. Breakers today have little more money and are more likely to be younger. Even high schoolers are joining the trek south.

Something about spring urges young people to get out, relax, and rejuvenate. It has been true since Socrates proposed a rite to welcome spring and allow young people to vent their energies. At the time, local Greeks complained that the hordes of celebrants had poor morals and caused hardship to the residents of seaside towns.

In the Middle Ages, armed bands of monks stopped the spring revelry. But in spite of many objectors, spring break went on through more modern times.

During WWI, American soldiers in France watched in wonder as Europeans temporarily halted spring offensives to party. From 1929 to 1959, America was too busy with the Great Depression, World War II, and rebuilding. In the 1960s, however, spring break was back and more riotous than ever.

By the 1980s, the ritual had evolved and grown somewhat, and record numbers of students broke their parents’ pocketbooks by going south.

There is some good news. Since the 1990s, overindulgence has eased up, and corporate sponsors are helping with entertainment that includes concerts, shows, and giveaways.

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Scientists create liquid terminator robot (on a small, non-murderous scale)



In Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the heroes flee from the T-1000 terminator, a liquid metal murder-bot, in a psychiatric prison.

As the T-1000 pursues them down a hall, it’s seemingly stopped by barred gates. Except the terminator melts straight through the bars, barely losing a step.

Go figure.

Scientists at China’s Sun Yat-Sen University have made a small robot that, like the T-1000, can turn liquid and then reform back as a solid. They even recreated the eerie through-the-bars scene, jailbreaking a Lego-shaped bot from a barred cell.

How? Scientists created a Lego figurine made of liquid metal. Then, using magnets, they melted the figurine down, allowing the tiny robot to slip through a set of bars. This was achieved using a metal called gallium, which has a melting temperature of just 86 degrees F. They then embedded magnetic metals within the liquid metal, allowing them to heat up the gallium with magnetic fields, turning it into liquid. After that, the liquid was moved using magnets, and the original Lego-shaped robot was reformed. Scientists have labeled the bot a magnetoactive solid-liquid phase transitional machine.

Mind you, the current liquid robot is far from a sentient killing machine.

Scientists think this may have more benign uses, such as using the liquids to encapsulate objects, say a sharp piece of metal, in the body. Once encapsulated, the objects can be more safely evacuated from the body.

Interestingly enough, the biggest inspiration for the liquid robot was not science fiction but instead science-fact. Real-life sea cucumbers can alter their own rigidity to reduce physical damage and increase their weight-bearing capabilities. Meanwhile, octopuses aren’t quite liquid but can change their rigidity to squeeze through tight spaces, among other things.

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How to prepare for the 2023 golf season



Spring is in the air, so golf season is just around the corner! Here are a few tips to make your transition back to the green as seamless as possible.

1. Strengthen your muscles. Develop a consistent workout routine to help you improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury. Look up golf-specific exercises and stretches to make the most of your time.

2. Practice your short game. Set up an area in your home, like your basement or garage, where you can work on putting and perfecting your golf swing. Your goal should be to practice at least half an hour a week.

3. Invest in a golf club fitting. Using custom-fit equipment for your golf game can significantly improve your experience. A professional can help you find the right clubs for your swing, body type, and ability level.

4. Re-grip your golf clubs. Slick or worn grips can cause control and accuracy problems. Therefore, hiring a golf retailer or qualified club fitter to re-grip your worn-out clubs is an excellent idea.

It may also help to watch online videos, attend a golf training seminar, or play a few casual rounds at your local golf course. You’ll improve your game and keep up with the latest rules.

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