Robe of Achievement

Robe of Achievement

Aug 29, 2016

The Robe of Achievement Committee chose two very worthy women to be awarded the Robe this year; one who has already gotten her eternal reward and one who is still with us. They have several things in common. For instance they are both musical, pastor’s wives, served on the Women’s Board, and served on the Board of Christian Education.

Receiving the Robe posthumously is Yvonne Louise Swanson Stephan. We only regret that she wasn’t nominated sooner so she could receive this Robe of Achievement in person.

Yvonne grew up in the Chicago area but graduated from The College of Emporia (Kansas) in 1963 and then received her teaching credentials from Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia.

One fateful day as Yvonne was setting up a third grade classroom in Leavenworth, Kansas, a young Army soldier turned up in her presence. “Aren’t you going to help me?” she asked Mel Stephan. Mel and Yvonne were married on April 24, 1965, giving Grandma the last laugh as she had tried to convince the family that “Saturday is the real Sabbath, not Sunday.” Mel and Yvonne remained “steadfast” for 48 years, raising two sons, Karl and Richard, and providing a home for numerous foster children.

During Mel’s years of seminary, Yvonne was greatly involved in Christian education and the music ministry of the Bell SDB Church in Salemville, PA. During that time Yvonne worked at Camp JOY, led Junior Youth Fellowship and was a youth leader. They shared their love of Christ in the pastorate of Alfred Station, NY, and the Marlboro SDB Church near Bridgeton, NJ. Upon leaving the active pastorate, they joined the Shiloh, NJ, SDB church where Yvonne continued sharing her strong alto voice as well as talent on a variety of musical instruments. Her storytelling skill, enhanced by an ability to imitate almost any accent, was put to good use with children and adults alike. She cheerfully took her turn as Shiloh’s Benevolent Society President and used her sewing ability to craft banners for special occasions. Yvonne’s ministry to children continued outside the home and the church as she was a certified substitute teacher in every state where she lived.

On the denominational level, Yvonne served on the Host Committee for General Conference at least once, and was an active member of the Children’s Committee for the Board of Christian Education in Alfred Station. Yvonne also took a turn directing Junior Conference and Associated Conference music. She directed Young Adult Pre-Con and participated in a Post Conference retreat. Yvonne compiled the BEACON 50th Anniversary section of the Sabbath Recorder. Later, during the 90s, she chaired the Robe of Achievement Committee for the Women’s Board; in fact, she crafted this beautiful Robe in 1993 to replace the long-lost original Robe that had come to us from China many years ago. Always going the

second mile, Yvonne even crafted a coordinating carry-on garment bag to protect the Robe on its travels. During this time she conducted a round-table discussion at the Women’s Society banquet. Yvonne fought a courageous battle against cancer for about six months before God called her home on December 11, 2013. A plaque was presented to Yvonne’s widower, Mel, with love and appreciation for the life he introduced to our denomination.

Charlotte Anne Mennen Chroniger

The second recipient is a mother of four children and a grandmother — her high school nickname was Chuck.

Charlotte Anne Mennen Chroniger was born in Aplington, Iowa, to Jesse and Joan Mennen. Her walk with Jesus came as a result of the influence of her mother and some of her Youth Group leaders. She became a committed Christian as a youth.

Playing the piano and traveling were two of her dreams. One of them came true when she spent two summers as a missionary in Japan. It was at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City that she met her future husband, Donald Chroniger. They married on August 30, 1981. God blessed them with four beautiful children: Tyler, Jordan, Bethany and Jessica. Pastor Don has called her the stability of the family, committed to organization, administration, and ministration.

Charlotte has been a member of the Nortonville, KS, SDB Church, New Auburn, WI, SDB Church and her current church, Shiloh, NJ, SDB. Early in her career, she was a teacher and Minister of Music in Centerville, Iowa. It was in New Auburn that she received Ordination. She was also co-founder of The New Auburn Community Choir which is still in existence.

Charlotte has served the denomination effectively and tirelessly on the Council on Ministry, The Board of Christian Education, The Women’s Board (as SCSC Chairman and Women’s Page Editor), Pre Con, and Young Adult staffs, organist and pianist at Conference, Conference choir accompanist, writer for The Helping Hand, and Director of Children’s Conference for nearly 20 years! At Conference in 2015, she organized and directed a joint bell choir concert involving several church choirs. She has a servant’s heart and has done all to follow the Lord’s call and glorify Him, not herself.Charlotte organizes Veteran’s Day programs at both Hopewell School and Stow Creek School. She is Coordinator for Teen Arts, and participated in “Revive South Jersey,” a program to bring the Gospel to underprivileged children in Bridgeton.

In the Shiloh Church, Charlotte is organist, pianist for the choir, frequent Sabbath School teacher, youth group leader every Friday night, bell choir director, and past director and staff member of Vacation Bible School. She is Vice-president of Ladies Benevolent Society and has served on numerous committees for Benevolent Society as well as for church. Since 1991, she has been Primary Camp Director and has reached out to many of the youth to be on staff to help them with their Christian walk. She also takes care of the camp informational mailings for all three camps. Charlotte coordinates the annual Thanksgiving Dinner and frequently volunteers to head-up a monthly fellowship dinner. She faithfully takes time to write sincere thank you notes to all who help with dinners, camp, and to all who give of their time and talents. On most Sabbath days, Charlotte hosts guests in her home for a Sabbath meal and she is the first to volunteer to host visitors coming for Association, Pastors’ Conference, or other occasions. She lines up the talent for the church’s annual Gospel Music Festival and helps to emcee the program. With all this going on, she still finds time to make and deliver meals to those with illness in the family, with new babies or to those in need.

Charlotte is definitely an encourager to all to use their talents for God. She is very supportive and understanding of where everyone is in his walk with God. One of Charlotte’s favorite songs, “Blessed Assurance,” speaks of “praising my Savior all the day long.” This is certainly evident in Charlotte’s life and in everything she does. She is praising God and spreading the assurance that Jesus is hers and His salvation can be yours, too. Her impact can be seen and felt in her family, her church, her schools, her community, and her denomination.

The committee is very pleased to honor Charlotte Ann Mennen Chroniger as our second Robe of Achievement recipient for 2016.

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