Monday, January 21, 2008

Ralph Wiley's Influence on Youth Remembered

The Marion, Ohio, Star is currently featuring an article on the late Ralph Wiley, Grace Brethren pastor and prison chaplain, focusing on his widespread influence on young people. Here is an excerpt. To read the entire article, click on

MARION — The Rev. Ralph Wiley was a father figure to many during his years as pastor at First Church of the Brethren, then as chaplain at Marion Correctional Institution and as advisor for the Ambassadors for Christ Club, which met every Sunday night at his home east of Caledonia until the mid 1980s. The club no longer exists.

Rev. Wiley passed away in Florida on Jan. 3. No funeral service or calling hours were held as he donated his body to science. His daughter, Mary Sprague, said her father conducted his own memorial service at Thanksgiving, after being diagnosed with cancer in late summer.

Barney Young was a child when Wiley served as pastor at First Church of the Brethren in the early 1950s, and became close friends with Wiley’s son, Galen.

“He (Wiley) was probably pastor 7-10 years before he left and went to the prison,” Young said. “He baptized me before he left. There were about 30-40 in church when he came and we had about 200 when he left. He really helped our church to grow and became active in the community. He started the prison ministry and I’m not sure it was a paying job when he first went out there.”

Young said Wiley had five children of his own and a foster child, but displayed a generous heart for youth in general and their need to follow in the pathways of a Christian.

“He was such an inspiration to all of us,” he said. “His son, Galen, followed in his footsteps. Right now he is a minister in Lancaster, Pa.”


Post a Comment

<< Home