Meet Gail Benner & David Myers

Gail Benner and David Myers have colorful histories that include community service, activism, and a lot of traveling. Since moving to Luther Acres, they have continued to make a positive impact on their community and made great memories along the way.

Gail Benner is from Shillington and graduated from Governor Mifflin Highschool before going on to study Library Science at Millersville University. Gail has been active in several churches including Trinity Lutheran Church where she was a member for thirty–nine years, Wayside Presbyterian Church in Landisville where she served as the church administrator for eleven years, and now as a member of Grandview Church in Lancaster. In 1989 she went on a mission trip sponsored by the Catholic church to take clothing, medicine, and other needed aid to El Salvador. At the time the country was in the middle of a civil war. “It was quite dangerous and eye opening”, Gail said. During her trip Gail kept a notebook that detailed stories from citizens of El Salvador who had suffered loses, accounts of their group being stopped and searched, and one occasion where they unexpectedly encountered American soldiers. Gail went back to El Salvador again in 1990 and was planning to go a third time before plans fell through. Afterwards, Gail continued to protest U.S. involvement in the war at demonstrations in Washington D.C. Gail came to Luther Acres in August of 2002, and lived in a cottage with her previous husband. In May of 2008 she moved into an apartment in the Muhlenburg building.

David Myers is originally from Schuylkill County. He graduated from Dickinson College where he majored in History and minored in English. He later attended Drew Seminary. After finishing his education, David was appointed to a United Methodist church in Philadelphia, and then a church in Strasburg where he became interested in becoming a chaplain. After completing chaplaincy training, David was appointed and served for eleven years as a prison chaplain at Holmesburg, a now decommissioned prison in Philadelphia. During his time at the prison David was involved in the July 4th riot in 1970 and was present in 1973 when the Warden and Deputy Warden were killed by two inmates. The Sunday after the 1973 incident David led a service for both officers and prisoners, and the inmate choir sang. “It was one of the most meaningful services I’ve ever been at. The correctional officers really appreciated it”, David said. After his time in Philadelphia, David returned to pastoral ministry, and was appointed to the United Methodist Church in Millersville, where he stayed for eight years. Following that, David was asked to become the District Superintendent for Lancaster County and oversaw 74 churches for a total of six years. During those six years as Superintendent, David participated in an anti-apartheid demonstration on March 1, 1985, at the South African Embassy in Washington, DC. Joining him in protest was a group of 60 others that included pastors and laypeople from the Eastern PA Conference. At the embassy he was handcuffed, arrested, and later spent the night in jail— which earned him a mention on the front page of the Intelligencer Journal the following day. Then, in August of 1989 David was sent to the Soviet Union as a part of a peace committee for the National Council of Churches. While there, he met with other peace committees in four cities.  After his superintendency, David served churches in Berwyn and Malvern before coming to Luther Acres in 2007 with his previous wife, Joan.

Since moving to Lititz, David and Gail have played a part in shaping campus culture. Both have served as president of the Resident’s Council, a resident-led group that influences campus activities, events, and charitable actions. Other titles Gail has held include Co-vice president of the Resident’s Council; co-chair of the Strawberry Festival, Fall Fest, and Attic Treasures; and long-time volunteer at the campus general store. David has taught “reDiscover” courses, including one on the future of faith; and started a story sharing group with ten other men. Together, David and Gail were part of the original committee that developed The Forum, a monthly speaker series in which Luther Acres invites visitors to come and present about insightful topics. Past presenters have included a commercial pilot, Lititz historians, photographers, The Warden of the Lancaster County Prison, and more. While they knew each other as neighbors, working together on The Forum committee was where they got to know each other on a personal level. They would later have their first date at the Annual Luther Acres Valentine’s Dinner Dance, and the rest is history.

Another thing that Gail and David share is a love of travel. Their favorite trips together have included a Safari to Kenya where they visited two tribes and had several close encounters with the wildlife; a 15-day Viking cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam; and a trip to the southern United States that included a photo op with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter at their church in Georgia, and a visit to the Civil Rights Museum in Alabama. Some of the other places they have been to include Portland, Chicago, Glacier National Park, Israel, and England. “Our experiences have been rich…we both feel that we’ve been blessed.” David said.

If you see them around the world, or just around Lititz, make sure to say hello to Gail Benner and David Myers—they have plenty of stories to tell.


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