The Roanoke (VA) Times recently featured this story on retired Grace Brethren pastor Ralph Miller and his wife, Nancy. This is an excerpt—to read the entire article click here.
For former pastor, funds would help pay bills
When someone spends most of his life helping others, it’s tough when tables are turned.
By Betsy Biesenbach
Special to The Roanoke Times
Ralph Miller, 78, spent most of his adult life helping others. As a young man, he worked in a factory and spent his spare time going around with a friend talking to people about his Christian faith. “It just seemed natural,” he said.
When the friend decided to go to divinity school, Miller followed him, and in the ensuing 40 years, was the pastor at five different Grace Brethren churches in several states, most recently serving a small congregation in Boones Mill.
“Helping people is part of the ministry,” Miller said, and that’s what he liked the most about it.
He and his wife, Nancy, 73, brought up their daughter, Lori, 41, together. Lori’s son, Brett, 23, has lived with them since birth.
Miller said that for the most part, he was able to “more or less” make a comfortable living.
His last congregation was very small so he had to take outside jobs, working as a security guard and delivering auto parts for a supplier.
When the congregation folded two years ago, Miller said, he retired. A fall in June led to a partial hip replacement; his diabetes, with which he was diagnosed 10 years ago, has caused his kidneys to fail; and he also has congestive heart failure, he said.
Before his illnesses, he was very active, his wife and daughter said, but now he must use a walker, is tethered to an oxygen supply and must undergo kidney dialysis three times a week. Nancy also has some health issues, she said.