November 30, 2014

By Fred Koenig

The Missouri Conference didn’t gain or lose any members when Mel Fortney took Janie to be his bride. They just got shuffled between churches. Their wedding was at Janie’s church, Brashear UMC, but their membership went to Mel’s church, Faith UMC in Kirksville, about a mile and a half from where the couple live. 
    
Their union did result in a net gain. They had two children, both of whom were very active in the youth group at the church. Janie said being part 
of the church was a big help to them as parents. 
    
“There comes a time when kids don’t always care if they please their parents or not, but they still didn’t want the disapproval of people whom they were close to in church,” she said. “That became real important to us.”
    
She’s been returning the favor. Janie’s been involved in the youth program at the church for more than 25 years now. She’s also the pianist. Mel teaches Sunday School, and is chair of the board of trustees. One of their children still live in the Kirksville area, and he and his family are members of the church. 
    
“After all of these years, all the people of this church are like family to us,” Janie said.