Biographical Stories of Women in the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren —
LeVerle was one of six children born into the Hochstetler family in the farm community of Holmes County Ohio. This being an area of Amish, LeVerle attended a one room school with Amish classmates. From an early age she had a special talent of relating to younger children.
It was while LeVerle was attending Manchester College in Indiana that she met Roger Sappington from Florida. They married in 1949 and continued their education at Manchester College, Duke University NC, and Bethany Seminary in Chicago. Roger served 3 years as pastor of the Pleasant View Church of the Brethren (COB) at Beaverdam OH before accepting a position as history professor at Bridgewater College VA in 1958. Bridgewater became “home” to the Sappington family from then to the present time.
In addition to rearing their four children, LeVerle was very active in Children’s Work at the Bridgewater COB. Not only did she serve as teacher of several different age groups, but also developed her leadership skills to train others in teaching Christian Education. In 1961 she attended an Interdenominational Laboratory School in Columbia SC in preparation for teaching and directing Southeastern Regional Lab Schools in the 1960’s. Her work extended to local churches in conducting training sessions. Locally she served as Children’s Director and chairperson of the Board of Christian Education.
During the academic year LeVerle helped to teach and mentor Bridgewater College students in the kindergarten classroom. Summer involvements were often teaching or directing Bible School or serving as crafts director at Camp Brethren Woods, our district camp near Keezletown VA.
In the early 1970’s LeVerle taught 3 year olds in a pre-school program at Bridgewater COB. She served on a committee in the formation of a “before and after school” program which became known as Bridgewater Child Care Center in 1997-1998. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Center which wrote the constitution. Her years of teaching Ktg.-1st grade provided many rewarding experiences and lasting friendships.
As a member of the Homebuilders Circle, later known as the Jubilee Circle, LeVerle served on various committees for the Prayer Chain, kitchen care, Western State, and nominating. She also served as president in 1959 and co-chair in 2013. During 2014 she will serve on the Prayer Chain committee.
LeVerle has been active in the congregational life of the Bridgewater COB in many ways, sharing her gifts and talents as a Volunteer Visitor and a Reach-Out caller. She has served as a deaconess two terms in addition to serving as chairperson for the Board of Deacons and the Church Host Committee. The Alternative Christmas Fair has been a significant event of our church for which LeVerle was an active leader. Special Christmas cards were designed for members to share with BVS and Brethren Service workers.
When a PAL Visitation Program was organized at the Bridgewater Retirement Community LeVerle became the coordinator. She served for 17 years (1992-2009) helping to match volunteer visitors with residents.
The Sappingtons have been generous hosts and supporters for the Cuxhaven German Exchange program which began in 1978 and continued for a number of years. Son Mark traveled with the Bridgewater group in 1980 and Roger and LeVerle joined the group in 1984 to continue the many friendships that were formed with the Cuxhaven Emmaus Congregation.
Throughout many years LeVerle faithfully supported her husband Roger in his teaching career and the extensive research and writing projects in church history. Recently the Sappington family has donated Roger’s research materials to the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Research Studies at Elizabethtown College PA.
Following her lifelong interests in working with children, LeVerle spent 11 years teaching kindergarten in the Rockingham County Public Schools of VA. She recently moved to Maple Terrace in the Bridgewater Retirement Community.
Surely, many persons have been inspired and influenced by the leadership and example provided by LeVerle. For all of this, She Will Be Remembered.