WESTMINSTER — Stuart H. Merriam and four nationals, one a former cannibal, from the Highland Mountains of Papua New Guinea, will visit Carroll County as part of a four-month tour of the United States.
The group will give a presentation at 7 a.m. Saturday at Friendly Farm Restaurant, Route 140, as part of the breakfast meeting of the Christian Men's Fellowship, a ministry of the Church of the Open Door.
The group will share how the Highlander people of the Yagusa Valley of Papua New Guinea have been transformed from a life of cannibalism.
The program, called "Missions in Person," features the four nationals -- age 11, 14, 27 and 55 -- in full tribal dress.
Merriam,66, explains how the Highlanders, living in one of the most remote regions of the world, practiced cannibalism until it was outlawed in 1962.
The tribe lived a stone age-era existence, without education or employable skills, and only spears and stone axes for tools.
One actually ate human flesh beginning at age 7, explained the Rev. John N. Miller, scheduling coordinator for the program.
"They didn't kill people for food, they ate them after they died," Miller said. "They ate human flesh for the protein because they didn't have meat."
In the 27 years that Merriam began the Highland Christian Mission, many of the natives have abandoned witchcraft and savagery to become Christians.
Through the six government-registered schools begun and operated by the mission, more than 1,000 students are receiving an education, including Christian Bible teaching, and hundreds are beingtrained to use advanced tools and machinery.
Prior to Merriam's arrival in the mountains, few white men associated with the tribesmen,who were virtually unknown.
The Westminster Church of the Brethren will celebrate a dedication of its church building Sunday, marking the completion of renovations and improvements that have taken place during the last year.
A major purpose of the improvements was to provide better access and a more functional environment for handicapped persons and senior citizens through the installation of an elevator, air conditioning and restroom facilities on all floors.
More adequate space also was provided for the Carroll County Child Care Center.
Special guests at the dedication will be the tradespeople who worked on the renovations and leaders of the child care program.
Bernice Beard has written a special litany of dedication, and worship leadership will be provided by Ernie Rice, church board chair. Members of the building committee, chaired by Al Beaver, will be recognized. A sermon meditation will be offered by the Rev. Paul L. Groff, pastor.
The book study group will meet at noon Monday. The worship planningcommittee meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday.