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  • MBHC: Profiles: Marie Wiebe
    with them Marie and Joe threw themselves into the work They studied the Ukrainian language to connect with the immigrant community For years each Sunday morning they moved their furniture out into the front yard to make room for church services In another town they rented the local pool hall for a meeting place Marie s thought patterns were definitely outside the box for a Mennonite woman of the 1940s She was not shy to mix with those of other faiths or of no faith In order to tell children about Jesus she and Joe visited 45 rural schools throughout southeastern Manitoba She packed their five children into the car along with music books and flannel graphs and off they went at times spending a week or ten days on the road sleeping in halls schools or homes God naturally burdened us with what we would call underprivileged children Oh what a responsibility we felt for them Marie exclaimed During summer they took many of these rural children to a Bible camp Over the years many of the young believers she helped became Christian workers missionaries and ministers Then she and Joe were sent to a challenging assignment in a northern centre Ashern surrounded by First Nations communities On Saturday nights the whole family set up on a corner in town to hold street meetings the young children joining in the singing Marie instilled in them a team spirit The entire family carried on these street meetings for eleven years Marie enjoyed new challenges When Joe suffered from debilitating headaches she happily filled in as preacher She once drove the tractor that hauled a used church building to its new location To stretch their meager salary she kept a large garden and canned hundreds of sealers each year often with

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/wiebe-m.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: C. N. Hiebert
    went CN spoke to people about their salvation Sometimes he preached in churches What people remembered best about his sermons was his gift as a spellbinding storyteller CN s first Canadian stint lasted six years beginning in 1909 one year after his marriage to Tina Harms a nurse He was invited by Saskatchewan s Rosthern district to do colportage work among newly arrived Mennonite immigrants The salary proffered was 250 per year the wildly optimistic expectation being that he could earn enough from the sale of books to make up for whatever the salary did not cover Considering that the Hiebert household eventually included four daughters and three sons the responsibility of CN to provide for his family could have appeared insurmountable In Canada as well as in the United States move followed move a major one being to Winnipeg in 1925 to take up City Mission work there CN was the right man for the job Between 1923 and 1930 more than 20 000 Mennonite refugees arrived from Russia many of them making their home in Winnipeg or the surrounding area CN welcomed them all served them food and drink collected clothing for them helped them find accommodations and jobs and not least listened to their heart wrenching stories of deprivation pillage rape and murder Sometimes CN could not find any available accommodations or food In 1929 Tina Hiebert wrote to one of her children I can hardly manage alone We had a lot of company again eighteen for night and twenty five for dinner In 1930 in addition to everything else CN became busily involved in fundraising and in the construction of a building for the North End Mennonite Brethren Church During his thirteen years in Winnipeg CN officiated at 57 weddings and baptized 253 persons In 1941

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/hiebert-cn.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Henry G. Classen
    of study at Coaldale Bible School in 1946 Henry and Sara along with their five children moved to Aldergrove BC while seeking the Lord s leading for future ministry In 1949 the MB Conference approached Henry with the call to start a ministry in the down town area of Vancouver Initially he declined fearing the impact of the city on his children and not feeling equipped to carry out inner city ministry After a day of fasting and prayer he felt confirmed in this calling after reading Exodus 14 14 The Lord will fight for you you need only be still Henry and Sara began their ministry with street outreach and hosting a Sunday school program and evening services at a nearby rescue mission in collaboration with Union Gospel Mission UGM Within two years they turned the ministry over to UGM and began another Sunday school ministry near the corner of Hastings and Clark With the help of co workers Herb Brandt and Wes Classen it grew to over 70 children by 1955 when they were forced to relocate due to construction so they moved to the Hastings Auditorium as they looked for a longterm solution Early in 1956 they purchased an empty lot on the corner of Woodland and Francis and by July of that year the Chapel of Pacific Grace Mission was constructed After extensive canvassing in the neighbourhood they welcomed over 100 people on their first Sunday With the help of co worker Sue Neufeld the Sunday school and DVBS programs grew steadily along with clubs for boys girls youth and mothers along with practical assistance of clothing and food hampers for those in need Thanks to the dedicated efforts of a core group of volunteers and co workers the Sunday school grew to over 300 children from a diversity of cultures and in 1963 the Chapel was formally registered as a church While the Sunday school ministry flourished Henry established a growing rescue mission in the downtown core of Vancouver for men who struggled with addiction This included an evening service with a sermon followed by a hot meal counselling friendship and sharing faith For a time they offered shelter for up to 40 men By 1963 when Henry handed the leadership of the rescue mission over to John Esau over 12 300 men had been served In addition to the Chapel and rescue mission Henry conducted active hospital visitation and prison outreach He also preached regularly on a CJOR radio program called Light House of Hope and at evangelistic meetings in various MB churches Sometimes he preached as many as five times on a Sunday By the late 1960s the majority of the children in Sunday school were of Chinese origin reflecting the changing composition of the surrounding neighbourhood In efforts to reach the parents of the Chinese children attending Sunday school Sara Classen and co worker Sue Neufeld started taking lessons in Cantonese and a short term Chinese worker was hired to assist with

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/classen.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Katharina Reimer Claassen
    Johann was absent from his family many months at a time Katharina had four children to care for Jacob David and Johannes were seven four and two years old and Maria was just a baby Even with the hired help it was a lot of work to manage the household garden their plot beside the Tokmak Creek host the fellowship group and attend Bible studies The tragic drowning of her son Johannes affected Katharina greatly During the first four years of their marriage when she lost four infants her husband had been there to comfort her Now he was gone The hardship of separation was greater as she mourned alone She found some comfort in the words Heinrich Huebert had spoken at the funeral You know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord Various issues arose in the new group In October 1860 when Johann was still at home the worship meeting and the baptism which followed it had been disrupted with interjections of Hallelujah Glory Victory as well as loud joyous singing and shouting Katharina felt this was out of place and spoke to Johann about it afterwards The neighbors also complained and Johann and the preachers had to appear in court The group was ordered to return to their former congregations within two months or lose their Mennonite privileges Again Johann had to leave for St Petersberg In June 1861 in Kakbas during the Pentecost celebrations loud singing shouting and playing of instruments made it hard to understand what the leaders were saying Katharina described the meeting to her husband in a letter It was one of many letters she wrote to Johann This was her way of keeping him informed and giving him her perspective on church affairs Johann acted as a mediator in

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/claassen.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: The Mennonite Brethren Church
    renewal movement gained some influential supporters In late November 1859 some met in the home of one of the members and celebrated the Lord s Supper This event caused strong displeasure and opposition by a number of church leaders who felt that such a step was inappropriate and divisive The participants however contended that efforts to restore spiritual vitality were absolutely essential Johann Claassen who negotiated the recognition of the new movement As further expression of that determination on 6 January 1860 eighteen persons met in the home of Isaak Koop in the village Elizabethtal and issued a call for a return to the practices of our dear Menno They drew up and signed a document that called for a church of committed believers baptized upon profession of faith and determined to be disciples of Christ In the heat of the moment some harsh denunciations of the decadent church from which they were withdrawing created serious tensions with the larger Mennonite community Some of the charges brought against the mother church were as historian John A Toews has commented far too sweeping and too severe in character A number of leaders in the parent church admitted that a deeper spirituality was badly needed but they regretted that a new movement had been formed From their perspective renewal could best be fostered from within a movement But the champions of a new approach felt called and were deeply committed to lead the way to a deeper life of faith Three of the signers Abraham Cornelsen Johann Claassen and Isaak Koop were appointed as official representatives of the new movement Many leaders of the larger Mennonite community condemned the group as being self righteous and divisive others however even though they did not join the dissidents lamented that charges of a lack of spiritual vitality and health were often only too true Such leaders agreed that change was badly needed but they questioned the wisdom of creating a division and thus polarizing the community Determined opposition by some leaders of the traditional position led to efforts to declare the new movement an illegal departure from approved policies As a result Claassen made several trips to St Petersburg the Russian capital to gain government approval and also to secure official recognition as a body that remained part of the Mennonite community It should be noted that some prominent traditional leaders such as the evangelist Bernhard Harder as well as the elder Bernhard Fast warmly welcomed the new movement as a demonstration of divine grace and defended its adherents even though they themselves declined to join the dissenters While this renewal was growing within the Molochna colony a similar development occurred in the sister colony in Khortitsa There systematic Bible study as well as visits by the Baptist minister J G Oncken from Hamburg encouraged the reform and in 1862 advocates of renewal formed a new congregation in the village Einlage Abraham Unger a resident of the village emerged as leader and elder and

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/mb.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Peter H. Wedel
    he preached the Lord blessed with revival Peter H and Martha Wedel One such place was the Ebenfeld community of Marion County Kansas In the spring of 1893 Peter Wedel conducted revival meetings in the Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church for five weeks preaching the gospel clearly and powerfully according to Zionsbote correspondent J J Penner On 14 May 1893 57 persons were baptized by brethren Johann Foth and D D Claassen following a striking message delivered by Wedel A month later on 25 June 1893 another 26 persons were baptized Peter H Wedel was the instrument used by God for revival so that this season of spiritual joy and victory came to be called Miracle of Grace at Ebenfeld When Wedel completed his training at Rochester there were those who felt that he was the one to establish the long desired Mennonite Brethren institution of higher learning for preachers and church workers but he felt directed to the mission field in Africa On 27 June 1895 he was married to Martha Liebig the daughter of August Liebig a German Baptist minister who had assisted the young Mennonite Brethren movement in Russia before moving to America Martha also felt called to mission work and the same year in September he and his new bride ventured out to the Cameroons Africa under the Baptist conference as the Mennonite Brethren as yet had not organized a formal foreign missions program Immersing himself in the Duala language he was placed in charge of the educational program of the mission A born teacher he had much enthusiasm for the work preparing young Christians to teach and preach During the second year on the field it became obvious to the Wedel couple that they were living in the land of death as numbers of whites succumbed

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/wedel.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: David B. Wiens
    school to further his education and enrolled in the Hepburn Bible School now Bethany Bible College in Hepburn Saskatchewan There he met Gertrude Janz daughter of the well known Mennonite Brethren minister and leader Rev B B Janz On October 28 1939 they were married Until her death in 1978 she faithfully was supportive of David s life work and ministry They had four children Paul Viola Victor and Edith In 1979 David married Mary Toews the organist at the Culloden Mennonite Brethren Church in British Columbia where he had been the pastor David taught at Hepburn for three years and then felt called to minister among Russian speaking people in Arelee Saskatchewan This proved to be good preparation for his later radio ministry During the Second World War he also served as a chaplain to conscientious objectors in Alberta and Saskatchewan He ministered in a number of places including Laird Saskatchewan as well as with the Western Children s Mission Three years later he accepted a call to pastor the Neuwied Mennonite Brethren Church in Germany However his longest pastorate was at the Vancouver Mennonite Brethren Church where he commenced ministry on 21 July 1957 Later the congregation was renamed the Culloden Mennonite Brethren Church He resigned from pastoral ministry in 1975 David is widely remembered for his faithful service with the Russian language radio ministry which began in 1957 and in which he continued until his death in 1981 A Russian language radio ministry had been considered by the directors of the Gospel Light Hour agency They were convicted that they should begin a ministry for the 200 million people living across the vast Soviet empire The most likely candidate to conduct such a ministry was David B Wiens They contacted him and he quickly responded with a

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/wiens.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Orlando Harms
    the operations of a bookstore all in addition to the constant schedule of putting out two periodicals in different languages Orlando Harms was born on June 28 1913 near Hillsboro Kansas the son of Peter P and Justina Seibel Harms He committed himself to Christ at a young age and was baptized in 1935 On October 3 1941 he married Erna Anna Wiebe and they would have three children James married to Elaine Roupp Robert married to Sandra Wiens and Marilyn married to Richard Jeppesen and granddaughters Lisa and Laura Jeppesen Erna spent many years as a primary school teacher and later specialized in the education of mentally handicapped children She also started a Sunday School class for the mentally handicapped She was a volunteer at the Et Cetera Shop for many years and was active in community organizations Each year she looked forward to singing Handel s Messiah as an alto in the choir of the Messiah Festival in Lindsborg Kansas Orlando was educated in English and Journalism at Tabor College at Friends University and the University of Colorado He taught at Tabor College and later became the pastor of the First Mennonite Brethren Church in Wichita Kansas where he was ordained Yet it was in his writing and editing that he made his most important contribution to the Anabaptist vision and mission of Mennonite Brethren The initial professional work and training for Orlando was editing and writing for a weekly newspaper the Hillsboro Journal He worked for the Journal from 1941 until 1947 This initial start into journalism had a profound affect on his work throughout his life He would later change the periodicals he edited to reflect a more socially and politically astute journalistic approach After six years in journalism Harms made a career change to become a pastor within the Mennonite Brethren Church However this career change would only be temporary In 1954 when Harms accepted the challenge of general manager and editor of the Christian Leader and Zionsbote the publications began to reflect the personality and world awareness of the new editor He had a driven personality that even manifested itself in the way he walked Co workers had a difficult time maintaining the pace set by the busy man While continuing to publish reports on spiritual issues and conference news Harms also added reports and columns on the role of the Christian in the world and developed a forum for readers to respond to issues covered in the magazine With this increased content Harms also focused the Leader to a U S constituency and it became the official periodical of the U S conference in 1963 Through these changes at the Leader and Zionsbote Harms sought to tell the Mennonite Brethren story within the larger context of social history He wrote about the issues of the day such as the Vietnam War civil rights and dissatisfaction with the American Way This political focus led to Harms being criticized for not giving enough priority to

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/harms.en.html (2016-02-16)
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