Assisting with autumn cleanup and yard maintenance at one's church is a common activity for many MAX members. On Oct. 16, this annual activity turned tragic for Leonard Gerbrandt, 69, a long term, faithful member of the Ottawa Mennonite Church, Ottawa, Ontario. Leonard fell from a ladder while trimming a tree during the congregation's fall cleanup day, suffering a serious head injury from which he never regained consciousness.
On the evening of Oct. 20, the members of the Ottawa Mennonite Church gathered for a prayer service on behalf of Leonard and the family. "The prayer service was very well attended and a time of healing for all present," reports the chair of the Church board, Monica Scheifele. Throughout the intervening week, the doctors' prognosis remained guarded. Leonard succumbed to his injuries late Saturday evening, Oct. 23.
"We invite readers to be in prayer for Leonard's wife Ute, family members, and the Ottawa Mennonite congregation as they deal with this sudden and tragic loss," says MAX Canada. Leonard was a well known artist, associated with the Ottawa School of Art since 1972. He and Ute also served terms overseas in Bangladesh and Kenya, Africa, with Mennonite Central Committee and the Canadian International Development Agency. They were passionate about refugees and worked tirelessly in refugee resettlement.