Readers Write: July 2024

July 5, 2024 | Opinion | Volume 28 Issue 9

A Mennonite Life


My story is somewhat different than Troy Watson’s “Am I Mennonite?,” May 2024), but my considerations are similar to his.


I was born into a Mennonite family—does that make me a Mennonite for life?


I attended a Mennonite church with my parents and listened to the instructions of our elders. At 14, I was baptized and accepted as a full member of the congregation. I was a Mennonite.


Years later, after I had immigrated to Canada, my wife and I became cofounders of a new Mennonite church in Vancouver. We were active youth leaders and I, as church secretary.


A few UBC students in our group told us about a team of a Methodist preacher, Lutheran theologian and a Catholic priest connected with charismatic revival meetings on campus. The students thought we should come and listen. We went and thought they were fully Bible-based and had a good message for church renewal and enrichment.


Sometime later, our church deacons found out that we had a positive attitude toward the charismatic movement. They asked us to recant or leave the church.


Was I still a Mennonite, having been expelled from the Mennonite church? Could I be a Mennonite in an Episcopal church?


A friend of mine who is a Lutheran pastor was asked by Mennonite settlers in Paraguay to help them establish a Christian education system. When he left several years later, some of them said: “Pastor Schneider has become a better Mennonite than many of us.”


Time went by and I heard that some UBC professors had founded a small Mennonite fellowship close to the campus with the purpose of providing student residences and being available as mentors for students, especially new students and foreign students. I joined them.


For 35 years I have again been a member in a Mennonite fellowship.


Being Mennonite means living a life based on the faith of Mennonites and Mennonite principles which Troy describes so well in his article.


-Helmut Lemke, Vancouver, B.C. (Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship)


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