Rod Suderman, Emmanuel pastor, dies at 63

October 19, 2023 | News | Volume 27 Issue 21
Amy Rinner Waddell | B.C. Correspondent
Rod Suderman, in recliner, surrounded by members of Emmanuel Mennonite Church. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Rod Suderman, lead pastor of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, B.C., died on Sept. 2 following a cancer diagnosis earlier this year. He had also served as a pastor in Saskatchewan and worked in China, both with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and the General Conference Mennonite Church.

Suderman was born Sept. 29, 1959, in Winkler, Manitoba. He devoted his adult life to service and ministry, earning a Bachelor of Theology degree at Canadian Mennonite Bible College (now CMU); a degree in religious studies from the University of Manitoba, and an M.Div. from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries and the University of Winnipeg.

Together with his wife, Kathi, he served in Taiwan with the Commission on Overseas Mission 1985–1988; as coordinator of the China Educational Exchange in Beijing 1998–2006; as MCC China representative 2002–2006, and as MCC Northeast Asia representative 2006–2015.

He pastored at Aberdeen (Sask.) Mennonite Church from 1992 to 1998, at First Mennonite Church of Saskatoon 2015–2021, and was called as lead pastor at Emmanuel Mennonite Church in 2022.

Rod Suderman was the father of three children: Chris, Stefanie and Jesse. Among his interests were jogging, reading, food, travel, astronomy, history, theology and peace.

On July 6, the Emmanuel community gathered with Rod and Kathi for a time of singing and prayer, and to express appreciation for Suderman’s ministry in the congregation. Many affirmed his gentleness, his kind heart and the keen spiritual insights in his sermons.

A celebration of life took place on Sept. 16 at Emmanuel Mennonite Church. 

—Corrected October 27, 2023.

Rod Suderman, in recliner, surrounded by members of Emmanuel Mennonite Church. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

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