On the death of two bishops

Posted on November 18, 2010 by VMMissions Staff

Lloyd S. Horst died October 7, 2010 at the age of 97. Truman H. Brunk, Jr. died October 8, 2010 at the age of 79. At both funerals, I heard the descriptor “Encourager.” And, “gentle.”

Each of these men was ordained in Virginia Mennonite Conference. Lloyd served as pastor and ordained bishop in VMC and as charter bishop in Southeastern Mennonite Conference (1972). Truman served at Eastern Mennonite College as pastor of students; in Pennsylvania as pastor and appointed overseer; and in VMC as pastor and appointed bishop/overseer.

At Lloyd’s funeral at Bank Mennonite Church, there was encouragement to faithful discipleship. A note some weeks before his death indicated that this retired bishop was praying for the current pastoral leadership—an encouraging word. As a congregation we sang, a cappella, the songs chosen by Lloyd.

At Truman’s funeral, held at Lindale Mennonite Church, there was witness to Truman’s encouragement of joyful service including women in ministry. The sharing noted the significance of Truman’s ministry both in the collegiate and the congregational settings. Music included string and vocal ensembles along with congregational singing.

Reflecting on these two events, I find myself coming full circle. My father’s life was a bridge between the stability (faithful discipleship) of an Amish-Mennonite congregation and the challenge of church-planting (engagement) in ‘the north’ (northern Alberta, Canada).

Joyful engagement with the world is grounded in faithful discipleship. Faithful discipleship will compel to engagement with the world. Engagement will compel to the basics of faithful discipleship.
What a treasure, to be nurtured by the example of these two who were known to walk their very different, yet very similar journeys, as gentle encouragers!

Owen Burkholder

Filed in: Editorial


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