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Class of 1953 Gathers for 60-Year Reunion

Events, General News, News Releases — By on October 1, 2013 4:36 pm

‘God only knows how much impact they have had on society,’ organizer says 

Graduates from the 1953 classes of two of Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) predecessor colleges gathered at the university’s Fall Festival Sept. 28 for their 60th class reunion.

Seven alumni from Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) and Mennonite Brethren Bible College (MBBC) reunited for a time of sharing, remembering, fellowship, singing, and prayer.

“A good number of us are still alive and with it—we can’t take that for granted,” said John B. Epp, who helped organize the reunion.

John Unger, another reunion organizer, said that a highlight for him was a “ministry map” the committee put together indicating the places in the world where 1953 graduates have worked and served.

Of the seven CMBC graduates and 20 MBBC graduates from that year, seven went into pastoral ministries and four went into church conference ministries. Twelve went into education, with seven acquiring PhDs in fields including mathematics, sociology, and history, and teaching throughout North America.

At least five went into missions, with their work taking them to countries that include Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Israel, China, and Japan.

Almost all are or were affiliated with a church congregation where they served as well.

“We’re amazed at what God can do with 27 people if they really are the salt of the earth and the light of the world,” Unger said. “God only knows how much impact they have had on society.”

The organizing committee wanted to plan a 60th reunion after hosting a successful 50th reunion in 2003. At that reunion, the Class of 1953 established a $20,000 endowment for a student bursary. To date, more than $6,000 has been distributed to CMU students in need.

By now, members of the Class of 1953 are in their 80s. Eight class members have passed away, and some were not able to make it to the reunion due to health concerns.

Still, those who were there enjoyed connecting with one another.

“I’m glad we can celebrate together,” Unger said. “My bottom line is the thought that was mentioned in Job 19:25 – ‘I know that my redeemer lives.’ We have to keep our central focus on the Lord, and He is still ruling, and we want to live by faith day by day until He calls us.”

Henry Visch, one of the organizers of the CMBC/MBBC Class of 1953 60-year reunion, stands with a “ministry map” he created. The map indicates where members of the Class of 1953 have worked and served, including Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Israel, China, and Japan.

Henry Visch, one of the organizers of the CMBC/MBBC Class of 1953 60-year reunion, stands with a “ministry map” he created. The map indicates where members of the Class of 1953 have worked and served, including Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Israel, China, and Japan.

Members of CMBC’s and MBBC’s Class of 1953 gathered at CMU on Sept. 28 for their 60th class reunion. From left to right: George Wiebe, Hedy Sawatsky, Leo Driedger, Henry Visch, John Unger, John Epp, and Peter Penner.

Members of CMBC’s and MBBC’s Class of 1953 gathered at CMU on Sept. 28 for their 60th class reunion. From left to right: George Wiebe, Hedy Sawatsky, Leo Driedger, Henry Visch, John Unger, John Epp, and Peter Penner.

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