John G. Baerg; pastor and Bible teacher; born 25 July 1908 as the 3rd youngest of eight surviving children to Gerhard Baerg (1871-1919) and Anna (Matthies) Baerg (1875-1954) on the Apanlee estate, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia. He immigrated to Canada with his mother and siblings in 1924, initially living in Hespeler, Ontario, and eventually settling in Dominion City, Manitoba in 1925. He married Martha Neufeld (1913-2003), daughter of Isaac I. Neufeld (1871-1948) and Anna (Koehn) Neufeld (1868-1949) in North Kildonan (Manitoba) 21 June 1941. John and Martha Baerg had five children. John died on 26 April 1999 in Virgil, Ontario.
John was baptized in 1931 and joined the Mennonite Brethren Church at Arnaud, Manitoba. He attended Winkler Bible School for three years, graduating in 1935. From 1936-1944 he was a teacher and the principal of the newly opened Steinbach Bible School. In the summer months, John and Martha worked on his mother's farm at Dominion City, and in the winter months they lived in Steinbach where he taught at the Bible School. Martha, who trained as a nurse in St. Boniface, Manitoba, worked as a nurse in Steinbach Hospital for 2 years. John was ordained as a minister in Arnaud in 1937.
In 1944 John and Martha Baerg with one child, moved to Hillsboro, Kansas. While a student at Tabor College and "House Father" of the Hillsboro Mission Home, Baerg was called to be pastor of the Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church, rural Hillsboro, Kansas, October 1945, where he served until 1950. He graduated from Tabor College in 1946 with a B.Th and a B.A. in Psychology.
Baerg pastored the Mountain Lake Mennonite Brethren Church (Minnesota) 1950-1958, the Virgil Mennonite Brethren Church (Ontario) 1958-1976 and the Clearbrook Mennonite Brethren Church (British Columbia) 1976-1982. Martha was active in congregational life teaching Sunday School, playing piano, providing leadership in Pioneer Girls programs and being active with Ladies' meetings. In 1983 John and Martha retired to Virgil, Ontario where he continued to preach occasionally. They moved into Pleasant Manor Retirement Village (Virgil, Ontario) in 1988.
John was the first salaried pastor at Ebenfeld MB, and also at Virgil MB, initiating professional ministry in the church. In this sense he was a significant transitional leader, navigating the change from "lay" ministry to "paid" ministry, in at least two congregations.
John is remembered for his preaching, teaching,leading Bible Studies and being a spiritual mentor. to many. In 1971 friends from the Virgil church and Orchard Park Bible Church made it possible for John and Martha to make a trip to England, Zaire, Israel and Europe. Visiting his brother, missionary Willie Baerg in Zaire was a highlight. In 1975 they spent six weeks in South America (Brazil and Paraguay), where John preached 19 times in 21 days.
John was well-known at the larger gatherings of the Mennonite Brethren Church in North America. He was a promoter of the vision to establish an English language denominational periodical, which was the beginning of the Mennonite Brethren Herald in 1962, a paper to which he also contributed several articles. He was on the editorial committee in 1966 for the production of a Membership Manual produced by Board of Christian Literature of the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.
Above all, John had a strong sense of God's calling for his life, and he became an example of being a faithful follower to that call.
Baerg, John G. "Cultivation of the Minister's Spiritual Life." Mennonite Brethren Herald (28 October 1966): 9.
Baerg, John G. "Mother's Influence in the Home." Mennonite Brethren Herald (5 May 1967): 5.
Baerg, John and Martha. "A calling to ministry together." Mennonite Brethren Herald (16 July 1999): 4-5.
Bergmann, Helen Reimer, Ebenezer: Virgil Mennonite Brethren Church, 1937-1987. Virgil, Ontario: Virgil Mennonite Brethren Church, 1987: 25-26.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 7.05 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2013: #89086.
"John Baerg." Mennonite Brethren Herald (16 July 1999): 25.
"John G. Baerg." Mennonitsche Rundschau (October 1999): 32.
"Martha Baerg." St. Catharines Standard (31 July 2003).
Neufeld, William. The Neufelds of Waldheim, 1744-1985. Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1985: 80-81.
|Date Published||March 2014|
Cite This Article
Redekopp, Alf. "Baerg, John G. (1908-1999)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2014. Web. 24 Nov 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Baerg,_John_G._(1908-1999)&oldid=114503.
Redekopp, Alf. (March 2014). Baerg, John G. (1908-1999). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 November 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Baerg,_John_G._(1908-1999)&oldid=114503.
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