Epp, Frank H. (1929-1986)

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Photo courtesy of Hunsberger Photography
Source: Mennonite Archives of Ontario (1983-1.84)

Frank H. Epp: churchman, journalist, educator, and author; born 25 May 1929 in Lena, Manitoba, the third of 13 children of Heinrich M. Epp (1904-1958) and Anna (Enns) Epp (1902-1958). On 27 June 1953, Frank married Helen Dick of Leamington, Ontario, and they had three daughters (a son died at birth). Frank died on 22 January 1986 in Kitchener, Ontario.

Educated in theology, mass communication, and history, Epp began his professional career as a public school teacher and was professor of history at Conrad Grebel College at the time of his death. He was president of Conrad Grebel College, 1973-1979. Under his leadership, the college expanded to include a new academic building as well as programs in music and peace and conflict studies. An ordained minister, he was a part-time pastor in four Mennonite congregations in Canada and the United States.

His extensive public writing career began in 1951 as editor of the Jugendseite, the youth section of Der Bote, which served General Conference Mennonite youth in Canada. As founding editor of The Canadian Mennonite (1953-1967) and Mennonite Reporter (1971-1973), he exercised a broad and sometimes controversial influence among Mennonites in Canada at a time when many of them were in a language transition from German to English.

From 1957-1963 he was director and regular speaker for the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba's "Abundant Life" radio program. During most of this time, he also served the Board of Christian Service of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada in various capacities. He was a board member of Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCCC) from its inception in 1963 until his death and was chairman of the international MCC Peace Section, 1979-1986. From 1972-1978 he was on the presidium of Mennonite World Conference.

Beyond the Mennonite churches, Epp served on four committees of the Canadian Council of Churches (1967-1973) and was appointed to two advisory bodies by the federal government (Immigration, 1968-1977, and Multiculturalism, 1980-1985). For two years (1970-1971), he served as Executive Director of the World Federalists of Canada, and after 1980 was active in the United Nations Association of Canada. In the 1979 and 1980 federal parliamentary elections, he was a candidate for the Liberal Party in the Waterloo (Ontario) constituency.

Epp's research travels, related to peace education and writing projects, included numerous trips to the Middle East (6), Southeast Asia (3), and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (3). Epp's twelve books include three on the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East and three on Mennonites in Canada. These included Mennonites in Canada, volumes I and II; he was working on volume III at the time of his death. His other books deal with educational institutions and with peace and refugee concerns.

On 27 May 2021, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) announced a finding of sexual misconduct against Frank H. Epp related to the time period when he was an ordained Mennonite minister and a board member of Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCCC). An independent investigation team found "sufficient and compelling corroboration for the allegation of ministerial sexual misconduct." MCEC's release said, "Were Epp alive today, this finding of ministerial sexual misconduct would result in the removal of his ordination credential."


Fast, Heinold. "Nachrufe auf Grete Mecenseffy, Liesel Quiring-Unruh, Frank H. Epp," Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter 43-44 (1986-87): 234-240.

"MCEC Announces a Finding of Ministerial Sexual Misconduct." Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. 27 May 2021. Web. 28 May 2021. https://mcec.ca/article/13243-mcec-announces-a-finding-of-ministerial-sexual-misconduct.

Mennonite Quarterly Review (30 January 1986), 2.

Mennonite Reporter (3 February 1986): 1, 6, 8, 9.

Archival Records

Frank H. Epp papers, Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Books by Frank H. Epp

Epp, Frank H. Education with a Plus: The Story of Rosthern Junior College. Waterloo, Ont.: Conrad Press, 1975.

_____. I Would Like to Dodge the Draft-Dodgers, But .... Waterloo, Ont.: Conrad Press, 1970.

_____. The Israelis: Portrait of a People in Conflict. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1980.

_____. Mennonite Exodus: The Rescue and Resettlement of the Russian Mennonites since the Communist Revolution. Altona, Man.: D. W. Friesen and Sons, 1962.

_____. Mennonite Peoplehood: A Plea for New Initiatives. Waterloo, Ont.: Conrad Press, 1977.

_____. Mennonites in Canada, 1786-1920: the History of a Separate People. Toronto: MacMillan of Canada, 1974.

_____. The Mennonites in Canada, 1920-1940: a People's Struggle for Survival. Toronto: MacMillan of Canada, 1982.

_____. The Palestinians: Portrait of a People in Conflict. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976.

_____. Small College Set on a Hill: Reflections on Church College Education in the University Context. Waterloo, Ont.: The Author, 1979.

_____. A Strategy for Peace: Reflections of a Christian Pacifist. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Erdmans, 1973.

_____. Whose Land is Palestine?: the Middle East Problem in Historical Perspective. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1970.

_____. Your Neighbour as Yourself: a Study on Responsibility in Immigration. Winnipeg, Man.: MCC Canada, 1968.

Author(s) Adolf Ens
Samuel J. Steiner
Date Published July 2021

Cite This Article

MLA style

Ens, Adolf and Samuel J. Steiner. "Epp, Frank H. (1929-1986)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2021. Web. 19 Jun 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Epp,_Frank_H._(1929-1986)&oldid=171994.

APA style

Ens, Adolf and Samuel J. Steiner. (July 2021). Epp, Frank H. (1929-1986). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Epp,_Frank_H._(1929-1986)&oldid=171994.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 270. All rights reserved.

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