Gerber, Stevanus J. (1918-2017)
Stevanus J. “Steve” Gerber: farmer and pastor; born 11 February 1918 to Michael Z. Gerber (21 May 1874-20 May 1943) and Veronica Jantzi Gerber (17 March 1876-12 October 1970) on their farm near Petersburg, Wilmot Township, Ontario, Canada. A number of years later the family moved to a farm near Crosshill, Ontario, in Wellesley Township. Here they attended Maple View Mennonite Church where Steve was baptized. Steve was the second youngest in a family with four brothers and three sisters.
Steve met his future wife Edna Albrecht (27 October 1919-3 November 2012) at a youth group Ascension Day baseball game. Edna was the daughter of Jacob R. Albrecht (13 December-27 November 1957) and Lydia Jantzi Albrecht (7 February 1894-23 March 1987). Steve and Edna were married on 1 January 1942. Together they began farming in Elma Township where their first three children were born. Eventually they resettled back on Steve’s parent’s farm near Crosshill. Here four more children completed their family of seven. Though not having a high school education, Steve attended Ontario Mennonite Bible Institute in Kitchener, Ontario. Here he gained a deeper appreciation for bible study, theological thought, and the mission of the church.
In 1960 Steve Gerber was chosen by lot and ordained as a deacon at Maple View Mennonite Church while attending worship at Crosshill and serving the members there. In 1966 he was ordained as a minister to serve the emerging Crosshill congregation. In the years that followed Steve guided the congregation to establish its own identity apart from Maple View. In 1970 a separate membership role was begun for Crosshill Mennonite church. Through these years Steve lead with a diplomacy that valued strong relationships and ongoing fellowship with the Maple View congregation.
Congregational ministry opened the door for Steve Gerber to contribute in the broader realm of the Western Ontario Mennonite Conference (WOMC). He served on both the WOMC Mission Board and Christian Nurture Council. From 1974 to 1980 Steve was elected moderator of WOMC. During these years increased inter-Mennonite Conference dialogue began. In his moderator's reports to conference his pastoral approach was evident as he acknowledged the comfort of each conference’s own spiritual home, but also understood the value of being united in a larger Mennonite community of faith. For Steve, this unity would be achieved not only in organizational structures, but also required spiritual unity in Christ.
In the 1970s, the charismatic renewal movement influenced Steve’s church leadership. Nelson Litwiller’s missionary experiences, in particular, made an impact. Steve was able to bridge some of the differences in worship style and ministry practice while moving in both charismatic and non-charismatic circles.
In 1985 Steve retired from ministry at Crosshill Mennonite Church. In semi-retirement Steve assisted with leadership at McArthur’s Mills Christian Fellowship in Bancroft, Ontario. He would drive there for one or two weekends a month to assist with preaching and pastoral care. In 1987 he served as interim pastor at Cassel Mennonite Church, and finally ended his pastoral career as part time pastor at St. Agatha Mennonite Church from 1991-1993.
Steve Gerber died 27 March 2017 at Knollcrest Lodge in Milverton, Ontario. Steve and Edna Gerber are buried at Rush’s Cemetery, Wellesley, Ontario.
Through his years of ministry, farming provided most of the income for Steve and his family, while God’s calling through the church provided his passion for service.
“Obituary for Edna Gerber.” Futher-Franklin Funeral Home. 5 November 2012. Web. 20 May 2020. https://www.futher-franklinfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Edna-Gerber/#!/Obituary.
“Obituary for Steve R. Gerber.” Futher-Franklin Funeral Home. 29 March 2017. Web. 20 May 2020. https://www.futher-franklinfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Steve-Gerber/#!/Obituary.
“Stevanus Gerber.” SAGA (Swiss Anabaptist Genealogical Association) Genealogical Website. Web. 20 May 2020. http://www.saga-omii.org/TNG1112/getperson.php?personID=I188560&tree=martin.
|Date Published||May 2020|
Cite This Article
Gerber, Jamie. "Gerber, Stevanus J. (1918-2017)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2020. Web. 23 Jan 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gerber,_Stevanus_J._(1918-2017)&oldid=168200.
Gerber, Jamie. (May 2020). Gerber, Stevanus J. (1918-2017). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 January 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gerber,_Stevanus_J._(1918-2017)&oldid=168200.
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