Goertz, Peter S. (1886-1948)

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Peter S. Goertz (1886-1948)
Photographer: McCormick Armstrong, Wichita, Kansas
Source: Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College, North Newton, KS: #2009-0145

Peter S. Goertz: dean and professor of philosophy and religion at Bethel College, 1930-1948; born 3 October 1886 at Aulie-Ata, near Tashkent, in Asiatic Russia to Siebert Goertz and Helena Dalke-Goertz, Peter Goertz married Mathilda Harms in 1910. They had three children. After she died in 1931, he married Helene Riesen, 1933.

Goertz studied at McPherson College (AB, 1914), Yale Divinity School, (BD, 1917), and under Kenneth Scott Latourette at Yale U. (PhD, 1933). His thesis was "A History of the Development of the Indigenous Chinese Christian Church Under the American Board of Fukien Province."

Before coming to Bethel College as dean, Goertz was a school superintendent in Kansas, 1910-1913 (Partridge and Hillsboro); missionary and seminary teacher for the American Board of Missions in China, 1918-1926; and professor of philosophy and religious education, Tabor College, 1926-1930. He was vice-chairman of the Mennonite Brethren peace committee, 1932-1936.

Goertz is remembered as a gifted teacher who opened the door to the fascinating world of philosophy for his students. As a dean he was a gifted listener to students as well as faculty. He served Bethel College during its successful achievement of North Central Association accreditation. In his later years he moved from the Mennonite Brethren to membership in the General Conference Mennonite Church. He died suddenly on 4 August 1948 after returning from a sabbatical leave spent in relief work in Europe for Mennonite Central Committee.


"Final Services for Dean of Bethel College Held Last Saturday." Mennonite Weekly Review 26 (12 August 1948): 1.

Warkentin, A. and Melvin Gingerich, compilers. Who's Who Among the Mennonites. North Newton, KS: Bethel College, 1943: 86-87.

Wedel, P. J. and E. G. Kaufman. The Story of Bethel College. North Newton, KS: Bethel College, 1954: esp. 374.

Author(s) Jacob J Enz
Date Published 1987

Cite This Article

MLA style

Enz, Jacob J. "Goertz, Peter S. (1886-1948)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 31 Jul 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Goertz,_Peter_S._(1886-1948)&oldid=171320.

APA style

Enz, Jacob J. (1987). Goertz, Peter S. (1886-1948). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 31 July 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Goertz,_Peter_S._(1886-1948)&oldid=171320.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 348. All rights reserved.

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