Schellenberg, Peter P. (1887-1982)
Peter Schellenberg: elder and minister; born in Blumenhof, Borozenko Mennonite Settlement, South Russia on 17 September 1887, the son of Peter Schellenberg (d. 1893, Blumenhof, South Russia) and Maria (Sudermann) Schellenberg (d. 13 December 1919, Steinbach, South Russia). On 23 April 1918 Peter married Judith Froese (26 September 1890, Novo Zhitomir, Judenplan, South Russia – 12 September 1966, Coaldale, Alberta, Canada). Peter and Judith had eight children. Peter died on 1 April 1982 in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.
Peter's father died when Peter was very young; his mother remarried and the family moved to the community of Gruenfeld in Borozenko. He attended the village school there and later the Zentralschule where he also received some training in bookkeeping and accounting.
Peter was baptized by Elder Isaac Dyck on 7 June 1908. From 1908 to 1911, he worked in the Forestry Service to fulfill his service obligation as a conscientious objector to war. After Russia entered World War I, Peter enlisted in the Medical Corps and served as a medical orderly on the western front, bringing wounded men from the battlefield and caring for them on troop trains back to hospitals in Russia.
Following the war, he worked as a bookkeeper and buyer for a hardware firm. This was a time of lawlessness and revolution in the Ukraine, and on the night of 13 December 1919, Peter’s family fell victim to an attack by bandits – his mother, stepfather, three brothers, one step-sister and his step-brother were murdered.
In February 1922 Peter was elected to the ministry by the Georgstal congregation in the Fürstenland Mennonite Settlement and was ordained on 26 September 1922. Peter and his family moved to Canada in October 1926, arriving in Dundurn, Saskatchewan. They lived and worked on farms in that community for two and a half years, then moved to the near-by village of Eyebrow where they had heard farmland might be available for purchase. However, this did not materialize and they lived and worked on farms owned by Dietrich Thiessen and Henry Loewen.
In May 1931, they moved to Coaldale, Alberta. For several years they worked as farm laborers, and then, in 1934, rented land – the Wright Farm near Eight Mile Lake some distance from Coaldale, and began farming. Two years later, they rented an irrigation farm in the Crystal Lake district, seven miles northwest of Coaldale, and farmed there until 1951. They operated this 120 acre farm, plus another 40 acres leased from a neighbor on a 2/3-1/3 share crop basis, raising alfalfa, sugar beets, grain, seed peas, and corn. They also had a small dairy herd milking 8-12 cows and shipping cream to the Co-op cheese factory developed by Mennonites in the Coaldale area.
Schellenberg began his service with the Coaldale Mennonite Church shortly after arriving in the community. He was elected leader of the congregation in 1932 and served until 1934. In 1934, Elder William Martens moved to Coaldale and served as leader of the congregation until he moved to Vauxhaul in 1938. Peter was then again elected as leading pastor. The congregation voted to install him as elder, and he was ordained to this task on 10 April 1949 by Elder David Janzen. In addition to his local duties, he participated in Bible conferences in various communities with other pastors, and traveled to isolated communities to preach and conduct communion services. He valued and was active in the fledgling provincial conference of Mennonite churches which became the Conference of Mennonites in Alberta. He served as Vice-chair from 1955-58.
Peter retired on 16 January 1965, having served 43 years in ministry. He continued conducting Bible studies and worship services at the seniors’ home, and preached on occasion. In the fall of 1974 he had a slight stroke which made it difficult for him to care for his daughter who had a debilitating nerve disorder. He moved to Abbotsford, British Columbia and retired to the Menno Home in December 1974.
Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta: Peter Schellenberg fonds, 1926, 1955-1972.
|Date Published||August 2016|
Cite This Article
Unrau, Alice. "Schellenberg, Peter P. (1887-1982)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2016. Web. 30 Sep 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Schellenberg,_Peter_P._(1887-1982)&oldid=168350.
Unrau, Alice. (August 2016). Schellenberg, Peter P. (1887-1982). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 September 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Schellenberg,_Peter_P._(1887-1982)&oldid=168350.
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