Schonwetter, Jurgen (1938-2021)

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Jurgen and Annie Schonwetter
Source: Family

Jurgen Franz Eric Schonwetter: pastor, elder, instructor; born 3 February 1938 in Wriezen (on the Oder River), Germany, to Franz and Martha (Seele) Schönwetter. He was the third child in a family of three sons and one daughter. In 1960, he married Annie Elizabeth Isaak. They had a son, Dieter, and a daughter, Darlene. Jurgen died 23 December 2021 in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

After being captured behind enemy lines, surviving concentration camp, experiencing starvation, surviving on wit, and escaping the Russian occupation, Jurgen moved to Canada on his own, arriving in Vancouver in 1958. As a true Anabaptist, he was baptized as an infant on 18 March 1938 and confirmed on 18 March 1952 in the St. Wenselskirche, Naumburg, Germany; and then as an adult 21 May 1961 in First United Mennonite Church, Vancouver, British Columbia, by J. B. Wiens. It was there that he and Annie married.

After Jurgen spent a year preparing to become an electrical contractor, the Schonwetters received a calling to pastoral ministry, with Jurgen and Annie working together as a pastoral team. In 1962, they began preparations, with Jurgen completing further schooling: BTh at Canadian Mennonite Bible College (1962-1964); BA in Languages, Bethel College, Kansas (1964-1965); Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries, Elkhart Indiana (1965-1967); MA in Christian Ministries, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Virginia (1985-1986).

While a student, Jurgen served as a part-time pastor in Walton Mennonite Church, Walton, Kansas; Etna Green Evangelical United Brethren Church in Etna Green, Indiana; and the Harrison Center Evangelical United Brethren Church at Harrison, Indiana. Following graduation, Jurgen and Annie began their full-time pastoral ministries at First Mennonite Church Greendale (1968-1975), Chilliwack, British Columbia. After less than a year of service at the Greendale church, the church leadership requested his second ordination as the youngest and potentially last Mennonite Church Elder (Ältester) in British Columbia (1970).

From 1975-1978, Jurgen worked as an instructor at Columbia Bible Institute in Abbotsford, BC, while Annie worked as a nurse’s aide at the Mennonite Benevolent Society to support the family. From 1978-1981, Jurgen and Annie served in the Sherbrooke Mennonite Church in Vancouver. Annie continued working as a nurse’s aide in the German-Canadian Care Home in South Vancouver, providing hospice care to many patients. Their final move as a pastoral couple brought them back to Abbotsford (1981-2004), where Jurgen served as an instructor in Christian Ministries, with a passion for psychology and Bible, at Columbia Bible College; while Annie served as an early childhood caregiver. In 1977, Jurgen and Annie were invited to serve as a part-time pastoral couple in Glendale Mennonite Church, Lynden, Washington, USA.

Jurgen Schonwetter’s teaching and pastoral skills were recognized by Columbia Bible College in 2005, where he received Faculty Emeritus status for his ministry. Jurgen and Annie possessed the energy and abilities to be successful in many endeavours but chose a life of service to the church, mentoring and supporting many members.


Schonwetter, J. F. E. "A Child of War." The Mennonite (June 2007): 16-17.

Schonwetter, J. F. E. "Ethno-cultural Groups in MCBC Churches." Pilgrimage Project (January 2012).

Schonwetter, J. F. E. "I Remember the Bombs." Faith Digest (Fall-Winter), no. 21, 2007.

Schonwetter, J. F. E. "My Philosophy of Life." College Scroll (23 October 1964): 6-7.

Schonwetter, J. F. E. "My Theatre of Pleasure and Adoration." Creation Care Vision (Spring 2008), vol. 9, no. 1: 53-57.

Schonwetter, J. F. E. "Remembering the Bombs." Canadian Mennonite (2006): vol. 10, no. 21: 5.

Schonwetter, J. F. E. "True Freedom in the Aftermath of War: Found Only in Christ." Shantyman International (Jul-Aug 2000): 3-5.

Author(s) Dieter Schonwetter
Date Published December 2022

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MLA style

Schonwetter, Dieter. "Schonwetter, Jurgen (1938-2021)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2022. Web. 1 Dec 2023.,_Jurgen_(1938-2021)&oldid=174427.

APA style

Schonwetter, Dieter. (December 2022). Schonwetter, Jurgen (1938-2021). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 December 2023, from,_Jurgen_(1938-2021)&oldid=174427.

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