Shantz, Ward Montford (1910-2009)

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Kathleen and Ward Shantz, 1970s. Courtesy Marion Houlding.

Ward Montford Shantz: Bible college president, district superintendent and denominational leader of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ/ United Missionary/ Missionary Church, was born 6 December 1910 in Berlin (Kitchener), Ontario, Canada to Joseph S. Shantz (21 June 1872-20 May 1939) and Martha E. Snyder (10 February 1876-1969). Joseph and Martha, both born in Berlin, had two other sons. Ward died on 23 August 2009 in Kitchener. He is buried at Memory Gardens, Breslau, Ontario.

After his conversion when age 12, Ward Shantz was baptized in the Grand River by the family’s church, Bethany Mennonite Brethren in Christ (Evangelical Missionary) Church. On 6 October 1934, he married Mildred Kathleen Brubacher (31 December 1907-8 July 1985). Kathleen’s parents were Samuel Brubacher (8 June 1875-28 October 1934) and Rosetta Bricker (16 August 1874-1948) of Berlin. Kathleen and Ward had a son and a daughter. Kathleen Shantz, who for a time was a lawyer’s secretary, developed her own ministry to pastors’ wives and Bible College students and for 10 years wrote a column for pastors’ wives in the district newsletter. She was committed to hospitality whenever her husband might bring home guests unexpectedly.

Ward M. Shantz graduated with a BTh from Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University), in Marion, Indiana, USA (1933) and an MA from Winona Lake School of Theology (1934). Later he obtained a BA and the BD from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario (1949 and 1951). The latter degree was obtained through the affiliated Waterloo Lutheran Seminary in Waterloo.

As a probationer in the Ontario Conference of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church, Ward Shantz was assigned to the pastorate of Aylmer (1933-1937), Toronto West (Bethel, now Wellspring) (1937-1942) and Gormley (1942-1943). Shantz, ordained in 1936, was for a period, superintendent of the Ontario Conference Young People’s Society.

Ward Shantz was part of discussions in the 1930s recommending the Ontario Mennonite Brethren in Christ begin a Bible school. He was appointed as the first principal when the school opened in January 1940 in Stouffville, Ontario. The school was moved to Gormley when Ward was appointed pastor there in 1942, and finally to Kitchener in 1944. He became president of Emmanuel, now called a Bible College, when elected superintendent of the Ontario Conference of the United Missionary Church in 1953. Daily leadership of the college was cared for by L. Lyness Wark as principal 1953-1960. H. Bruce Wideman succeeded Shantz as president of the College in 1960, leaving Shantz free to lead the district for 10 more years. During his nearly two decades as superintendent, the Conference expanded from 34 to 60 congregations, successfully riding the baby boom and receiving accessions from Evangelical United Brethren Church persons who did not want to join the United Church of Canada in 1968. During his term, Wesleyan holiness theology was affirmed, and he was elected a representative of the (American) National Holiness Association in 1959.

At a denominational level, Ward Shantz was a delegate to the 1947 General Conference in Potsdam, Ohio, where the western conferences successfully pressed to change the denomination's name from Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church, to United Missionary Church. He was elected Vice-Superintendent of the United Missionary Church in 1955 and continued in that post until 1969. He also served on the board of the United Missionary Society from 1951 to the 1969 merger of the United Missionary Church with the Missionary Church Association which created the Missionary Church.

After the merger, Ward Shantz became the assistant director of Overseas Missions of the Missionary Church at Fort Wayne, Indiana, in June 1970 and acting director for over a year, 1973-1974. He retired to Kitchener in 1976, becoming the respected parliamentarian at annual conferences as well as a writer for historical projects.

Three years after the death of Kathleen in 1985, Ward Shantz married a fellow Bethany Church member, Winnie (Ariss) Goldsworthy, who had just finished eight years as an assistant to the administration of the United Missionary Church of Africa (UMCA) in Ilorin, Nigeria. The two returned to Nigeria to teach English skills to pastors of the UMCA in a short-term mission in 1989. Winnie Shantz was born in 1921. A writer and local historian herself, she died of cancer on 24 October 1998.

As teacher and superintendent, besides numerous reports and articles on pastoral theology, Ward M. Shantz wrote a year and a half of daily devotions for the denominational magazine, the Gospel Banner (1944-1945). Ward preached on a Kitchener radio program in the 1950s. His other published works include the following:

1946 Huffman, John A and Ward M Shantz. Mastering the English Bible. Winona Lake, IN: The Standard Press.

1962 Shantz, Ward M. “John Wesley’s Teaching on Christian Perfection,” in Kenneth Geiger, ed. Insights into Holiness: By Fifteen Leading Scholars of the Wesleyan Persuasion. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press, 1962: 131-142.

1976 Shantz, Ward M. “Missionary Church Outreach,” in Ralph E Ringenberg, ed, Believers in the Missionary Church (Elkhart, IN: The Bethel Publ Co): 63-68.

1977 Shantz, Ward M. A History of Bethany Missionary Church 1877-1977. Kitchener, ON: Bethany Missionary Church.

1981 Brubacher, Lloyd, Ward Shantz, Lloyd Sider and Grant Sloss. 100 Years of Camp Meetings 1881-1981. [Kitchener, ON: Centennial Committee of the Ontario District, Missionary Church.]

1983 Shantz, Ward M and Wayne Gerber. A Cause for Celebration: 1883-1983. Fort Wayne, IN: The Missionary Church, Inc., 1983.

Ward Shantz was an encouraging, even-tempered man who could sleep after board meetings and kept peaceful relations with all. As district superintendent, he was in charge of camp meetings. He was happiest when many were converted and the budget was met. He often fasted and prayed alone for the conversion of those who attended. Even as superintendent he continued as a counsellor of boys at church camps.


Funeral bulletin, “Rev Ward Shantz”, Kitchener, ON (25 August 2009).

Houlding, Marion (Shantz), Kitchener, ON. Personal communication (23 February 2015).

“Mrs. Ward Shantz Dies.” Emphasis (September/October 1985): 16.

Shantz, Ward M. “Are We Bound By Traditions?” Gospel Banner (18 September 1952): 7.

Shantz, Ward M. “Effect of the Baptism with the Holy Ghost Experientially and Practically.” Gospel Banner (1 June 1937): 6-7.

Shantz, Ward M. “Modesty in the Mid-Twentieth Century.” Gospel Banner (10 August 1967): 8-9.

Shantz, Ward M. “Whose Day is Sunday?” Gospel Banner (2 April 1966): 9, 11.

Shantz, Ward M. “Washing the Saints’ Feet.” Gospel Banner 16 February 1939: 3-5.

“Shantz, Rev. Ward M.” Waterloo Region Record (22 August 2009).

Storms, Everek R. History of the United Missionary Church. Elkhart, IN: The Bethel Publ. Co., 1958: 93, 201-202.

Wark, L Lyness, Providence Bay, ON. Personal communication (12 May 2015).

Author(s) Clare Fuller
Date Published June 2015

Cite This Article

MLA style

Fuller, Clare. "Shantz, Ward Montford (1910-2009)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2015. Web. 24 Jan 2022.,_Ward_Montford_(1910-2009)&oldid=132007.

APA style

Fuller, Clare. (June 2015). Shantz, Ward Montford (1910-2009). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 January 2022, from,_Ward_Montford_(1910-2009)&oldid=132007.

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