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Featured Article: "Patkau, Esther (1927-2017)"

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Esther Patkau preaching, 2002.
Photo: Jake Buhler.

Esther Patkau: missionary, pastor, chaplain, historian and friend; born 27 August 1927 to Kornelius and Katharina Patkau on a farm near Hanley, Saskatchewan, Canada. Her parents were farmers having just arrived from the Soviet Union. She died in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. on 18 December 2017 at age 90 and is buried in the Hanley Mennonite Church Cemetery. Following completion of elementary school in Hanley, she attended Rosthern Bible School before matriculating at Rosthern Junior College with a high school diploma in 1947. She pursued more education at Canadian Mennonite Bible College, graduating with a degree in theology in 1950, followed by another bachelor’s degree in education at Bethel College in Kansas in 1951.

Esther Patkau was then ready, she said much later, for her first job. That job, in 1951, was to be a missionary to Japan serving under the Mission Board of the General Conference Mennonite Church. Since she could not be ordained as a minister, she was commissioned as a missionary. Ordination for women came a dozen years later. For 23 years she served as a missionary learning a difficult language, and worked to establish the Oyodo Christian Church in Miyazaki, Kyushu. She was much loved. Upon her return to Canada in 1974 she was ordained and installed as a minister at First Mennonite Church in Saskatoon where she served for seven years. Ever interested in learning, Esther obtained a master’s degree in theology in 1981 from Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, majoring in pastoral care and counseling. From 1983 to 2005 she was a hospital chaplain in Saskatoon. Then from 2005 to 2017, she was the Spiritual Care Coordinator at Bethany Manor, a Mennonite Seniors Home in Saskatoon.

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The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online provides reliable, freely-available English-language information on Anabaptist-related congregations, denominations, conferences, institutions and significant individuals, as well as historical and theological topics. Secular subject articles from an Anabaptist perspective and full-text source documents are also included.

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If you have specific corrections to articles or suggestions that should be added to the encyclopedia send them to the GAMEO's email address at admin@gameo.org. As a volunteer organization we are unable to respond to questions on Mennonite history or genealogical questions of any kind. For questions of that type, please contact a local genealogical society, or check with a Mennonite historical library or archives.

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Other Mennonite Encyclopedias

GAMEO works together with the editors of other Mennonite encyclopedias to make their content available in the English language. These encyclopedias include:

Mennonite Historical Agencies

As a volunteer organization, we are unable to respond to questions on Mennonite history or genealogical questions of any kind.

For questions of that type, please contact a local genealogical society, or check with a Mennonite historical library or archives. For a list of Mennonite historical society or archives near you, please consult the Directory of North American Mennonite Historical Agencies.

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GAMEO falls under the umbrella of the Mennonite World Conference Faith and Life Commission. Members of the Management Board include: Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, Mennonite Church USA Archives, Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission, Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite World Conference, Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism, and the D. F. Plett Historical Research Foundation