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Conference minister appointed to Mennonite Church Canada


Henry Paetkau was appointed by the General Board of Mennonite Church Canada to be the next Conference Minister, beginning in July, 2000. Paetkau comes to this position after twenty-two years of pastoral service, including the last fifteen at Grace Mennonite Church in St. Catharines, Ontario.

The position is currently held by Larry Kehler, who stepped in on an iterim basis when Dan Nighswander left the position to become general secretary of Mennonite Church Canada.

"Henry will be a welcome addition to our executive staff," says Nighswander. "He has a reputation for excellence in administration and a heart for pastoral ministry. At a time when wisdom and initiative are needed to lead the church into an uncertain future we need people like him with gifts and commitment to set the direction and tone for ministry."

Prior to his call to the ministry Paetkau was preparing for an academic career. After receiving a Bachelor or Theology degree from Canadian Mennonite Bible College, he earned three more degrees in history, culminating in a PhD from University of Western Ontario. While completing this last degree he served as pastor of Harrow (Ontario) Mennonite Church.

Paetkau has served on Christian education boards in area conferences and for the Resources Commission of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada. He served as a board member of Conrad Grebel College, for eight years, including time as vice-chair. He has also volunteered with the local school board and victim-offender reconciliation program. He was recently appointed to the Canada Program Transformation Team of Mennonite Church Canada.

Henry and his wife, Leonora ( nee Ratzlaff), have four daughters. Leaving Ontario will be a big change for them, but they are looking forward to living closer to relatives in Winnipeg and other points in Western Canada.

Mennonite Church Canada is the successor to Conference of Mennonites in Canada. It brings together six area conferences across Canada, with a total of over 250 churches and 36,000 adult members.