Pankratz, Johann H. (1867-1952)
Johann H. Pankratz: Mennonite Brethren evangelist and missionary; born at Iwanenky, South Russia on 14 January 1867, the oldest son of Johann J. Pankratz (19 September 1843 – 7 October 1925) and Helena (Unruh) Pankratz (2 September 1837-January 1899). On 7 September 1899 Pankratz married Maria Harms (11 March 1880, Hillsboro, Kansas - 25 January 1941, Hughestown, Hyderabad, India) of Hillsboro. They had five children: Rubina, John, Ernest, Linda, and Waldo. John died 19 July 1952 in San Diego, California.
In the summer of 1874 he came to America with his parents and three sisters, settling on a farm in the Lehigh and Goessel, Kansas areas. In 1899 the family removed to Buhler, Kansas. As a young man of 23 years he was converted and on 15 March 1891, he was baptized and received into the Goessel Mennonite Brethren Church. Johann completed his elementary training in a small country school south of Lehigh and attended the Teachers' Normal School in Emporia, Kansas during the school year 1891-1892. In 1892-1897 he attended the Baptist Academy and Theological Seminary in Rochester, New York, graduating from both schools.
Pankratz found his first field of ministry in the First Baptist Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania (1897-1898). In October 1899 he was appointed evangelist in the Mennonite Brethren Conference. On 24 October 1901, Pankratz and his wife were commissioned to go to India as missionaries for the Mennonite Brethren Conference. Leaving Hillsboro on 10 June 1902, they arrived in India on 20 October, having visited numerous churches in Europe en route to India. In the next 39 years (1902-1941) the Pankratzes gave to India some 26 years of service: 1902-1910, 1913-1919, 1921-1926, and 1937-1941. Pankratz was an undaunted pioneer, a great Gospel preacher, a church builder. He established three mission stations—Mulkapett, Hughestown, and Shamshabad, and a missionary rest home at Ootacamund. He organized the first Telugu Mennonite Brethren Church and ordained the first three Telugu ministers.
While at home on furloughs Pankratz served as evangelist and taught two terms (1911-1912 and 1929-1930) in Tabor College; in 1930-36 he served the American Baptist Church in Beatrice, Nebraska. His guiding, inspiring, and upholding Scripture passage was: "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness" (Psalm 17:15).
After the death of wife Maria in 1941, Pankratz returned to America, making his home with his daughter Linda, a schoolteacher, first in Los Angeles and later in San Diego, California, where he died in 1952.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 114. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Peters, George W. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Pankratz, Johann H. (1867-1952)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2006. Web. 20 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/P3633.html.
APA style: Peters, George W. and Richard D. Thiessen. (June 2006). Pankratz, Johann H. (1867-1952). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/P3633.html.