Schaefer, Paul J. (1899-1969)
Paul J. Schaefer (1899-1969) was an outstanding Manitoba Mennonite educator and church leader. He was born of Lutheran parents in the Russian Caucasus region. After elementary schooling in his native village he studied for nine years at the Gymnasium (secondary school) in Tarutino, Bessarabia. Schaefer then became a teacher in the Mennonite village of Alexandrodar (Alexanderfeld) in the Kuban valley. He married a colleague, Margaretha Wiebe, and was received into the Mennonite congregation. In 1925 the couple immigrated to Canada. They joined the Blumenort Mennonite Church, a southern Manitoba congregation of newly-arrived immigrants from Russia. Paul and Margaretha Schaefer had four children. In 1948 Margaretha died. In 1949 Paul married Louise Wiebe Neufeld, whose daughter then also joined the family circle.
Schaefer earned a Manitoba teaching certificate and a bachelor's degree. From 1928 to 1943 be taught school in Gnadenthal. Then followed 25 years of teaching, 19 of them as principal, at the Mennonite Collegiate Institute, Gretna. He authored the history series Woher? Wohin? Mennoniten!, a biography of Mennonite educator H.H. Ewert, and numerous shorter articles.
A minister since 1942, Schaefer was elected elder (bishop) in 1954. The former Lutheran, who had become a persuaded Anabaptist, thus made a momentous decision -- he received baptism upon confession of faith and then accepted the call to congregational leadership. Schaefer gained prominence on the wider Canadian Mennonite scene. He served in Sunday school leadership, on youth and education committees, on the Canadian Mennonite Bible College board, and as moderator of the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba.
Springer, Nelson and A. J. Klassen, compilers. Mennonite Bibliography, 1631-1961, vol. 2. Scottdale, 1977: 498.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 795. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Zacharias, Peter D. "Schaefer, Paul J. (1899-1969)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S333ME.html.
APA style: Zacharias, Peter D. (1990). Schaefer, Paul J. (1899-1969). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S333ME.html.