Scheffler, Hugo Cornelius (1901-1977)
|Susan & Hugo
Hugo Cornelius Scheffler, Mennonite pastor and Aeltester,
was born 18 February 1901 in Kronsnest, West Prussia, the fourth of eight
children born to Cornelius and Marie Scheffler (nee Goerzen). He was baptized 24
May 1915 in the Mennonitengemeinde Thiensdorf, West Prussia where he was active
in Sunday school and youth work. He attended the Missions Schule (Bible
seminary) in Wernigerode (Harz) Germany, from 1924-26. Here he received a good
foundation in Bible knowledge and exegesis and was also influenced by his
teacher and mentor, Jakob Kroeker, with a love for the universal body of Christ
and his word. In Wernigerode he met Susanna Janzen (b. 6 April 1906 in
Nikolajewsk (Ebenthal) Russia).
Hugo and Susanna were married 27 March 1928 in Thiensdorf, West Prussia and had
four daughters and one son, who died at age six. Both of them worked on his
dad's second farm for a year. In 1929 he applied for a pastoral position in
Sembach, Germany and served that Mennonite congregation from 1929 to 1935. In
1935 the Mennonite Congregation in Kaiserslautern called him and he was their
pastor from 1935-1951.
During World War II Hugo was exempted from military service to care for four
additional Mennonite congregations whose pastors had been drafted into military
service. With devotion he visited his flock in the different mountainous
villages and towns on foot or with his bicycle or small motorcycle. He also
served as a medic in bomb-stricken towns and villages.
In 1951 they emigrated to the United States. Hugo attended Bethel college in
1954 for two semesters on a scholarship to improve his language skills and
become acquainted with American academic life. He preached occasionally in his
home congregation, Ritzville, Washington. In 1954 he received a call from a
German speaking Mennonite parish in Black Creek, BC, Canada and a year later
from Clearbrook, BC, where he ministered until 1963. With humility and
open-mindedness that had characterized him all his life, he accepted a challenge
to teach at the Bienenberg Bible School in Switzerland from 1963 until 1966.
During summers he worked as itinerant pastor in several German congregations and
as a visiting shepherd and teacher to Mennonite Central Committee volunteers in
Europe and Africa.
After his return to USA Hugo was called back to serve as a conciliator and
interim pastor in Berlin and later in the Mennonite refugee congregation in
Enkenbach, Germany. He was liked by his parishioners, especially by young
people, for his openness, honesty and sense of humor. He returned in 1968 to
retire officially in Bellingham, WA but he was still active in conducting deeper
life services in several congregations across Canada and speaking at numerous
ministerial conferences, sharing from the wealth of experience during a rich
life in God's service. There was always renewed vigor and spirit in his writing,
teaching and his relationships.
For 22 years Hugo participated in writing the Bibel Studien Fuer Erwachsene
(German Sunday School Lessons for North and South America). From 1971-1977 he
was the sole author. He died in January 1977 of cancer.
"Aelt. Hugo C. Scheffler." Der Bote (15 March 1977): 7, 12.
"Rev. Hugo C. Scheffler responds" to "Ein Wiedersehn und doch keins."
Der Bote (17 January 1967).
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