Schulz, David (1897-1976)
David Schulz: minister and elder; born 11 March 1897 in Wiedenfeld near Altona, Manitoba, the third of three children of David Schulz (9 March 1868 – 4 August 1897) and Helena (Martens) Schulz (24 August 1872 – 30 May 1940). David’s father died shortly after his birth, and his mother married Heinrich D. Dyck (1851-1929), a widower with eight children, later the same year; six children were born to this union. On 24 July 1919 David married Katharina “Tina” Friesen (b. 27 November 1895, Schoenthal, Manitoba, Canada), the daughter of Bernhard Friesen (10 November 1867 – 25 October 1910) and Aganetha (Wiebe) Friesen (7 November 1869 – 4 April 1943). David and Tina had two daughters and seven sons: Leonard, Bernhard, Albert, David, Menno, Waldo, Linda, Olga, and Victor. David died 19 November 1976.
As a child, David attended school in Schoenthal and then went on to attend the Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna for two years. In 1916 Schulz developed a blood clot in one leg and while recovering from this illness he experienced a conversion. He was baptized the following year on 28 May 1917 by Elder Jacob Hoeppner and joined the Bergthal Mennonite Church of Manitoba. He began his public life as a teacher in Mennonite private schools and in the emerging public schools, and also became a farmer. His theological direction was influenced by time spent at a Mennonite Brethren school in Winkler, MB.
As a young teacher Schulz began to preach with much success and was soon called to the ministry in 1920. He was ordained in 1921 by Elder Michael Klaassen. Elder Hoeppner's health began to fail in 1926 and he chose Schulz to succeed him. The church affirmed both Schulz and Hoeppner by choosing Schulz to be the elder and leader of this multi-congregation church. For over 40 years Schulz served a growing, multi-congregational church that often placed great demands on him and his family. He served faithfully and well until illness forced him to retire. Schulz worked in the tradition of the Mennonite elder as it had developed through several centuries. He was rather authoritarian. He was well liked by young and old. Bridal couples sought him for their weddings and bereaved families wanted him for the burial of their loved ones. Over the years he officiated at between 700 and 800 weddings and funerals. He preached consistently good sermons with an emphasis on family living and discipleship. He was a consistent supporter of evangelistic efforts.
Schulz was largely responsible for the founding of Elim Bible Institute (1929, 1936). He regretted that the Winkler Bible School had become a Mennonite Brethren denominational school. He was also active in helping to establish the Altona hospital, the Ebenezer Home for the Aged, the Eden Mental Health Center in Winkler, and the CFAM radio station in Altona. Schulz was an active supporter of the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba and the Conference of Mennonites in Canada and served on many committees. Negative experiences with the General Conference Mennonite Church during the earlier history of the Bergthal Mennonites made him suspicious and he did not favor joining that conference.
Schulz was solidly rooted in the Anabaptist tradition of nonresistance. Consequently, when World War II came, he was a strong advocate for an active peace position. He, together with the other elders of the churches of the 1870s migration (Kanadier), worked for a meaningful alternative to military service.
Der Bote (21 Dec 1976): 11.
Gerbrandt, Henry J. Adventure in Faith. Altona, MB: D.W. Friesen and Sons, Ltd., 1970: 116-18, 128-37, 157-58, 164, 170, 177, 271ff, 305ff, 345ff.
David Schulz personal papers at Mennonite Heritage Centre: Vol. 2120-1
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 800-801. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Gerbrandt, Henry J. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Schulz, David (1897-1976)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2006. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S385ME.html.
APA style: Gerbrandt, Henry J. and Richard D. Thiessen. (January 2006). Schulz, David (1897-1976). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S385ME.html.