Goerz, Abraham (1840-1911)
Abraham Goerz (Abram Görz), for many years a Mennonite elder in Russia, born 1840 at Gnadenfeld in the Molotschna, died 29 January 1911 (1913?), was a pupil of Elder Fr. W. Lange, in 1865 accepted a teaching position at Hochfeld, Melitopol district (South Russia); in 1867-1872 he taught in Altonau. For the sake of his health he had to give up teaching, and bought a small farm with a treadmill in Altonau. For two years he served as village mayor and three years as district judge of the Halbstadt district. In addition he was active in: various commissions of the community. He was also chosen a member of the committee that in 1874 negotiated with Adjutant General von Totleben concerning military service. He was repeatedly sent to St. Petersburg as a delegate to negotiate with the government. Two weeks before his death he was in Simferopol to call on the governor on the matter of a law forbidding worship periods in Mennonite schools. He succeeded in arranging it in favor of the Mennonite practice. His personality inspired respect and brought him courteous attention even in the highest circles.
On 5 May 1875, Goerz was chosen as preacher of the Orloff Mennonite Church. After the death of Elder Johann Harder he was called as elder of the Orloff-Halbstadt-Neukirch congregation on 29 December 1875, and was ordained in the Neu-Halbstadt church on 6 January 1876. He filled this office until his death. He was an outstanding speaker with many gifts, including tact and foresight. He was the representative of the Molotschna Kirchenkonvent in the school council 1876-1896. Then he resigned, but in 1906 was recalled to this position by the Halbstadt civil and church authorities. His influence on and services to the educational program of the Mennonites in Russia were outstanding. He succeeded in preserving the church character of the Mennonite common schools, and religious instruction according to Mennonite principles, as well as consideration of the German language, in the face of a government policy of Russianization. From 1906 on he was a manager of the old people's home in Halbstadt. In the last years of his life he was a member of the Glaubenskommission (KfK) of the Mennonites in Russia. In addition Goerz was also often engaged as a surveyor. He was skilled in the use of tools. By his versatility, always mindful of the welfare of his people, he rendered great, unforgettable services to Mennonitism in Russia.
Goerz, H. Die molotschnaer Ansiedlung : Entstehung, Entwicklung und Untergang. Steinbach, Man.: Echo-Verlag, 1950.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 131.
Friesen, Peter M. The Mennonite Brotherhood in Russia (1789-1910), trans. J. B. Toews and others. Fresno, CA: Board of Christian Literature [M.B.], 1978, rev. ed. 1980
Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga", 1911
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 536. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Braun, Abraham. "Goerz, Abraham (1840-1911)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/goerz_abraham_1840_1911.
APA style: Braun, Abraham. (1956). Goerz, Abraham (1840-1911). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/goerz_abraham_1840_1911.