Daniel Henry "D. H." Bender was an outstanding bishop and leader in the organization of church-wide activities of the Mennonite Church (MC), with direct contributions to publication and education. He was born near Grantsville, Maryland, the second son in the family of eight sons and one daughter, of John and Elizabeth (Otto) Bender. The father was a member of the Amish Church and had emigrated from Germany in 1851 because of conscientious objection to military service.
Daniel graduated from the Preparatory and Normal School at Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, taught grade schools in his home community for 20 years, and helped to conduct normal schools.
At the age of 21 (1887) he was ordained to the ministry at Springs, Pennsylvania. He was ordained bishop in the Hesston, Kansas., congregation. In these two capacities he served the church until his resignation in 1930. During his early years he was active in conducting Bible conferences and evangelistic meetings throughout the church.
Early in his church work he became one of a group of leaders who through lifelong activity did much to mold the thought and activities of the church during an important period of awakening and expansion into organized church-wide activities. With his associates he was active in promoting church conferences and the beginnings of the General Conference and of the mission, education, and publication work of the church. He served in important positions on each of these boards, as well as on numerous church committees of various kinds. He was moderator of the Mennonite General Conference in 1915.
His editorial work began with the writing of the Advanced Sunday School Lesson Quarterly in 1903, which he continued for nine years. He also inaugurated in 1905 and wrote for 17 years the Primary Sunday School Quarterly. The Lesson Picture Cards he also began and wrote for some years. In 1904-1906 he was editor of the Herald of Truth, the church organ, and the Words of Cheer, a children’s paper, published at Elkhart, Indiana. In 1906 he went to Scottdale, Pennsylvania, to become office editor of the Gospel Witness, and in 1908 of the Gospel Herald, merging the two former papers into a new church organ.
His editorship ended in 1909 when the Mennonite Board of Education called him to head a new school at Hesston, Kansas. He became principal of Hesston Academy and Bible School, and later president of Hesston College and Bible School when a college department was added, and continued until his retirement in 1930. In this position his influence became widely felt through the molding of the thinking and attitudes of students who were destined to become leaders throughout the church. He was also prominent in colonization activities, and served for years as the president of the Mennonite Board of Colonization, an inter-Mennonite organization with headquarters at Newton, Kansas. He retired to spend the last years of his life at Albany, Oregon. He was married three times (Ida E. Miller, d. 1902, Sallie Miller, d. 1918, and Anna Kreider). He was the father of seven children, among whom was Paul, professor of physics and registrar at Goshen College.
Bender, D. H. A Brief Sketch of My Life. [Albany, OR: D.H. Bender, 1943].
Mennonite Yearbook and Directory (1946): 25.
Umble, Roy H. "Mennonite Preaching, 1864-1944." PhD dissertation, Northwestern University, 1949.
Cite This Article
Bender, Paul. "Bender, Daniel Henry (1866-1945)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 6 May 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bender,_Daniel_Henry_(1866-1945)&oldid=91036.
Bender, Paul. (1953). Bender, Daniel Henry (1866-1945). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 6 May 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bender,_Daniel_Henry_(1866-1945)&oldid=91036.
Herald Press website.
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