Benjamin H. "Ben" Klassen: missionary and teacher in Canada and Africa; born on 11 November 1928, the eldest of seven children born to Heinrich and Anna (Unger) Klassen in Dominion City, Manitoba, Canada. On 20 August 1950, he married Anna "Anne" Loewen (29 June 1926, Deloraine, Manitoba - 3 January 2008), daughter of Jacob M. and Anna (Redekopp) Loewen. The couple had four children, all of whom survived childhood. Ben died of complications related to diabetes on 2 January 2004 in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
Ben accepted the Christian faith at 11 years old and soon afterwards began to sense a call to mission. He was baptized on 25 August 1946 in Morden, Manitoba. After finishing high school, he studied at the Winkler Bible Institute in Winkler, Manitoba, and then the Mennonite Brethren Bible College in Winnipeg, Manitoba, before completing his teacher training at the Waterloo College in Ontario. Ben and Anne met while studying in Winkler.
Following their marriage in 1950 at Elm Creek, Manitoba, Ben and Anne moved to northern Manitoba to teach. They soon applied to the Board of Foreign Missions of the Mennonite Brethren Church to work in Africa, and they left Canada for a year of language studies in Belgium before moving on to the Belgian Congo in 1954. The Klassens served in the schools of Kipungu and Kikwit over almost two decades, with the exception of several years of political instability.
After their return to Canada, Ben and Anne spent the years from 1975 to 1977 in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, where Ben also served as the pastor of the church for a year. The next stage for the Klassens was to move to Quebec, where they became involved in church work and teaching. They moved to the area of Saint-Thérèse and began to work in church planting, a task they continued for the next 14 years. Ben also taught and later served as president at the Institute Biblique Laval (later ETEM) beginning in 1977. Meanwhile, Anne taught in schools and also served in the church in various capacities.
When health problems made the work in Quebec difficult, Ben and Anne moved to St. Catharines, Ontario and became involved in the church there. Ben also raised money for Ugandan orphans by building and selling furniture.
Ben and Anne Klassen were dedicated mission workers and teachers who made important contributions to the work of the church in Canada and Africa. Throughout their years of service, they showed great faithfulness to their calling.
Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. “Meadow Lake M B Church.” http://www.mbconf.ca/home/products_and_services/resources/published_genealogies/mb_provincial_conferences_and_church_congregation_records/saskatchewan_archives/meadow_lake_mennonite_brethren_church_archives/.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 4.19 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2005: 417555.
Missionary Album of Missionaries Serving under the Board of Foreign Mission of the Mennonite Brethren Conference, Inc. October, 1954. Hillsboro, Kansas: The Board of Foreign Missions, 1954.
Obituary. "Anne Klassen." http://www.federationgenealogie.qc.ca/avisdeces/avis/pdf?id=344715.
Obituary. "Benjamin Klassen." http://www.federationgenealogie.qc.ca/avisdeces/avis/pdf?id=45922.
Obituary. "Benjamin Klassen." Mennonite Brethren Herald (19 March 2004): 29.
Penner, Peter. No Longer at Arms Length. Winnipeg: Kindred Press, 1977: 68, 107, 110-111.
Roberts, Megan E. "Two Veteran Missionaries to Congo and Quebec Pass Away." Mennonite Brethren Herald. 43(6 February 2004) http://www.mbherald.com/43/02/news-2.en.html.
Théorêt, Jean Raymond and Éric Wingender. "École de Théologie Évangélique de Montréal (Montréal, Québec, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2004. Web. 18 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=%C3%89cole_de_Th%C3%A9ologie_%C3%89vang%C3%A9lique_de_Montr%C3%A9al_(Montr%C3%A9al,_Qu%C3%A9bec,_Canada)&oldid=92107.
 Cite This Article
Huebert, Susan. "Klassen, Benjamin H. "Ben" (1924-2004)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March_2014. Web. 24 Mar 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Klassen,_Benjamin_H._%22Ben%22_(1924-2004)&oldid=117555.
Huebert, Susan. (March_2014). Klassen, Benjamin H. "Ben" (1924-2004). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 March 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Klassen,_Benjamin_H._%22Ben%22_(1924-2004)&oldid=117555.
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