Henry W. Lohrenz, minister, educator, and prominent leader in the Mennonite Brethren Church, was born near Moundridge, Kansas, on 2 February 1878, the third of ten children of Heinrich Lohrenz (26 July 1849, Elisabeththal, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia - 18 December 1942, Hillsboro, Kansas) and Elisabeth (Wiens) Lohrenz (17 October 1850, Marienthal, Molotschna, South Russia - 3 January 1904, Aulne, Kansas), who emigrated from the Molotschna Mennonite Settlement in South Russia in 1874. Henry married Anna M. Friesen on 26 December 1906. Of the six children born to them four died in infancy; a daughter and a son survived. Lohrenz died at Hillsboro on 16 March 1945, and was buried at the local Mennonite Brethren Cemetery.
Henry was converted and baptized in the Ebenezer Mennonite Brethren Church in Buhler, Kansas, in 1896. For two years he taught school in the vicinity of Inman, Kansas. In the fall of 1900 he enrolled in the German Department School which the Mennonite Brethren Church at that time conducted in connection with McPherson College, McPherson, Kansas. After completing this course he continued in the college, graduating with the A.B. degree in 1908.
In 1904 the Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church near Hillsboro, Kansas, of which Lohrenz was a member, elected him to the ministry and ordained him three years later in 1907. He was a gifted public speaker and for 41 years preached extensively and effectively and was much in demand to speak at conferences, festivals, and at other important occasions.
Lohrenz performed the greater part of his life's service in connection with the educational efforts of the Mennonite Brethren Church, taking a leading part in the establishing of Tabor College at Hillsboro in 1908, and serving for 23 years as the president of the College from 1908 until 1931. During most of this time he taught natural science and Biblical subjects in addition to the administrative duties. From 1929 to 1932 Lohrenz also served as Dean of the Tabor College Bible School. In 1932 Lohrenz left Tabor College and became an assistant professor of Bible and biology at Bethel College in Newton, Kansas, for two years. He then accepted a position as Bible instructor at Corn (Oklahoma) Bible School and Academy for one year. Beginning in 1935 he served as Dean of the Bible School of Tabor College for six years until 1941, and continued as professor of New Testament four years more from 1941 until 1945.
During his years of teaching Lohrenz continued his graduate studies, receiving the M.A. degree from Kansas University in 1911. He also attended Columbia University. When it became apparent that his work would be in the theological college, he prepared himself through further study at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, and Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois. The Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Chicago, granted him the D.D. degree in 1929.
Lohrenz rendered valuable service in the conference activities of the Mennonite Brethren Church. In his early years he was much used as secretary, serving as Conference Secretary (1905-1906) and Conference Assistant Secretary (1909-1915). For some time, he wrote and edited the Mennonite Brethren Sunday-school quarterly. The conference found in him an able leader and a useful worker, electing him to various boards and important committees. He was elected Conference Moderator of the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches for four terms (1919-1924, 1927-1930 and 1943-1945), Chairman of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Mennonite Brethren Church from 1919 to 1936 and Executive Secretary-Treasurer of that board from 1936 to 1945, Chairman of the Constitution Committee (1930-1936), Secretary-Treasurer of the Education Committee (1936-1939), Vice Chairman (1936-1939) and Chairman (1943-1945) of the Board of Reference and Counsel, member of the Christian Education Committee (1924-1927), and member of the Peace Committee (1919-1927).
In connection with his duties with the Board of Foreign Missions, Lohrenz traveled extensively, representing the cause of missions at churches and conferences. He edited a number of booklets on missions and wrote many articles for the Zionsbote. Finally, Henry served the Southern District Conference as moderator nine one-year terms.
|Author(s)||John H Lohrenz|
|Date Published||August 2011|
Cite This Article
Lohrenz, John H and Kevin Enns-Rempel. "Lohrenz, Henry W. (1878-1945)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2011. Web. 1 Feb 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lohrenz,_Henry_W._(1878-1945)&oldid=101889.
Lohrenz, John H and Kevin Enns-Rempel. (August 2011). Lohrenz, Henry W. (1878-1945). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 February 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lohrenz,_Henry_W._(1878-1945)&oldid=101889.
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