John Neufeld

John Herman Neufeld

Sunday, November 12th, 1933 - Monday, January 11th, 2021
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John H. Neufeld
November 12, 1933 to January 11, 2021

John H. Neufeld was born in Winnipeg on November 12, 1933. His parents were Herman and Sara (Bartel) Neufeld. His early childhood was spent in the Headingley and Springstein areas. At the end of 1944 the Neufeld family moved to the Fraser Valley, first to Greendale and then to Aldergrove.

John was baptized on confession of his faith in 1952 and became a member of the Bethel Mennonite Church, Langley, B.C. He was ordained to the Christian ministry in 1960 prior to going to South America for a term of service. His education included graduation from the Mennonite Educational Institute in 1953 and a B.Ch.Ed. from Canadian Mennonite Bible College in 1956. He received an elementary teaching certificate from the College of Education at UBC in 1957. He graduated with a B.A. from Western Washington State College in 1963. Further studies led to his receiving the M.Div. degree from Mennonite Biblical Seminary in 1966 and a D.Min from Bethany Theological Seminary in 1982.

During his studies at CMBC he met Anne Hiebert from Waldheim, SK. They were married in 1955. This marriage was blessed with four children, Donna, Kenneth, Karen and Brenda, eleven grandchildren, nine great grandchildren, four step grandchildren and four step great grandchildren.

His work experience included a variety of summer jobs – in a two-man sawmill, in the peat bogs, at a fish cannery, and truck driving. During several summers he was director of the summer camping program at Camp Squeah, B.C. He taught elementary school in Surrey, B.C. for two years; this was followed by seven years of teaching at Bethel Bible Institute in Abbotsford, B.C. and at the Seminario Biblico Mennonita in Montevideo, Uruguay. He served as pastor of First Mennonite Church in Winnipeg from 1969 - 1984 and as President and Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Canadian Mennonite Bible College (now CMU) from 1984-1997.

Over the course of his career John focused on a number of topics that were relevant for the times. Some of these were: family life (sexuality, divorce and remarriage); a biblical understanding of conversion; leadership issues and stewardship; the book of Revelation. He also contributed a number of radio meditations for the Faith and Life program and for the German program, Frohe Botschaft annually for over 25 years. A collection of his sermons, The Story that Shapes Us, was published on the occasion of his retirement in 1997.

In addition to two longer periods of service in the Mennonite settlements of Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil, Anne and he also visited Argentina, Peru, Chile and Bolivia. In 1984 they spent three weeks in the former Soviet Union. Some time was also spent in Germany in connection with the Strasbourg Mennonite World Conference. In 1993 they returned to Europe a second time, visiting relatives and sightseeing in Germany, Holland, France and Switzerland. They have also made winter trips to Mexico, Hawaii as well as to the southern USA.

Since his retirement he has continued accepting teaching and preaching invitations, including courses on Preaching at Canadian Mennonite University, as well as co-teaching the Preaching Institute in Manitoba for AMBS. He also taught Pastoral Theology Issues courses for pastors’ groups both in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Towards the end of 1997 John was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent a number of rounds of chemotherapy until December 2007. He very much appreciated the support of his wife and family as well as the concern and support of many members of the church and the larger community, including excellent medical care.

In 2015 John suffered two blackouts which resulted in his receiving a pace maker as well as beta blockers for his heart. He was told that his heart had suffered delayed damage from the chemotherapy he had received earlier.

As a result of having to deal with serious health crises he was invited to speak on subjects relating to suffering and its relationship to the Christian faith. The topics were broadened into a series of presentations entitled, Say Yes to the Calendar: Aging and Mortality. Beginning in the fall of 2005 Anne took part in giving these presentations – in several congregations in Manitoba (1999 – 2005) as well as in B.C. and in Saskatchewan (2006). In 2007 and 2008 they spoke together on the topic, Do you understand what you are reading when you read the Bible? He also revised and expanded his previous study of the book of Revelation and gave presentations on it in a variety of settings. Further work on responsible Bible reading led to presentations on Reading the Bible with Interpretation. Most recently he has also worked on the topic of Forgiveness (person to person) and Forbearance. He led sessions with seniors’ groups and also taught in CMU’s Xplore Sessions for seniors in recent years. He also spoke at Concordia Hospital’s Spiritual Care Conference in 2015 on the topic, Exploring the Archives of the Heart. In 2015 he also gave a presentation at a study conference for Mennonite Church Manitoba on the topic, Being the Church: Garden, Body and Table. His faith and understanding was always a work in progress. He found that many others were also engaged in this demanding process in their retirement years.

He was predeceased by his brother Willi in infancy; parents Herman and Sarah Neufeld; brothers-in-law, John Warkentin and Jake Bergen, sister Hilda; sisters-in-law, Elizabeth, Marianne, Irene and Sarah; brothers-in-law, George, John and Bruno and Ed, niece Gena, nephew Daniel; great nephews, Ryan, Steven and Levi.

He leaves to mourn his passing, his wife Anne, children: Donna (Jordan), Ken (Sharon), Karen (Darren), Brenda (David); grandchildren: Charles (Laura), Lisa, Jade (Erik), Brianne (Kelly), Kyle (Megan), Avery, Jackie, Nicole (Morgan), William, Simon (Natalie), Zachary (Natasha) and Luther (Kerys); great-grandchildren: Luke, Elody, Levi, Kinley, Isla, Max, Addie, Owen and Georgia; step-grandchildren: Natalie (David), Sean, Stephanie, and Dylan; and step-great-grandchildren: Carter, Ava, Elena and Sofia.

He also leaves to mourn his passing: his sister Margaret and brother Henry (Tena), and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Abe (Anne), Lena, Mary (Frank), and Henry (Betty), on Anne’s side, as well as many nieces and nephews and many friends.

The private family service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 23, 2021, with live streaming service available at

Interment at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Cemetery

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s memory to CMU or MCC.


The hymn “Nothing is Lost on the breath of God, (Sing the Story)

HWB 48 All creatures of our God and king,
Verses 4 & 5
“And all ye folk of tender heart, forgiving others, take your part, alleluia
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear, praise God and on him cast your care.

And thou, most kind and gentle death, waiting to hush our latest breath
Thou leadest home the child of God and Christ our Lord the way hath trod.

O sing ye, alleluia, alleluia.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, January 23rd, 2021 | 1:00pm
    Saturday, January 23rd, 2021 1:00pm
    Friends Funeral Service
    2146 Main Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Private Service
    Live streaming at
    Pastor Kathy Koop
  • Interment

    Saturday, January 23rd, 2021 |
    Saturday, January 23rd, 2021
    St. Pauls (Middlechurch) Anglican Church Cemetery
    299 Balderston Road
    Middlechurch, MB
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

Jim Pankratz

Posted at 02:07pm
Dear Anne and Family, Today I learned of John's death while in conversation with CMU friends. I send you my sorrow in your (our) loss and my deep gratitude for John. John and I were partners and friends in the years leading up to the founding of CMU. He was President of CMBC, I was President of MBBC/Concord. We did so much together during those years. We learned from each other, tested ideas, commiserated, strengthened each other, and enjoyed each other. One winter we drove together to Winkler to teach evening adult education classes once a week for several weeks. We spoke at each other's "Presidential retirement events". John had a refreshingly open and straightforward way of communicating. He was a clear-minded administrator and a gentle, insightful pastor at the same time. We laughed a lot together, not just at humour, but because both of us saw so much joy in life. He was that admirable leader who was very much at the centre of the action without needing to be at the centre of attention. When I read the account of his life in the years after we left Manitoba and he began to experience serious illness, I am not surprised that he used those experiences to go deeper and to use what he was given to serve and help others. One year John was injured in a fall while horseback riding. I was with him once after that when someone asked him what he had done while he was "laid up" recovering. Had he caught up on his reading or watched TV? No, John said, he couldn't concentrate to read or watch TV. Well, what had he done? John said that all he had to occupy him, to stimulate, inspire, or comfort him, was what was already inside him. Memories, Bible texts and stories, hymns, poems. He said he had come to realize that what we put inside us will be what sustains us when we are not able to add more. That is a great life lesson from a friend and leader who had a deep well within him and who shared from it generously. Thanks be to God. Jim Pankratz Waterloo, Ontario

Hermann Dueck

Posted at 01:40pm
Dear Anne and family, our condolences regarding the loss of your spouse, father and friend to many. John was my teacher, mentor and friend. His impact on my work and life has been significant. He will remain in our memories. Renate and I wish you inner strength and patience as you adjust to life without John, though he will remain part of your lives forever. Peace!

Brent Pudsey

Posted at 06:47am
You are in my thoughts. I also got to meet Ann Neufeld who taught my Brother Ian Pudsey, in Grade 5 at Maple Leaf School.
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Ruth Kepron

Posted at 09:01pm
We were fortunate to have Rev. Neufeld officiate at our wedding in 1986. Glad he was a part of our lives.
Our sympathy to the family.

Rudy and Laura (Wiebe) Kasdorf

Posted at 08:34pm
We are sorry to hear about John’s passing, and we want to send our condolences to you. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers during this time of loss.
Rudy and Laura.

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