CMBS dinner honors LAMB Conference


Mireles to be keynote speaker at event honoring LAMB’s 75th anniversary

Tabor College news story with files from Connie Faber

The annual meeting of the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies will honor the 75th anniversary of the Latin America Mennonite Brethren (LAMB) District Conference. Veteran LAMB leader Rolando Mireles of Rio Grande City, Texas, will give the keynote address at the April 27 dinner to be held on the Tabor College campus at 6:30 p.m.

“We want to honor the LAMB Conference on the occasion of this anniversary,” says CMBS director Peggy Goertzen, “and a 75th anniversary only comes once.”

Goertzen says that each of the five USMB regional districts has a unique beginning—“particular personalities and situations interacting under the hand of God,” she says.

“The LAMB Conference has its spiritual pioneers and those who have followed in their footsteps to build on the dreams and passions of those pioneers to build a vibrant conference and to reach out for the expansion of the kingdom of God in South Texas,” says Goertzen. “Some of this passion can be seen in the ‘new’ congregation, Grace Point Church @ Grulla.”

Mireles was chosen as the keynote speaker because of his leadership, experience and contributions to the LAMB Conference as well as the larger Mennonite Brethren family, says Goertzen.

Mireles has been an active member of the LAMB Conference for the past 41 years, He has served in a variety of LAMB Conference leadership positions, including chair, treasurer, secretary and a board member. Mireles has also served on the U.S. Conference Board of Church Ministries, the National USMB Youth Convention, the International Community of Mennonite Brethren and the Tabor College Board of Directions. He also served as chair of the U.S. Conference Board of Church Ministries.

The LAMB Conference had its beginnings in a proposal by H.W. Lohrenz, Tabor College founding president, to the Southern District Conference in 1936 and the efforts of Harry and Sarah (Kornelsen) Neufeld, both Tabor College alumni, who moved to South Texas in 1937 to work along the Texas-Mexico border.

The first MB mission was established in Los Ebanos, Texas, and the first service was held in January 1938. From here the mission work spread to Chihuahua, La Grulla, Premont, La Joya, Edinburg, Casita and Garciasville, Mission, Pharr and Donna. A school was opened in 1948-49 with 113 students in eight grades, and El Faro School was a major influence in the district for 21 years. In the early 1960s, the South Texas congregations had outgrown their dependence on the Southern District Conference and the churches formed their own district conference.

Prior to the dinner, CMBS is sponsoring a Mennonite Heritage Tour. The tour on Saturday, April 27 will depart from the Historic church on the Tabor College campus following a Faspa lunch to be served at 12:15. CMBS director Peggy Goertzen will serve as the interpretative tour guide, offering insight and narrative to significant historical sites in the area.

Stops during the afternoon tour will include the Brunk cemetery; the Canada (Kansas) cemetery; Gnadenau Krimmer Mennonite Brethren village, orphanage and cemetery sites; Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church and cemetery; historic threshing stone marker in Peabody; Walton historic marker, Goessel Mennonite Brethren Church site and cemetery; and Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church. The tour is scheduled to conclude at the Historic Church by 5:15 p.m.

Tickets for the tour of significant historical locations are $25 each; seating is limited. Tickets for the CMBS dinner program, featuring a blend of Mennonite and Mexican foods, are $15 each. Reservations for the tour and dinner were due April 22. To check on current ticket availability, contact Peggy Goertzen at 620-947-3121, ext 1212 or by email at


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