Henry Schmidt recognized for contributions
Henry Schmidt, together with his wife Elvera, was recognized by the U.S. Conference Leadership Board for his many contributions to the Mennonite Brethren. Schmidt, of Fresno, Calif., was presented with a gift, and U.S. Conference moderator Joe Johns offered a prayer of blessing for the couple’s service during the first Saturday afternoon business session of the National Convention.
Most recently, Schmidt served a term on the first U.S. Conference Leadership Board and then as a mentor and coach to Mennonite Brethren pastors under the umbrella of the U.S. Conference.
Schmidt, a Canadian by birth, was appointed as the sixth president of MB Biblical Seminary in 1993, a position he held for 10 years. During that time he is credited with recruiting and developing an effective Board of Directors, attracting younger faculty while retaining veteran faculty members, creating a comprehensive donor development plan, securing a $1.6 million grant from Lily Foundation and the re-engineering of the MBBS education delivery system from that of a single campus in Fresno to multiple campuses in Fresno, Langley, BC and Winnipeg, Man.
Prior to his appointment as president, Schmidt served on the seminary faculty for 34 years. Schmidt taught in the field of world mission. In 1985, he was appointed director of the Center for Training in Mission/Evangelism, and until 1992 he convened a variety of consultations related to the global mission of the church. He became the first professor of the J.B. Toews’ Chair of Evangelism/Mission at MBBS in 1998. Schmidt practiced the principles of evangelism and church planting between 1982 and 1985 when he served as part of a church planting team for Fig Garden Bible Church in Fresno.
Following his graduation from MB Bible College in Winnipeg, Man., Schmidt was a Mennonite Brethren pastor, serving in South Dakota and California. After graduating from MBBS in 1972, Schmidt was asked to become the executive director of evangelism for the U.S. Conference. He served in this capacity and as conference evangelist between 1972 and 1977, traveling widely throughout North America and beyond.
Whether as a professor, preacher or fundraiser, Schmidt’s travel schedule and heart for people has resulted in friendships forged far and wide—from North America to Europe, Indonesia, South America, Mexico and Africa.
Schmidt attended the 2008 Pators’ Conference and National Convention, and as usual his 6’3” frame, angular gait and trademark white wavy hair made him easy to spot in the crowd. It was also clearly evident that Schmidt’s heart for people—especially pastors—has solidified countless friendships.