Aug. 12, 1918-May 8, 2012
Henry R. Baerg of Chilliwack, BC passed away in Chilliwack on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. Henry was born on August 12,1918 in Alexanderthal, South Russia to John J. & Margaret (Wiebe) Baerg. Henry grew up in Saskatchewan before the family settled in Coaldale, Alberta. After much struggle, Henry decided to become a follower of Jesus Christ at the age of 17, was baptized in the summer of 1937 & joined the Coaldale MB Church. In February 1941 he married Justina Anne Wiebe and they began a life of service together.
After studies at MBBC in Manitoba, Tabor College and Wichita State University in Kansas (earning an MA in History) H.R. was ordained into the ministry & served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, KS, then at Henderson MB Church in Henderson, NE.
In 1956 H.R. became professor of Christian Education and History at MBBC & Dean of Students in Winnipeg, spending the first three summers as Director of Camp Arnes. After six years of teaching he received a call from the Portage Avenue MB church in 1962 to pastor the congregation and responded with great enthusiasm. During this time he also worked on a PhD in education.
A great challenge presented itself when H.R. became president of Winkler Bible Institute in 1969. The school underwent a very dynamic period of growth and he was able to exercise his capacities to the full. With keen devotion, he recruited staff and students, some from as far away as Africa and India.
In 1979 he was excited to become the pastor of the Kingwood Bible (MB) Church in Salem, Oregon. Following semi-retirement in 1982, came a total of five one-year interim pastorates at Kamloops MB church, Grace Mennonite church (Winkler), Elm Creek MB church, Lakeview MB church (Lethbridge) and finally Henderson, Nebraska again. Then Henry’s last pastorate was with the small Immanuel Baptist church in Salem, Oregon. He was greatly appreciated by many people and congregations that he pastored throughout his extensive ministry.
In 1993 a final major move to Chilliwack took place. Henry and Anne spent many memorable hours together with guests and in visitations before Anne, his loving and supportive companion of 60 years, passed away in March 2001. In May 2002 Henry married Erika Miller of Edmonton.
Henry also enjoyed traveling and involved his children in a number of cross continent road trips. Other adventures included organizing tours around the world, taking four mission campaigns to India and 12 trips to Israel and beyond as tour leader, including two trips to the USSR.
H.R. possessed a great desire for his children to live for God and he played a significant role in directing them in that way. He encouraged youth to get an education and exercised guidance and direction to thousands of old, middle-aged and young people. Henry’s enthusiasm was infectious. People of all ages were drawn to him and he was graced by their friendship in return. He visited the sick and bereaved and was blessed to receive the same in his last years from generous care givers and family members.
Henry is survived by his wife Erika, of Toronto, 6 children: Don from Berlin, Eleanor from Chilliwack, Sam (Eileen) from Salina KS, Charity (James) Peters from Winkler, Paul from Los Angeles, David (Lorna) from Winnipeg; 8 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; 1 sister, 3 brothers & their spouses; 1 sister-in-law; two step-children. He was predeceased by his first wife Anne, 1 grandson, 5 brothers and 3 sisters.
Services to commemorate the life of H.R. Baerg will be held on Saturday, May 19, 2012. Viewing is at 10:30 am at Central Community Church, 46100 Chilliwack Central Rd., Chilliwack, BC; burial at 12 pm at Little Mountain Cemeteries; service at 1:30 pm at Central Community Church.
Donations can be made to MB Missions.