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Peter A. Thiessen also spent time at Clear Lake. He remembers the names of a number of ministers.


"We had Rev. J.N. Hoeppner from the Bergthaler Church in Altona, Rev. Jacob Friesen from the Sommerfelder Church in Lowe Farm, Rev. David P. Reimer and Rev. Penner from the East Reserve and Rev. Jacob A. Unrau.” [ASM, 15-17]


The men in the work camps received more visits from ministers than those working on other projects. Henry H. Funk, who worked the mental hospital in Portage la Prairie, recalls only an occasional visit from Mennonite pastors.


“There was no Mennonite church in the area. It seems that mostly we attended the Baptist church. We even had a quartet that sang in their service. We also attended other churches occasionally – the United Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Plymouth Brethren. They were quite friendly to us in all the congregations though our involvement was quite superficial in each. Working on a three shift rotation, regular attendance was not possible and, therefore, these churches never became central to our lives. On reflection, however, it seems attendance was taken for granted by us."


“There was an occasional visit from some Mennonite minister, but these were rare. Those that came did so on their own initiative, it seems, and at their own expense. I do not know if we properly appreciated their motives and their effort on our behalf. Took them for granted, I guess. They deserve more recognition. Others may recall that these had a special service with us when they came, but I do not recall any. I may have been on duty when such a service was held. With shift work we were rarely all home at the same time.” [ASM, 138-153]


Rev. Jacob Friesen with camp boss Ed Brooks at Clear Lake.

Ministers visiting a CO camp.


Most COs living and working in camps appreciated the dedication and support of the ministers. C.B. Dueck worked both on the prairies and on Vancouver Island.


“We were well cared for by the ministers. It was well organized by the churches. We had seven or eight ministers from the different churches visiting us and they preached enlightening sermons, which, I believe, did a lot of good for most of the boys. It certainly broadened my knowledge of religion. We had some unruly guys there, but all in all, they were not too bad. It was good for me because I learned to think for myself without waiting for the parents to tell me what to do.” [ASM, 267]

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