Friday, February 6, 2009


We are contemplative in this photograph, my brothers and me. We have said farewell to our father, Edward, at 93 the last of the Unruhs of his generation. We are now the next in line.

I am reflecting for a few minutes upon legacy. I am grateful for my heritage. My ancestry derives from Low German speaking (Plautdietsch) Russian Mennonites who were descended from Dutch and Germanic Prussian Anabaptists who emigrated to Russia as early as 1789 and established colonies, homesteaded and farmed in South Russia now known as Ukraine. These people developed colony cities and culture and respect among their Russian hosts and leaders. Queen Catherine the Great welcomed them and Joseph Stalin ended it all with brutal repression. Catherine the Great of Russia issued a Manifesto in 1763 inviting all Europeans to come and settle various pieces of land within Russia. My own genealogical research has informed me of the names and sketchy histories of family members as early as 1725. Throughout those generations my people have been associated with God and the Church as they understood and practiced it. More particularly, in each generation of my paternal Unruh family there have been people involved in full-time church or mission work or lay positions as elders and teachers.

I think today of my brothers and me, three of us. I am five years older than Murray and eleven years older than Neale. Each of us has attended undergraduate Bible College. Each of us has been involved in Christian ministry. I was a pastor for 34 years and a denominational president for 6 years. Murray was a pastor for 15 years (a guess) and Neale was a Christian musician for several years and a International Mission national manager for several more. Presently Murray is an artist part-time and works at a part-time job. Together with his wife Kathy, my brother Neale owns and operates a needlecraft and framing store.

All of our adult children have personal relationships with God and are involved in Christian gatherings or conventional churches. Those that are married are committed to instructing their children to follow Christ as well. Of my five grandchildren, only one has ‘Unruh’ name carrying potential - my son's son. My brother Murray's grandchildren are females. That’s how a line can run out. It is the family of God ultimately that is of greatest importance and comfort.

Brian Doerksen recorded a song some of the words of which say, "as for me and my house we will serve You. As for me and my house we will spend our lives on You." You can hear it here.

1. Murray's youngest son, Drew’s MySpace music site (he has recorded three pieces here) He is a Worship Leader, St. Catharines ON

2. Murray's eldest son, Matt’s music (He is the author of the worship chorus ‘Everlasting’ and sings with Brian Doerksen in this clip) He is also Worship Pastor at Gracepoint Church in White Rock
3. Neale’s Needlecraft Store Website
4. Murray's Art Website
5. My daughter Cari’s Scrapbooking Website
6. My Art Website

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