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Book Recounts Ministry of Evangelist

Posted on January 5th, 2004

Rhoda Brunk Peifer with the book
Rhoda Brunk Peifer with a copy of the book she edited on the life and ministry of the late George R. Brunk II.
Photo by Jim Bishop

The booming voice of George R. Brunk II is silent, but memories of the late evangelist, educator and churchman are revived in a book compiled by his widow, Rhoda Brunk Peifer.

“All Praise Be to the Lord,” edited by Mrs. Peifer, contains reflections of and tributes to Dr. Brunk from more than 50 persons who were affected by his life and ministry. The 228-page hardback book also features numerous photographs, tributes and selected sermons and articles by Dr. Brunk.

Between 1951 and 1981, the “Brunk Evangelistic Association,” based in Harrisonburg, held more than 100 tent crusades across the United States and Canada. Large audiences assembled on metal folding chairs set up on a sawdust floor under a large canvas tent to hear Brunk preach gospel messages in his booming voice and to sing gospel songs led by his brother, the late Lawrence Brunk.

Brunk, who was dean of Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, 1967-76, and edited a monthly magazine, “Sword and Trumpet” for many years, died Apr. 21, 2002, at the age of 90.

Shortly before Brunk’s passing, some 250 former associates and supporters of the campaigns gathered at Eastern Mennonite University, Nov. 17-18, 2001 to commemorate 50 years of the Brunk Evangelistic Association ministry. The celebration coincided with the evangelist’s 90th birthday.

The book is divided into six sections, beginning with a tribute to Brunk’s first wife, Margaret Suter Brunk, who died Jan. 5, 1999, written by their son, Conrad G. Brunk of Victoria, B.C. It continues with memories and tributes from family members, church leaders and friends; colleagues from the tent crusade years; and reflections on Brunk’s marriage to Rhoda Weber Neer Brunk Peifer on May 12, 2001, by Beryl Jantzi, pastor of Harrisonburg Mennonite Church.

The new book is part of a larger effort to preserve Brunk’s memory. One of the original tractor-trailers used to haul tents and other equipment has been completely refurbished. The rig, emblazoned with the words “The Whole Gospel for the Whole World” in large red letters on each side, will house historical photographs and documents, a video presentation, a likeless of Brunk and other memorabilia.

“I felt led to do this project as a keepsake book of memories in hopes that the legacy of George’s ministry will live on,” said Mrs. Peifer. “I want to remind readers that it is all because of George’s obedience to God’s call to preach the gospel. He remained faithful to that calling to the end, but he always gave God ‘all the praise,’ thus the title of this book.”

The book, published by 21st Century Press (Springfield, Mo.) is available at Christian bookstores and the university bookstore. It is also available for $14.99 (includes postage and handling) directly from Mrs. Peifer at 106-D Sycamore Ct., Bridgewater, VA 22812 or by calling 540-828-4072.

Story by Jim Bishop
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