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Bechler, Le Roy (1925-) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Bechler, Le Roy (1925-)

Historical Note:

Born in 1925, Le Roy Bechler spent his childhood in Pigeon, Michigan.  He worked on a Bloomfield Hills, Michigan dairy farm from 1943 to 1945.  He then attended Hesston College, earning both an A.A. and a B.R.E. degree.  While in school, he participated in four summers of voluntary service with the Mennonite Board of Missions:  Bethel Mennonite Church (Chicago, 1947), Camp Ebenezer (Holmes County, Ohio, 1948), and Saginaw, Michigan (1949-1950).  In the summer of 1950, he married Irene Marie Springer.

Bechler then formally embarked on a long career of church planting and pastoring in African American communities.  From 1950 to 1960, he served as church planter and pastor to the Ninth Street Mennonite Church in Saganaw, Michigan.  During that time, his three children were born.  Bechler then served as the pastor of Calvary Mennonite Church  in Los Angeles, California for 19 years.  While in those positions, Bechler served on the Urban (Negro) Evangelism Committee, the Black Council of the Mennonite Church, established Calvary Christian School (in 1969), and earned an M.A. in Missiology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

From 1980 to 1984, Bechler was a member of the Mennonite Board of Missions Evangelism and Church Growth Resource Team and wrote a book entitled "The Black Mennonite Church in North America, 1886-1986."  He served as Home Missions Secretary and Director of Pastoral Counseling Continuing Education in the Southeast Mennonite Conference from 1984 to 1994.  He worked as a conference overseer for the Southeast Mennonite Conference for six more years.  In 2000, he moved to Goshen, Indiana, serving as an overseer for the Indiana-Michigan Conference for several years.

Sources: Le Roy Bechler Papers, HM1-971.  Mennonite Church USA Archives - Goshen.  Goshen, Indiana.
Note Author: Colleen McFarland

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