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Sprunger, Hugh D. (1928-1998) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Sprunger, Hugh D. (1928-1998)

Historical Note:

Mennonite Weekly Review obituary:

Hugh D. Sprunger, longtime mission worker in Taiwan and Hong Kong, died Aug. 4 of complications after a stroke. He was 70.

Sprunger and his wife, Janet, served with the Commission on Overseas Mission (GC) in Taiwan from 1954 to 1978 and in Hong Kong from 1980 to 1994.

In Taiwan they helped to plant churches, pastored in established churches and assisted in the formation of the Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan, or FOMCIT, of which Sprunger was the first chairman.

In Taiwan he served on numerous boards and committees for Mennonite and Mennonite-related institutions, including FOMCIT, Taipei Language Institute, Mennonite Christian Hospital in Hualien and Morrison Academy, a school for missionary children in Taichung.

In Hong Kong, Sprunger was program coordinator of Mennonite Ministries, a joint mission effort of COM and Eastern Mennonite Missions. He was also involved in pastoral ministry and church planting, including an assignment with low-income factory workers and their families.

In 1992 the Sprungers began two years of itineration for COM, along with a joint appointment to the Commission for Home Ministries (GC) and the Conference of Mennonites in Canada, working with Chinese churches in North America. That later expanded to other Asian pastors and congregations as well.

Sprunger was a consultant to area conference staff on church planting and relating to Asian pastors and churches. He facilitated the translation into Chinese of C. J. Dyck's Introduction to Mennonite History and the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective.

The Sprungers, who were based in Lancaster, retired from their work with CHM and COM in March.

Sprunger, who grew up in First Mennonite Church of Berne, Ind., shared a story in 1985 that his parents had often told him about his first response to missions.

"While still in the preschoolers' Sunday school class, I was questioned one Sunday by parents about what I had heard and learned in that day's class," he said. "I then announced that I wanted to be an 'itchinary' when I grew up. Evidently, I never got rid of that itch."

Sprunger spoke three Chinese languages — Cantonese, Taiwanese and Mandarin. "We will miss his contacts and experience greatly," said Lois Barrett, CHM executive secretary.

The Sprungers were missionaries-in-residence at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., in 1978-79.

Sprunger was a graduate of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and Taylor University, Upland, Ind., and had a master's degree in religious education and a bachelor of divinity degree from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart. Ind.

He was a member of Bethel Mennonite Church in Lancaster.

He is survived by his wife, Janet; five children, Cindy Sprunger of Manassas, Va., Nancy Ferris of Aurora, Colo., Meribeth Sprunger Kraybill of Harrisonburg, Va., Michael of Lancaster and Mark of Lancaster; 13 grandchildren; a sister, Ardus Gene Sprunger of Fort Wayne, INd., and a brother, Keith of North Newton, Kan.

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