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Paul M. Lederach

1925 - 07
Paul Mensch Lederach, 88, of Lansdale, Pa., formerly of Scottdale, died Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, at Dock Terrace, Lansdale. He was the husband of Mary Slagell Lederach, his wife of 62 years. Born July 28, 1925, in Norristown, Pa., Paul was a son of the late Willis Kulp Lederach and Mary Mensch Lederach. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Judith L. Styer and husband, John, of Framingham, Mass., James S. Lederach and wife, Louise, of Scottdale, Deborah L. Gunden and husband, Randal, of Goshen, Ind., and Rebecca S. Lederach, of Ambler, Pa.; eight grandchildren; two sisters, Ruth Rittgers and husband, Philip, of Homosassa, Fla., and Mary Jane Hershey and husband, Hiram, of Harleysville, Pa.; and one brother, John M. Lederach and wife, Naomi, of Goshen, Ind. In the summer of 1944, at the age of 19, Paul was chosen by lot for the ministry, which forever altered the course of his life. He was ordained as a minister Aug. 6, 1944, for the Norristown Mennonite Mission (now Norristown New Life). In the years ahead, he served as pastor of Blooming Glen Mennonite Church and a bishop and overseer for churches in the Franconia Conference. Paul graduated from Goshen College, Goshen College Biblical Seminary and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He received a Doctor of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. For many years Paul's work was based at the Mennonite Publishing House in Scottdale. His work as the executive editor of the Foundation Series, a children's graded educational curriculum for the Mennonite church, was a significant accomplishment which recognized children in the gathering of the congregation and the imperative to share the Mennonite faith with them. During his years in Scottdale, he served on numerous church-wide boards. Over the course of his life, Paul wrote numerous books, most notably, The Third Way (1980), a book that took a radical departure from commonly held notions about Jesus, the nature of the Kingdom, the church and salvation, and in 1994, Daniel (Believer Church Bible commentary Series), in which he presented the stories and dream-visions of Daniel with wisdom drawn from years of developing curriculum materials and teaching and preaching in the church. In 1978, Paul took a hiatus from church work and formed the Westmor Insurance Service in Scottdale, reflecting "I am anxious to enter the business world and in that context do further theological reflection too often many of those involved in the business world are not equipped to think theologically, while those so equipped are far removed from the business world." Paul and Mary returned to Franconia Mennonite Conference in 1987. In the following years, he served as lead pastor at Franconia Mennonite Church (1987 to 1991), interim pastor at Zion Mennonite Church (1997 to 1998), and Plains Mennonite Church (1998 to 1999). In 2000, he was appointed as interim pastor at Bahia Vista Mennonite Church in Sarasota, Fla. Paul Mensch Lederach will be remembered as a gifted theologian, a bold and progressive thinker, a preacher, teacher, writer and a loving, compassionate, committed husband, father, sibling and friend. Relatives and friends called Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, at Blooming Glen Mennonite Church, 713 Blooming Glen Road, Blooming Glen, PA 18911. A memorial service followed. Interment was in the church columbarium. Arrangements are by the Huff and Lakjer Funeral Home, Lansdale. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in Mr. Lederach's memory to Norristown New Life, 25 E. Marshall St., Norristown, PA 19401.
Published in Greensburg Tribune Review on Jan. 10, 2014
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