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  • Nov27Wed

    Fond memories of a mentor

    November 27, 2019

    This past Friday, Carolyn and I attended the funeral of an early mentor of mine, Pastor Jacob Kuntz. The formative year I spent with him as a student pastor is still a treasured memory. From the moment I arrived, Jacob treated me like a friend and colleague. Looking back, I recall his early morning study and quiet time, his booming laugh, his love and his ability to connect people. I can still picture him literally taking people by the arm and leading them across a crowded fellowship hall to connect that person with someone else he thought they should meet. There were many things about Jacob that I admired and in spurts tried to emulate.

    Jacob’s love of staying current through his browsing of many periodicals and his disciplined journal keeping have stayed with me. In addition, even now in visiting seniors, I often will read the Psalm of their birthday number just as Jacob did. Jacob’s advice to me on preaching was to NOT do what he claimed to have done himself early on -which was to write what he called “sausage sermons,” meaning that all manner of things would be stuffed into just one message. I remember cold calling with Jacob through the halls of unkept housing units, sharing the gospel in words or just by listening to a person’s sometimes desperate life story. It was also during this year of internship in Kitchener that Jenica was born. On the day Jenica was baptized by Jacob, he predicted that she would be the first woman minister in the CRC. Of course, women’s ordination happened a lot faster than Jacob might’ve anticipated at the time but he was right in anticipating Jenica’s gifts and interest in ministry! Years later, I so appreciated a phone call from Jacob after Jenica’s accident. I sensed his deep and heartfelt empathy as our family was emotionally negotiating our way through that trauma, knowing he understood better than most because of his own family’s multiple grief journeys. During our year together, he had often pointed to the impact on him of this sentence from 2 Corinthians 12:10 “When I am weak, then I am strong..” There are many more stories I could tell. This short piece is just a small sign of my great appreciation and love for God’s gift of Jacob Kuntz.                -EGN     ps. For a full description of his life see …