This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Arizona pastor, convention speaker dies in motorcycle accident

Hal Shrader

Hal Shrader, the lead pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale, Ariz., who spoke at a Mennonite Church USA convention worship service this summer, died Oct. 19 in a motorcycle accident outside of Blanding, Utah. He was 47.

Shrader was on a motorcycle trip with his father, JB. His father was not injured.

In his sermon on July 1 at the Kansas City convention, Shrader focused on the resurrection story in Luke 24.

“This is a terrible loss of a voice that the church will miss,” said Terry Shue, MC USA director of leadership development, who connected with Shrader on many projects. “His articulation of Anabaptism in his sermon at Kansas City is powerful.

“He was on the cutting edge of many initiatives and a leader in the conference. He was engaged with long-standing Mennonite communities and also pushed the church to become missional in ways that would be very new and different.”

In a statement to members on Oct. 20, Trinity Mennonite Church said, “We know Hal anticipated this motorcycle trip with his dad with great joy. We are all very sad and will be so for a long time. But we know Hal loved Jesus with all his heart and he is now on a greater trip with his Heavenly Father — with great joy.”

Shrader was first drawn to the Anabaptist way of following Jesus when in college he first considered the concept, “What if Jesus was really serious about what he said in the Sermon on the Mount?”

He held a master’s degree in religion from Pepperdine University, Malibu, Calif., and taught as an adjunct professor at Hope International University’s School of Professional Studies, Fullerton, Calif.

Before moving to Arizona, he served with his wife, Chrisie, and two daughters, Mollie and Madison, in Chile for three years. Prior to that he was a student ministries pastor in Ventura County, Calif., for 10 years.

Clare Ann Ruth-Heffelbower, executive conference minister for Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference, said Shrader will be greatly missed in the conference.

“His commitment to Christ and the church, along with his creative energy, were great gifts to Trinity and to the wider church,” she said. “We grieve along with his family and the church.”

Shrader’s convention sermon can be watched online.

At this time, Trinity is requesting that people contact them via email at Cards and condolences can be sent to Trinity Mennonite Church, 4334 W. Vista Ave., Glendale, AZ 85301.

MWR editor Paul Schrag’s Nov. 9 editorial responds to Hal Shrader’s convention message. It can be viewed early here.

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