This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Author, editor, pastor dies at 85

John M. Drescher, a prolific author and well-known speaker, teacher, pastor and editor of Gospel Herald, died July 10 in Quakertown, Pa. He was 85.


Drescher authored 37 books, including Why I Am a Conscientious Objector, Seven Things Children Need and Spirit Fruit. He edited Gospel Herald, the Mennonite Church magazine, from 1962 to 1973.

He served as MC moderator from 1969 to 1971 and was a member of the denomination’s General Board.

Daniel Hertzler, Drescher’s successor as editor of Gospel Her­ald, said Drescher was able to minister in an amazing variety of contexts.

“While others of us thought it was enough to do one or two things, he might do half a dozen. I am pleased to have been his associate during one part of his long career,” Hertzler said.

Amy Gingerich, director of media at MennoMedia, said Drescher’s best-selling Herald Press book was Seven Things Children Need. There are 130,000 copies printed in 15 languages. Ging­e­rich worked with Drescher in 2012 on a new edition.

“He was pleased to know that the book was continuing to sell well for us, and he still had additional writing ideas for new titles in mind when I reached out to him in 2010,” she said.

Drescher’s books deal with relationships in marriage and family, spirituality and theology.

“He was well loved by readers for his insights into relationships, especially family life and marriage,” Gingerich said. “His writing was always practical and down-to-earth. John had a heart for equipping couples and parents with tools for faithful living.”

Drescher graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., in 1951. In 1953 he received a degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary and was ordained in 1954.

Between 1954 and 1992, he pas­tored churches in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia and served as a bishop or overseer in Ohio, Allegheny and Virginia conferences.

In his prime as a traveling preacher, Drescher had more than 200 speaking appointments a year, according to a 2005 article in EMU’s magazine, Crossroads.

His daughter Sandra told the magazine, “When the church calls him, he hears that as the voice of God. In many ways, the whole church owns my dad.”

He and Betty (Keener) Drescher were married 60 years.

When he was recognized at EMS for 50 years in ministry, he said: “I couldn’t have fulfilled this without my wife, Betty, with her gifts of helps and hospitality. We took the ordination vows together, and we’ve worked in partnership all these years.”

His last interim pastorate was in 2004 at Swamp Mennonite Church in Quakertown.

He was a member of Finland Mennonite Church in Pennsburg.

He is survived by his wife, three sons, Ron of Monterey, Tenn., Joe of Middletown, Conn., and David of Morrisville, N.C.; two daughters, Sandy Drescher-Lehman of Green Lane and Rose Longacre of Quakertown; 14 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; a brother, Luke M. of Harrisonburg; and a sister, Ruth Glick of Kidron, Ohio.

A memorial service will be held July 26 in Franconia (Pa.) Mennonite Church.

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