Jake Balzer is not a pastor, but neither profession nor age prevents the ninety-something from attending Canadian conference events. As early as the 1960s, he began attending conventions.
His career has taken him from a prairie farm, to a Winnipeg typesetter’s shop, to international work as a translator and linguist in locales like Tunisia and Belgium, but “theology has been my interest all my life.” His lack of an undergraduate degree prevented him from earning an MDiv, nevertheless, Balzer audited courses for two years at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia.
Raised a church-going young man in Saskatchewan, he left his faith for a while after serving as a conscientious objector in World War II. He returned to the church and was rebaptized in North Kildonan MB Church, Winnipeg, in 1954. “I’m happy now,” he says; “having my life prolonged is a consolation for what I’ve failed in my youth.”
The Highland MB Church member from Calgary was billeted with a Kitchener MB Church member during the study conference. Though a bit hard of hearing, he enjoyed listening to the plenary speakers.
Balzer still works as a translator, but “I’m less mobile now.” Still, he enjoys coming to conventions because “MB identity is very important to know who we are and where we are going.”
In the end, “His grace is enough for me.”