(Mennonite Church USA / TheMennonite) — On Oct. 19, Hal Shrader, lead pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale, Arizona, died in a motorcycle accident outside of Blanding, Utah. Shrader was on a motorcycle trip with his father, JB. His father was not injured.
Shrader spoke to adults at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City this summer, focusing on the resurrection story in Luke 24. You can watch his full sermon online.
In a statement to members on Tuesday, 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, California, and taught as an adjunct professor at Hope International University’s School of Professional Studies, Fullerton, California. 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, California, for 10 years.
“This is a terrible loss of a voice that the church will miss,” said Terry Shue, director of leadership development for Mennonite Church USA, 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.”
Members of Trinity Mennonite Church will gather this evening for prayer.
“Hal will be greatly missed in Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference,” said Clare Ann Ruth-Heffelbower, executive conference minister for PSMC. “His commitment to Christ and and the church, along with his creative energy, were great gifts to Trinity and to the wider church. We grieve along with his family and the church.”
At this time, Trinity is requesting that people contact them via e-mail: Trinity@TrinityMennonite.com. Cards and condolences can be sent to Trinity Mennonite Church, 4334 W Vista Ave., Glendale, AZ 85301.