Brunk crusades chronicled in print
It was an unprecedented event in the life of the Mennonite Church that unfolded over three decades. Between 1951 and 1981, the Brunk Evangelistic Association, based in Harrisonburg, Va., held more than 100 tent crusades across the United States and Canada. Thousands of people gathered on metal folding chairs set up on a sawdust floor under a large canvas tent to hear a young minister-evangelist, George R. Brunk II, preach gospel messages, to pray and to sing gospel songs led by his brother, the late Lawrence Brunk.
The first crusade meeting was held June 3, 1951 in a lot across from the East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pa., but a bigger location was soon needed because of the swelling attendance. Two tents were added at the new setting near the Lancaster Airport. An estimated 15,000 people attended the final night of that first tent crusade that lasted seven weeks.
From there, the campaign moved to the Franconia area of eastern Pennsylvania, and then to Wayne County, Ohio, also attracting large crowds and registering many decisions and recommitments to Christ.
Reflections of and tributes from more than 50 people who were involved in and influenced by the life and the 65-year ministry of Dr. Brunk are contained in a 228-page hardback book, All Praise Be to the Lord, edited by his widow, Rhoda Weber Neer Brunk Peifer of Bridgewater.
The book includes numerous photographs and selected sermons and articles by Brunk, who also served as dean of Eastern Mennonite Seminary from 1967 to 1976 and edited a monthly magazine, Sword and Trumpet, for many years. He died Apr. 21, 2002, at the age of 90.
“I felt led to do this project as a keepsake book of memories in hopes that the legacy of George’s ministry will live on,” Peifer said.
The book, published by 21st Century Press, Springfield, Mo., was originally priced at $14.99. It is being offered at a special end-of-inventory price of $7.50, including postage and handling, from Sword & Trumpet, Inc., PO Box 575, Harrisonburg, VA 22803; phone: 540-867-9419.
– Story by Jim Bishop