Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.

Arnold Willis Cressman

Male 1928 - 1998  (69 years)


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  • Name Arnold Willis Cressman 
    Born 11 Sep 1928  New Hamburg, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Eby ID Number Waterloo-202149 
    Died 8 Jul 1998  Latrobe, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Alte Menist Cemetery, Scottdale, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I202149  Generations
    Last Modified 1 Dec 2019 

    Father Joseph Cressman,   b. 25 Nov 1896, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Jan 1987  (Age 90 years) 
    Mother Ida Lauretta Gingrich,   b. 19 Dec 1897, , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Mar 1993  (Age 95 years) 
    Family ID F37085  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Cressman, Arnold W. (1928 - 1998)

      Arnold W. Cressman, church leader, visionary and entrepreneur, b. 11 September, 1928 to Joseph and Ida (Gingrich) Cressman on the New Hamburg, Ont., Cressman homestead, built by his great-grandfather, Amos and grandfather, Osiah, both Mennonite ministers. Arnold, the second child, had one younger brother and two sisters. He died on July 8, 1998 at the Latrobe, Pennsylvania hospital.

      At age 14, Arnold left school to work on the farm where his entrepreneurial spirit expressed itself in building things from scrap metal, wood or machine parts and experimenting with new ideas in agricultural.

      Arnold was baptized at the Geiger Mennonite Church in his teens. He studied at Ontario Mennonite Bible School and Institute in Kitchener, Ont. There he met Rhoda Garber, daughter of John F. and Anna Mae (Wenger) Garber, whom he married on July 13, 1956 in Burton, Ohio. They lived near New Dundee, Ont. .

      In 1951, Arnold graduated from OMBI and was ordained to the ministry at the small, rural Blenheim Mennonite Church which granted him several leaves to study at Eastern Mennonite College. He earned BA degrees there in Bible and English Literature (1956) and a BA from Western University, London, Ont. (1960).

      Arnold was pastor at Blenheim (1951-61) and at Baden (1959-61). Despite his youth, he gained respect for conciliatory efforts during a conflict which saw two bishops and several pastors leave the conference in 1960. In 1990, Arnold returned to Ontario to be interim pastor at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church for fifteen months. Alongside early ministry, Arnold taught at OMBI, edited Evangel, a monthly conference magazine, served on committees, did carpentry work and designed and built an innovative, cost-effective and environmentally friendly house for his family.

      In 1961, the Cressmans moved to Scottdale, Pa. where Arnold worked for the Mennonite Publishing House and as Field Secretary for the binational Mennonite Church's Commission for Christian Education until 1970. He shaped and promoted Christian education across North America and wrote curriculum and worship material. He articulated his vision for the church in numerous published pieces, including his weekly "Nurture Lookout" column in Gospel Herald and in vanguard magazines like Festival Quarterly.

      In 1962, Arnold and Rhoda purchased a small, rural property "with possibilities" but no amenities. Over three decades, they upgraded the cottage for the family - daughter Jenny and sons Eric and Jon Robert - gouged out several spring-fed ponds, planted a forest of 10,000 trees, a small orchard and garden, all in tune with a fundamental philosophy: taking care of God's earth.

      In 1968, Arnold was named executive director of Laurelville Mennonite Church Center while still carrying his Scottdale jobs. His dreams, visions, well-honed practical skills and risk-taking transformed Laurelville. Association membership doubled, old buildings were redesigned and new ones added. Innovative programs trained youth and addressed critical issues in the church, business, society, the arts and families. Arnold proposed long-term goals but also kept Laurelville flexible to respond to immediate challenges. "Aiming at a moving target" was his style. Ill health forced his resignation as director in 1977, but he assisted with programming for ten more years.

      Arnold's passion for Anabaptist faith and history permeated Laurelville's program and resulted in the founding of TourMagination in 1970 by Arnold, Rhoda and Jan and Barbara Gleysteen. On European tours the Cressmans led, hundreds of North Americans discovered their Anabaptist roots and renewed their faith. Gradually tours to six continents were added, connecting thousands of members of global Anabaptist-related churches. When Arnold's transplanted kidney quit functioning in 1993, he and Rhoda left TourMagination.

      Arnold served on the EMC & S (seminary) Board of Trustees (1977 - 84), the Mennonite Publication Board (1979-87) and in numerous positions at Scottdale Mennonite Church where he was a member for 37 years.

      Arnold's life was like a tapestry, its separate segments woven together by common threads of creativity, passion, faith and a desire for shalom. Never hobbled by the obvious, always striving for what might be, he encouraged others "to join him in new expressions of faithfulness to Jesus Christ."


      Burkhardt, Ferne. (January 2006). "Cressman, Arnold W. (1928-1998)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. https://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/c74712.html

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 11 Sep 1928 - New Hamburg, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 8 Jul 1998 - Latrobe, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Alte Menist Cemetery, Scottdale, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, United States Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth