Classification scheme: 
Hist. Mss. 1.253

Title: Vernon Leis fonds

Dates of creation: [195-]-1995

Physical description: 1.3 m of textual materials

Biographical sketch: Vernon Roy Leis, pastor, was born 23 November 1933 on a farm near Petersburg, Ontario to John S. and Catherine (Wagler) Leis. He was the oldest son and third child in a family of three daughters and two sons. On 2 July 1955 he married Arvilla Anne Schultz. They had four sons and one daughter. Leis died 26 February 1994 in a traffic accident near Baden, Ontario.

In the 1950s a pioneering group of young men from the Ontario Amish Mennonite Conference sought seminary-level theological training to prepare for pastoral service. Leis was one of this number—he studied at Eastern Mennonite College (B.A.), and Goshen Biblical Seminary (B. D.), graduating from the latter in 1961. In 1983 he completed a D.Min. at the University of St. Michael 's College, Toronto School of Theology.

Ordained in 1962, Leis entered his first pastorate in the small Blenheim Mennonite Church (1961-1966). He later served large congregations at Elmira (1966-1980), Stirling Avenue (1980-1988) and East Zorra (1988-1994).

His many involvements in the Mennonite community include editing the Ontario Mennonite Evangel, and serving as the last moderator of the Inter-Mennonite Conference (MAO XXVIII)and first moderator of the Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada. Ecumenical in outlook, he encouraged active inter-church ministerials, and frequently participated as a pacifist in community Remembrance Day services. He also instituted an interpretive program (tours, dinner, film, discussion about Mennonites) at the Elmira Mennonite church for the many tourists who visited the Waterloo Region to see Old Order Mennonites. Up to 5,000 persons a year participated in this program.

Scope and content: The fonds is largely composed of sermon notes composed by Leis in over 30 years as a pastor. Other smaller files include clippings of his published articles, pastoral resource materials, and his action research proposal for the Toronto School of Theology. An additional accrual of correspondence and other files (files 25-38) were added to the Archives in 2021.

Notes: Photographs of Vernon Leis are located in the Mennonite Archival Image Database.
See also  Steiner, Sam. "Leis, Vernon (1933-1994)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2003.
More information about restricted files is included within the files.

File list:

  1. Sermon notes
    Eastern Mennonite College
    Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Samuel, Nehemiah, Ruth Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Jeremiah, Daniel, Jonah, Micah, Isaiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, I Peter, II Peter, I John, Revelation
    Funeral sermons
    Marriage sermons
    Miscellaneous sermons
    Last sermons, 1993-1994
    Sermon lists
  2. Writings
    Note: The following were not kept as part of the fonds, but copies are located in the Milton Good Library: Ontario Mennonite evangel v. 8 n.11 (Nov 1963), v.8 n.12 (Dec 1963), v.9 n.5 (May 1964), v.9 n.7 (Jul 1964), v.10 n.11, v.10 n. 5 (May 1965), v.10 n. 6 (Jun 1965), v.10 n.7 (Jul 1965), v.10 n.8 (Aug 1965), (Nov 1965), v.11 n.5 (May 1966), v.11 n.6 (Jun 1966), v.11 n.7 (Jul 1966); Herald adult Bible studies : peacemakers in a broken world v.62 n.2 (April/May/June 1968); Herald adult Bible studies : the story of God and his people - part iv v.64n.2 (April/May/Jun 1970); WMSC Voice v.59 n.9 (Mar 1984)
  3. News clippings
    Note: Includes articles kept by Vernon Leis; several were written by him.
  4. Bulletin covers
    Note: Back cover prayers and mediations were written by Vernon Leis
  5. Programs of various celebrations and special services
  6. Correspondence, 1961-1995 (restricted)
  7. Storytelling
    Action research proposal, Toronto School of Theology, 1981
    Storytelling as ministry to families : a written description of the research project in ministry, Sept 1983
    Storytelling courses
    Storytelling readings
    Storytelling journal
    Storytelling in the congregation
  8. Prayers
  9. Current prayers
  10. Peace
  11. Humour
  12. Current issues (sermon)
  13. Advent
  14. Healing ministry of Jesus : initial study project for associate members in the International Order of Saint Luke the Physician / International Order of St. Luke the Physician. --[s.l.] : [s.n.],1982
  15. Bible quizzing
  16. Retreats
  17. Servanthood
  18. Small groups inter-faith course
  19. Church structures
  20. Theological issues (head covering, membership and communion)
    Note: Removed from file: Liberation and the fleshpots of Egypt: towards a pedagogy for the oppressor / Arnold Snyder [unpublished paper], [198-?]
  21. Women in Leadership Ministries
  22. Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church (restricted)
  23. Family Mediation Advisory Council
    Note: An advisory council of Community Mediation Service in co-operation with Catholic Social Services and the Kitchener Interfaith Pastoral Counselling Centre.
  24. Tributes and obituaries
  25. Conflict at East Zorra Mennonite Church, 1992-1995 (restricted)
  26. Education and curricula vitae
    Goshen Biblical Seminary
    Institute for Advanced Pastoral Studies
    Doctorate of Ministry incl. Ministry Base Group
  27. Constructive conflict resources, 1981, 1987-1994
  28. Miscellaneous personal reflections
  29. Mennonite tours of Elmira and St. Jacobs, 1980
  30. Marriage Enrichment retreat, 1979
  31. Pastoral care resources
  32. Growth Groups, 1970s-1980s
  33. Consensus decision making, 1987-1988
  34. Family Cluster support groups at Elmira Mennonite, 1979-1980
  35. Conversations on the family at Stirling Avenue, 1981-1982
  36. Elmira District Secondary School, 1982
    Note: Handouts from an in-camera meeting of the Waterloo County Board of Education, 8 Jul 1982, were not kept by the Archives.
  37. Inter-Religious Dialogue between local Mennonite and Jewish leaders, 1971, 1977-1983
  38. Current issues
    Lotteries and gambling
    Civil disobedience
    Agriculture and the environment
    Capital punishment debate, 1985-1987
    Persian Gulf War, 1991-1992
    Papers from "Toward a Mennonite Self-Understanding" conference, 1986


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Mennonite Archives of Ontario
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