A Principled and Persistent Leader

Last evening I learned that my friend, former Waterloo MP, Andrew Telegdi died at the age of 70. His death came as a shock – we have lost a voice that was strong, principled and persistent.

When I was Pastor of Erb Street Mennonite Church, Andrew, Roy Snyder and I would go golfing. At the time Andrew served as a Councillor for the City of Waterloo. There were always issues he wanted to discuss. Our conversations on the golf course often were intense. Roy and others were known to tell Andrew he was stubborn! Yesterday, on Facebook, Mark Yantzi shared about Andrew’s tireless work in support of persons in conflict with the law.

During my tenure as President & CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada, Andrew – now a MP representing Waterloo and parts of Kitchener in Canada’s Federal Parliament, joined me in Budapest, participating in the Jimmy Carter work project. We built 10 homes in 5 days. Andrew was born in Hungary and immigrated to Canada with his family at age 10, making this a project very close to his heart.

Andrew was a principled and persistent leader. His death is a reminder our time on this earth is short. Recently at a restaurant Andrew stopped by my son Alan’s table to ask how I was doing, making Alan the last member of our family to talk to Andrew.

Today I read an article that Andrew would have thoroughly enjoyed reading. Local leadership blogger Wayne Townsend today posted “Intelligent Leaders Demonstrate A Heart For Humanity,” a blog about the work Learning For Humanity is undertaking. I hope you will take a moment to read this article. As I read it, I could hear Andrew’s voice in my head asking about the leadership I’m providing to this project. He was determined to make the world brighter and kinder. This continues to be my goal also. I hope it is yours too.

THANK YOU Andrew for your leadership. You demonstrated this quality in everything you did.

~ Wilmer Martin

My Epiphany moment

Today our congregation joined Christians‎ around the world in remembrance of Epiphany Sunday. Epiphany is the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, as represented by the Magi, according to Matthew 2.
It reminds us of Christ’s Light breaking into the world, displacing the darkness. God coming to us as light through Jesus.  During the service I experienced moments of sadness. It is now 4 months since Janet’s death and for some reason it hit me harder today.
The last song we sang in the service was “You are Salt for the Earth”. I always find this song uplifting. I remember my son Alan leading this song in worship. Janet and I always enjoyed when he would sing “you are salt for the earth, O People” and the congregational reply, “salt for the Kingdom of God.”
Behind me today sat Kim, who has a beautiful voice. I closed my eyes and was ministered to by her singing this hymn.  After the service I thanked her for ministering to me.  This was my Epiphany today.
Christ came to me today, taking away the darkness that wanted to encompass my soul. Claim the Epiphany moments in your life. God’s light is always stronger than Darkness. However, you must recognize and claim it!

Happy New Year!

Today I was privileged to worship with John & Roma Ruth at Salford Mennonite Church. Maria Hosler Byler gave a sermon titled “Stopping with the Light.” She reminded us that although we are very busy, we must find time to stop walking and experience the light. Jesus came into our World as light to light our way. God is with us when we pause for reflection before taking our next step.

December 21 is the shortest day of the year. She reminded us that each day provides a little more light. We carry the light of Christ into the New Year.

Being with friends like John Ruth gives me energy and helps me find God’s light to help me face the new year. Let’s claim the light of Christ as we face the opportunities given to us in 2017.


~ Wilmer