Featured photo: Brian Bender’s daughters, Rachel and Amy, stand in his place in the siblings birth order: Sandy, John, Willard, Rachel, Amy, Mark, Kaye.
Cogitation 29 Saturday 21 July 2018 Family tributes to Brian Bender last weekend included a tractor parade to breakfast.
We drove on field paths and roads less travelled by to the Cassel Community Tractor Breakfast, July 14, at Cassel Mennonite Church, rural Tavistock, Ontario.
We joined more than 30 tractors parked in neat rows at the church. Animated conversation greeted us as we joined the line for scrambled eggs, tator tots, sausages, chelsea buns, toast, juice and coffee.
BRIAN WOULD HAVE LOVED IT. This was his home church, the church where many of the people present had attended other community events, including coffee, doughnut and conversation mornings in less busy seasons.
BRIAN HAD BEEN A CAREGIVER for children with disabilities in London, Ontario, where he and Vivian, his wife, meet in Voluntary Service more than 50 years ago. After 10 years in London, Brian and Vivian and their daughters moved to the Bender home farm in Oxford County. Besides farming for many years, Brian also worked at B&B Concrete, Kitchener, and for 25 years at B-W Feed and Seed in New Hamburg. In retirement he volunteered at the New Hamburg Thrift Store.
In his obituary the family noted that our parents “instilled in him a strong faith and a love of farming.” Amen. Brian died July 10, days short of his 71st birthday.
Cassel Mennonite Church was the setting for the visitation on Sunday afternoon and evening and the Service of Celebration and Remembrance on Monday.
Each grandchild had a part in the service. Joel Harder read Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken; Selah Harder sang and Kira Bender played the flute for Nothing is lost on the breath of God, by Colin Gibson.
God was among us as we gathered, as we engaged with a host of people, listened, cried, laughed, and commended Brian to eternal rest.
Fragments from Gibson’s song have played in my mind for days: “nothing is lost forever . . . told in God’s story . . . God sees with love . . . no beginning too late, no ending too soon, but is gathered and known in its goodness.”
EXPRESSIONS OF SYMPATHY have been a comfort to all of us. One friend shared a keenly poignant note of hope, “Those we have loved do not just go away. They go ahead,” she wrote.
Photos of the family’s breakfast run
A glimpse of the home place
A STORM THIS YEAR brought down a part of the barn on the home farm where Brian and Vivian and children once lived. The farm, thankfully, is still in the extended family. The barn, built in 1900, will be razed in August.
PASTOR WANDA ROTH AMSTUTZ led the Service of Celebration and Remembrance and Interment. The bulletin cover, over a field of ripened wheat, had these words of Psalm 23:6: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”