Mark Brubaker Kraybill went home to be with the Lord at the age of 66 on June 11th, 2018, after dealing with cancer for almost a decade. He was the third of five siblings, born in Lancaster County on January 9th, 1952 to Wilmer and Helen (Brubaker) Kraybill.
A deep family heritage rooted in agriculture and Mennonite ministry helped shape his two main passions in life: growing things and serving people.
After graduating from Lancaster Mennonite High, Mark studied at Millersville University until he got antsy to see the world and pursue his “elusive schemes and dreams.” He joined the Mennonite Voluntary Service in Rochester, NY, working with inner city youth for 18 months. His time serving in voluntary service sparked his desire to eventually serve in full-time pastoral ministry. He also did several bicycle trips in Europe and the U.S.
He then returned to the family farm and partnered with his father, helping run the dairy operation for ten plus years. Mark started getting more involved at Hopewell Mennonite Church at the same time, which was built on a 2.6 acre parcel of land which Mark’s father “sold” to the church for one dollar. He met his wife, Ferne Ruth, at the young adult group he helped start and lead at Hopewell, where they were married in July of 1980.
Mark was ordained as a pastor on the Hopewell leadership team in 1987. He was instrumental in launching a new Hopewell church in Bernville, PA, where he lived with his family for 7 years. In 1993, he was called back to the original Elverson congregation as an Associate Pastor, where he faithfully served until his death. The Hopewell Network eventually grew to 13 churches, with Mark serving in different leadership capacities over the years.
During his tenure, Mark helped launch Living Love Ministries, a non-profit family home established to address the multi-faceted needs of orphaned children in Kenya. He also served on the board for two other non-profit ministries: Happy News Mission and Called to Pray.
Throughout his life, Mark never lost his love for farming and the outdoors. He always had a large garden and frequently made flower arrangements for families and friends. He grew to love birdwatching, a hobby he was introduced to by his wife. They spent many hours together on hikes through the woods, intently trying to identify as many bird species as possible.
Another passion of his was bee-keeping. He established a small, raw honey business called Jubilee Honey. In typical Mark-fashion, he gave more honey away than he ever sold. Many came to love him as the local bee-expert, and he inspired numerous others to pick up the hobby.
Most of all, Mark was known for his ability to connect with people quickly and then connect them to others. That is what he enjoyed doing the most. His unique laugh, authenticity, humility and sincere concern for people enabled him to establish close relationships with almost anyone he met. His network was incredible. Mark truly knew what it meant to be a servant and loved giving his time and resources to anyone in need.
He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Ferne Ruth Kraybill; his son Conrad Kraybill (wife, Nicola) of Wyomissing; his daughter Dawn Yoder (husband, Greg) of Lancaster, 6 grandchildren; brother Donald B. Kraybill of Elizabethtown; and sister Dorcas Kraybill Hutton of Baltimore. He is predeceased by his parents, Wilmer and Helen, along with his brother James and his sister Rosene.