The Salzburg PAX unit reunion was held September 10-13, 2009, at the MCC Welcoming Place. Twenty nine attended, including spouses. The group stayed in the excellent accommodations of the Africa and the America Houses on campus. Persons attending had traveled across the U.S., Canada, and Germany to attend this event. The Mennonite Central Committee PAX Program (an alternative to Military Service), built six multi-family houses and a church for an Anabaptist German speaking group related to Apostolics, refugees from the former Yugoslavia, primarily Serbia. Paxmen built these houses in the early 1960’s just outside Salzburg, Austria, close to Hallein.
The previous reunion took place in Asilomar, Monterey, California. The group meets every three years at a location decided by a committee. In two years 2011, however, they may hold the reunion in Austria to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the project. The customary three year reunion site is still being investigated by a new committee.
This year’s committee consisted of Lowell and Verna Bender, of Bittinger, Maryland; Ervie and Mary Glick of Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Dick and Cathy Boshart of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The agenda of the Akron reunion included daily gatherings with PAXers sharing recent life experiences, motivations for Christian Service as PAX molded their lives, and common peace concerns in the world. Cultural events included a tour of the MCC Material Resource Center, a visit to the Ten Thousand Villages store, an Amish Country Tour lead by Faye Irene Landis (wife of PAXer Bob Landis), a meal in an Amish home, and performances at the Sight and Sound Theaters. On Saturday evening other local PAXers were invited to attend and share a joint meal of Austrian Bratwurst sandwiches and fixings, with the local PAXers bringing Pennsylvania Dutch desserts. The group then met together with 52 present. Following introductions, they shared their PAX location and years of service and the effects it made on their lives. Germany, Austria, Greece, Nepal, Morroco, and Algeria were places of service.
Sunday morning the attendees participated in a worship service led by moderator Lowell Bender and Ervie Glick, song leader. The devotional meditation was presented by Wayne Yoder. His wife Linda sang a supporting solo.
Mennonite Central Committee Africa representative, Bruce Campbell-Janz gave an update of current MCC work in various locations in the world, He also gave information about a new program called “SEED” which provides service opportunities for persons who will commit to two years overseas. The reunion group decided to donate money to the SEED program to encourage young people to choose this challenging and rewarding service.