“Sanctity of Life Saturday” Francis Schaeffer’s wife Edith passes away on Easter weekend 2013 Part 7 (includes pro-life editorial cartoon)

Francis Schaeffer Whatever Happened to the Human Race (Episode 1) ABORTION

Francis Schaeffer: What Ever Happened to the Human Race? (Full-Length Documentary)


Part 1 on abortion runs from 00:00 to 39:50, Part 2 on Infanticide runs from 39:50 to 1:21:30, Part 3 on Youth Euthanasia runs from 1:21:30 to 1:45:40, Part 4 on the basis of human dignity runs from 1:45:40 to 2:24:45 and Part 5 on the basis of truth runs from 2:24:45 to 3:00:04

 

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Picture of Francis Schaeffer and his wife Edith from the 1930′s above. I was sad to read about Edith passing away on Easter weekend in 2013. I wanted to pass along this fine article below.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

FINALLY ENTRANCE TOGETHER INTO ETERNITY – Edith Schaeffer (1914 – 2013)

Edith Schaeffer
Photo by Mustapha Ashrad

“How I hope we may have many years of service together, and finally entrance together into eternity.” ~ Francis Schaeffer to his wife Edith, 1935.

As we reflect on the passing of Edith Schaeffer, who went to be with the Lord in the early hours of March 30th, 2013, it is worthwhile to note the events of her life to get a sense of who she was. It is a most distinct providence that guided such a couple as her and Francis together. Both whom were avid defenders of the faith, who were passionate about people and teaching the truth. Yet, as we reflect, consider the story, but also consider Edith’s passion. She was passionate for Christ, for ministry, for children, and especially her dear husband “Fran” whom she loved and served with side-by-side with for so many years.

1914 – “Edith Rachel Merritt Seville was born in Wenchow, China on November 3. [1]” She was the fourth child of missionaries, George Hugh Seville and Jessie Maude Merritt Seville. [2] They served in what was formerly known as the China Inland Mission, founded by Hudson Taylor. Edith had a wonderful family Christian heritage and was well educated and highly artistic and loved the arts greatly. She and her family had tried to learn Chinese culture and even adopted some Chinese dress. Edith was known as Mei Fuh during their time in China. Edith notes in her children’s book by the same title that because of the time difference, her birth was recorded officially a day earlier in the United States as November the 2nd. [3]

Fran & Edith’s Wedding
July 6, 1936

Francis and Edith would be married on July 6th. They were married at Wayne Avenue United Presbyterian Church, by Edith’s father George Seville. Fran was twenty-three and Edith was twenty. Fran and Edith saw their relationship as rooted in ministry. He remarked to Edith in a letter, this wonderful thought: “How I hope we may have many years of service together, and finally entrance together into eternity.” [8] 

This trip would result in them being called by the missions board to be missionaries to Europe, with the specific calling to, “strengthen that which remains.” They would have a particular emphasis on spreading their work of Children For Christ there.

1948 – The Schaeffers move to Lausanne, Switzerland with their three daughters to be missionaries to Europe. Their primary work involved their Children for Christ ministry, and helping with the formation of the International Council of Christian Churches. Their first home would be the Chalet Bijou. Eventually their prayers would be answered to stay in Champery and they would move to Chalet des Frenes. [12]

1955 – In the following year, on February 14 the Schaeffer received notice from the Swiss government on that they must leave Switzerland permanently within six weeks for their “religious influence” in the Catholic canton. Each Swiss canton are member states within the federal state of Switzerland. The word canton is a French word that more literally means “corner” or “district.” The Schaeffers were at this time living in the Roman Catholic bishopric of Valais.

The Schaeffers, by April 1st would move out of this canton and into another. Their new home would be Chalet Les Melezes in Huemoz, Switzerland. God brought about a series of miraculous circumstances which would open the way for a new beginning in ministry. The circumstances that surrounded this event are numerous and amazing all recounted in Edith’s book entitled L’Abri. Edith’s strong faith and conviction in the matter proved to open the door to the new location, as at just the right time God would provide both the location as well as the provision through a gift in the mail to start L’Abri.

Edith’s March 7-9th family letter makes the official announcement of the work of L’Abri. “L’Abri is what we feel the Lord would have us add to the work He had given us here in Switzerland. L’Abri means “shelter” in French, and our thought is to have a spiritual shelter for any who have spiritual need. [15]”

In her May 30th family letter, written just after they had completed their move into Chalet les Melezes, Edith remarks, “And so literally L’Abri began in Chalet les Melezes immediately upon our arrival–with a German musician, a Swiss peasant, and an English ex-Wren and ex-nurse for our first guest.

The Schaeffers officially resigned from the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions on June 4, marking the final commitment to L’Abri Fellowship.
1955 – Following the resignation, in her June 17th letter, Edith explains in a bit more detail how L’Abri will operate. “And so we face a busy summer as L’Abri Fellowship begins, and such a thing as a vacation must be put off again. But the Lord is sending those who need a time in L’Abri, and he can just as easily provide an opening for a vacation when He knows it is necessary.
There are a few things you should know about L’Abri Fellowship. The material needs of the work, and ourselves, will be met as the Lord sends in gifts in answer to prayer. We believe that if He sends the people to us who need to be here for study and asking questions and prayer, He will also send in the means to feed them.” Edith goes on to explain the garden and matters with the appliances, the states, “Each need will be prayed about and we will wait for guidance to proceed according to His specific answers in sending the means.
Finally, and most important–L’Abri Fellowship may seem very small–but we know there are many who are having a daily part in the work here through your faithful prayers. The ones who are working here through prayer we wish to speak of as the Praying Family of L’Abri. You yourself know whether you are one whom the Lord has joined to us in this way or not. May L’Abri truly be a shelter in a weary land for those who will find Christ their shelter here. [16]”
Edith clarifies in her work L’Abri that L’Abri Fellowship became official in July when her father, Dr. George H. Seville, former missionary to China with the China Inland Mission took on the work of creating a home office in the states for them. He had just retired from his teaching position at a theological school and wanted to work as their “home secretary” as his contribution to the work of L’Abri. While he assumed legal roles and the handling and sending of gifts, Edith’s mother duplicated and mailed the family letters to their family. These letters, with family members in mind would become “Dear Family” and would grow as God brought people to follow the work of their ministry. [17]
1959 – In November of 1959 a journalist from Time magazine, showed up at L’Abri, who had been tipped off by a journalist parent who had a daughter in school with Deborah Schaeffer. The following day a photographer would also drop in to shoot the photographs.
1960 – The Time magazine article was published entitled “Mission to Intellectuals” in the January 11th publication.[18]
1964 –  It was about this time that Betty Carlson is convinced that the Lord is leading her to give a month’s wages to send Edith away to write the story of L’Abri. [19] Edith in fact does write her book on L’Abri. It however sits as a completed manuscript under the Schaeffer’s bed for the next five years! During which time Betty remained confident that it would be published at the right time. [20] Probably one of the first converts from the reading of the book, and in this instance, in it’s pre-published state, was Larry Snyder, future leader of the Rochester branch, who ran the branch with his wife Nancy. Larry and Nancy have now since retired. Larry came to L’Abri searching for answers when he met a person in a youth hostel in Europe who that told him, that he seemed confused and that L’Abri was a place he could go to get his questions answered.[21] Many others in Larry’s situation would find their way to L’Abri under similar circumstances. Larry was quite intent on finding answers and immediately inquired about them. As Edith describes it, as soon as he had heard the person say L’Abri, he felt driven to go there, and began working in order to do so. Finally, he arrived late one night on his motorcycle and wanted to know all that he could so that he could start studying the next day. Edith apparently saw how intent he was and let him read her manuscript. He read it that night and started study at the Farel house the next day. Although Larry noticed something happening, he could not quite grasp it yet, and he was not an immediate convert. Larry would have further discussion with Dr. Schaeffer, in which he told him flatly that he did not want to discuss his God or his religion. Yet much to his surprise, Francis did not see that as the end of the conversation, but rather encouraged him to stay and keep asking his questions. Edith notes, “As time went on, Larry became an understanding Christian and the problems he had in philosophic areas and areas of doctrine cleared up. He not only studied hard, he was an outstanding help…” During his time as a L’Abri worker he would become convinced that he was being led into further Christian ministry. He would leave in the following summer for Covenant Seminary.
1968 – Fran’s first books, Escape From Reason and The God Who Is There are published.
1969 – Edith publishes her first book, L’Abri.
Fancis and Edith saw L’Abri as a witness of living by faith and prayer before the watching world. Their work was always seen as being in tandem. Here Edith sets out to chronicle the early history of L’Abri. Edith here writes a very personal and “real” work that recounts the history of L’Abri thus far. It is a testimony of the hand of God at work in their lives “before a watching world” as thousands of visitors journey to their house from all over the world.
As we mentioned before, L’Abri had actually been written five years earlier. Betty Carlson gave Edith a gift which allowed her to get away for a time and write the work. The manuscript would sit under the Schaeffer’s bed, until Francis published his first books. The timing of the printing would allow the book to become very popular along with Francis’ books.
1969-2000 – Edith would go on to publish 20 books, and her works would be popular in their own right, with a unique and endearing writing style. Perhaps her most notable works are L’Abri, The Tapestry, Hidden Art, and Affliction.  These last two books won her the Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (in 1979 and 1982 respectively).

1984 – Fran and Edith had relocated to Rochester, MN for Fran to receive treatment. From there she continued a busy speaking schedule and wrote further books.

2000 – Edith moved to Switzerland to live with her daughter Debbie and husband Udo Middleman.

2013 – Edith passes into eternity to be with Fran and her Lord Jesus.

[1] Lane T. Dennis. The Letters of Francis Schaeffer.
Westchester, IL, Crossway Books,1985. 25.

[2] Ibid., 29.

[3] Edith Schaeffer, Mei Fuh, Memories from China,
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston 1998.  1-2.
[4] Colin Duriez. Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life.
Wheaton, IL, Crossway Books, 2008. 29,30.
[5] Ibid., 30.
[6] Ibid., 32.
[7] Ibid., 33.
[8] Lane T. Dennis. The Letters of Francis Schaeffer.
Westchester, IL, Crossway Books,1985. 25.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Colin Duriez. Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life.
Wheaton, IL, Crossway Books, 2008. 45.
[11] Lane T. Dennis. The Letters of Francis Schaeffer.
Westchester, IL, Crossway Books,1985. 25.
[12]  Schaeffer, Edith. The Tapestry: The Life and Times of
Francis and Edith Schaeffer, Waco, Tx, Word Books. 308.
[13] Schaeffer, Edith. With Love Edith.
Harper & Row, San Francisco, CA. 1989. 5.
[14] Ibid. 402.
[15] Ibid. 308.
[16] Ibid. 332.
[17] Schaeffer, Edith. L’Abri. Tyndale House, USA. 1969. 135.
[18] “Mission to Intelectuals,” Time, January, 11, 1960.
[19] Carlson, Betty. The Unhurried Chase that Ended at L’Abri. Good News Publishers. Westchester, IL. 1984. Forward by Edith Schaeffer.
[20] Ibid. 12.
[21] Schaeffer, Edith. Dear Family. Harper & Row, San Francisco, CA. 1989. 98-98.

We take up for the prisoners that are tortured but what about unborn babies?

(Francis did a great job in his film series “How Should we then live?” in looking at how humanism has affected art and culture in the Western World in the last 2000 years. My favorite episodes include his study of the Renaissance, the Revolutionary age, the age of Nonreason, and the age of Fragmentation.)

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