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The First Mennonite Church (Vineland, ON)

Classification scheme: 
III-24

Dates of creation: 1799-2001

175 cm. of textual records

Box 502, Vineland, ON, L0R 2C0. (905) 562-5944. Located at 3557 Rittenhouse Rd. at the corner of Niagara Regional Road 81. 

Pastor Kevin Block served in 2001 as a congregational leader. In 1900 there were 60 members; in 1925, 79; in 1950, 71; in 1965, 63; in 1975, 66; in 1985, 60; in 1995, 56; in 2000, 55. The congregation has been affiliated with the Mennonite Conference of Ontario (1820-1988), the Mennonite Church (1898-), the Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada (1988-) and Mennonite Church Canada (1995-).

The congregation began services about 1800, and formally organized in 1801. The first building was occupied in 1801, with subsequent building programs in 1810, 1897, and 1962. Valentine Kratz is considered the 04-May-2009through immigration from Pennsylvania beginning in 1786 that came to "The Twenty".

First Mennonite is the oldest Mennonite congregation in Canada. At one time the congregation had three places of worship: the Moyer church at the present location, the Mountain church (extinct) and the Jordan church (extinct). Services were held alternately at the three churches. 

First Mennonite was known as Moyer Mennonite Church until 1955. It experienced loss of members both in the New Mennonite division and Old Order Mennonite division.

Pastoral leaders who served the Moyer/First Mennonite congregation, have included: Valentine Kratz (1801-1824); Jacob Moyer (1802; Bishop, 1807-1833); Jacob Moyer, Jr. (1824-1831); Daniel Hoch (1831-1849); Jacob Gross (1833; Bishop 1834-1865); Abraham Moyer (1842-1871); Dilman Moyer (1842; Bishop, 1850-1873); Abram K. Hunsberger (1858-1889); Daniel Honsberger (1875-1914); John F. Rittenhouse (1889-1903); Samuel F. Coffman (1895; Bishop, 1903-1954); Willis Hallman (1951-1954); Wayne North (1955-1963); Milton Schwartzentruber (1964); Marvin Yoder (1965-1967); J.B. Martin (Interim, 1967-1968); Clare Wideman (1969-1975); Eric Strachan (1976-1978); Richard Leonhard (Interim, 1979); Stanley Shantz (1980-1982); Richard Leonhard (1983-1984); Harold Nigh (1985-1989); Kevin Block (1991-2003); Harold Peters Fransen (Interim, 2003-2004)

See also the Worship Services listing in Sound Recordings for First Mennonite-related services as well as oral history interviews done for the 200th anniversary by Laureen Harder at Hist.Mss.9.69.

For further information see: Their richest inheritance : a celebration of The First Mennonite Church, Vineland, Ontario, 1801-2001 by Laureen Harder (Vineland, ON : The First Mennonite Church, 2001).

Custodial history: The First Mennonite congregation has made periodic donations to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Created January 2001 by Sam Steiner

There are four series: Formal recordsInformal recordsBooks, and Church bulletins

Series 1: Formal records

  1. Jacob Moyer records from his Bible (photocopies with translations; original at Jordan Museum), 1799-1837.
  2. Church Council Minutes, 1973, 1991 (partial)
  3. Membership records
    List of former members, n.d.
  4. Church constitution (holograph draft, plus copies from other congregations), 1977
  5. Annual meeting minutes/reports (Pastor), 
    1957 (recommendation re: church council)
    1961-1963 (minutes)
    1965 (pastor's report)
    1967 (minutes)
    1969-1977, 1979 (reports)
    1983
    1986
  6. Mission Sewing Circle minutes
    1918-1924
    1924-1940
    1940-1943
    1944-1948
    1951-1960
  7. Mission Sewing Circle financial journals
    1918-1938
    1939-1943
  8. Congregational financial reports
    1946-1969, 1971
  9. Congregational Financial journal
    1901-1946
    1947-1964
  10. Sunday school minute books
    1898-1936
    1941-1970
  11. Sunday school financial records
    1897-1930
    1950-1953
    1953-1955
    1956-1957
    1959-1968
  12. Young People's Bible Meeting minute and account book
    1944-1961
  13. Bonaccord Literary Society,
    1939-1952
  14. Jordan Branch, Upper Canada Bible Society cash book
    1908-1915
  15. Mennonite Aid Union valuation,
    Parsonage, 1961, 
    Church building, 1964
  16. Sunday School class attendance books,
    1901/02
    1915
    1922-1935
    1937-1950/51
    1952/53-1960/61
  17. Sunday School record books,
    1905-1915, 1917-1932, 1934-1953, 1957/58-1960/61
  18. Summer Bible School records,
    1934-1954

Series 2: Informal records

  1. WMSA correspondence, reports,
    1918-1947
  2. Bonaccord Literary Society papers and publications,
    1934-1940s (much undated)
  3. Correspondence
    1951, 1960 (includes ballots on calling Willis Hallman to ministry, 1951)
  4. Misc. programmes (Young People's Meetings, Sunday school conferences, etc.)
    1895-
  5. 150th Anniversary materials
    1951
  6. Biographical paper on John S. Coffman, n.d. (by Barbara Coffman?)
  7. Sunday school picnic records, 1960-1966
  8. Newsclippings
  9. "Louth Harbour Shipping Company" 
    by Barbara Coffman, 1959
  10. 200th Anniversary materials
    List of Ministers and Deacons, 1801-2001 compiled by Walter M. Fretz
    Sequence of events, 1801-2001 compiled by Walter M. Fretz
    List of names mentioned in annual meeting meetings, 1898-1990 compiled by Walter M. Fretz
    Transcript of interview with Lena and Barbara Coffman by "VK", n.d.
    Interview summaries of interviews by Laureen Harder
    -- Jeanne Culp and Erla Culp, August 21, 2000
    -- Lois Snyder, August 22, 2000
    -- James Culp, Mike Culp, Liz High, Dean High, Ralph Culp, Carolyn (Culp) Hay, August 22, 2000
    -- Walter and Elaine Fretz, August 23, 2000
    -- Mimi Neufeld, August 23, 2000
    -- Hedy Sawadsky, September 9, 2000
    -- Tom and Maryanne Neufeld, Eugene and Carol Penner, October 29, 2000
    -- Hank and Ester Saito, Anna Mae Fretz, March 10, 2001
    -- Ella Graham, March 10, 2001
    -- Clara High, Mildred Nigh, April 7, 2001
    -- Rhea Young, April 9, 2001
    Questionnaires used in book project 
    One copy of Their richest inheritance : a celebration of The First Mennonite Church, Vineland, Ontario, 1801-2001 by Laureen Harder

Series 3: Books used by congregation

Bible Class question book for advanced scholars (Elkhart, Ind. : Mennonite Publishing Co., 1882) (Mary Rittenhouse copy)
Bible Class question book for advanced scholars (Elkhart, Ind. : Mennonite Publishing Co., 1888)
A collection of Psalms and hymns suited to the various occasions of public worship and private devotion compiled by a committee of Mennonites (Elkhart, Ind. : Mennonite Pub. Co., 188?) title page missing - "Moyer Church 1887"

Series 4: Church Bulletins

1965-1993

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Hours

Fall and Winter
(September 8, 2014 - April 25, 2015)
Monday to Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Thursday, 8:30 am - 7:00 pm
Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Summer
Monday to Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Making an appointment with the archivist in advance is strongly recommended

Contact

Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238

Email: marchive@uwaterloo.ca