Breslau Mennonite Church (Breslau, ON)

Classification scheme: 

Title: Breslau Mennonite Church fonds

Dates of creation: 1837-2009
Note: Further accruals are expected

Physical description: 80 cm of textual records

Administrative history: The church is located at 226 Woolwich St., Breslau, ON, N0B 1M0.

Joseph Hagey is considered the founding leader of the group. The congregation originated through emigration from Pennsylvania. The church was known as Cressman Mennonite until 1968 because it was on land originally owned by the Cressman Family. The first building was the 1813 log church built by Benjamin Eby in Berlin which was moved in 1834 to Breslau. The original property was conveyed by Christian Snyder for the purposes of preaching, a cemetery and a school in July 1837. Additional land was added in 1859 and 1870.

The congregation was part of the Mennonite Conference of Ontario; it joined the Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada in 1988. Breslau Mennonite is part of the Mennonite Church segment of the Mennonite "family."  In 1925 there were 125 members; in 1950, 148; in 1965, 149; in 2009 the language of worship is English; language transition occurred in the 1890s. The congregation began services in 1815, and formally organized in 1826. The first building was occupied in 1834, with a second building in 1856, and a third in 1908. A major addition to and renovation of the 1908 building took place in 1990.

For further information see: Mennonite Encyclopedia, "Breslau Mennonite Church"; L.J. Burkholder, A Brief History of the Mennonites in Ontario (1935); Oscar Burkholder, Cressman Mennonite Church, Breslau, Ont., 1908-1954(1956)

Custodial history: The congregation made occasional donations to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario. Major accruals were received in 2010 and 2015.

Scope and content: There are four series: Formal records, Informal records, Newsletters and Church bulletins.

Notes: See also Hist.Mss.9.25 for audio recordings and Hist.Mss.26 for audiovisual recordings
Original description created April 2000 by Sam Steiner

Series 1: Formal records

  1. Legal documents 
        Deed, 1837 (copy)
        Deed, 1858 (copy)
        Deed, 1870 (copy)
        Deed, 1964 (copy)
        Statutory Declaration re: Name Change, 1968
        Map showing deed property lines
        "Historical sketch of the Cressman Mennonite church buildings," 1968 (copy)
       General operating by-law number 1, 2005 
  2. Congregational meeting minutes
        Congregational meeting minute book, 1887-1907 (includes some financial records)
        Congregational meeting minute book, 1908-1934
        Congregational meeting minute book, 1935-1965
        Meeting to discuss building of sheds, 1898
        Note: Includes signatures of those present and their pledges. File transferred from the Mennonite Church USA Archives (Goshen, Ind.) in   2021.
  3. Church Council minutes, 1957-1989, 1993-1996 (incomplete)
  4. Annual reports, 1957-1975, 1978-1990, 1995
  5. Sunday school reorganization and record books, 1911-1972
  6. Sunday school account book, 1872-1925
  7. Sunday school workers minute book, 1933, 1953-56
  8. Young Peoples Bible Meeting minute books
        1920-1933; includes constitution
        1941-1959; includes constitution
  9. Bishop book (baptisms and marriages), of Elias Weber and Jonas Snider, 1879-1942. (Church membership and baptismal records for 1879-1919; marriage records for 1879-1942). Part 1  Part 2  Part 3
  10. Church Directory (telephone and photo), 1967, 1971, 1974, 1976, 1984, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2013,
  11. Church treasurer's account book, 1950-1964
  12. Charity Sewing Circle minute and record books, 1918-1963, 1966-1979
  13. Junior Sewing Circle minute and record books, 1924-1932, 1937-1947, 1964-1967
  14. Sewing Circle account book, 1934-1964
  15. Eventide Sewing Circle minute and record book, 1949-1966
       History of Eventide, 1949-1974 

    15a. Star-Brite Girls Club (GMSA) records, 1957-1963
  16. Women's Missionary and Service Commission/Women of MCEC
    Minutes, 1980-2011
    Executive meetings, 1965-1999
    WMSC work report, 1971-1996
    Annual reports, 1965-1968, 1971/1972-1972/1973, 1977/1978-1979/1980, 1981-1982, 1984, 1986-1987, 1990-2000
    Note: File also includes officer lists for various years. 
    Anniversary notes, 50th (1999), 60th (2009), 2011
  17. Anniversary Committees, 1984 (150th), 2009 (175th)
  18. Breslau Mennonite Church Cemetery
    Account Books, 1911-1948, 1927-1981, 1977-1991, 1981-1990
    Cemetery Commission, [19--]-2009
    Death announcement cards, 1906-1919, 1926-1938
  19. Breslau Mennonite Youth Fellowship
    Constitution, [19--]
    Records, 1963-1967
  20. Congregational profiles, 1979, 2002
  21. Christian Education Committee, 1979-1990
  22. Elders
    Note: Includes correspondence with the Militarism Committee, 1990-1991, 2014 (list of elders since 1984)
  23. Personnel files (restricted access)
  24. College and Careers
    Note: Consists of resource materials on sexuality and women in leadership.
  25. Building projects
  26. Policies
    Safe Place Guidelines, Jun 2003

Series 2: Informal records

  1. Historical notes and typescript summaries, list of pastors, notes about membership, 1918-1930s[?], 1961-1965, 1976-1987, 2009, 2011  
  2. Misc. correspondence, 1918-1957
  3. Newsclippings, 1954-1973
  4. Misc. programs and brochures, 1899-
  5. Oscar Burkholder, Cressman Mennonite Church, Breslau, Ontario, 1908- (Breslau : The Church, 1956)(4 copies)
  6. Breslau-Bloomingdale MYF "Plan for action, 1968-1969"
  7. Misc. documents, questionnaires, etc., 1960s-
  8. D. W. Whittle, Gospel pictures and story sermons for children (Chicago : Bible Institute Colportage Association, 1895) presented to Susannah Frey from Cressman Sunday School, 1895
  9. Jacob Woolner, Mennonite preacher / Maryanne Szuck, Sept 2009
  10. Bloomingdale - Breslau : two paths, one purpose / Dennis Bells, May 2006
  11. Body and Spirit: Athletes Who Made a Difference, a booklet written by seventh and eighth graders at Breslau
  12. Pastors
    Note: Includes a sample of sermon notes, photographs, and other information. See also Hist.Mss.9.25 for audio recodings.
    Darrel Toews, 2003-2014
    Darren Kropf, 2007-2011
    Vicky Roeder Martin, 2011-2014
  13. "Breslau Mennonite Struggled with 19th Century Revivalism," sermon by Barb Draper, 7 Jul 2014
    Note: File includes sermon notes and audio recording (.cda)

Series 3: Newsletters

Newsletter, 1968 (incomplete)
Breslau Branch, 1985-July/August 2003

Series 4: Bulletins


Series 5: Scrapbooks and Albums

  1. Scrapbook compiled by members presented to Mrs. L. Heckendoern by the Breslau Joy Band
  2. Photograph albums of members and families of the congregation compiled by the Joy Band, 1947
  3. Scrapbook compiled by families and presented to Horace and Mary Cressman in appreciation of Horace's 25th anniversary as deacon, 1973
  4. Photograph album of farewell celebration for Laurence and Marilyn Martin, 2002


Generally 8:30-4:30 Monday to Friday. An appointment in advance is recommended.


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

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238