Riverdale Mennonite Church (Millbank, ON)

Classification scheme: 
V-14

Dates of creation: 1961-2017

Physical description: 1.3 m of textual records ; 70 cm photograph albums

Administrative history: The congregation was located at the west end of Millbank on Perth Line 72, Millbank, Ontario. The Riverdale congregation began as a church plant by the Maple View and Poole Amish Mennonite congregations in 1946. It was initially known as the Millbank Mission.

The building utilized by the congregation was originally built by the Presbyterian denomination in 1891. The creation of the United Church of Canada resulted in the merger of several congregations; the building fell into disuse in the 1940s.  It was sold with the intent of converting it into a chicken barn. However the Mission Board of the Amish Mennonite conference purchased the building in 1946 for $1900.

Renovations to the space took place numerous times over the years. Sam Erb from the Maple View congregation did most of the preaching until Menno Zehr was ordained in 1948. Valentine Nafziger was ordained first as a minister, then a bishop, in 1951. In early 1956 he led a division in the congregation; the group that left began the Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church.

Pastoral leaders since 1946 have included Sam Erb (1946-1948), Menno Zehr (1948-1983), Valentine Nafziger (1951-1956), David Jantzi (1958-1982), Glenn Zehr (1982-2000), Darrell Jantzi (Interim, 2000/01), Clive Ollies (2001-2006), Sue C. Steiner (Interim, 2006/2007), Jim Brown (2007-2015), Doug Amstutz (2015- ). In 1950 there were 86 members; in 1965, 162; in 1975, 192; in 1985, 207; in 1995, 235. The congregation closed in 2017.

Custodial history: The congregation has made periodic donations to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario. Two of the most substantial came in late 2000 from Glenn Zehr, and a final donation from the congregation in 2018.

Scope and Content: There are five series: Formal records, Informal Records, Church bulletins,  Newsletters and Photograph albums

Notes: Original archival description created December 1999 by Sam Steiner and updated in 2020 by Laureen Harder-Gissing.
For further information see: A history of Riverdale Mennonite Church, 1946-1996 (Millbank, Ont.: The Church, 1996), 67 pp
See also Sound Recordings for Riverdale-related tapes

File list:

Series 1: Formal records

  1. Annual meeting minute book, 1948-1984 (located in oversize box)
  2. Annual reports and minutes, 1983-2017
  3. Policies, etc.
    Constitutions, 1987, 1992, 1999, 2011 (draft)
    Emergency Preparedness plan, 2010 (draft)
    Plan to Protect, 2011
    Duties Manual, 2011
    Bequest Fund policy, 2011 (draft)
    Guidelines for Ushers, 2011 (draft)
    Supporting Short-term Mission and Service Projects, 2012
    Guildelines for Prophecy and Discernment, 2013
    Deed clarification, 2001
  4. Membership records, etc.
    Menno Zehr book (Membership records, 1956-1977; Wedding records, 1961-1977) (located in oversize box)
    Baptistmal certificates (copies), 1982-2000
    Letters of membership transfer
    Child dedication certificates, 1998-2000
    Membership records, 1967-1982 (compiled by David Jantzi)
    Pastor's book, 1964-1978 (includes vital statistics, visitation logs and notes re congregational events)
  5. Marriage registers, 1961-2017 (located in oversize box)
  6. Church directories, 1982-84, 1987, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000
  7. Church Council minutes, 1960-2017
  8. Support Group/Elders minutes
    1982-1984 (Support Group)
    1984-1992 (Elders)
    1993-1996
  9. Sunday Evening Committee minutes, 1982-1992
  10. Gift Discernment Committee
    1982-1990
    1990-2000
  11. Mission Board/Committee
    1953-1977
  12. Financial record & reports,
    Annual reports, 1975, 1979, 1980
    Offering receipt journals, 1962-1977
    Cash journals, 1958-1965, 1968-1982
  13. Worship Committee minutes, 1994-1997
  14. Vacation Bible School reports and financial statements, 1963-1995
  15. Vacation Bible School teacher lists and attendance records, 
    1973-1979
    1980-1995
  16. Mennonite Youth Fellowship, 1960-1961, 1963-1972, 1977-1980, 1985, 1988-2001
  17. Adult Fellowship, 1972-2004
  18. Women's groups
    Lower Lights (including G.M.S.A.), 1960-1973
    Sewing Circle/W.M.S.C., 1947-1952, 1973-2011
  19. Sunday School attendance records
    Note: Only a sample of various years was kept by the Archives
  20. Congregational guest book
  21. Book of Remembrance
  22. Summer student ministers, 1991-1999 (restricted)

Series 2: Informal records

  1. Vacation Bible School, pastor's file, 1982-1999
  2. Church Council correspondence, 1986-1991
  3. Elders correspondence, 1982-1992
  4. Riverdale profile and pastoral transition materials, 1982
  5. Student lists, 1986-2000
  6. Congregational Vision retreat records, 1996
  7. Care Team visits to members (summaries), 1990
  8. Yearbook information (Misc.), 1982-1998
  9. Missionary letters from persons supported by congregation, 1982-2000
  10. Correspondence at time of division in congregation, 1956
  11. Tent crusade materials, 1955, 1979
  12. Misc. programs, 1938-
    Note: Includes program for Non-Resistance Conference, 1957
  13. Misc. clippings, ca. 1950-
  14. Historical notes
    1946-1977 (compiled by by Menno Zehr)
    1986 (40th anniversary)
    1991 (45th anniversary)
    1996 (50th anniversary)
    2002 (compiled by Dan Kuepfer)
  15. Wo-He-Lo Literary book, 1951; also Winter Bible School notes (donated by Marcella Schwartzentruber Martin)
  16. Riverdale Mennonite Church, 1946-1996 (Millbank : The Church, 1996)

Series 3: Church bulletins

1961-2017

Series 4: Newsletters

Reflections on Riverdale, 1991-1995, 2011-2012

Series 5: Photograph albums

Events, 1983-1991, 1993, 1997-2008
Anniversaries, 1986 (40th), 1991 (45th), 1996 (50th)
Mennonite Youth Fellowship, 1992-1996, [ca. 2005], 2008-2009
Photographic essay comparing St. Peter's Lutheran Church (Milverton) and Riverdale Mennonite Church by Linda and Donna Schade, 1984

Hours

The Archives is accessible by appointment only. Please do not visit or bring in donations unannounced.

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