Classification scheme: 

Title: Shantz Mennonite Church fonds

Dates of Creation: 1882-2012
Note: Further accruals are expected

Physical description: 2 m of textual records

Administrative history: Shantz Mennonite Church probably held its earliest services in a schoolhouse on farmland owned by George Schmitt. That land is across the road and north of the present location of the church, close to Baden, Ontario.

In 1853, the first church building was erected on land donated by David Y. Shantz. According to custom, the name then changed to Shantz Mennonite Meetinghouse, and later, probably in the early 1900s, to Shantz Mennonite Church. The first building was of stone, remodelled in 1900. It was replaced by the present red brick structure in 1929, which included a basement to house Sunday School space and a kitchen. An addition in 1959 provided more Sunday School facilities, an updated kitchen and new washrooms. In 1988, a further addition was built with a new entrance to the east side of the church as well as more Sunday School and office space.

The first minister of Shantz Mennonite Church was George Schmitt, who was ordained on April 12, 1840 (although another source says 1847), and served until his death in 1882. The next minister was Tobias Bowman, who served until 1898. Orphen Wismer, from the Geiger Church, was ordained in 1898, and served until 1937. Leslie Witmer was ordained in 1937 and served until 1969. He was assisted in later years by Harold Shantz (1966-1967). Up to and including Leslie Witmer, ministers and deacons were chosen by lot.

Deacons who served this congregation were John C. Shantz, (1853-1875), John D. Shantz (1875-1911), Ezra Shantz (1911-1940), Eldon Hunsberger (1940-1953), J.C. Fretz (1953-1956). Fretz was the last deacon.

Lester Kehl served as pastor from 1967-1976, and was ordained in 1971.  Ed Kauffman served as pastor from from 1976-1984, and was ordained in 1978. Vernon Zehr served from 1984-1990 Vernon co-pastored with Doris Gascho from 1987-1990. Doris served as pastor from 1990-1991, then co-pastored with Jim Loepp Thiessen until 1994.

Custodial history: The Shantz Mennonite Church records have been received over many years by the Archives

For photographs related to this congregation search the Mennonite Archival Image Database.

Additional information about this congregation can be found in the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.

Original archival description created by Sam Steiner; revisions provided in 2018 by Mary Schiedel

File list:

Series 1: Early Formal Records

  1. Copy of membership record, 1897-1987, 1989 (in oversize box)
  2. Collection records, 1882-1903, 1941-1948
  3. Cash book, 1912-1941; Statement of bank account, 1929-1933
  4. Annual meeting minute books, 1894-1976 (in oversize box)
  5. Sunday School records
    Record of Prize Books, 1932-1959
    Record Books, 1911-1915, 1924, 1927-1932, 1946-1969, 1987-1992
    List of Sunday School Officers, 1962, 1969-1986, 1989-1990, 1992-1993
    Bible Memory Course cards
    Scripture memorization diplomas, 1933, 1936, 1940 (in oversize box)
    "The Sunday School: Our Field of Labour" talk to Sunday School workers by Mrs. Irvin Snyder, 1929
  6. Youth
    Shantz Young Peoples Bible Meeting, 1929-1958
    Mennonite Youth Fellowship minutes and correspondence, 1958-2000
    Youth survey, [198?]
  7. Women's groups
    Sunshine Circle, 1929-1946
    Shantz Charity Circle (Senior Circle) minute book 1935-1942, 1957-1970
    Catering committee, 1939-1982
    Cheerful Workers Circle, 1944-1971
    Thank you cards and letters
    Note: Includes substantial correspondence from Ellen Burkholder and Luella Brubacker
    Women's Missionary and Service Commission (WMSC) minutes and correspondence, 1971-1997
    WMSC Good Cheer committee, 1978-1988
    WMSC Home and Special Interests committee, 1975-1988
    Note: Includes organization of Neighbour Night
    Sunshine Girls' Club, 1963-1967, 1974-1984

Series 2: Formal Records

  1. Annual meeting minutes, reports and financial statements
    1965 (financial statement only), 1971-2001, September 2002, February 2003, February 2005
    Note: File 1971-1980 is in oversize box
  2. Church Council minutes
    1971-2002, May 2003, October 2003
  3. Deeds, etc. (in oversize box)
    Transfer/Deed of Land, 1989
    Hydro-Electric agreement, 1940
    Tender for church building, 1929
  4. Constitutions and policies
    Constitutions, [1977?], 1988, 1989
    Plan to Protect, 2006
  5. Church profile
  6. Membership lists/directories, 1950, 1983 (photo), 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988 (photo), 1992, 1993 (photo), 1998, 2000, 2003 (photo), 2008, 2014
  7. List of Officers
    1972, 1975-1985, 1987-1994
  8. Shantz Adult Fellowship, 1960-1973
  9. Elders, 1989-1996
  10. Shantz Boys' Club, 1976-1979
  11. Summer Bible School, 1951-1994
  12. Worship
    Worship Committee, 1987-1996
    Prayer Meeting schedules, 1960-1961
  13. Outreach Committee, 1989-1995
  14. Gifts Discernment Committee, 1987-1992
  15. Refugee Committee
  16. Building Committee, 1986-1988
  17. Discussion re changing church name, 1998-1999, 2002
  18. Ad-hoc evaluation committees, 1977, 1983, 1990-1991

Series 3: Informal Records

  1. Marriages, 1977-1984
  2. Cradle Roll, 1944-1993
  3. Deaths, 1977-1984
  4. Journey of Faith: Shantz Mennonite Church 1840-2000 by Mary Schiedel, 2000
  5. Miscellaneous programs
    Note: Includes special services, weddings, funerals, ordinations, etc.
  6. Kurzgefasste Benjamin Eby, Elkhart, IN, 1868 (2 copies from the congregation's collection)
  7. Miscellaneous historical data
    Correspondence to and from J. Fretz; 1941-1956
    Notes about church history from 1822-1953, anon. Written in 1953 probably by J.C. Fretz
    Plays about early days of church
    Miscellaneous news clippings
    Memorial Cards
    Shantz Church calendars, 1957-1961 ("Sacred Art Calendar," Messenger Corporation: Auburn Ind.; located in oversize box), 1988, 2015
    Mennonite Aid Union valuation of Shantz Mennonite Church Building 
    Dec. 1971-"Have a Creative Christmas" WMSC
    Car Paper Banner: "Holiness Becometh Thine House O Lord"
    Student papers about the history of Shantz Mennonite Church
  8. Publicity materials
  9. Letters from members, 1978-1997
  10. Pastor files, 1898-2003
    Note: Includes ordination programs, correspondence, biographical information, etc. of: Orphan Wismer, Leslie Witmer, Lester Kehl, Ed Kaufman, Vernon Zehr, Doris Gascho, Jim Loepp Thiessen

Series 4: Church Bulletins & Event Calendars

   1. Bulletins
   1960-1964 (evening services only)
   Nov 1965-2012

   2. Event Calendars
   2000-2002 (incomplete)

Series 5: Church Newsletters

1978-First Quarter 1995 
January-July 2004
Footprints, Jun 2006-Mar/Apr 2009


Generally 9:00 am - 4:00 pm 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