Shantz Mennonite Church (near Baden, Ontario)

Classification scheme: 

Title: Shantz Mennonite Church fonds

Dates of Creation: 1882-2008
Note: Further accruals are expected

Physical description: 20 cm 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 (1882-1987)

  1. Copy of Membership Record; 1897-1987
  2. Collection Record; 1882-1903
  3. Cash Book, 1912-1941; Statement of Bank Account, 1929-1933
  4. Annual meeting minute book 
  5. Sunday School Records
    Record of Prize Books, 1932-1959
    Record Book, 1911-1915, 1924 
    Record Book, 1927-1930
    List of Sunday School Officers, 1977-1984, 1989-1990, 1992-1993
  6. Shantz Young Peoples Bible Meeting
    Secretary Treasurer's Book, 1929-1958
  7. Shantz Charity Circle
    Minute Book, 1935-1942
  8. The Sunshine Circle
    Minute Book, 1929-1946 

Series 2: Recent Formal Records

  1. Annual meeting minutes, reports and financial statements
    1965 (financial statement only), 1971-2001, September 2002, February 2003, February 2005
  2. Church Council minutes
    1971-2002, May 2003, October 2003
  3. Property deeds
    Transfer/Deed of Land, 1989
  4. Organizational Structure
  5. Church profile
  6. Membership lists/Directories
    1983 (photo)
    1983, 1984, 1987
    1988 (photo)
    1993 (photo)
    2003 (photo)
  7. List of Officers
    1972, 1975-1985, 1987-1994

Series 3: Informal Records

  1. Marriages, 1977-1984
  2. Cradle Roll; 1964-1987
  3. Deaths, 1977-1984
  4. Journey of Faith: Shantz Mennonite Church 1840-2000 by Mary Schiedel, 2000
  5. Misc. programs
  6. Kurzgefasste Benjamin Eby, Elkhart, IN, 1868 (2 copies from the congregation's collection)
  7. Misc. 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
    Play about early days of church, untitled and anonymous
    Miscellaneous news clippings
    Memorial Cards
    Shantz Church Calendar (1988)
    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"
  8. Publicity materials

Series 4: Church Bulletins & Calendars

   1. Bulletins
   1960-1964 (evening services only)
   November 1965-2003

   2. Calendars
   2000-2002 (incomplete)

Series 5: Church Newsletters

     1978-First Quarter 1995 
     July-August 2001
     January-February 2002
      April 2004

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Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
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Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238