St. Jacobs Mennonite Church (St. Jacobs, ON)

Classification scheme: 
III-23

Title: St. Jacobs Mennonite Church fonds

Dates of creation: 1911-2011
Note: Further accruals are expected

Physical description: 3.3 m of textual records

Administrative history: The congregation began services and formally organized in 1844. The first building was occupied in 1851, with subsequent building programs in 1915, 1936, 1949, 1977 and 1988. John W. Brubacher is considered the founding leader of the group. The congregation originated through immigration from Pennsylvania.

The meetinghouse was located west of St. Jacobs just north of the intersection of Regional Road 17 and Township Road 32 at the present location of Three Bridges School and the congregation's cemetery. At that time it was known as the Conestoga Mennonite Meetinghouse. From 1889 to 1892 the congregation shared a building with the Old Order Mennonites who retain the Conestoga Mennonite Meetinghouse name. In 1915 the congregation moved into the town of St. Jacobs and changed its name to St. Jacobs Mennonite Church. The congregation transitioned from German to English in the 1910s.

In 1925 there were 149 members; in 1950, 364; in 1965, 412; in 1975, 403; in 1985, 425; in 1995, 346; in 2000, 346; in 2010, 374. The congregation has been affiliated with the Mennonite Conference of Ontario (1844-1988), Mennonite Church (1898-), Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (1988-) and Mennonite Church Canada (1995-).

Pastoral Leaders who served the Conestoga, then St. Jacobs, congregation, have included: Ludwig Koch (1845-1889); Abraham Martin (1861; 1867 Bishop-1902); Samuel Weber (1864-1885); Daniel M. Brubacher (1876-1917); Enoch S. Bauman (1894-1918); Moses M. Brubacher (1918; 1931 Bishop-1936); Roy S. Koch (1936; 1951 Bishop-1958); Raymond Kramer (1958-1962); Glenn Brubacher (1962-1976); Orland Gingerich (Interim, 1973/74); Clare Wideman (Interim, 1976/77); Richard Yordy (1977-1989); Sue C. Steiner (1987-1995); Arnold Cressman (Interim, 1990/1991); Harold Hildebrand Schlegel (1991-2003);  Phyllis Tribby (Interim, 1996/97); Anna Hemmendinger (1997-1999); Barb Smith Morrison (1997-2009), Winston Martin (Interim, 2001/2002), Wendy Janzen (2002-    ), Glenn Zehr (Interim, 2003-2005), Mark Diller-Harder (2005- ), Lisa Carr Pries (Interim, 2006-2007), Kevin Derksen (2009- ), Sue Shantz (Interim, 2010/2011).

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

Scope and content: There are five series: Formal recordsInformal recordsBooksChurch bulletins and Newsletters.

Notes: See also the Worship Services listing in Sound Recordings for St. Jacobs-related services.
Photographs relating to the congregation can be located using the Archives Mennonite Archival Image Database.
For further information see: Magdalena Feick, I will build my church: Conestogo/St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, 1844-1986 (St. Jacobs : The Church, 1986).
The original archival description was created January 2001 by Sam Steiner.

File list:

Series 1: Formal records

  1. Annual reports (includes minutes of previous year's annual meeting and financial statements)
    1934-2007 (frequently no minutes/reports except financial until mid-1950s)
    2008-2011
    See Series 1, #3 for congregational meeting minute book through 1947

    1a.   Marriage registers
    1937-1960
    1961-1980
  2. Church Board/Church Council minutes
    1946-1972
    1974-1999
  3. Annual meeting minutes, financial records
  4. 1933-1947
  5. Pastoral Committee minutes
    1971-1979
  6. Trustee board minutes, records
    1944-1981 (loose files)
    1948-1970 (minute book)
  7. Membership certificate stubs,
    1932-1972 (missing 1945-1948)
  8. Committee/Stewardship Committee/Mission and Stewardship Committee/Stewardship & Finance Committee
  9. 1954-1966
    1966-1972
    1972-1989
    1990-1998 (Includes some subcommittee minutes)
  10. Church Treasurer's Cash books,
    1933-1944
    1945-1949
  11. Sunday School Executive/Christian Education Committee minutes
    1946-1956
    1956-1969
    1975-1985
    1986-1998 (incomplete)
  12. Sunday school attendance records
    1929-1952
    1953-1982
  13. Primary Sunday school treasurer's report
    1930-1944
  14. Young People's Bible Meeting minute book, 
    1916-1918
    1932-1955 (Treasurer's report and yearly reorganization records)
  15. Mennonite Youth Fellowship
    Junior MYF minutes, 1961-63
    MYF Council, 1981-1992 (includes older constitution)
  16. Building Committee minutes,
    1949-1950
    Ad hoc committee on Sunday School facilities, 1969
    1975-1977
    1988-1990
  17. Midweek Fellowship Committee
    1956-1962 (Adult)
    1956-1964 (Youth)
  18. Women's Charity Circle/St. Jacobs WMSA (merged with Twilight in 1984)
    Attendance (1943-1954 & Minutes, 1951-54
    1953-1956
    1954-1958
    1958-1963
    1962-1965
    1965-1967
    1967-1969
    1969-1970
    1970-1975
    1975-1983
    1980-1999 (Executive)
    1984-1999
    Special events folder
  19. Women's Charity Circle,
    Roll, reports, 1920-1930
    1920-1941
    1932-1941 (Treasurer's records)
    1943-1947 (Secretary's reports)
    1945-1948 (Treasurer's records)
    1942-1952 (Account book)
    1942/43, 1955-1975 (printed reports)
  20. Sunbeam Sewing Circle,
    Minutes, 1934-1947
    1947-1957
    1957-1965
    1967-1971
    Roll, 1955-1965
    Roll, 1957-1961 (Jr. Circle)
    1934-1965 (Treasurer's book)
  21. Twilight WMSA
    Minutes, roll, 1971-1984
  22. Mission and Service Committee
    1971-1983 
    (Part of Stewardship Committee, 1983-1990)
    1990-1997
  23. Worship Committee
    1981-1999
  24. Personnel Committee minutes
    1950/51-1998/99 (Until 1970s there are only lists of elected persons)
  25. Men's Fellowship/Adult Fellowship
    Minutes, 1964/65-1984/1985
    Minutes, 1985/86-1996
    Finances, 1952-1996/97
  26. Sunday Evening Program Committee
    Minutes, 1975/76-1988
  27. Life Together Committee,
    1992-1999
  28. Meetingplace/Visitor Centre Committee
    1979-1999
  29. Student Aid Committee,
    1983-1995
  30. Lao-English Coordinating Committee
    1988, 1993-1997 (Incomplete)
  31. Family/Small/Triad groups
    1973/74-1996 (Incomplete)
  32. Long Range Planning Committee
    1985-1996
  33. Summer Bible School records
    1938-1950
    1951-1959
    1960-1962, 1969
    1970-1990
  34. Time Out for Moms
    1980-1982
  35. Cradle Roll,
    1954, 1960-1988
  36. Congregational Committee Structures 
    1971-1999
  37. Cemetery Board
    1974
  38. St. Jacobs Chorus
    1961
  39. Church directories
    1985, 1989, 1994, 1997, 1999-2000, 2006, 2007
  40. Mennonite Aid Union assessments for Church & Parsonage, 
    1976, 1988
  41. Legal Documents 
    Memorial to Deed of Bargain & Sale, John Brubacher to John S. Brubacher, etc., trustees, 22 March 1845 (photocopy) 
    Indenture, Bargain & Sale, John Brubacher to John S. Brubacher, etc. 22 March 1845 (photocopy)
    Memorial of Indenture of Bargain & Sale, John Brubacher to trustees of Mennonite Church and school section, 22 April 1861 (photocopy)
    Deed of Land, Samuel Good, et. al to Trustees St. Jacobs Congregation of Mennonite Church, 13 January 1916 (photocopy)
    Deed of Land, Jonathan L. Martin et ux to Harry Fisher, 29 January 1938 (photocopy)
    Deed of Land, Noah S. Hunsberger, et. ux. to St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, 12 May 1947 (photocopy)
    Deed of Land, Harry Fisher to Trustees of St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, 1 April 1952 (photocopy)
    Option Agreement, Luida Horst and Trustees of St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, 9 June 1971 (photocopy)
    By-Law to Provide for Drainage and attachments, 1953
    Lovina Weber estate, documents related to bequest, 1939-1970
    Susanna Eby estate, letter related to bequest, 1955
    Lydia H. Weber estate, statement of bequest, 1957
    Willard M. Shantz estatement, letter related to bequest, 1963
    Lizzie Weaver estate, letter related to bequest, 1970 

Series 2: Informal records

  1. Congregational historian's package assembled by Enoch B. Martin, 1977
    - Summary of events, 1844-1976; summary of ministers, 1845-1977; photocopies of deeds, etc.
    - photocopies of photographs of leaders, etc.
    - dedication programs, 1915-1988; various other programs
    - St. Jacobs Mennonite Church family records, July 1958 
    - membership records, 1977
    - historical commentaries by Almeda Martin, Simeon E. Martin, Ben Sauder
    - summary of membership chart, 1915-1980; wedding anniversaries; census, 1971
    Birth, marriage records, 1977, 1979
    Census of members, former members, 1971
    Membership, 1978
    Summary of Membership changes year by year, 1950-1983
  2. Congregational historian's package about Sunday school assembled by Enoch B. Martin
    - Teacher training course led by Roy Koch, 1956
    - Lists of Sunday school teachers
    - Financial statements, 1944-1963
    - Constitutions
  3. Young People's Bible Meeting Programs (& photo)
    1913-1957
    Junior/Intermediate Bible meetings, 1952-1955
    Photo of founding group, 1911
  4. Misc. programs, 1911- 
    Includes some "ecumenical" programs, e.g. Sunday school workers conferences at other Protestant churches in the area.
  5. Misc. correspondence
  6. Abner Good sermon, 23 Sept. 1973 (addressing issue of divorce & remarriage)
  7. Lao Christian Fellowship history, 1991
  8. Photograph reproductions
  9. Emergency Sabbath Day materials, 1991-1992 (Gulf War)
  10. Historical celebrations
    Sesquicentennial, 1994
    75th anniversary & building dedication, 1990
    Richard Yordy retirement, 1989
    50th anniversary, Roy Koch ordination, 1986
    Speech from celebration of church members age 80 and over, 25 April 1993. 
  11. Historical notebooks, papers, etc.
    Ben Sauder notes, 1950-1956, 1960
    "A history of St. Jacobs Mennonite Church" by David Brubacher, 1978
    "The ministry of Richard Yordy at St. Jacobs," by Nevin Bauman, 1990
    Magdalena Feick, I will build my church (St. Jacobs, Ont. : The Church, 1986) 
    "A tribute to Moses M. Brubacher" by Harold Brubacher, n.d.
    "Reminiscing on the Goodness of God," by Roy Koch, 1978
    "The Forgotten Many," by Andrew Scheifele, 1992?
    "St. Jacob's Mennonite Church,"by Lloyd Wiseman, 1959 (Written by a Lutheran Seminary student)
  12. Membership correspondence (Transfers, etc.)
    1953-1975
  13. Misc. newsclippings
  14. Pastor review summaries, 1993, 2001
  15. Building drawings
    1936
    1949
    1976
    1990
  16. Correspondece with Raymond Kramer, 1958-1961 (Invitation to serve at St. Jacobs, etc.)
  17. Correspondence of Walter Brubacher (deacon), 1957-1960
    Scope and content: Includes correspondence with St. Jacobs pastors, pastoral search correspondence, a statement of reconcilliation between two church members, and letters re the founding of the Conservative Mennonite Church of Ontario.
  18. Epistle to the Hebrews : Adult study course : St. Jacobs Mennonite Church : Prayer meeting / Raymond L. Kramer

Series 3: Books used by congregation

Series 4: Church Bulletins

1950-1979
1980-2011 (each year includes bulletins for funerals and weddings)

Series 5: Newsletter

Pastoral Letter 
8 Oct 1958, 4 Nov 1959

The Beacon
Jan. 1967-Feb. 1971

Life Together
1979-2000, 2002-2011

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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