Vineland United Mennonite Church (Vineland, ON)

Classification scheme: 
XIII-2-2

Title: Vineland United Mennonite Church fonds

Dates of creation: 1924-2015

Physical description: 7.0 m of textual records

Administrative history: About 1000 Russian Mennonite immigrants arrived Ontario in 1924 and were dispersed in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Markham and Vineland areas. After Jacob H. Janzen, already ordained as a minister, arrived in late 1924 there was interest in establishing a congregation. The "Mennonite Refugee Congregation in Ontario" was organized on June 21, 1925; it immediately sought affiliation with the General Conference Mennonite Church. The congregation changed its name in 1926 to "United Mennonite Church in Ontario". Initially it included all the membership of the congregations in Leamington and the Niagara Peninsula until they began their own church councils and took initial steps toward each group holding congregational status.

John Wichert moved to Vineland in 1926, and he took leadership of worship for a combined Mennonite Brethren - United Mennonite group. Wichert was ordained as a minister in the Waterloo-based congregation in 1928.

In 1936, soon after the congregation purchased land and began to build its own building, the congregation organized as a congregation separate from the Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonites. A new building was erected in 1957.

Jacob H. Janzen is considered the founding organizer of the group. 

Leading ministers since 1936 have included John J. Wichert (1927-1966; Bishop, 1944-1966), Cornelius K. Neufeld (1929-1938), Nicholai N. Fransen (1929-    ), Dietrich H. Koop (Bishop, 1931-1944),  Jacob K. Klassen (1965-1973), Henry H. Epp (1974-1976), Jacob Fransen (Ordained, 1958; Interim pastor, 1977-1978), John W. Neufeld (Ordained 1954; Leading minister, 1978-1984), Jacob Fransen (Interim, 1984/85), Peter Ratzlaff (1985-1991), David Brubacher (1991-1999), Marvin Friesen (1999-2004), Randy Dueck (2005-2007), Jim Sutton (Interim, 2008-2009), Ross Penner (2009-2013), Louise Wideman (2014- )

In 1950 there were 258 members; in 1965, 368; in 1975, 423; in 1985, 423; in 1995, 359; in 2005, 355.

Custodial history: The congregation has made occasional donations to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario; the large donation of pastors' records was made in the 1980s by Peter J. Neufeld. In 2009, a significant donation of early records, additional papers of John J. Wichert, and the records of the Helfenden Hande ("Helping Hands") women's society were received.

Scope and content: Contains the formal and informal records of the congregation. Reflecting the early recordkeeping practices of the group when the pastor or bishop served as primary recordkeeper, many of the congregation's early records are located within the pastors' files series.

Notes: For further information see Fuenfundzwanzig Jahre Vineland Mennoniten Gemeinde 1936-1961 (Vineland, Ont.: Vineland Vereinigte Mennonitengemeinde, 1961), 58 pp.; Harold Fransen, "The history of the Vineland Mennonite Church," Research paper, CMBC, 1977, 25 pp. Mennonite Heritage Centre (Winnipeg); Highlights of the Vineland United Mennonite Church 1936-1986: reflect, rejoice, renew (Vineland, Ont.: Vineland United Mennonite Church, 1986), 92 pp

The original description was created December 1999 by Sam Steiner.

Photographs related to this congregation are located through the Photograph database.

Series 1: Pastors' files

Sub-Series 1: John J. Wichert, 1942-1963

Note: Wichert served the Vineland United Mennonite Church as minister from 1927 and as elder from 1944-66. His files reflect not only pastoral concerns, but also his wider involvement in conference activities; specifically with the Conference of the United Mennonite Churches of Ontario and the Conference of Mennonites in Canada. Some of his files have been transferred to these institutional collections in order to complete their records. Where possible, files in institutional collections that were transferred from the Wichert files are identified as such. J. Wichert (Johann J.) lived from 1897-1983.

Box 1: 1942-1954

  1. Correspondence, general, 1942
  2. Correspondence, general, 1943
  3. Correspondence, general, 1944
  4. Correspondence, general, 1946
  5. Correspondence, general, 1946
  6. Correspondence, general, 1947
  7. Correspondence, general, 1948
  8. Correspondence, general, 1948-49
  9. Correspondence, 1951-53
  10. Correspondence general, 1951 
  11. Correspondence, general 1950
  12. Carbon. copies 1952
  13. Correspondence 1952
  14. Missions 1944-1962 .
  15. Correspondence 1953
  16. Correspondence 1953
  17. Correspondence 1954
  18. Correspondence 1954-55
  19. Correspondence 1954

Box 2: 1952-1957

  1. Letters Received 1952
  2. Correspondence, general 1955
  3. Correspondence, general 1955
  4. Correspondence, general 1955
  5. Correspondence, general 1955
  6. Mennonite Biblical Seminary - correspondence 1954-58
  7. Ontario Missions-correspondence, misc. 1954-56
  8. Letters Received 1956
  9. Correspondence 1956
  10. Home Missions 1956-57, Correspondence, minutes 
  11. Sudbury correspondence, 1956-57
  12. General Correspondence 1957-
    Dedication of Vineland Church Conference and Community involvement
  13. Blueprint pattern for new church and related correspondence, 1957

Box 3: 1957-1963

  1. Correspondence, 1957
  2. Church Evangelism Committee File, 1958
  3. Missions 1958, mostly Correspondence
  4. Missions 1949-58, correspondence
  5. Peace Committee 1956-58, Correspondence
  6. Letters Received, 1958
  7. Correspondence, general, 1958
  8. Home Missions, 1959, correspondence
  9. Correspondence, general, 1959
  10. Conference of Historic Peace Churches, 1950-63, correspondence
  11. Mennonite Biblical Seminary, correspondence, 1959-60
  12. Canada Missions, 1959 correspondence

Box 4: 1945-1965

  1. Waters Mennonite Fellowship 1959-63 mostly Correspondence 
  2. Ontario Mission 1946-60 correspondence
  3. Correspondence, general 1964-65 
  4. Ontario Missions 1963 
  5. Mostly Ontario Conference 1950-1962
  6. Mennonite Biblical Seminary, 1953-1962 correspondence
  7. Conference of Mennonites in Canada correspondence 1961-62
  8. Ontario Missions Committee 1961 correspondence
  9. Missions 1961 mostly Correspondence
  10. General Conference Board of Christian Service
  11. Correspondence, 1954-61
  12. Missions 1962 correspondence
  13. Canadian Missions 1961 correspondence
  14. Conference of Mennonites in Canada correspondence 1961
  15. Evangelism 1960 correspondence
  16. Conference of Historic Peace Churches 1958-60 correspondence
  17. Mennonite Biblical Seminary 1959 correspondence
  18. Correspondence, 1945
  19. Correspondence, 1960
  20. Correspondence, 1961
  21. Correspondence, 1962
  22. Correspondence, 1963
  23. Correspondence, 1964
  24. Correspondence, 1965
  25. Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1953-1958
  26. Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1959-1963
  27. Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1964
  28. Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1943-1947
  29. Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1948-1952
  30. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1929-1935 

Box 5
Note: Items 1-4 in this box were donated to the Archives in 2010 by Lydia Wichert. Item 5 was donated in 2016 from her estate.

  1. John J. Wichert preacher's book, ca. 1951-1962. - contains sermon notes and orders of service for ordinations.
  2. Songbook. - a handwritten notebook containing lyrics and ziphern notations
  3. Postcard calendar, 1950. Russland-deutscher heimatcalender : ein bildbericht aus der alten heimat / Stuttgart-Zuffenhaulen : Julian Merling, [1950?]. - a postcard calendar containing photographs of ethnic German settlements in eastern Europe before World War II.
  4. Mennonite history, 1935-1940. - Notes by J. Wichert for talks on Mennonite history.
  5. "The history of the Vineland United Mennonite Church" / by Harold Fransen. - Winnipeg, Apr 1977

Sub-Series 2: Jacob K. Klassen/Henry H. Epp files, 1964-1977

Box 5: 1964-1977

  1. Abundant Life Conference 1976 pamphlets
  2. Administration: Leadership Team 1967-74 Correspondence misc.
  3. Alcohol 1976-77 correspondence, misc, submission to Lincoln Town Council
  4. Art Festival 1975 Correspondence
  5. Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1970-77
    Note: Report book for the year 1977 is missing.
  6. Ashram Christian Retreat 1977 correspondence 
  7. Associated Services (Charity) Correspondence 1976
  8. Baptism Records 1968-74 misc.
  9. Benefit Shop 1975-77 correspondence
  10. Bethesda Home 1975-77 Correspondence 
  11. Bible Discussion 1950-73 correspondence, misc. 
  12. Bible Society 1970-76 correspondence, misc.
  13. Board of Education 1963-71 correspondence
  14. Brock University 1976 correspondence
  15. Brock University Conference 1974 correspondence misc.
  16. Mailing Lists 1977
  17. Burial Society 1968-74 constitution, minutes, financial
  18. Call for Action information N.D.
  19. Campbell- Reese Crusade 1977 misc.
  20. Campus Crusade 1976 misc., correspondence
  21. Canadian Congress on Evangelism minutes, notes 1968-70
  22. Canadian Mennonite Bible College correspondence mist.
  23. Mennonite Reporter 1974-75 correspondence
  24. Canadian Radio Committee correspondence 1960-68
  25. Caribbean Care 1974-76 correspondence, misc.
  26. Celebrations 1965-77 correspondence, programs
  27. Central Volunteer Bureau 1975 Correspondence
  28. Channel magazine 1976
  29. Child Dedication 1975 lists, forms
  30. Children's Aid Society 1968-69 Correspondence, booklets
  31. Choice Books misc. 1976
  32. Choral Groups and Music Program programs, correspondence 1970-77
  33. Choral Workshops correspondence mist. 1975-76
  34. Christian Friends of Israel 1975 misc.
  35. Church Growth- bibliography N.D.
  36. Church Schools- mist. 1976
  37. C.J.L. Foundation Newsletter 1963
  38. Come magazine 1975
  39. Communion- prayers and litanies N.D.
  40. Community 1976-77 correspondence misc.
  41. Community Care 1975 misc
  42. Community Management Services 1976 correspondence
  43. Conrad Grebel College 1965-76 correspondence
  44. Concern magazine 1975-77
  45. Consultation on the Rural Church 1971-72 correspondence minutes
  46. Correspondence United Mennonite conference 1966-74
  47. Correspondence mostly Mennonite Central Committee 1971-74
  48. Correspondence Conference of Mennonites in Canada 1975-77
  49. Correspondence United Mennonite conference 1975-77
  50. Correspondence Conference of Mennonites in Canada executive 1970-71
  51. Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1965-1969

Box 6: 1964-1977

  1. Correspondence 1976-77 Conference of Mennonites in Canada
  2. Correspondence 1967-74 general
  3. Correspondence 1974-77 general
  4. Mission correspondence 1965-71
  5. Correspondence 1966-74 Conference of United Mennonite Churches in Ontario/ Mennonite Mission and Service Board
  6. Correspondence 1965 general
  7. Correspondence 1970-73 general
  8. Crusade- Leighton Ford 1967 misc.
  9. Crusade- Boschman 1972 misc.
  10. Crusades-general (J.J. Wichert) 1963-65 misc.
  11. Crusades Augsburger 1961 misc.
  12. Crusades Brunk 1959 misc.
  13. Crusades general 1974-75 misc.
  14. Easter Seals 1976 misc.
  15. Education 1946-73 minutes
  16. Eden Christian College correspondence 1974-77
  17. Encounter Magazine 1976-77
  18. Evangelical Fellowship of Canada 1977 correspondence misc.
  19. Evangelical Minister's Fellowship minutes 1964
  20. Souderton Statement of Doctrine 1941
  21. Family misc. N.D.
  22. Finances 1964-1975 Conference and Vineland Church misc.
  23. Cultural Events 1976 misc.
  24. Funerals pre-1974 obituaries records
  25. General Conference correspondence misc. 1974-77 
  26. General Conference correspondence 1974-77 
  27. General Conference resources misc. 1974-75 
  28. General Conference Youth program 1955-63
  29. General History articles 1946- 57 (J.J. Wichert)
  30. German 1965-76 minutes, misc.
  31. Global Outreach 1975-76 misc.
  32. Billy Graham 1974-77 correspondence misc.
  33. Hamilton VS project 1966-74 minutes, correspondence misc.
  34. Heart Foundation 1976 correspondence
  35. Here's Life 1976-77 correspondence misc.
  36. Home Bible League magazine 1975

Box 7: 1964-1977

  1. Home Bible Studies 1967-76 lists, misc. 
  2. Home for the aged minutes, misc. 1950-77 
  3. Inter Mennonite correspondence 1975-76
  4. Inter Mennonite misc. 1972
  5. Inter Mennonite misc. 1976-77
  6. Inter Mennonite misc. 1974-77
  7. Jesus 76 Canada magazine
  8. Leprosy 1974-77 misc.
  9. John Howard Society misc. 1976
  10. Lincoln County Ministerial 1973-75 misc.
  11. Lung 1976 correspondence
  12. Mennonite Central Committee Correspondence 194-76
  13. Membership Lists 1963-73 directories, lists, misc.
  14. Membership Meetings 1967-74 minutes
  15. Annual Reports 1974-77 membership meeting minutes
  16. Membership Transfer forms 1969-73
  17. Church Council Minutes 1970-77
  18. Mennonite Biblical Seminary 1972-77 correspondence
  19. Mennonite Foundation 1974-77 misc.
  20. Ministers and Deacons 1967-76 correspondence misc.
  21. Ministers and Deacons 1973-75 correspondence
  22. Ministers and deacons conference 1966-70 minutes correspondence
  23. Minister's Reports and Ideas 1975-77 misc.
  24. Mission 1974-77 misc.
  25. Mission Aviation N.D. correspondence
  26. Mission Celebrations 1974-76 misc.
  27. United Mennonite Missions committee 1970-73 correspondence minutesB
  28. Barry Moore '76 misc.
  29. Barry Moore '76 music misc.
  30. Muscular Dystrophy N.D. correspondence
  31. Mushroom Family magazine 1975
  32. National Righteousness 1976-77 correspondence
  33. Newsletter Mailing list post 1974 lists, misc.
  34. Newsletters 1975-77
  35. Newsletter Mailing list pre 1974
  36. Niagara Christian College 1975-76 correspondence
  37. Niagara Evangelical Minister's Fellowship 1972-77 minutes misc.
  38. Niagara Region (Mennonite) 1975-77 correspondence misc.
  39. North End Christian Action 1975-76 misc.
  40. Ontario Mennonite Youth 1967-77 misc.
  41. Organization, Constitutions 1959 68 misc.
  42. Other Congregations 1970-76 bulletins, misc.
  43. Pastor and Community 1975 Correspondence
  44. Marney Patterson misc. 1977
  45. Marney Patterson misc. 1974
  46. Persons Congregations 1971-77 correspondence misc.
  47. Physical Plant- facilities N.D. misc.
  48. Pioneer Girls magazine 1975-77
  49. Pioneer Girls magazine misc 1971-76
  50. Program Misc. 1975

Box 8: 1964-1977

  1. Publications misc. N.D.
  2. Pulpit Committee minutes correspondence 1964-65
  3. Radio/ T.V. Ministry misc. 1972-77
  4. Radio Ministry 1959-60 correspondence misc.
  5. RAC misc. N.D.
  6. Red Cross 1976-77 misc.
  7. Resourses 1974-75 misc.
  8. Resources General Conference 1969 misc.
  9. Resources Youth misc. 1963-76
  10. Resources 1975 misc.
  11. Resources 1975 misc.
  12. Rockway catalogues correspondence 1975-77
  13. Schools misc. correspondence 1972-77
  14. Schools Correspondence misc. 1966-78
  15. Service and Missions 1966-73 correspondence misc. 
  16.  
  17. Silver Lake Camp 1969-77 correspondence
  18. Social Agencies 1975-77 misc.
  19. Youthtime, 1961-Jan 1966, 1968-1971
  20. Statistics misc. 1965-77
  21. St. Catharines Clergy Fellowship 1975-76 minutes misc. 
  22. Student Directories misc. 1966-76
  23. Student Services misc. 1976-77
  24. Subscriptions lists 71, 76
  25. Summer Bible School 1954-60 correspondence misc.
  26. Summer Bible School 1948-63 correspondence misc. (Wichert) 
  27. Summer Bible School 1972-75 misc.
  28. Sunday 1971-77 misc.
  29. Sunday School Lists 1974-77 lists
  30. Study Sunday 1975 misc.
  31. Sunday School 1970-75 misc.
  32. Rockhaven 1969-73 correspondence
  33. Teachers 1975 correspondence
  34. The Team 1975-77 minutes, correspondence
  35. Team 1975-77 misc.
  36. Team 1971-77 misc.
  37. Team of Leaders 1971-77 minutes
  38. Teen Challenge 1975 misc.
  39. UMEI 1965-71 correspondence misc.
  40. Turning Point 1976 miscellaneous correspondence
  41. Underground Evangelism 1971 magazine
  42. Wayside Home N.D. misc.
  43. World Vision 1976 correspondence
  44. Worship and Music 1976-77 misc.
  45. Yearbook 1968-75 correspondence misc.
  46. Young People 1975 minutes misc.
  47. Youth for Christ 1976-77 correspondence
  48. Music Festival 1976
  49. Canadian Mission Board correspondence, 1967-1971
  50. Crusade Correspondence, 1965-1973
  51. Correspondence re guest speakers for the church, 1966-1972
  52. N. N. Fransen correspondence, 1969-1970. Note: Fransen served as interim pastor during J.K. Klassen's study leave.

Sub-series 3: Dietrich H. Koop files, 1931-1943

  1. 1931-1934
  2. 1935-1936
  3. 1938-1939
  4. 1938-1940
  5. 1941-1942
  6. 1943

Series 2: Church bulletins and programs

  1. Muttertags Programm, 26 May 1940
    Weihnachsprogramm, 24 Dec 1940 
    Adventsprogramm, 30 Nov 1941
    Bekanntmachungen, 1949-1951
    Programm zur Kirchen-Einweihung, 22 Dec 1957
    Gebetswoche, 1969
    Jubilee, 1986
  2. 1965-2017

Series 3: Formal records

  1. Annual reports, 1979-1980, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995-2015
    Note: Annual Reports for the years 1977 and previous are to be found in Series 1: Pastors' files.
  2. Directories, 1978, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 (photo), 2012, 2015 (binder, photos)
  3. Membership and Church Board meeting minute books, 1929-1974 (photocopy)
    Note: In 1948, the original church minutes from 1929 onward were copied by hand into bound minute books. This practice continued until 1974. The minute books are in the possession of the Vineland United Mennonite Church. Photocopies of the minute books are in this folder. The original church minutes used to create the entries in the bound minute books are to be found in Series 1: Pastors' files.
  4. Constitutions 
    1936 (and English translation)
    1960 (and English translation)
    Constitutional Committee meeting minutes, 1978-1979 
    1979 
    10 February 2007
  5. Familienverzeichnis = Family Register sheets, [192-]-[196-]
  6. Membership transfers, [192-]-[196-]
  7. Sunday School Records, 1965-1980
    Note: Incomplete. Handwritten notes were removed.
  8. Pulpit Committee, 1973-1974
  9. Christian Home Builders, 1962- 1988
    Note: Includes Family Camp records, 1979-1988
  10. Jungend-Verein = Youth Organization
    Constitution and minute book, 1941
    Youth Choir Songbook, [19--]
    Constitution, 1953
    Constitution, 1963
  11. Correspondence re incorporation, 1936, 1941
  12. Treasurer's Correspondence, 1930-1937, 1942-1946
  13. Districtman's correspondence (Gerhard J. Dyck), 1934-1935
  14. Vinelander Gruppe registers
    19 July 1924-10 Nov 1925
    1927-1929
    1931-1934
    1935-1937

Series 4: Newsletter

Nov 1971, Aug 1976, 1978-1980, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1993 (scattered)

Series 5: Helfende Hande = Helping Hands

  1. Minute books 
    1945-1993
  2. Correspondence 
    1963-1978
    Note: Only a sample of correspondence was kept. Receipts were not retained.
  3. Drama scripts in low German
    Tjeen rachjtit fohdalaunt
    Nur eine alte orgel / by Frau Victor Peters
    Uht biwejdi tiet 
    Jeatsche en wiensche
    Ut de loide ole tiet
    Friede auf erden
    Die werburg fuer das kreuz
    Untitled
    Untitled
    Unter dem Christbaum
    Wie brucki mee'a leew / adapted from Frauz Faust by John J. Enns
    Untitled
    Eewfach es nich prosst : en lustspiel in plattdeutscher sprache in einen aufzuge
    In frauenverein : gespraech fuer 6 frauen oder maedchen / by J.H. Janzen
    Untitled
    Das weihnachtsherz
    Das schonste lied fur Weinachten / by Frau Krahn
  4. Programs 
    (scattered years)
  5. Reports
    1964-1968
    1970-1974
    1975-78
  6. Speeches and devotional readings
  7. Scrapbook, 1995

Series 6: Realia

  1. Mennonite Boys League
    Badge
    Membership card

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Mennonite Archives of Ontario
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