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 in 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
- Correspondence, general, 1942
- Correspondence, general, 1943
- Correspondence, general, 1944
including correspondence re his wedding and ordination as bishop
- Correspondence, general, 1946
- Correspondence, general, 1946
- Correspondence, general, 1947
- Correspondence, general, 1948
- Correspondence, general, 1948-49
- Correspondence, 1951-53
- Correspondence general, 1951
- Correspondence, general 1950
- Carbon. copies 1952
- Correspondence 1952
- Missions 1944-1962
- Correspondence 1953
- Correspondence 1953
- Correspondence 1954
- Correspondence 1954-55
- Correspondence 1954
Box 2: 1952-1957
- Letters Received 1952
- Correspondence, general 1955
- Correspondence, general 1955
- Correspondence, general 1955
- Correspondence, general 1955
- Mennonite Biblical Seminary - correspondence 1954-58
- Ontario Missions-correspondence, misc. 1954-56
- Letters Received 1956
- Correspondence 1956
- Home Missions 1956-57, Correspondence, minutes
- Sudbury correspondence, 1956-57
- General Correspondence 1957-
Dedication of Vineland Church Conference and Community involvement
- Blueprint pattern for new church and related correspondence, 1957
Box 3: 1957-1963
- Correspondence, 1957
- Church Evangelism Committee File, 1958
- Missions 1958, mostly Correspondence
- Missions 1949-58, correspondence
- Peace Committee 1956-58, Correspondence
- Letters Received, 1958
- Correspondence, general, 1958
- Home Missions, 1959, correspondence
- Correspondence, general, 1959
- Conference of Historic Peace Churches, 1950-63, correspondence
- Mennonite Biblical Seminary, correspondence, 1959-60
- Canada Missions, 1959 correspondence
Box 4: 1945-1965
- Waters Mennonite Fellowship 1959-63 mostly Correspondence
- Ontario Mission 1946-60 correspondence
- Correspondence, general 1964-65
- Ontario Missions 1963
- Mostly Ontario Conference 1950-1962
- Mennonite Biblical Seminary, 1953-1962 correspondence
- Conference of Mennonites in Canada correspondence 1961-62
- Ontario Missions Committee 1961 correspondence
- Missions 1961 mostly Correspondence
- General Conference Board of Christian Service
- Correspondence, 1954-61
- Missions 1962 correspondence
- Canadian Missions 1961 correspondence
- Conference of Mennonites in Canada correspondence 1961
- Evangelism 1960 correspondence
- Conference of Historic Peace Churches 1958-60 correspondence
- Mennonite Biblical Seminary 1959 correspondence
- Correspondence, 1945
- Correspondence, 1960
- Correspondence, 1961
- Correspondence, 1962
- Correspondence, 1963
- Correspondence, 1964
- Correspondence, 1965
- Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1953-1958 (file missing)
- Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1959-1963 (file missing)
- Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1964 (file missing)
- Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1943-1947 (file missing)
- Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1948-1952 (file missing)
- Annual Meeting Minutes, 1927, 1929-1935 (file missing)
Note: Items 1-4 in this box were donated to the Archives in 2010 by Lydia Wichert. Items 5-14 were donated in 2016 and 2022 from her estate.
- John J. Wichert preacher's book, ca. 1951-1962 (contains sermon notes and orders of service for ordinations)
- Songbook. - a handwritten notebook containing lyrics and ziphern notations
- 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.
- Mennonite history, 1935-1940. - Notes by J. Wichert for talks on Mennonite history.
- "The history of the Vineland United Mennonite Church" / by Harold Fransen. - Winnipeg, Apr 1977
- John J. Wichert's English handwriting practice book, 1918-1925
- John J. Wichert correspondence, [19--]-1941
- Notes on the care of cattle
- Annotated Minister's Manual (1950)
- Talk on the origins and development of the United Mennonite Church in Ontario, 1944
- News clipping, "Mennonite peoples must come home, Moscow decrees."
- Letters to John J. Wichert from men in military service, 1944-1945
- Certificates, immigration and travel documents
Sub-Series 2: Jacob K. Klassen/Henry H. Epp files, 1964-1977
Box 5: 1964-1977
- Abundant Life Conference 1976 pamphlets
- Administration: Leadership Team 1967-74 Correspondence misc.
- Alcohol 1976-77 correspondence, misc, submission to Lincoln Town Council
- Art Festival 1975 Correspondence
- Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1970-77
Note: Report book for the year 1977 is missing.
- Ashram Christian Retreat 1977 correspondence
- Associated Services (Charity) Correspondence 1976
- Baptism Records 1968-74 misc.
- Benefit Shop 1975-77 correspondence
- Bethesda Home 1975-77 Correspondence
- Bible Discussion 1950-73 correspondence, misc.
- Bible Society 1970-76 correspondence, misc.
- Board of Education 1963-71 correspondence
- Brock University 1976 correspondence
- Brock University Conference 1974 correspondence misc.
- Mailing Lists 1977
- Burial Society 1968-74 constitution, minutes, financial
- Call for Action information N.D.
- Campbell- Reese Crusade 1977 misc.
- Campus Crusade 1976 misc., correspondence
- Canadian Congress on Evangelism minutes, notes 1968-70
- Canadian Mennonite Bible College correspondence mist.
- Mennonite Reporter 1974-75 correspondence
- Canadian Radio Committee correspondence 1960-68
- Caribbean Care 1974-76 correspondence, misc.
- Celebrations 1965-77 correspondence, programs
- Central Volunteer Bureau 1975 Correspondence
- Channel magazine 1976
- Child Dedication 1975 lists, forms
- Children's Aid Society 1968-69 Correspondence, booklets
- Choice Books misc. 1976
- Choral Groups and Music Program programs, correspondence 1970-77
- Choral Workshops correspondence mist. 1975-76
- Christian Friends of Israel 1975 misc.
- Church Growth- bibliography N.D.
- Church Schools- mist. 1976
- C.J.L. Foundation Newsletter 1963
- Come magazine 1975
- Communion- prayers and litanies N.D.
- Community 1976-77 correspondence misc.
- Community Care 1975 misc
- Community Management Services 1976 correspondence
- Conrad Grebel College 1965-76 correspondence
- Concern magazine 1975-77
- Consultation on the Rural Church 1971-72 correspondence minutes
- Correspondence United Mennonite conference 1966-74
- Correspondence mostly Mennonite Central Committee 1971-74
- Correspondence Conference of Mennonites in Canada 1975-77
- Correspondence United Mennonite conference 1975-77
- Correspondence Conference of Mennonites in Canada executive 1970-71
- Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1965-1969
Box 6: 1964-1977
- Correspondence 1976-77 Conference of Mennonites in Canada
- Correspondence 1967-74 general
- Correspondence 1974-77 general
- Mission correspondence 1965-71
- Correspondence 1966-74 Conference of United Mennonite Churches in Ontario/ Mennonite Mission and Service Board
- Correspondence 1965 general
- Correspondence 1970-73 general
- Crusade- Leighton Ford 1967 misc.
- Crusade- Boschman 1972 misc.
- Crusades-general (J.J. Wichert) 1963-65 misc.
- Crusades Augsburger 1961 misc.
- Crusades Brunk 1959 misc.
- Crusades general 1974-75 misc.
- Easter Seals 1976 misc.
- Education 1946-73 minutes
- Eden Christian College correspondence 1974-77
- Encounter Magazine 1976-77
- Evangelical Fellowship of Canada 1977 correspondence misc.
- Evangelical Minister's Fellowship minutes 1964
- Souderton Statement of Doctrine 1941
- Family misc. N.D.
- Finances 1964-1975 Conference and Vineland Church misc.
- Cultural Events 1976 misc.
- Funerals pre-1974 obituaries records
- General Conference correspondence misc. 1974-77
- General Conference correspondence 1974-77
- General Conference resources misc. 1974-75
- General Conference Youth program 1955-63
- General History articles 1946- 57 (J.J. Wichert)
- German 1965-76 minutes, misc.
- Global Outreach 1975-76 misc.
- Billy Graham 1974-77 correspondence misc.
- Hamilton VS project 1966-74 minutes, correspondence misc.
- Heart Foundation 1976 correspondence
- Here's Life 1976-77 correspondence misc.
- Home Bible League magazine 1975
Box 7: 1964-1977
- Home Bible Studies 1967-76 lists, misc.
- Home for the aged minutes, misc. 1950-77
- Inter Mennonite correspondence 1975-76
- Inter Mennonite misc. 1972
- Inter Mennonite misc. 1976-77
- Inter Mennonite misc. 1974-77
- Jesus 76 Canada magazine
- Leprosy 1974-77 misc.
- John Howard Society misc. 1976
- Lincoln County Ministerial 1973-75 misc.
- Lung 1976 correspondence
- Mennonite Central Committee Correspondence 194-76
- Membership Lists 1963-73 directories, lists, misc.
- Membership Meetings 1967-74 minutes
- Annual Reports 1974-77 membership meeting minutes
- Membership Transfer forms 1969-73
- Church Council Minutes 1970-77
- Mennonite Biblical Seminary 1972-77 correspondence
- Mennonite Foundation 1974-77 misc.
- Ministers and Deacons 1967-76 correspondence misc.
- Ministers and Deacons 1973-75 correspondence
- Ministers and deacons conference 1966-70 minutes correspondence
- Minister's Reports and Ideas 1975-77 misc.
- Mission 1974-77 misc.
- Mission Aviation N.D. correspondence
- Mission Celebrations 1974-76 misc.
- United Mennonite Missions committee 1970-73 correspondence minutesB
- Barry Moore '76 misc.
- Barry Moore '76 music misc.
- Muscular Dystrophy N.D. correspondence
- Mushroom Family magazine 1975
- National Righteousness 1976-77 correspondence
- Newsletter Mailing list post 1974 lists, misc.
- Newsletters 1975-77
- Newsletter Mailing list pre 1974
- Niagara Christian College 1975-76 correspondence
- Niagara Evangelical Minister's Fellowship 1972-77 minutes misc.
- Niagara Region (Mennonite) 1975-77 correspondence misc.
- North End Christian Action 1975-76 misc.
- Ontario Mennonite Youth 1967-77 misc.
- Organization, Constitutions 1959 68 misc.
- Other Congregations 1970-76 bulletins, misc.
- Pastor and Community 1975 Correspondence
- Marney Patterson misc. 1977
- Marney Patterson misc. 1974
- Persons Congregations 1971-77 correspondence misc.
- Physical Plant- facilities N.D. misc.
- Pioneer Girls magazine 1975-77
- Pioneer Girls magazine misc 1971-76
- Program Misc. 1975
Box 8: 1964-1977
- Publications misc. N.D.
- Pulpit Committee minutes correspondence 1964-65
- Radio/ T.V. Ministry misc. 1972-77
- Radio Ministry 1959-60 correspondence misc.
- RAC misc. N.D.
- Red Cross 1976-77 misc.
- Resourses 1974-75 misc.
- Resources General Conference 1969 misc.
- Resources Youth misc. 1963-76
- Resources 1975 misc.
- Resources 1975 misc.
- Rockway catalogues correspondence 1975-77
- Schools misc. correspondence 1972-77
- Schools Correspondence misc. 1966-78
- Service and Missions 1966-73 correspondence misc.
- Silver Lake Camp 1969-77 correspondence
- Social Agencies 1975-77 misc.
- Youthtime, 1961-Jan 1966, 1968-1971
- Statistics misc. 1965-77
- St. Catharines Clergy Fellowship 1975-76 minutes misc.
- Student Directories misc. 1966-76
- Student Services misc. 1976-77
- Subscriptions lists 71, 76
- Summer Bible School 1954-60 correspondence misc.
- Summer Bible School 1948-63 correspondence misc. (Wichert)
- Summer Bible School 1972-75 misc.
- Sunday 1971-77 misc.
- Sunday School Lists 1974-77 lists
- Study Sunday 1975 misc.
- Sunday School 1970-75 misc.
- Rockhaven 1969-73 correspondence
- Teachers 1975 correspondence
- The Team 1975-77 minutes, correspondence
- Team 1975-77 misc.
- Team 1971-77 misc.
- Team of Leaders 1971-77 minutes
- Teen Challenge 1975 misc.
- UMEI 1965-71 correspondence misc.
- Turning Point 1976 miscellaneous correspondence
- Underground Evangelism 1971 magazine
- Wayside Home N.D. misc.
- World Vision 1976 correspondence
- Worship and Music 1976-77 misc.
- Yearbook 1968-75 correspondence misc.
- Young People 1975 minutes misc.
- Youth for Christ 1976-77 correspondence
- Music Festival 1976
- Canadian Mission Board correspondence, 1967-1971
- Crusade Correspondence, 1965-1973
- Correspondence re guest speakers for the church, 1966-1972
- 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
Series 2: Church bulletins and programs
- Muttertags Programm, 26 May 1940
Weihnachsprogramm, 24 Dec 1940
Adventsprogramm, 30 Nov 1941
Programm zur Kirchen-Einweihung, 22 Dec 1957
Last church service in the German language, 28 Dec 2003
Series 3: Formal records
- 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.
- Directories, 1965, [1968?], 1978, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 (photo), 2012, 2015 (binder, photos)
- Membership and Church Board meeting minute books, 1929-1974 (photocopy); May 1927, 13 Apr 1936-23 Dec 1938 (handwritten)
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. See note in file re the handwritten minutes included here.
1936 (and English translation)
1960 (and English translation)
Constitutional Committee meeting minutes, 1978-1979
10 February 2007
- Familienverzeichnis = Family Register sheets, [192-]-[196-]
- Membership transfers, [192-]-[196-]
- Sunday School Records, 1965-1980
Note: Incomplete. Handwritten notes were removed.
- Pulpit Committee, 1973-1974
- Christian Home Builders, 1962- 1988
Note: Includes Family Camp records, 1979-1988
- Jungend-Verein = Youth Organization
Constitution and minute book, 1941
Youth Choir Songbook, [19--]
- Correspondence re incorporation, 1936, 1941
- Treasurer's Correspondence, 1930-1937, 1942-1946
- Districtman's correspondence (Gerhard J. Dyck), 1934-1935
- Vinelander Gruppe registers
19 July 1924-10 Nov 1925
Series 4: Newsletter
Nov 1971, Aug 1976, 1978-1980, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1993 (scattered)
Series 5: Helfende Hande = Helping Hands
- Minute books
Note: Only a sample of correspondence was kept. Receipts were not retained.
- 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
Unter dem Christbaum
Wie brucki mee'a leew / adapted from Frauz Faust by John J. Enns
Eewfach es nich prosst : en lustspiel in plattdeutscher sprache in einen aufzuge
In frauenverein : gespraech fuer 6 frauen oder maedchen / by J.H. Janzen
Das schonste lied fur Weinachten / by Frau Krahn
When You and I Were Young, Liesji
- Speeches and devotional readings
- Scrapbook, 1995
- Directories, 1973, 1974/75, 1975/76, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986
Series 6: Realia
- Mennonite Boys League
Series 7: Informal records
- News clippings, [1935 or 1936], 1978
- Membership lists and statistics compiled by Lydia Wichert