Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church (Waterloo, ON)

Classification scheme: 

Dates of creation: 1924-2001
Note: Further accruals are expected.

Physical description: 20 cm of textual records

Administrative history: The congregation is located at 15 George St., Waterloo, Ont. Russian Mennonite immigrants of "Kirchliche" background arrived in the Kitchener-Waterloo in 1924. They worshiped together with Mennonite Brethren immigrants initially, under the leadership of the Mennonite Brethren minister. After Jacob H. Janzen, already ordained as a minister, arrived in late 1924 there began to be interest in a separate 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 the Waterloo-Kitchener congregation met in rented quarters on King Street North in Waterloo above the Harmony Lunch diner. In 1927 the congregation moved to 15 George St. in Waterloo on a rental basis. The building had been part of the Presbyterian Church that had become part of the United Church. Indeed the building was owned by First United Church in Waterloo. The congregation purchased the property in 1932.

The congregation has been affiliated with the Conference of United Mennonite Churches (1929-88), the Conference of Mennonites in Canada, the General Conference Mennonite Church (1926-) and the Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada (1988-). The languages of worship are English and German; the transition from German began in the 1950s.

Jacob H. Janzen is considered the founding minister of the group. Leading ministers since 1924 have included Jacob H. Janzen (1925-1947), Henry H. Epp (1948-1951), Henry P. Epp (1951-1956), No Leading Minister (1956-1958), Henry H. Epp (1958-1965), No Leading Minister (1965-1967), Henry Isaac (1967-1971), David Neufeld (Interim, 1971-1973), Leonard Epp (1973-1980), Walter Klaassen (Interim preacher, 1980/81), Peter G. Sawatsky (1981-1988), Waldemar Regier (1988-1998), Edmund Pries (Interim, 1999), David Rogalsky (2000-2005), Sue C. Steiner (Interim, 2005), David Brubacher (Interim, 2005-2006), Nancy Brubaker Bauman (Interim, 2006-2008), Nancy Mann (2009-2014), Rudy Baergen (Interim, 2014-2016), Ben Cassells (2016- )

In 1925 there were 125 members; in 1950, 400; in 1965, 440; in 1975, 419; in 1985, 440; in 1995, 434.

Custodial history: The congregation has made occasional donations to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario but the primary archival collection is at the church.

Notes: For further information see Jubilee issue of the Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church, Jacob Fast & Herbert P. Enns, ed. (Waterloo, Ont. : The Church, 1974).

Original description created December 1999 by Sam Steiner

File list:

Series 1: Formal records

  1. Constitution, 1954
  2. Protokoll der Konferenz der Prediger der Waterloo-Kitchener Gemeinde, 1933-1934
  3. Church Council memo, 1971
  4. Congregational financial statement, 1959
  5. Congregational directory/photo book, 1964, 1966, 1971/1972 (Young people's directory), 1977-1979, 1981, 1984, 1989, 2001
  6. Annual reports and congregational meeting minutes
    1929, 1972, 1977, 1980-1989, 1996, 2001
  7. Congregational Profile 
  8. Membership records
    Familien Verziechnis, 1924-[194-]
    Custodial history: Received from the Church in 2014.
    Scope and content: 2 bound volumes of family register sheets, each with an accompanying index. One folder of membership lists, [19--], 1927, 1932. Also, 5 cm of unbound family register sheets, some filed together with supporting documents. Contents of the unbound sheets and bound volumes do not necessarily overlap. Unbound sheets are located in the map case.
    Index to Book I: Surnames A-L, Surnames M-Z
    Index to Book II:  Surnames A-J, Surnames K-Z

Series 2: Informal records

  1. Geschichte der Waterloo-Kitchener Vereinigten Mennonitengemeinde, 1925-1953
  2. Jubilee issue of the Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church, Jacob Fast & Herbert P. Enns, ed. (Waterloo, Ont. : The Church, 1974) (2 copies)
  3. Correspondence, 1965-1966
  4. List of immigrants living in Waterloo, 1930. - Donated to the Archives as part of the the Vineland United Mennonite Church accession c. 2010.
  5. Gordon Johnston's recollections of the congregation, [between 1966 and 1977]
  6. Arrangement of "Leise rieselt der Schnee" by R. Rempel, 1947
    Custodial history: Donated to the Archives by Len Enns in 2013.
  7. Special programs, 1988, 2000
  8. Clippings
  9. Ministry Inquiry Program, 1990

Series 3: Church bulletins

1955-1962 (Scattered issues)
1963-1964 (incomplete)
1971-1974 (scattered)
1994 (incomplete)
17 Sep 2000, 15 Oct 2000

Series 4: Newsletter

George Street Journal, 1989-1996

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Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238