Classification scheme: 
Hist. Mss. 1.205

Title: Alvin N. Roth fonds

Dates of creation: 1966, 1979-1980, 1988-2000

Physical description: 8 cm of textual records

Biographical sketch: Alvin Nelson Roth (18 December 1913-27 September 2002) was the second of ten children born to David Roth and Barbara Jantzi. He grew up on a farm near Wellesley, Ontario in a typical Amish Mennonite home. Although he would have liked to continue his education, as was the custom of the time in his church, he left school on his 14th birthday.

Roth had a conversion experience in 1934 after which he felt a call to Christian ministry. Roth attended Eastern Mennonite School in Harrisonburg, Va. in 1937/38. He and Madeline Bender were married 7 June 1939; they had six children. They farmed until the late 1940s

In 1948 the Roths purchased a farm in the Nairn, Ontario area, and with other families participated in a church planting initiative there. This mission venture was led by Wilfred and Emma Schlegel. In 1950 Wilfred Schlegel asked Alvin and Madeline if they would sell their farm and move to London, Ontario to open and operate a rescue mission based on the model of Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. They opened the doors to the Goodwill Rescue Mission in January 1951.

Over time the mission expanded its social services, and later became known as Mission Services of London, with ministries for men, women, teens, persons needing sheltered environments, etc. In 1953 the Roths helped for the congregation that later was known as Valleyview Mennonite Church. Roth served as director of the mission until 1979. His theology of mission became much more wholistic over time, and served as a model for a number of Mennonite outreach ministries in Ontario.

After retirement Roth was involved with various chaplaincies, and with forming the Agape Fellowship House Churches -- a ministry that provided an alternative for low-income persons to the traditional church that was not comfortable for them. Roth died on 27 September 2002.

Scope and content: The fonds primarily consists of teaching papers created by Alvin Roth in the course of his ministry at Agape Fellowship Churches.

Custodial history: Donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario by Enos and Doris Kipfer in May 2004. An additional paper was donated by Vernon Brubacher in 2012.

Notes: Description created 12 May 2004 by Sam Steiner
For further information see Alvin Roth, My journey. Kitchener, ON : Pandora Press, 2001.

File list:

Series 1: Teaching Papers (1988-2000)

  1. Theological topics (God, Jesus, Sin, Baptism, Prayer, etc.)
  2. Christian life (Ministry, marriage, call, worship, etc.)
  3. Transactional Analysis-related (OK and not OK)
  4. Christian community

Series 2: Additional papers

  1. Social work in the context of religion, 16 Nov 1966
  2. Correspondence with Ivan Kauffman
    Notes: Includes the following papers by Roth: "Sin - cause and remedy"; "A study paper on theology for Christian mission"; "Community Habitat of London is [...]." This file was transferred from the Archives of the Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind., in 2013.

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