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Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church – Arelee, SK

Proper Title

Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church fonds

Dates of Creation

1908–2008

Physical Description

83 cm of textual records and 2 microfilm reels

Administrative History

The Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church, located in the Eagle Creek area, was first known as the Eagle Creek Russian Mennonite Brethren Church, and was once a part of the Russian Mennonite Brethren conference. In 1908, it became a member of the Canadian Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches, Northern District.

Early pioneers from Kiev, Russia, began to settle in the Eagle Creek District from 1897 to 1903. These pioneers were Christians who had been persecuted for their faith in Russia and had been baptized, sometimes secretly, by the Baptist Christians in Russia. The Arelee pioneers built two places for worship because travelling long distances with oxen was inconvenient. The first baptismal service was held in 1903. With increased attendance and changing circumstances, the two places were amalgamated. In 1908, two local men—Apalon Melashenko and Luka Krowchenko—were ordained to the ministry by Elder David Dyck.

The first church building was erected on S.E. section 12, Township 38, Range 12, the present site of the cemetery. In 1917, this place of worship became too small and the old place of worship was sold and a new one was erected. In 1946, the present building in the town of Arelee was built.

Leading ministers of the congregation were Apalon Melashenko (1908–1940), Luka Krowchenko (1908–1945), Sidor Motiko (1945–1960), David B. Wiens (served as assistant to the previous two pastors), Pete Unrau (assistant to the pastor 1957–1958), David Bergen (1960–1964), Mark Gripp (1964–1967), Waldemar Gripp (1967–1971), John Siemens (1972–1974), William Danko (1975–1977), Rueben Andres (1977–1984), John Willems (1984–1988), Harry Schmidt (1989–1991), Garth Fisher (1992–1993), and Archie Jantzen (1994–2008).

The language of worship is English.  The transition from German occurred in 1960.

The congregation celebrated its 100th anniversary in June 2008, but held the final service of the congregation on June 29 as part of that celebration.

Scope and Content

This fonds consists of the following series: Membership and family records; minutes of congregational meetings; financial records; and historical records.

Custodial History

Many of the records were microfilmed in 1978 through the work of the Historical Commission of the Mennonite Brethren Conference. After the church close in 2008, the remaining records, including those that had been microfilmed, were deposited with the archives. See Volumes 1285 and 1286.

Notes

  • Location: Volumes 601, 1285, and 1286.
  • Finding aid: The records are classified under the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches inventory BF509.
  • Finding aid for microfilm: R14, pp. 977–1561; R15, pp. 1–156.
  • Microfilm file list adapted from a previous finding aid by Leslie Wiebe June 2003.
  • Acc. Nos.: 2009-41; 2018-04.
  • Description updated October 2010 with the documents deposited following the church's closure in 2008; in 2018, the description was updated by Jon Isaak.
  • No restrictions.

Series Descriptions

I. Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church membership and family records.
1978, 2008.
128 pp.; microfilm and text.

  • Membership and family record Book I and Book II; the original books were eventually added to the collection in 2008.
  • Finding aid: Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church R15, pp. 28–156, and Vol. 1286.

II. Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church minutes of congregational meetings.
1908–2008.
482 pp.; microfilm and 61 cm of textual records.

  • Book I, II, and III, 1908–1967, are in the Russian language. Book IV, 1960–1971, is in the English language. These minutes are available on microfilm and 1908–1917 have been translated into English. The original books (plus minutes up to 1984) were eventually added to the collection in 2008 and 2018.
  • Finding aid: Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church R14, pp. 977–1459, Vol. 601, 1285, and 1286.

III. Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church financial records.
1939-2008.
20 cm of textual records; microfilm.

  • Book V includes records from 1939–1968. Book VI consists of Sunday school financial records from 1955–1968. The original books were eventually added to the collection in 2008.
  • Ledger books have financial records and financial reports are included in the congregational records.
  • Finding aid: Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church R14, pp. 1460–1561; R15, pp. 1–27; and Vols. 1285 and 1286.

IV. Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church historical records.
1968–1984, 2008.
4cm of textual records and 1 photograph.

  • This series consists of Arelee’s diamond jubilee yearbook (1908–1968) and Arelee's centennial book (1908–2008); a Sunday school manual by the Union Gospel Press Division with a picture of the Arelee church on the cover, a file of historical notes including a photograph of the church (1984), and David I. Bergen's eleven-page history of the Arelee MB Church to 2008.
  • Finding aid: Vols. 601. 1286, and 1286.

File List

Volume 601

  1. Yearbook: “Diamond Jubilee of Mennonite Brethren Church,” (2 copies). -- 1908–1968.
  2. Senior Bible Teacher: Picture of the Arelee MB Church on the cover. -- 1981.
  3. Historical notes, photocopy of original membership records, and two articles. -- 1908–2008.
    1. "Widening the Fellowship: Mennonite Brethren ministry to Russian and Jewish People,” by Ken Reddig in Mennonite Historian (September 2005), pp. 1–2.
    2. "Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church Centennial Celebration, 1908–2008," by David I. Bergen in Saskatchewan Mennonite Historian (October 2008), pp. 9–11.
  4. Translation of the Eagle Creek Community Russian Mennonite Brotherhood Church book for the record of all decisions of the brotherhood board (council) [Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church] for the years 1908–1917. -- [199-?].
  5. Hymns, No.2. -- n.d.
  6. Sunday School register. File cards. -- 1979.
  7. Sunday School register. -- 1963–1986.
  8. Congregational library catalogue. -- n.d.
  9. Congregational meeting minutes (1946–1965). Financial records (1952). Letter. n.d. -- 1946–1965.
  10. Resignation letters of various congregational offices. -- 1988.
  11. Photos. Arelee M. B. Cemetery - 2 views. 4 Ravine students in Bible School. -- n.d.
  12. Photo, Sidor Motiko? -- n.d.
  13. Clippings - various sources. -- n.d.
  14. Notes: congregational events. -- 1919–1965.

Volume 1285

  1. Annual General Meeting reports. -- 2006–2008.
  2. Congregational meeting minutes. -- 2005–2008.
  3. Sunday School registers. -- 1964–1982.
  4. Young People Committee meeting minutes. -- 1960.
  5. Ladies Fellowship meeting minutes (1958–1960). Constitution of the Women's Missionary Fellowship n.d. -- 1958–[19-?].
  6. Ladies Aid meeting  minutes, financial records, correspondence. -- 1930–1962.
  7. Sunday School register. -- 1963–1980.
  8. Pastor's correspondence and reports. -- 1968, 1973, 1974, 1979.
  9. Death notices. -- 1985–1987.
  10. Annual meeting reports. -- 1962, 1973.
  11. Christian Endeavor records and correspondence. -- 1917–1957, 1966.
  12. Young People Committee programmes (1968–1970). Records (1957–1969). -- 1957–1970.
  13. Constitution of the Arelee M. B. Church. -- 1967.
  14. Correspondence. -- 1962–1968.
  15. Arelee M.B. Cemetery records. -- n.d.
  16. Membership transfer records. Membership certificates (1962–1967). -- 1962–2004.
  17. Congregational records. -- 1931–1947.
  18. Registration as a charitable organization. -- 1967.
  19. Refugee family records. -- 1980.
  20. Prov. conf. statistical reports. -- 1964–1983.
  21. Stucco contract; meeting house. -- 1985–1987.
  22. Ministry questionnaire. -- 1993.
  23. Congregational meeting minutes. -- 2001–2003.
  24. Executive comm. meeting minutes. -- 1993–1999.
  25. Correspondence (1994–1995). Annual reports (1991–1994). -- 1991–1995.
  26. Congregational officers. -- 1973, 1974, 1978, 1982.
  27. Harvest Saskatchewan candle. -- 2007.
  28. Congregational meeting minutes. -- 1963–1984.
  29. "Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church History," by David I. Bergen. -- 2008.
  30.  "A Century of God's Blessing: Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church, 1908–2008." Commemorative history book. -- 2008.

Volume 1286

  1. Ledger books. Congregational meeting minutes. -- 1908–1993.
  2. Marriage register. -- 1901–1937.
  3. Congregational records and clippings. -- 1916–1938.
  4. Membership and family register. -- 1908–1961.
  5. 75th anniversary album. -- 1983.
  6. Financial record ledger books (3). -- 1939–1969.

Microfilm file list

Reel 14

  • Congregational Meeting Minutes (Book I – Russian and some English). -- 1908–1930. -- p. 977–1168.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes (Book II – Russian). -- Jan.1930–Oct.1953. -- p. 1169–1271.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes (Book III – Russian). -- Jan.1954–Dec.1967. -- p.1272–1358 (+125). Note: It is unclear what this number represents, but is included because it was in a previous finding aid.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes (Book IV-English). -- Dec. 1960–Oct. 1971. -- p. 1359–1459 (+100).
  • Financial Records (Book V). -- 1939–1968. -- p. 1460–1961 (+95).

Reel 15

  • Financial Records (Book VI). -- 1955–1968. -- p. 1–27.
  • Membership and Family Records (Book VII). -- ca.1956–1969. -- p.28–101.
  • Membership and Family Records (Book VIII). -- 1937–[197-] -- p.102–156 (+54). Note: It is unclear what this number represents, but is included because it was in a previous finding aid.
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