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Gem Mennonite Brethren Church – Gem, AB

Proper Title

Gem Mennonite Brethren Church fonds

Dates of Creation

1968–2010

Physical Description

41 cm of textual records and 2 microfilm reels

Administrative History

The Canadian Pacific Railway had developed farming areas in southern Alberta by their water diversion project to provide for irrigation farming. However, the first settlers were not successful after the first world war. Therefore, abandoned farms were available for new settlers. These were offered to the Mennonites in the late 1920s. One such settlement was Gem where Mennonites began arriving in 1928. They represented 3 Mennonite conferences: General Conference, Evangelical Mennonite Brethren, and Mennonite Brethren. They worshiped together in rented facilities the first year.

Then in 1929 the Mennonite Brethren founded their own congregation and were accepted into the Alberta Mennonite Brethren conference with 24 charter members. The Evangelical Mennonite Brethren families continued to worship with the Mennonite Brethren group but the General Conference families met separately and built their own meeting house in 1947. In 1932 the Mennonite Brethren group built their own meeting house and in 1943 an addition was added. In 1933 they also began the Bethesda Bible School on the site which operated until 1957. A new meeting house was built in 1952 which has been renovated over the years. The membership stood at 100 in 2000.

The leaders of the congregation were: Henry Siemens (1929–1936), P. P. Doerksen (1937–1959), H. H. Siemens (1959–1963), J. P. Doerksen (1963–1989), Larry Schmidt (1990–1993), Phil Born (1994–1997), John Block (1998– 2002?), and Barry Brecker (2003?- ).

The language of worship is English.  The transition from German occurred in the 1950s.

Scope and Content

This fonds consists of six series. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church history, Bulletins, Church registers, Annual reports and minutes, Gem Mennonite Brethren Church Youth committee records, Bethesda Bible School Board records.

Custodial History

Records were transferred to the Centre for MB Studies archives in Winnipeg, Manitoba on a regular basis to 2001. Some records were microfilmed in 1978 through the work of the Historical Commission of the Mennonite Brethren Conference.

Notes

  • Volumes 330–332.
  • Finding aid consists of a series description and a file list is available.
  • Finding aid: The records are classified under the Canadian Conference of MB Churches inventory BA-506.
  • Finding aid for microfilm: R50, pp.1194–2362, R51, pp.1–1296.
  • Described by Bert Friesen 25 September 2001, microfilm file list adapted from a previous finding aid by Leslie Wiebe June 2003. Updated by Yvonne Snider-Nighswander, 17 October 2011.
  • No restrictions to access.

Series Descriptions

I. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church history.
1979–1985.
3 cm of textual records.

  • This series consists of a congregational historical sketch ([197-?]), a brief congregational history (1985) and 50th anniversary book and clippings (1979).

II. Church bulletins.
1968–2010.
37.9 cm of textual records.

  • This series consists of congregational bulletins (1968–2001).

III. Church registers.
1929–1978.
293 pp.; microfilm and .1 cm f textual records.

  • This series consists of congregational membership register and family register, which includes data on birth, baptism, marriage, and death (1929–1978).

IV. Annual reports and minutes.
1929–1978.
887 pp.; microfilm.

  • This series consists of annual congregational minutes and reports (1929–1977), council minutes (1962–1978), missionary meeting minutes (1966–1978).

V. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church Youth committee records.
1929–1953, 1960–1967.
231 pp.; microfilm.

  • This series consists of financial records of the youth organization (1929–1948), record of youth committee programmes (1943–1953), and youth committee meeting minutes (1944–1952, 1960–1967).

VI. Bethesda Bible School Board records.
1936–1950.
102 pp.; microfilm.

  • This series consists of Bethesda Bible School financial records (1936–1950).

File List

Volumes 330–332

  1. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church history. – [197-?], 1985.
  2. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church clippings. – 1979.
  3. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church books. – 1979.
  4. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1968–1972.
  5. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1973–1974.
  6. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1975–1977.
  7. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1978–1979.
  8. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1980.
  9. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1981.
  10. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1982–1983.
  11. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1984.
  12. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1985–1986.
  13. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1987.
  14. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1988–1989.
  15. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1990.
  16. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1991.
  17. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1992.
  18. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1993.
  19. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1994.
  20. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1995.
  21. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1996.
  22. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1997–1998.
  23. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1998.
  24. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1999.
  25. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 1997.
  26. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 2000.
  27. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. – 2001.
  28. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church directory. – 1967.
  29. Gem Mennonite Brethren Churdh directory. -- 2005.
  30. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church directory. -- 2006.
  31. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. -- 2007.
  32. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. -- 2008.
  33. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. -- 2009.
  34. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins. -- 2010.

Microfilm file list

Reel 50

  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. – June 1929–Apr.1932. – p.1194–1238.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. – Nov.1933–Feb.1940. – p.1239–1434.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. – Apr.1940–Jan.1960. – p.1435–1986.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. – Feb.1960–Sept.1964. – p.1987–2169.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. – Nov.1964–Dec.1969. – p.2170–2362.

Reel 51

  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. – Feb.1970–Aug.1977. – p.1–181.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. – Nov.1977–June 1978. – p.182–202.
  • Membership and Family Register, Book I. – p.1052–1116. (+48). – Note: It is unclear what this number represents, but is included because it was in a previous finding aid.
  • Membership and Family Register, Book II. – p.1117–1221. (+78). – Note: It is unclear what this number represents, but is included because it was in a previous finding aid.
  • Membership and Family Register, Book III. – p.1222–1250. (+16). – Note: It is unclear what this number represents, but is included because it was in a previous finding aid.
  • Membership and Family Register, Book IV, Card register for family records. – p.1251–1296.
  • Annual Report on Church Programs. – 1960–1977. – p.203–486.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. – 1962. – p.487–495.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. – 1963–Nov.1966. – p.496–542.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. – Jan.1967–Mar.1975. – p.543–598.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. – May1975–May 2, 1978. – p.599–618.
  • Youth Committee. – Financial Records of Youth Organization. – 1929–1948. – p.931–951.
  • Youth Committee. – Record of Youth Meeting Programs. – Jan.1943–Feb.1953. – p.874–930.
  • Youth Committee. – Jugend Komitee Minutes. – Feb.1944–Dec.1953. – p.721–800.
  • Youth Committee Minutes. – Jan.1960–Mar.1964. – p.836–873.
  • Youth Committee Minutes. – Dec.1964–Mar.1967. – p.801–835.
  • Women’s Missionary Society Minutes. – Jan.1966–May1978. – p.952–1051.
  • School Board Committee. – Bethesda Bible School Financial Records. – 1936–1950. – p.619–720.
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