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Hespeler Mennonite Brethren Church – Hespeler, ON

Proper Title

Hespeler Mennonite Brethren Church fonds

Dates of Creation

1930–1953

Physical Description

3.5 cm of textual records; approx. 200 microfilm pages

Administrative History

The Hespeler Mennonite Brethren Church began as a branch of Mennonite Brethren church in Kitchener and remained so from 1926–1932.   Like its mother church, Hespeler was made up of Mennonites who had immigrated to the area in the 1920s. Membership climaxed at 31 in 1933, but remained below 20 for most of the church’s existence.

After meeting for a time in Wanner’s Church, the General Conference church building in the area, the Mennonite Brethren in Hespeler moved their services to the home of Jacob Bartel. By 1932, the congregation had outgrown the Bartel home, and began renting space in a local hall. Plans to construct a new church building never fully materialized.

In the early years, the congregation was served and supervised by Kitchener leaders, such as Jacob P. Friesen, Jacob W. Reimer, and Jacob P. Wiens. In 1932, Dietrich Klassen served as the first minister of an independent Hespeler congregation. From 1934–1945 the congregation was without a minister, a situation that was remedied in 1944 when Jacob Bartel took the leadership role. Johann Schoenke assumed the position in 1944 and served the church in this capacity until its dissolution in 1953.

After the dissolution, Hespeler members returned to the Kitchener congregation. They had been troubled by small membership numbers, and saw many advantages in joining a larger, more established congregation (Adapted from: He Leadeth…:History of the MB Churches of Ontario, edited by Isaak H. Tiessen).

Scope and Content

This fonds consists of a book of congregational minutes (20 December 1930 – 1 October 1953) and a membership and family register (1932–1953). Both textual and microfilm formats are available.

Custodial History

The materials were collected by Ed Boldt, Ontario MB Conference historian, and stored at Tabor Manor, St. Catharines, Ontario. In 2002, the collection was transferred to the Centre for MB Studies in Winnipeg, Manitoba, along with an assortment of other Ontario records. These same records were microfilmed through the work of the Historical Commission of the Mennonite Brethren Conference and deposited at the CMBS in 1978.

Notes

  • Finding aid consists of a file list.
  • The records are classified by the Canadian Conference of MB Churches inventory number BD505a. Microfilm materials are located on reel 38.
  • Accession No. 2002-018.
  • Described by Donovan Giesbrecht, 5 January 2005.
  • No restrictions on access.

File List

Volume 550

58. Congregational minutes (Book I). -- 1930–1953.
59. Membership and family register (Book II). -- 1932–1953.
60. Hespeler MB Church minutes and correspondence. -- 1928–1945, 1954.

Microfilm file list:

Reel 38

1. Membership and family register (Book II), pp. 1913–1942. -- 1932–1953.
2. Congregational minutes (Book I), pp. 1773–1912. -- 1930–1953.

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