Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church – Main Centre, SK
Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church fonds
Dates of Creation
3 cm of textual records and microfilm
The Main Centre Mennonite Brethren was founded June 1904 by recently arrived settlers from Steinbach, Manitoba, who were soon joined by other settlers from Russia and the USA. Main Centre is located 50 km east-north-east of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and just north of Herbert. The 15 charter members began meeting for worship under the leadership of Rev. Benjamin Janz and deacon Johann Schroeder. The church first met in various homes and then the Main Centre school until a church building was constructed in 1907. This building was in continuous use until at least the 1980s.
The first baptism was held on 16 August 1905. In 1915, the Main Centre church hosted the North District Conference of the Mennonite Brethren (later known as the Canadian Conference). Membership peaked in 1937 at 239. The economic oppression of the Great Depression forced many farmer-members to move to British Columbia or to other, more fertile, parts of Saskatchewan. The pastor at Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church in 1999 was Kenneth Epp and membership was 74.
Ministers, leaders, and pastors at Main Centre have included: Benjamin Janz (1904–1915), Jacob D. Ewert (1906–1917), Johann P. Wiebe (1917–1923), Henry P. Janz (1924–1932), Jacob A. Martens (1924–1927, 1929–1940), Klaas Ewert (1928), Nick P. Janz (1923–1935, 1943–1950), Jacob F. Redekop (1932–1945), Abram P. Janz (1940–1941), Abram D. Remple (1941–1943), John D. Goertzen (1943–1953, 1954–1956), Johann Siemens (1953–1954, 1956, 1958–1961), Abram Goerz (1956–1958), Abram Siebert (1958), Rudy Heidebrecht (1960), David Epp (1961–1969), Edward Hamm (1969–1973), Alvin Hamm (1973–1979), Murray Unruh (1980–1984), Reg Toews (1986–1992), Ken Epp (1992–2015?).
Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church has also been known as the Bethel Mennonite Brethren at Main Centre, Saskatchewan.
The language of worship is English. The transition from German occurred in the 1950s.
Church membership was 74 in 2000, and 66 in 2010.
In February 2019, the congregation decided to end regular services in June 2019. The reality of declining attendance (less than ten) meant that the ongoing viability of church programming and maintenance became unsustainable. The church made the decision to close with dignity and bless the remaining members to participate in other local congregations. Minutes of the February 2019 congregational meeting are included in the collection.
Scope and Content
This fonds consists of the following series: Historical notes, annual reports, church bulletins, membership and family records, and congregational meeting and Jugendverein meeting minutes.
The Historical Commission of the Mennonite Brethren Conference microfilmed many of the records in 1978.
- Volume 592.
- Finding aid: The records are classified under the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches inventory BF505.
- Finding aid for microfilm: R43–45.
- Microfilm file list adapted from a previous finding aid by Leslie Wiebe June 2003.
- Updated by Jon Isaak, May 2019.
I. Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church historical notes.
1954, 1979, 1985, 2019.
1.5 cm of textual records.
- This series consists of historical sketches created for the 75th anniversary of the church in 1979 and an addendum thereto from 1985. Bulletins from the celebrations are also included. Microfilmed information includes historical notes on the first 50 years of the congregation (1904–1954) by Johann Goertzen. Unfortunately this is probably in Fresno.
- Finding aid: Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church fonds file list, folder 1 and 4.
II. Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church annual reports.
0.5 cm of textual records.
- This series consists of a 1950 annual report in German.
- Finding aid: Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church fond file list, folder 2.
III. Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church bulletins.
1 cm of textual records.
- This series consists of a complete set of 1988 weekly church bulletins and inserts; they contain the order of service and announcements.
- Finding aid: Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church fonds file list, folder 3.
IV. Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church membership and family records.
522 pp. microfilm.
- This series consist of three membership and family register books; 1904–1937; [193-?]–[195-?]; [195-?]–1978.
- Finding aid: Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church R45 (see microfilm below).
V. Main Centre minutes.
3745 pp. microfilm.
- This series consists of minutes from congregational meetings (1908–1977), minutes from Jugendverein meetings (1908–1972), and minutes from the February 2019 meeting where the decision to end services was taken.
- Finding aid: Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church R43, pp. 763–1884; R44, pp. 1–2356; R45, pp. 1–268.
- Finding aid: Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church fonds file list, folder 4a.
1. Historical Notes. -- 1979, 1985.
2. Jahres Berichte (Annual Reports). -- 1950.
3. Weekly Church Bulletins. -- 1988.
4. 75th Anniversary book: Main Centre Mennonite Brethren Church. -- 1979.
4a. Congregational meeting minutes from 24 February 2019: the decision to end services June 2019. -- 2019.
Microfilm file list
- Congregational meeting minutes (1908–1953)
- Congregational meeting minutes (1953–1977)
- Jugendverein (1908–1951)
- Jugendverein and Christian Endeavor (1951–1972)
- Membership and Family register (Book I). – ca.1919–1937. – p.269–410.
- Membership and Family register (Book II). – ca.1950–1979. – p.411–589.
- Membership and Family register (Book III). – ca.1937–1955. – p.590–699 (+92).