Bethany Mennonite Church (Freeman, South Dakota, USA)
Bethany Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA) of 509 South Juniper Street, Freeman, South Dakota (Central Plains Mennonite Conference (formerly Northern District Conference), was founded by members or descendants of Swiss Mennonite and non-colonist Hutterite groups within and surrounding the municipality of Freeman.
The actual organization of the congregation grew out of a concern for the spiritual welfare of Mennonite and Hutterite families living within the town of Freeman, to whom the advantage of congregational fellowship in the surrounding rural churches was not easily accessible. A Sunday-school fellowship had already been functioning in town since about 1896. In the summer of 1898 the first meetinghouse, a frame structure, was built. This group was served from the pulpit alternately by Christian Kaufman, Christian Mueller, Joseph Kaufman, John L. Wipf, and H. A. Bachman, until 27 August 1905 when the first officers were inducted. The congregation joined the General Conference Mennonite Church and Northern District Conference in September 1905 and June 1906 respectively.
The original church was remodeled and enlarged in 1925, and was used until the fire of Sunday morning, 4 November 1945, which destroyed it. The congregation subsequently worshiped in the Freeman Junior College chapel, awaiting a new building, which was completed and dedicated in 1952.
The congregation was now quite cosmopolitan in membership, a part being of non-Mennonite extraction. A majority of the members were townfolk—of various occupations in a town of nearly a thousand population in 1953 (1,317 in 2000). A few still resided on near-by farms.
The roster of Bethany’s full-time and part-time ministers to 1953 included the names of H. A. Bachman, J. M. Regier, Elmer Basinger, John C. Peters, S. P. Preheim, P. P. Kleinsasser, David E. Harder, P. N. Hiebert, Walter A. Gering, Harold H. Gross, Louis Linscheid, and Hugo Mierau. Lester Hostetler was the minister in 1953; membership in 1953 was 287. In 2005 the membership was 222.
Address: 509 South Juniper Street, Freeman, South Dakota
Website: Bethany Mennonite Church
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 303. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Gross, Harold H. "Bethany Mennonite Church (Freeman, South Dakota, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B48463.html.
APA style: Gross, Harold H. (1953). Bethany Mennonite Church (Freeman, South Dakota, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B48463.html.