Christian Life Conference (Mennonite Church)
Christian Life Conference was the name for an inspirational conference held until the mid-20th century in Mennonite Church (MC) congregations. Hesston College students and instructors attended a "Christian Life Conference" at the Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church near Harper, Kansas, during the Easter vacation in 1926. A similar conference was held at the Home Mission in Chicago in March 1926. Such a conference was held also at the Mennonite Church near Metamora, Illinois, during the Christmas vacation in 1928.
The Christian Life Conference had its inception in a Young Men's Conference held at the Pennsylvania Church near Hesston on 31 December 1917 and 1 January 1918. The conference was called to enable the young men to discuss problems relating to the Mennonite testimony during the war. The success of this meeting led to its continuance the next year as a Young People's Conference with both young men and young women participating. This conference was held annually until 1926 when its name was changed to Christian Life Conference.
Noah Oyer, Dean of Goshen College, who was a member of and deeply interested in the General Sunday School Committee, the Young People's Problems Committee, and Young People's Bible Meeting Topics Committee, is credited with arranging for the first Christian Life Conference held at Goshen College in 1927 at the conclusion of the annual Winter Bible Term. It had been advertised as a "conference for old and young, but especially for the young people of the Mennonite Church."
Interest in this annual conference at Goshen College was very good from the beginning. On several occasions many were unable to find room in Assembly Hall and the adjoining classrooms. It continued to be one of the most inspiring and helpful meetings of the college year. Hesston College held no Christian Life Conference as such in 1927, but in connection with Young People's Week during the Special Bible Term Daniel Kauffman gave talks on the Christian life and also "Life Work Talks." Hesston College held a Christian Life Conference in 1928 and Eastern Mennonite School in 1929. At the latter institution the two-day conference concluded a ministers' week. Such meetings were still quite general throughout the Mennonite Church (MC) east and west in the 1950s. They were held in connection with the Winter Bible Schools and by individual congregations. The Canton Bible School held one in 1947, the Spring Mount Mission in the same year, and the Blainsport Church at Reinholds, Pennsylvania, in 1948.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 582. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Umble, John S. "Christian Life Conference (Mennonite Church)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 18 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C47984.html.
APA style: Umble, John S. (1953). Christian Life Conference (Mennonite Church). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C47984.html.