Cornerstone Community Church (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada)
The Mennonite Brethren church in Dartmouth began as an initiative of Mennonite Central Committee and Christian Service workers in the Dartmouth area. In 1962, John and Agnes Esau began a Christian Service term in the area, and helped set up service units of teachers and nurses. At the same time, the Canadian Inland Mission (Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren (MB) Churches) was interested in planting new churches in the Maritimes. Thus, in 1967 the conference joined efforts with the service workers; the workers were invited to become the nucleus for a new Mennonite Brethren congregation, and Walter and Selma Epp were invited to serve a pastoral/outreach role. The new congregation was called the Mouth Edward Bible Fellowship.
In 1973, the congregation officially joined the Canadian MB Conference, and two years later changed its name to the Dartmouth Mennonite Brethren Church. At this time, the congregation met at the Penhorn Seventh Day Adventist Church, a building that eventually it purchased in 1976. At this time the church hired a pastor from the Atlantic provinces and began operating a preschool with paid staff. Despite these local connections, however, the congregation’s stability was still significantly affected by the transient nature of its Christian Service members.
In 1986, the congregation became known as Cornerstone Community Church. The new name was to be inclusive, and reflected the way the congregation was to “serve as a guiding light” in the Mennonite Brethren mission to the East. The congregation developed a variety of outreach efforts, ranging from morning programs for mothers, to children's events, gym nights, and cell groups, and as the 1990s moved on, the congregation took on a much more local flavor.
In 1996, the conference made a concerted four-year effort to renew the mission and vision of the congregation, providing a subsidy to offset operation and staff costs. When the four-year period ended, the church still lacked a core group of members to sustain the financial needs of the church. Loss of energy and vision, coupled with leadership tensions, added to the problem. Eventually, the remaining ten members decided that the church was no longer sustainable. On 26 November 2000, past and present members and attendees came together one last time to remember and celebrate the life of Cornerstone Community Church.
Canadian Mennonite (9 May 1967): 1; (6 February 1968): 3B.
Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. "Cornerstone Community Church." Web. 20 September 2010. http://www.mbconf.ca/home/products_and_services/resources/published_genealogies/mb_provincial_conferences_and_church_congregation_records/maritimes_archives/cornerstone_community_church/.
Historical sketch of Cornerstone Community Church, on bulletin of 20th anniversary service, Nov. 15, 1987, Mennonite Historical Society of Canada collection, Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Mennonite Brethren Herald (27 May 1988): 72; (1 December 2000): 19.
Mennonite Reporter (21 December 1987): 21.
Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Winnipeg, MB: Volumes 648, 688; NP169; NA17-68-77; and NMV67-01.
General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1973-2000)
Cornerstone Community Church Ministers
|Isaac "Ike" Bergen
|Hartley R. Smith
|Henry M. Willems (interim)
Cornerstone Community Church Membership
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MLA style: Thiessen, Richard D. "Cornerstone Community Church (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2010. Web. 18 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C68.html.
APA style: Thiessen, Richard D. (September 2010). Cornerstone Community Church (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C68.html.