Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church (Hillsboro, Kansas, USA)
The Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church, 1498 Kanza Road, Hillsboro, Marion County, Kansas, had its beginning in 1875, several Mennonite Brethren families from Russia having settled in this community in 1874. Another party of 75 families settled here in 1876. The meetings were at first held in the East Gnadenau schoolhouse and in the earliest Mennonite Brethren Conference yearbooks this congregation was called Gnadenau. It is the first organized Mennonite Brethren congregation in North America.
The church grew rapidly and in 1888 had a membership of 253. Since then it has retained about this number and in 1953 had 250 members. At times the congregation declined through the moving away of many young families to new settlements, particularly to Oklahoma. It again increased remarkably through large revivals. The church had three noted revivals prior to 1950: 1892, when 50 members were added; in 1907, 67; and in 1937, 59 members. The Steinreich Mennonite Brethren Church, 10 miles (16 km) to the east, was until 29 October 1946 an affiliated branch of the Ebenfeld Church.
In 1883 the congregation built its first church, which was replaced by a larger church in 1904. This building was destroyed by fire in December 1924, but was at once replaced by the present church.
The ministerial or pastoral leadership to 1956 was as follows: Peter Eckert 1875-1882, Abraham Cornelsen, Sr., 1882-1884, Elder Johann Foth 1884-1915, J. K. Hiebert 1915-1933, G. W. Lohrenz 1933-1945, J. G. Baerg 1945-1950, J. J. Gerbrandt 1950-1952, and Allen Fast 1952- . The following ordained ministers also served the church for a greater length of time: Wm. Hergert, D. D. Claassen, Theodor Freuchting, Cornelius "C. N." Hiebert, Abraham Cornelsen, Jr., Cornelius Nickel, Johann Harder, H. W. Lohrenz, P. C. Hiebert, Christian Seibel, J. W. Lohrenz, and P. P. Hiebert.
The church has always been known for its missionary zeal and for many years conducted an annual spring mission festival. The following missionaries have come from this congregation: A. J. Becker and Katharina Penner to the Comanche Indians in Oklahoma; Katharina Lohrenz, Anna Hanneman, and J. H. Lohrenz to India; and Clara Lohrenz Buschman to Africa.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 136-137. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Baerg, J. G. "Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church (Hillsboro, Kansas, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/E2419.html.
APA style: Baerg, J. G. (1956). Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church (Hillsboro, Kansas, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/E2419.html.