Eden Mennonite Church (Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, USA)
The Eden Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite), a member of the Eastern District Conference, was located at 609 Main Street, Schwenksville, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Previous to 1818 Mennonites in the vicinity worshiped every four weeks in a building also used as a school, located on the present Keely Church grounds, which was also used by the Reformed and Lutherans; it is possible that the building was a Lutheran-Reformed union church. In 1818 the Mennonites organized a congregation here, choosing William Gottschall (1784-1875) as their deacon, and built their own meetinghouse of stone just outside Schwenksville. In the summer of 1851 a new brick meetinghouse replaced the old one. In 1894 a third church was built across the valley on the edge of the town. Previous to 1894 the congregation was known as "Gottshall's," or less frequently as "Ziegler's" or "Mine Hill."
Before 1818 Skippack and Germantown ministers supplied the pulpit, and from 1818 to 1847 Franconia Conference ministers supplied the pulpit. In the Oberholtzer division of 1847 Deacon Gottschall and the entire congregation withdrew and joined the new Eastern District Conference. The first resident minister was Moses H. Gottshall, ordained preacher in 1847, and bishop (elder) in 1850. Ministers and their terms of service up to 1955 were: Moses H. Gottshall 1847-1888, Samuel H. Longaker 1868-1870, N. B. Grubb 1872-1882, William H. Gottshall 1884-1905, J. W. Schantz 1907-1917, Reed Landis supplied 1917, William H. Grubb 1917-1921, Freeman H. Swartz 1921- .
The Sunday school was organized in 1867. The membership in 1847 was 30; in 1908 it was 209, and in 1953 it was 275. The common names in 1953 were Clemens, Wood, Alderfer, Kolb, Markley, Nyce, Moyer, Bergey, Hunsicker, and Gottshall.
Because of declining attendance and lack of young people, late in 2000, the congregation decided to use its resources to plant a new congregation on the same site and in the same building. The new congregation was known as New Eden Fellowship.
Cassel, Daniel K. History of the Mennonites: historically and biographically arranged from the time of the Reformation, more particularly from the time of their emigration to America, containing sketches of the oldest meeting houses and prominent ministers ; also their confession of faith, adopted at Dortrecht, in 1621. Philadelphia: D. K. Cassel, 1888.
"History of the Eden Congregation." Mennonite Yearbook and Almanac (Quakertown, 1919).
Wenger, J. C. History of the Mennonites of the Franconia Conference. Telford, Pennsylvania, 1937. Reprinted Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church, 1985.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 146-147. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Fretz, J. Herbert. "Eden Mennonite Church (Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/E3545.html.
APA style: Fretz, J. Herbert. (1956). Eden Mennonite Church (Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/E3545.html.