Grand Lucelle (France, Switzerland)
Grand Lucelle (German, Grosslützel) is a group of houses on both sides of the border between Switzerland and Alsace near the source of the Lucelle in a charming wooded region. The civil seat of government is on the Alsatian side of the border. It was the seat of a Mennonite congregation since the end of the 19th century.
Very early some Anabaptists, persecuted by the government of Bern, Switzerland, must have sought protection on the isolated farms around Lucelle in Pleigne (Pleen), Bourrignon (Bürgis), and Develier (Dietwiler), all in the Delémont (Delsberg) district. In 1731 the officials of Delémont appealed to the bishop, for the landless were demanding the expulsion of the Mennonites, while the landed offered them protection. In 1732 the people of Delémont asserted that the Mennonites were there to the advantage of the wealthy and the ruin of the poor. It is therefore likely that the mountain estates were pretty well settled by Mennonites about 1732.
In 1874 services were held in Bourrignon, Develier, and Roggenburg in the various homes; the brotherhood called itself the Delsbergtal church, as it was still often called in 1955. Mennonites also settled the Alsatian border farms, and to meet the need for a common, centrally located church building, Abraham Bögli of Scholis, and David Neuenschwander, on 26 May 1891, bought the “Glashütte,” an inn on the Alsatian side of Lucelle. In 1901 after a serious fire it was completely remodeled, and on 24 November the new chapel was dedicated. During World War I it became so difficult to cross the border that the Swiss members began to hold their services in private homes again. By the end of the war some of the families on the Alsatian side had moved away. In 1955 only two member families were living on the Alsatian side out of about 80 members.
The elders of the Lucelle congregation have been Michael Nussbaumer ? -1902, Peter Allemann (preacher only), David Gerber 1924-1938, and Christian Schmutz serving in 1955. With the death of Elder David Gerber in 1938 Christian Schmutz, preacher and later elder of the Pruntrut congregation at Courgenay, took over and continued the ministry at Lucelle alone. When the dissolution of the Courgenay congregation took place at the death of the last elder, Peter Ramseyer, in 1933, the former members of this Amish congregation living on the Swiss side joined either Lucelle or Porrentruy, while those on the Alsatian side went to the Birkenhof church. Porrentruy and Lucelle were Mennonite, not Amish.
Around 1850 emigration to America was extensive. Later the congregation suffered further losses to the new congregation at Porrentruy (Pruntrut). In 1928 it had 62 baptized members (and 52 children) living on individual farms in the Delémont district, in 1955 about 80 members. The most common family names were Amstutz, Gerber, Bögli, Klay. The members were all farmers. The congregation belongs to the Konferenz der altevangelischen Taufgesinnten Gemeinden der Schweiz.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 188
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 411-412. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Amstutz-Tschirren, A. J. and Harold S. Bender. "Grand Lucelle (France, Switzerland)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/G7376.html.
APA style: Amstutz-Tschirren, A. J. and Harold S. Bender. (1957). Grand Lucelle (France, Switzerland). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/G7376.html.