La Crete Bergthaler Mennonite Church (La Crete, Alberta, Canada)
In the 1940s a group of approximately 50 Mennonites, including some that had Bergthal connections in Saskatchewan, moved to the La Crete area. In the following 15 years, additional families relocated to the La Crete area. In 1957 the Bergthaler Mennonites in La Crete constructed their own church building in the Wilson Prairie District and incorporated a year later as the Fort Vermilion Bergthaler Mennonite Church (the name was changed to La Crete Bergthaler Mennonite Church in 1990). In the first half of the 1960s they were joined by Sommerfelder Mennonites from the Swift Current area.
The first ministers were Claas Peters (ordained in Saskatchewan), Andrew Knelsen (ordained in September 1958), and Jacob Dyck and Jacob Peters (elected in March 1960). Jacob Dyck was ordained as Aeltester on 21 January 1962.
In 1965 the church suffered a split between those of a Bergthaler background and those of a Sommerfelder background. The Bergthalers retained the church records, the treasury, and the name and began meeting on Aeltester Dyck's farm, while the larger group, the Sommerfelders, retained the church building at Wilson Prairie. Tensions between the two groups lasted for several years, and during the first few years some families returned to the larger Sommerfelder group. In 1967 the Bergthalers constructed a church building in La Crete measuring 28 by 62 feet with a full basement, and dedicated it on 27 December 1967. In 1976 a building measuring 42 by 46 feet was added to the existing structure, and in 1985 another 5,000 square feet were added to the church building.
Peter B. Harder and John Neudorf were elected as ministers in November 1970. Three months later, Elder Jacob Dyck passed away before he was able to ordain the newly elected ministers. As a result, they were ordained by Elder John Friesen of Lowe Farm, Manitoba. In November 1974 John Neudorf was elected as Elder. In February 1983 Peter Knelsen and Abe Bueckert were elected as ministers.
The church continued to grow to the point where a second church was built in the Tompkins Landing area, 20 miles south-west of La Crete, in 1984. Peter Harder served as the minister from the outset until 1990. In 1985 Frank Wieler was elected as minister as was Bill Janzen.
In June 1982 a new church was built in High Level and dedicated in October 1983. Abe Bueckert became the minister of this congregation along with Perry Friesen. The church was later replaced with a new structure measuring 50 by 90 feet just outside of High Level.
Harder, Bill. "Bergthaler Mennonite Church." Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter, Second Series VI, No. 1 (May 2003): 7.
Mennonite Reporter (18 April 1977): 12.
Reimer, Margaret L. One Quilt, Many Pieces. Waterloo, ON: Mennonite Publishing Service, 1983: 37.
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MLA style: Thiessen, Richard D. "La Crete Bergthaler Mennonite Church (La Crete, Alberta, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2012. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/L182.html.
APA style: Thiessen, Richard D. (February 2012). La Crete Bergthaler Mennonite Church (La Crete, Alberta, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/L182.html.