Mennonite Aid Plan
Mennonite Aid Plan (German, Unterstützungsplan) was a Mennonite mutual fire and storm property insurance association, and was organized by authorization of the Indiana Mennonite (MC) Conference at its meeting of 13 October 1882. The following statement in the Herald of Truth for 1 November 1882 (p. 330), gives an authentic account of the nature and purpose of the organization:
The subject of aiding each other in case of loss by fire among the brotherhood was presented and discussed. The plan of collecting by general contributions seems of late years not to accomplish the desired results, and a necessity exists for a more systematic plan, by which, according to the admonition of the apostle, each brother may give according as the Lord has prospered him. An arrangement of this kind will also obviate the necessity of brethren identifying themselves with the general insurance companies, to which many of the brethren are opposed.
It was suggested, in order to give this question a definite form, that an arrangement or system of collection similar to that which has now been maintained already some twenty years by the brotherhood in Canada, be entered into.
This plan has worked well and given very good satisfaction and has now been accepted by all the churches. The plan is briefly as follows: Each church or meeting district appoints a valuator (or a committee as may be determined on) whose duty it is to get the valuation of the property of every brother or sister who may desire to enter into this plan, and make a record of the same in a book provided for the purpose. A copy of this valuation list shall be furnished by each district valuator or committee to a central man, or general secretary, who shall be chosen by the district valuators. In case of fire, the district valuator shall ascertain the amount of the loss and report the same to the central man, who levies the proportionate assessment, and each church being notified of the amount to be raised, makes the collections and sends them to the centra! man, who pays it over to the party sustaining the loss, and takes a receipt for it.
The above is simply a brief sketch of the plan. In its practical workings some changes and modifications may be needful, as the committees or valuators appointed may deem most practical. But the above will give an idea of it so that every one may judge of its feasibility.
The conference accepted the plan and gave permission to the brotherhood to enter into such an agreement.
The Aid Plan was, however, not a conference-controlled organization, but a voluntary association of property owners; membership was not restricted to the Indiana Conference, and the third report included "districts" in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and at Mountain Lake, MN. Gradually the service of the organization spread into other states and in 1912 the headquarters office was moved to Freeman, SD, where it remained, with the name slightly changed to "Mennonite Aid Plan of South Dakota." This was the first all-Mennonite organization. In 1911 the Indiana-Michigan (MC) Conference organized its own Mennonite Aid Association, since when only a few from the Indiana area have continued in the Aid Plan. In 1953 the Aid Plan was serving 4,000 members in 17 states, chiefly in North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana, and the remaining prairie and Rocky Mountain states, with a few in Iowa, Pennsylvania, California, and Washington, with a total property evaluation of $40,000,000. The assessment rate was 1 million. D. J. Mendel and his son D. S. Mendel of Freeman, SD, were long-time secretaries of the organization. Rules and Regulations were printed at irregular intervals, last in 1951 (as of 1955). Minutes of the annual meeting of the association have been printed every year since 1882.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 588. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Bender, Harold S. "Mennonite Aid Plan." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M463647.html.
APA style: Bender, Harold S. (1957). Mennonite Aid Plan. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M463647.html.