Mennonitische Hilfskasse (Germany)
The Mennonitische Hilfskasse (Mennonite Aid Fund), a fund of the Mennonites of the Palatinate and Hesse, Germany, with its seat in Monsheim, which was incorporated on 30 June 1905. According to its constitution it had the following aims: (1) support of the needy in the Mennonite congregations of the Conference in special cases; (2) care of the widows and children of its preachers, as well as of preachers no longer able to serve; (3) support of individual congregations under special conditions, such as the building or major repairs of church buildings. On 6 December 1912, four paragraphs were added to the constitution to provide a pension fund for ministers.
New tax laws necessitated some changes in the constitution. In 1933-1934, when the organization was put on a purely church basis, aim (1) was dropped. In 1947 another change was made in order to insure the character of an "organization for the public welfare." On the basis of a decision of 30 January 1951 the executive expenses of the Palatine-Hessian Conference were borne by the Aid Fund.
On 13 June 1882 the Fund was originally organized as the "Mennonitische Central-Hilfskasse" at the instigation of Hinrich van der Smissen, pastor of the Ibersheim Mennonite Church. Several congregations of North Germany—Emden, Hamburg-Altona, and Leer—participated in the project.
When the Vereinigung (Conference of Mennonite Churches in Germany) organized in 1886, the North German churches withdrew from the Fund. The funds in the treasury, 2,677 Marks, were given to the Palatine-Hessian Conference, and the name of the Fund shortened to "Mennonitische Hilfskasse" on 13 December 1886. Participation by all the congregations of the conference was attained in 1891, when a resolution was passed at the conference meeting in Sembach on 21 May to give more general and faithful support to the Fund. At this time the congregations at Ernstweiler, Kühborncheshof, and Neudorferhof joined the project; Eppstein, Friesenheim, and Uffhofen continued their annual contributions. Ibersheim had joined in 1888. Hamburg-Altona contributed until 1915.
The development of the Fund was promoted by Jakob Ellenberger, pastor at Friedelsheim, who served as its chairman for many years. In 1900 Thomas Lowenberg, the minister of Ibersheim, succeeded him. In 1907 Lowenberg called for a contribution to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fund; over 7,000 Marks were contributed. A far greater sum, over 32,000 Marks, was collected in 1916 to operate the provision for the pensioning of preachers. On 31 December 1918 there were nearly 100,000 Marks in the treasury.
The Fund was wiped out by the inflation of German currency in 1922-1923, which left less than 1,800 Marks at the end of 1924. It had to be built up anew; only by sacrificial giving could the work progress. By 12 December 1939, the treasury had accumulated RM 49,099, and on 20 July 1948, the date of the second currency reform, RM 65,498.21. Since this second devaluation it has been impossible to raise any considerable sum. In 1926 the annual assessment was raised to 250 Marks; by 1933 it was reduced to 200, and by 1935 to 150 Marks. In 1937 both the chairman, Rudolf Stauffer of Ibersheim, and the treasurer, David Galle, Weierhof, resigned. Fritz Stauffer of Kaiserslautern was chosen chairman, and Heinrich Rink of Kaiserslautern treasurer. In 1957 Christian Galle of Weierhof was chairman, and Heinrich Rink was still treasurer.
Extraordinary services were rendered by the Fund during World War I and also in the very difficult postwar period, with the support of the American Mennonites. In 1957 the fund held 17,000 Marks and supported three retired ministers; since the income of the fund was not sufficient, the congregations added about 2,000 Marks by pro rata contributions. A substantial part of the capital was loaned to the Mennonitische Siedlungshilfe (Mennonite Settlement Aid).
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: III, 108 f.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 646-647. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Galle, Christian. "Mennonitische Hilfskasse (Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M46867.html.
APA style: Galle, Christian. (1957). Mennonitische Hilfskasse (Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M46867.html.