Oak Grove Mennonite Church (West Liberty, Champaign County, Ohio, USA)
Oak Grove Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church) located in Champaign County, Ohio, was organized in 1845-1850 by Amish settlers from Fairfield County, Ohio, and Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. The first center of the settlement lay several miles southeast of the present Oak Grove church built in 1875. The earlier meetinghouse, built soon after 1855, was located on the plot known as the Hooley cemetery, the present burying place of the congregation. Until the beginning of the 20th century, baptismal services still were conducted in nearby Kings Creek south of the cemetery. Early ministers were Jacob Hartzler, bishop (1854), Jonas Troyer, later of Clinton Frame, Elkhart County, Indiana, and John P. King, bishop-deacon (volliger Armendiener), who later moved to Logan County, Ohio. John Werrey (later Warye), an immigrant from Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, ordained preacher in 1855 and bishop in 1862, led his congregation from a strict Old Order Amish to a more liberal Amish Mennonite discipline, but thereafter resisted any change. He and David Plank, the latter at Walnut Grove in Logan County, could not agree with John P. King's stricter discipline which still required hooks and eyes and, for unmarried men, topless buggies. Another cause of friction was Warye's contention that King's ordination as bishop-deacon did not entitle him to take his regular turn with the other ministers in the Sunday morning preaching service. The Oak Grove congregation under the leadership of David Plank organized a Sunday school in 1865. Virile lay leadership through the Sunday school built up a strong congregation. It benefited from contacts with local Methodist and Quaker religious movements. But in 1880 the congregation suffered loss of membership through the unskillful handling of a disciplinary problem involving the use of a musical instrument in a home in the Walnut Grove congregation. The result was the withdrawal of important sections of both congregations and the founding of the Indiana or Miller congregation (now extinct), so called because it was organized by Eli Miller, bishop at the Clinton Frame (Indiana) congregation. During the 20th century the leading figures in the congregation were Samuel E. Allgyer, minister and bishop; and Samuel L. Warye and Jonathan J. Warye, deacon and preacher, respectively, the sons of John Warye. The Mennonite Church (MC) has drawn heavily on the congregation for educational and missionary personnel. However, the group has also suffered its full share of loss of membership to other religious bodies. The membership in 1957 was 239, with Nelson Kanagy as pastor.
Umble, John S. "Early Sunday Schools at West Liberty, Ohio." Mennonite Quarterly Review 4 1930): 6-50.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Umble, John S. "Oak Grove Mennonite Church (West Liberty, Champaign County, Ohio, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/O3315.html.
APA style: Umble, John S. (1957). Oak Grove Mennonite Church (West Liberty, Champaign County, Ohio, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/O3315.html.