Poole Mennonite Church (Milverton, Ontario, Canada)
The Poole Mennonite congregation began in 1874 with descendants of pioneers known as Amish Mennonite who lived in Mornington Township, and had originally emigrated from the Alsace area of France. Originally members of the Wellesley Amish Mennonite church district, they began meeting in homes in Mornington Township as the population increased.
In 1886 some members decided to build a meetinghouse on the site still occupied by Poole Mennonite Church. Other members disagreed, giving rise to the group that became known as the Old Order Amish, and which continued to hold services in homes. In 1903 additional contentious issues arose within the meetinghouse group regarding the introduction of Sunday School, worship style, etc. Most of the leaders then left with some of the congregation to start the Nafziger or Poole (West) congregation. The Poole congregation was first known as the Mornington Amish Mennonite congregation.
In 1947 Poole's original meetinghouse was enlarged and remodelled to accommodate a growing membership. At the same time, the church was jacked up and a basement installed under the original building. By 1963 the building was again crowded as well as structurally unsound, so the congregation decided to erect a new worship building. The first service was held in the building in 1966. In 1996 an addition on the north side of the building made the entire building accessible, and provided offices and better facilities for visiting and Sunday School.
|Poole Mennonite Church, June 2003|
The members of Poole Mennonite have been involved in outreach over the years. In the 1940s members from Poole together with members from Mapleview started meeting for worship in Millbank in a building purchased from the Presbyterian Church. This evolved into the Riverdale Mennonite Church in Millbank. In 1981 some families worked with the Western Ontario Mennonite Mission Board to start a congregation in Milverton. Poole held a commissioning service in 1982 for three families who gave leadership to the fledgling fellowship. More families from Poole joined this group a few years later. In 2003 the congregation assisted Mennonites from Mexico who moved into the area by providing English as a Second Language classes for the women and day care for their preschool children. The Listowel and Riverdale congregations assisted in this outreach.
Since 1874 Poole's basic beliefs have not changed. However, the congregation's needs have changed and programming has adapted accordingly. In 2003 Poole Mennonite had two pastors and a team of elders who give spiritual leadership while the church council gives administrative direction to the congregation. The language of worship is English; the transition from German occurred in the 1930s.
Burkholder, L. J. A Brief History of the Mennonites in Ontario . Kitchener, ON: Mennonite Conference of Ontario, 1935: 234-6.
CMC Nexus (March 1995), 11.
"History of the Poole Mennonite Church - formerly known as the Poole Amish Mennonite Church." n.d. 3 pp.; Mennonites in Canada collection, "20-Poole", Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
A History of the Poole Mennonite Church: a People on the Way, 1874-1986. Milverton, ON: Poole Mennonite Church, 1986, 74 pp.
Mennonite Reporter (7 July 1986): 12.
Records at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Poole Mennonite Church website
Table 1: Poole Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders
|Joseph U. Ropp||1873-1910|
|Christian L. Kuepfer||1879-1886||To Old Order Amish 1886|
|Andrew Kuepfer||1879-1886||To Old Order Amish 1886|
|Nicholas Nafziger||1891-1903||To Nafziger congregation 1903|
|Peter Spenler||1891-1903||To Nafziger congregation 1903|
|John Nafziger||1892-1903||To Nafziger congregation 1903|
|Vernon Zehr (Interim)||1983|
|Gerald Neufeld||1988-1992||Youth Pastor|
|Kim Wideman||1996-2000||Youth Pastor|
|Reynold Kipfer (Interim)||1999-2000|
|Kara Carter||2001-2008||Youth Pastor|
Table 2: Poole Mennonite Church Membership
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Schultz, Brenda. "Poole Mennonite Church (Milverton, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2003. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/P664ME.html.
APA style: Schultz, Brenda. (September 2003). Poole Mennonite Church (Milverton, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/P664ME.html.