Yoder, Christian Z. (1845-1939)
Christian Z. Yoder (1845-1939), a leading Ohio Mennonite (Mennonite Church) minister, a son of John K. Yoder and Lydia (Zook) Yoder, was born in Mifflin County, PA, moved to Wayne County, OH, with his parents in 1855, and resided there until his death. He was known church-wide as "C. Z. Yoder" or simply as "C. Z." He served the Oak Grove Amish Mennonite congregation as deacon (1890-1904) and as minister (1904-39). At an early age he began his service to his home community. He was a successful farmer from 1865 until his retirement in 1895, and introduced new agricultural practices into the community, especially in the culture of vegetables and berries and in the use of the greenhouse. He was an organizer of the speakers at farm institutes, and a contributor to farm papers. For many years during the period when the one-room schoolhouses were being built he was a member of the township school board. At his suggestion, each received its artistic planting of pine trees. As early as 1866 he organized and led a singing school at the Center Schoolhouse, Wayne County. He helped to organize the first Sunday school in the Oak Grove church in 1871 and served as superintendent for 22 years. By the organization of the first Young People's Bible Meeting in 1889 he helped to raise the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual level of the congregation and the community. In 1890 he served as chairman of the committee which drew up and secured the adoption by the congregation of a "new order" which provided for buttons instead of hooks and eyes on men's clothing and made possible the ingathering of a large group of young people who had refused to unite with the congregation. His interest in missions, as indicated by the early missionary collections in the Sunday school and the young people's meeting, probably led to his appointment as a director of the Mennonite Evangelizing and Benevolent Board of America when that organization replaced the Mennonite Evangelizing Committee in 1892 in order to make room on the board for Amish Mennonites. He assisted in organizing the Ohio Mennonite Sunday School Conference in 1895. For many years he served as an evangelist, his preaching and singing ministry taking him to Amish and Mennonite communities in all sections of the country. Following is a partial list of the positions which he held in the Mennonite Church: 1899-1906 vice-president, Mennonite Board of Charitable Homes and Missions; 1906-11 vice-president, and 1911-20 president, Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities; 1920-28 chairman of the Missions Committee of the Board; after 1928, honorary member of the Board. He served on the Music Committee of General Conference (MC) 1909-35 and assisted in the compilation of the German and English hymnals published in 1894-1927. Never an outstanding preacher, his varied talents made a large place for him in the counsels of the church. A son John (now deceased), a grandson Howard, and a great-grandson John Howard are continuing C. Z. Yoder's interest in the life and work of the Mennonite Church.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 1005-1006. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Umble, John S. "Yoder, Christian Z. (1845-1939)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/Y6462.html.
APA style: Umble, John S. (1959). Yoder, Christian Z. (1845-1939). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/Y6462.html.