Community Mennonite Church (Markham, Illinois, USA)
Community Mennonite Church had its origin in the movement of Mennonite families to Markham, a southern suburb of Chicago, in the 1950s. The Central District Conference helped a group to begin meeting in 1955. The congregation organized in 1957 under the leadership of Ron Krehbiel, the first pastor. For a time the group met in a community building while constructing a church on South Kedzie. The dedication of the new building took place in August 1959.
Soon after the church's formation, the demographics of the community changed to a multiracial character. By 1964 ten percent of the members were African American; this percentage increase to 50% by 1975. Sometimes functioning as a multiracial church was not easy for Community, and occasional tensions arose that led some members to leave. Since the late 1980s, the congregation has sought to have a pastoral leadership team that reflects the multiracial character of the congregation.
Ironically the congregation was surprised to learn in the 2000s that:
When we recently were looking through the church archives, we were shocked to learn that the original Title Deed to CMC’s property legally excluded all but whites from ever owning, leasing or even occupying the church building. In a subsequent worship service, congregational members were invited to the altar to smudge that same document with ashes and oil as we confessed our sin and received forgiveness from each other.
During the 1960s-1980s Community Mennonite helped to develop a wide variety of community programs. These included a day care in 1964, a sheltered care workshop in 1971, the Chicago Mennonite Learning Center in 1979, senior citizens apartments in 1980 and a rehabilitation house in 1986. Many of these programs were enabled by an active Mennonite Voluntary Service unit connected to the church. In 1983 the congregation became an official Sanctuary church for Central American refugees. Peace and justice concerns continued as a major foci for the congregation.
Community Mennonite maintained an affiliation with the nearby Trinity United Church of Christ beginning in 1971; this lapsed in later years.
Community Mennonite has never been a large congregation, its membership has ranged from the 50s to the 70s. In 2011 its membership was 55.
Neufeld, Chuck. "History of CMC." 2007. Web. 31 December 2011. http://communitymennonite.us/History.html
Smith, Willard. Mennonites in Illinois. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1983: 430-431.
Address: 16200 Kedzie Avenue, Markham, Illinois 60428-4604
Website: Community Mennonite Church
Pastors at Community Mennonite
|Lay leadership team||1977-1978|
|Menno & Margaretha Ediger||1978-1984|
Original Article from Mennonite Encyclopedia
Vol. 4, p. 1074 by Melvin Gingerich
Community Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite Church), located in Markham, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, was organized in March 1957 with 18 charter members and has been meeting in its new church since Christmas 1958. Ronald Krehbiel was its pastor in 1959.
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MLA style: Steiner, Sam. "Community Mennonite Church (Markham, Illinois, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2011. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/community_mennonite_church_markham_illinois_usa.
APA style: Steiner, Sam. (December 2011). Community Mennonite Church (Markham, Illinois, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/community_mennonite_church_markham_illinois_usa.