Conestoga Mennonite Church (Morgantown, Pennsylvania, USA)
The Conestoga Mennonite Church (former Conestoga Amish Mennonite Church) is a member of Mennonite Church USA. It is located west of Morgantown, in Caernarvon Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Its members, most of whom were farmers in the 1950s, are located in the three adjoining counties of Lancaster, Berks, and Chester.
The church was founded in 1760 and is therefore the first permanent Amish Mennonite congregation in North America. Among the first settlers were those having the family names of Mast, Hoelley, Hertzler, and Lapp. Jacob Mast served as the first resident minister of the congregation and was elected its bishop in 1788. The following bishops served this church into the 1950s: Jacob Hertzler, 1760-1786; Jacob Mast, 1788-1808; Peter Plank, 1808-1831; John Plank, 1831-1835; John Stoltzfus, 1835-1837; David Beiler, 1837-1845; John K. Stoltzfus, 1845-1854; Christian Umble, 1854-1877; John P. Mast, 1877-1888; Gideon Stoltzfus, 1888-1908; John S. Mast, 1908-51; and Ira A. Kurtz, 1944- .
About 1869 differences of opinion arose within the congregation concerning the adoption of more progressive forms of worship. The most conservative minority withdrew from the congregation in 1877, thus establishing an Old Order Amish group in the community. The larger group soon after this built its first church, dedicating it in June 1882. A subsequent church edifice was erected in 1923, and another new facility in 2001. The church experienced a major fire in June 2008, but subsequently rebuilt.
In 1850 the membership of the church was 30, by 1882 it had grown to 80, by 1923 the number had increased to 225, and by 1952 the total was 380. The Conestoga Church had in the early 1950s planted three organized churches under its bishop jurisdiction. The Rock Amish Mennonite Church was organized in 1936, the Oley Church in 1942, and the Zions Church in 1951. The three are situated in Berks County, within a radius of 25 miles.
In 2013, the membership was 169; the pastor was Robert L. Petersheim and the youth pastor was Rachel Elizabeth Mast.
Mast, C. Z. and Robert E. Simpson. Annals of the Conestoga Valley in Lancaster, Berits, and Chester Counties, Pennsylvania. Elverson, Pennsylvania, 1942.
Stauffer, Cindy. "Out of the ashes." Lancaster New Era (16 June 2008). Web. 8 September 2012.http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/223173_Out-of-the-ashes.html
Address: 2779 Main Street, Morgantown, Pennsylvania 19543
Website: Conestoga Mennonite Church
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 668. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Mast, C. Z. "Conestoga Mennonite Church (Morgantown, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/conestoga_mennonite_church_morgantown_pennsylvania.
APA style: Mast, C. Z. (1953). Conestoga Mennonite Church (Morgantown, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/conestoga_mennonite_church_morgantown_pennsylvania.