Diesen (Lorraine, France)
Diesen, a hamlet near St. Avoid in Lorraine, France, was the seat of an Amish Mennonite congregation after about 1840. It was known also under the name of Boulay (German, Bolchen), a small city situated 10 miles west of Diesen. Originally meetings were held in homes; by about 1870 there were 18 families whose homes served alternately as meeting places. Soon after 1870 all meetings were held in homes in Diesen, and in 1947 a chapel was built in the same village.
Family names in the congregations are Beck, Esch, Fonkennel, Guth, Hege, Hertzler, Nafziger, Oesch, Schertz and Weisse. The first elder was Joseph Esch of Roupelstouden (ordained 1838, d. 1897); Nicolas Beck and Willy Hege were elders in 1954, assisted by Willy Nafziger and Joseph Oesch as preachers. Baptized membership in 1950 was 108. Meetings at that time were held biweekly, entirely in German (except for slight use of French in young people's activities). The congregation was affiliated with the German-language Alsatian Conference.
In 1922 the congregation was divided, approximately half the members meeting on the farm St-Victor, under the leadership of Elder Pierre Esch, and known as Boulay or St-Victor. The two groups reunited in 1940.
A valuable description of the Mennonites living in the region of Diesen, dated 1850, is to be found in the archives of the Department de la Moselle, prepared as a result of an investigation ordered by the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: I, 243.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 58. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Yoder, John Howard. "Diesen (Lorraine, France)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 26 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/diesen_lorraine_france.
APA style: Yoder, John Howard. (1956). Diesen (Lorraine, France). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/diesen_lorraine_france.