Rückenau Mennonite Brethren Church (Rückenau, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine)
Rückenau Mennonite Brethren Church in the village of Rückenau, located in the heart of the Molotschna settlement of South Russia, became the nerve center in the development of the Mennonite Brethren (MB) movement. MB interest had concentrated sufficiently in this area in 1874 to buy a tavern and convert it into a meetinghouse. Church activities outgrew this building by 1883 when a new structure, 84 x 42 ft., was erected providing a seating capacity of 600. The highest estimated membership was 3,000, including several affiliated congregations. The early MB leaders also exerted considerable influence in this congregation. After Elder H. Hübert left for the Kuban in 1873, Abraham Schellenberg was elected elder, and when he moved to America in 1879, Johann Fast succeeded him. Jacob Dirksen, David Schellenberg, David Dürksen, Jacob Reimer, and Jacob Thiessen were other leading personalities. The annual MB Conference was held in this church and from it determining influences radiated into other MB congregations. The congregation remained strong until the Revolution in the early 1920's. Many, including a number of the leaders, emigrated when religious liberty was suppressed. During World War II, with the retreat of the German army, many of these settlements were wiped out, all the Mennonites leaving. Nothing further is known of the congregation, which at one time was the heart of the Mennonite Brethren movement.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 375. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Toews, Jacob J. "Rückenau Mennonite Brethren Church (Rückenau, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/ruckenau_mennonite_brethren_church_ruckenau.
APA style: Toews, Jacob J. (1959). Rückenau Mennonite Brethren Church (Rückenau, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/ruckenau_mennonite_brethren_church_ruckenau.