Welschländer Mennonite Church (Lorraine, France)
The Welschländer Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church of French-speaking Lorraine), probably called Welsch (French) because this German-speaking group lived in a French environment, existed probably from the early 18th century to about 1880. The Dieuze congregation was formed out of the families living in the central area of the Welschländer congregation's widely scattered territory, which once extended from near Metz to below Sarrebourg in the southeast. The first Mennonite settlers in the Duchy of Lorraine (joined to France in 1766) came as the result of the expulsion order of 1712 issued by the Intendant of Alsace when all "Anabaptists" were ordered to leave. Since Lorraine was then in a sense in the German Empire the Mennonites enjoyed relative toleration here. As early as 1764 the fiscal agent of the Bishop of Metz ordered the cessation of persecution of the Swiss Anabaptists in the bishopric. The Welschländer congregation was represented in the petition of 1808 of the French and Palatine congregations to Napoleon for relief from military service, Christ Engel and Christen Gerber being the signers for the congregation.
On 25 December 1808 the ministers of the congregation wrote to the other congregations calling a meeting at Sarreck near Sarrebourg for 7 January 1809; those signing were Christian Engel, Hannes Hirschi, Joerg Sprunger, Christian Lehman, and Christian Nafziger. Christian Engel was one of the two Mennonite delegates sent to Paris by this meeting to submit a petition to the government. Other names found in the documents relating to this congregation are Joseph Wuerkler, Hans Gingrich, and Christ Roth.
As the families moved gradually further west and south, meeting families moving in from other areas, e.g., Salm, new congregations were formed. Numerous families emigrated to America.
Sommer, Pierre. "Assemblee de la Lorraine Francoise (Welschlander Gemeinde)." Christ Seul (April 1931): 5 f.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1136. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Bender, Harold S. "Welschländer Mennonite Church (Lorraine, France)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/welschlaender_mennonite_church_lorraine_france.
APA style: Bender, Harold S. (1959). Welschländer Mennonite Church (Lorraine, France). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/welschlaender_mennonite_church_lorraine_france.