Bielefeld (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany)
Bielefeld, located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (coordinates: 52° 1′ 0″ N, 8° 31′ 0″ E) in the northern part of Germany, first became a home to Mennonites after World War II. Many families from West Prussia and other East European areas had fled westward ahead of the advancing Soviet army. The first permanent Mennonite settlement in the area formed in 1956 near the old village of Bechterdissen, not many miles from the city. By 1960 this group was worshiping in its own church building. Families returning from Paraguay, and others beginning to emigrate from the Soviet Union. By 1980 this "Kirchliche" body numbered more than 1,000 members. A part of the group had begun to meet independently in the city six years earlier.
Mennonite Brethren congregations began to form around 1977. In 1987 there were three in all. With the Bechterdissen-Bielefeld "Kirchliche" group subdividing twice, the city and environs had seven Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren congregations, including Lage, Brockwede, Stieghorst, Oldentrup, with a total membership of about 2,000. Many more families continued to come here as the emigration from the Soviet Union gained momentum in the late 1980s.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 84. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Klippenstein, Lawrence and Johann Plett. "Bielefeld (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1988. Web. 18 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B54.html.
APA style: Klippenstein, Lawrence and Johann Plett. (1988). Bielefeld (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B54.html.