Mennonite Church Alberta
Major changes took place in Mennonite Church Alberta during the last half of the 20th century. In 1950 there were seven member congregations, all but one located in the rural areas of the province, and all served by unpaid lay ministers. By 1998 the conference numbered 21 affiliated congregations, with a total membership of 1,918. Each congregation was served by a professionally trained, salaried minister. In 2000 several congregations, including the large Coaldale Mennonite Church, withdrew from the conference over issues of congregational discipline, especially on the matter of congregational acceptance of homosexual members. In 2009 the conference numbered 17 congregations.
The six rural congregations affiliated with the conference in 1950 were, for the most part, little changed in membership and character in 1986. The exception was the Coaldale Mennonite Church, which is so close to a large urban center that many of its members work in the city. The newer congregations are located in urban centers. The lifestyle and form of worship in these congregations differs little from that found in other urban Protestant churches.
Menno Bible Institute, formally established in 1935, closed in 1966 for lack of enrollment. It had a profound influence on the conference during its 30-year history. The Alberta Conference then joined the Saskatchewan Conference of Mennonites in support of the Bible School at Swift Current, which has now closed as well. Interest in camping grew rapidly in the 1950s. In 1958 and 1959, 166 acres (67 hectares) on the Little Red River were purchased to establish a camp. Camp Valaqua has been developed so that it is suitable for both summer and winter programs. A retirement home was constructed in Coaldale in 1955 at a cost of $19,500. Most of the work was done by volunteer labor. The facility has been renovated several times since then and houses 14 residents (1987).
The conference has shared responsibilities in a number of other projects. It has given annual financial support to Rosthern Junior College and has appointed members to its board of directors. It actively participates in Mennonite Central Committee Alberta (MCCA and, in 1990, was directly involved in the Youth Orientation Unity, an MCC project at Warburg, which endeavored to rehabilitate youth offenders placed there by the attorney general's office.
Mennonite Church Alberta adopted its name in February 2002 when a new constitution was approved. Prior to that it was known as the Conference of Mennonites in Alberta.
In 2010 the following congregations were members of Mennonite Church Alberta:
CMC Directory 1998. Winnipeg: Conference of Mennonites in Canada, 1998: 87.
Mennonite Directory 2001. Scottdale, PA: Faith and Life Resources, 2001: 19-21.
Reimer, Margaret Loewen, ed., One Quilt, Many Pieces. Waterloo, ON: Mennonite Publishing Service, 1983: 51.
Schmidt, Doris Mendel, ed. Handbook of Information 1998. Newton, KS: General Conference Mennonite Church, 1998: 103-104.
Website: Mennonite Church Alberta
Mennonite Church Alberta Conference Sessions: 1930-1980
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 181. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Dick, C. Lorne and Sam Steiner. "Mennonite Church Alberta." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2010. Web. 20 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C6641ME.html.
APA style: Dick, C. Lorne and Sam Steiner. (July 2010). Mennonite Church Alberta. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C6641ME.html.