Groffdale Old Order Mennonite Conference
The Groffdale Old Order Mennonite Conference was founded in 1927 when Preacher Joseph O. Wenger and approximately one-half of the membership withdrew from the Weaverland Old Order Mennonite Conference. Those who withdrew refused to accept Bishop Moses Horning's decision to allow automobile ownership. In the fall of 1927 Preacher Joseph O. Wenger became the first Bishop of the Groffdale Conference and soon thereafter he and his followers became known as the "Wengers" or the Joe Wenger Mennonites.
With its focus on maintaining tradition, farming has been the predominant and preferred occupation within the Groffdale Conference. Horse drawn carriages have remained the mandated form of local transportation. Farm tractors have been widely used but each must be equipped with four steel wheels.
The Groffdale Conference has retained a conservative lifestyle, and therefore they have seen no need for Sunday schools, evangelical meetings, etc. Pennsylvania "Dutch" has remained the language of choice at home and in church. Church services and singing, however, have continued to be conducted in German. Pennsylvania "Dutch" has been used liberally by the clergy to expound upon high German Bible passages and quotes.
The Groffdale Conference has used parochial schools which are small one or two room structures. They have required only grades 1-8, and usually the teachers have been members of Old Order churches. All subjects are taught in English using English language textbooks. Some of these schools have offered an hour or two per week of instruction in the high German Gothic lettered alphabet and high German vocabulary words.
As of January 2011, the entire Groffdale Old Order Mennonite Conference nationwide had 3,793 households located in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and New York.
Groffdale Old Order Mennonite Conference Settlements and Meetinghouses
(Boldface indicates Settlement Name)
Groffdale Conference Mennonite Church Schedules.
Information provided by Bishop Elvin M. Martin.
Kraybill, Donald B. and James P. Hurd. Horse-and-buggy Mennonites: Hoofbeats of Humility in a Postmodern World. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006.
Records of ordinations of the Old Order Mennonites, Groffdale Conference churches, 1750 to 2010. East Earl, PA: [Earl Z. Weaver?], 2010.
Original Article from Mennonite Encyclopedia
Vol. 3, p. 516 by Ira D. Landis
The Groffdale (Martindale) Old Order Mennonite Conference was the result of a schism in 1926 in the Weaverland Old Order Mennonite Conference, which had broken from the Weaverland Mennonite Church in 1893. The 1954 membership was reported to be 1,200 in round numbers, meeting in meetinghouses, with Aaron Z. Sensenig as bishop. They still shared the use of the Weaverland Old Order Mennonite meetinghouse. They represented the most conservative Old Order Mennonite group in Lancaster County and separated from the Weaverland group on the issue of the use of automobiles, which they reject. They use German almost exclusively in preaching, have no Sunday schools, and reject most modern conveniences.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
To cite this page:
MLA style: Martin, Jonathan H. "Groffdale Old Order Mennonite Conference." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2012. Web. 18 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/G756.html.
APA style: Martin, Jonathan H. (January 2012). Groffdale Old Order Mennonite Conference. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/G756.html.