Midwest Mennonite Fellowship
The Midwest Mennonite Fellowship grew out of a number of ministers' desire for fellowship for themselves and their congregations along with the need of a winter Bible School for their young people. Most of these ministers were from the midwestern United States. A few were from eastern Ontario.
On 1 October 1976, 15 of these interested ministers gathered at Fairview, Michigan for a day of fellowship and sharing of concerns. Out of this meeting grew an interest in including others unaffiliated with a conference. At this meeting a committee of three were elected to plan the next meeting. The three brethren chosen were Samuel Yoder (Minnesota, USA), Leighton Martin (Ontario, Canada), and Roman Schlabach (Michigan, USA).
The second meeting was held 8-10 February 1977, at Stone Lake, Wisconsin. This meeting was well attended, with 50 ministers present, along with the representation from the local congregation. A third meeting was held at the Salem Mennonite Church near Kinross, Iowa, 1-3 July 1977. About 500 people attended these services. Interest in a winter Bible school was the main topic of the ministers business session. There was strong support for the school and an association to support it. The latter was organized by 23 ministers gathered at Nappanee, Indiana, 21 September 1977. The first program committee was made up of Leon King (Ohio), Homer Miller (Indiana), and Alvin Mast (Wisconsin). A five-member school board was chosen as follows: Leighton Martin (Ontario, Canada), Victor Miller (Michigan, USA), Arnie Skrivseth (Minnesota, USA), Olen Miller (Indiana, USA), and Samuel Yoder (Minnesota, USA). Thirteen churches joined the Mid-West Fellowship as charter members. In 2001 the fellowship had 36 congregations with a total membership of 2,001.
Midwest Mennonite Fellowship is composed of congregations voluntarily subscribing to the following:
The Fellowship reserves the right, by vote of the members, to discontinue membership to any congregation who fails to maintain proper Scriptural discipline. Congregations wishing to withdraw membership may do so by submitting a written request to the Moderating Committee, which shall be acted upon thereafter by the members.
A former elementary school building at Lansing, Minnesota was chosen as the site for Maranatha Bible School, a winter Bible school. The building, leased at first and later purchased, has also been used to hold the annual winter ministers' meetings. Bible School begins the first Monday of January and runs for 12 weeks. Total annual enrollment in 1990 was 200 students and in 2010 was 130 students.
Midwest Mennonite Fellowship has also operated Deeper Life Ministries, a discipleship and counselling center in Plain City, Ohio. The property of the former Sunnyhaven Childrens' Home was given to the Fellowship in 1993. Deeper Life also includes a bookstore which can be accessed on the Internet.
Midwest Mennonite Fellowship has affiliated with Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship and Southeastern Mennonite Conference in the board management both for the Maranatha Bible School and the Deeper Life Ministries. The three groups have also jointly sponsored a ministers' study week each October, rotating the location among the groups.
Midwest Mennonite Focus has served as the bimonthly periodical for the Fellowship since 1980. Howard Bean has served as editor since its beginning.
In 2011 the fellowship had 36 congregations with a total membership of 2,166. Although Canada has only 25% of the congregations, it has about 50% of the membership.
See also Conservative Mennonites.
Bean, Howard, ed. Midwest Mennonite Fellowship: History, Institutions, and Leaders, 1977-2011. Midwest Mennonite Fellowship, 2011.
Mennonite Church Directory 2010. Harrisonburg, VA: Christian Light Publications, Inc., 2010: 88-92.
Mennonite Church Information (2001).
Mennonite Yearbook & Directory (1988/89, 1997).
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 584. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Schrock, Dan and Howard Bean. "Midwest Mennonite Fellowship." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2011. Web. 22 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M539ME.html.
APA style: Schrock, Dan and Howard Bean. (December 2011). Midwest Mennonite Fellowship. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M539ME.html.