Monsheim (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)
Monsheim, a village near Worms, Rhenish Hesse, Germany, since 1820 the seat of a Mennonite congregation. Previously the center had been Kriegsheim. At the time of the engagement of the first trained minister, Leonhard Weydmann 1819-1836, a new church was built at Monsheim and a parsonage was bought near by. Official records show that the Amsterdam Mennonite Church contributed 600 gilders for this church and parsonage; the proceeds from the sale of the old church in Kriegsheim were also applied to this purchase. The land for the site was apparently donated by the Möllinger family in Monsheim. Much of the work of the building was done by the members according to a fixed schedule and assessment. A workman lost his life in the erection of the building.
In 1836-1868 the preacher of the Monsheim congregation was Johannes Molenaar, who is known for his formulary, catechism, and hymnal, as well as other literary works. In 1838 several families who were dissatisfied with his work joined another congregation.
In 1859, when the last lay preacher of the neighboring Obersülzen congregation died, that congregation joined with Monsheim for preaching services, though keeping its own organization in all other respects. In 1866 Obersülzen built a church of its own. In that year the congregation at Oberflörsheim, which had for some years been served by Molenaar, merged with Monsheim. In 1867 Adolf Ellenberger succeeded Molenaar as pastor at Monsheim, and served until 1889.
Until 1872 the Monsheim congregational singing was led by choristers (Vorsänger). "Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to hear such singing will never have a moment's doubt as to its artistic or edificatory value," says one of the old church documents. In 1872 the Monsheim church acquired an organ. In 1881 a new church constitution was adopted, which had been drawn up in 1869 and circulated among the members. It stipulated that the preacher should as a rule have formal training, and the council should have at least six members. Baptism was to be administered in the late summer and communion observed four times annually.
In 1886 the congregation joined the Vereinigung (Conference of German Meononite Churches), represented in Berlin by Christian Finger, who was also chosen treasurer of the council. In 1886 a fund was established for the congregation. His successor was his son Hermann, who served on the council 1907-1929. On 5 September 1889 the congregation was incorporated through the efforts of Jakob Finger, the brother of Christian Finger, minister of state. In the fall of 1889 the old parsonage was sold and a new one bought. In 1892 the church was remodeled. The preachers of the congregation in more recent times were Philipp Kieferndorf 1889-1894, Gerhard Haake 1896-1899, Johannes Hirschler 1899-1926, Walter Fellmann 1927-1945, Emil Handiges 1945-1954, and Alexander Prieur 1954ff. The constitution stipulated that at least 30 services were to be held in Monsheim each year, and 20 in the subsidiary congregation in Obersülzen. In 1895 the Monsheim congregation had about 300 members; in 1939 only about 200, who lived in many neighboring villages. The membership in 1955 was 286, including 74 refugees from the East.
Correll, Ernst. Das schweizerische Täufermennonitentum. Tübingen, 1925.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: III: 160 f.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 741-742. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Fellmann, Walter. "Monsheim (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M6553.html.
APA style: Fellmann, Walter. (1957). Monsheim (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M6553.html.