Sarrebourg (Lorraine, France)
Sarrebourg (German, Saarburg), a Mennonite congregation in Lorraine, France. Though it is not possible to trace the origin of many of the Mennonite families who now comprise the Sarrebourg congregation, it is known that there have been Mennonites living here since the beginning of the 19th century. They were not known (nor are they for the most part today) as Mennonites, but as "Anabaptistes" in the French-speaking villages and "Taufer" in the German-speaking ones.
Thus the books of Erkmann-Chatrian describe the Anabaptist Pelsy, who lived in a remote mountain region of the Vosges Mountains, and their community; a resume of his account follows: Most of the families still hold firmly to their manner of worship, and since they live great distances apart they have to cover many miles on foot to attend the meetings. Some of the older persons still recall starting out at three in the morning and returning after dark. Until about 30-40 years ago most of the members were engaged in agriculture or some trade in the village. The farms were often quite remote from the towns. They were thus removed from the temptations that accompany city life, and God could grant these simple rural people many a spiritual blessing in heavenly goods in their rough and laborious existence; most of these blessings have since been lost or have passed into formalism or traditionalism. But our faithful God, in view of the forefathers, will not permit their descendants to be easily submerged in the darkness and the enticements of this world. For many years meetings were held in the homes on various farms, as for example in Schacheneck, Imling, and Sarrebourg; later a meetinghouse was built in Sarrebourg, which was a rather central point for most of the families. For many years Valentin Pelsy served as elder, a faithful, devoted witness of the Lord. He avoided no effort, and his affectionate nature helped in reminding the members of their duty and responsibility. But in spite of all these admonitions the spirit of the world has found its way into the congregation, so that in many cases the simple and childlike faith of the fathers has been lost and the enemy of souls has reaped a rich harvest, many a heart turning to the world for its joy and contentment. But the Lord has been watching and has given them a period of repentance and revival, when Emile Kremer was chosen elder after the death of Valentin Pelsy. A happy time of revival began, and many committed themselves to the Lord and placed their lives at His disposal. Thus many of the members of the congregation are not of Mennonite descent.
The present Sarrebourg congregation meets twice a month in a chapel in Sarrebourg. In 1957 the membership, including children, was 142. The elders were Emile Kremer and René Pelsy, and the minister Ernst Stalter.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. 4 v. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. 4.
Sommer, Pierre. "Assemblée de Sarrebourg." Christ Seul (January 1932): 5-8.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 423. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Pelsy, René. "Sarrebourg (Lorraine, France)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S266.html.
APA style: Pelsy, René. (1959). Sarrebourg (Lorraine, France). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S266.html.