Voth, Heinrich (1851-1918)
Heinrich Voth: an elder and outstanding leader of the Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church, was born in the village of Gnadenheim, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia, on 19 February 1851, the fourth of eleven children of Heinrich Voth (11 May 1823 – 27 August 1887) and Helena (Fast) Voth (30 June 1823 – 21 December 1884). On 12 June 1873, he married Sarah Kornelsen (21 March 1853, Pordenau, Molotschna, South Russia – 25 April 1936, Winkler, Manitoba, Canada) in Klippenfeld, Molotschna. Sarah was the daughter of Heinrich Kornelsen (15 June 1807 - 30 March 1857) and Sara (Wall) Kornelsen (1 August 1826 – 13 September 1897). Heinrich and Sarah had 11 children (nine children grew to adulthood). Heinrich died 26 November 1918 in Vanderhoof, British Columbia and was buried in Winkler, Manitoba.
Heinrich taught in the Mennonite village school at Klippenfeld for two years. During this time Voth was converted and had a deep religious experience, and a remarkable revival also occurred in his school. In July 1876 Heinrich and his young family, along with his parents, immigrated to America, establishing a home on a farm near Bingham Lake, Minnesota. In June 1877 he joined the Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church and immediately became an active member. At first he led the Sunday school, then he was elected to the ministry and in 1885 was ordained elder. He served as minister and pastor of the Bingham Lake (Carson) MB Church about 40 years. During this time the congregation grew into one of the largest and most influential of the MB Church.
Elder Voth was active in the Mennonite Brethren Conference in many ways, attending every general conference from its beginning until his death. He traveled much as an evangelist and as itinerating preacher, holding meetings in all the MB churches throughout the United States and Canada. He had a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures and gave valuable Bible addresses. He served the MB General Conference on various committees; he was chairman of the Board of Foreign Missions in 1909-1918. He served as moderator of the General Conference 14 years and as moderator of the Central District Conference 15 years. His oldest son, Henry S. Voth, became a noted evangelist and pastor of the MB Church and a leading man in its conference activities, and his son John H. Voth served as an MB missionary to India for 34 years. During World War I Elder Voth's nonresistant convictions motivated him to move to Manitoba, and in March 1918, the Voths moved to Braeside near Vanderhoof, BC, where he founded the first Mennonite Brethren church in British Columbia.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 4.27 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2006.
Jantz, Harold. "Heinrich Voth: Founder of the Mennonite Brethren Church in Canada." Profiles of Mennonite Faith No. 28 (Fall 2004).
Penner, Peter. "The Heinrich Voth Family: From Minnesota to Winkler to Vanderhoof." Mennonite Historian 24:4 (December 1998).
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 858. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Lohrenz, J. H. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Voth, Heinrich (1851-1918)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2006. Web. 18 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/V6836.html.
APA style: Lohrenz, J. H. and Richard D. Thiessen. (2006). Voth, Heinrich (1851-1918). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/V6836.html.