First Mennonite Church (Halstead, Kansas, USA)
In 1874 a group of 30 brethren from Summerfield, Illinois, purchased land in the vicinity of Halstead and held the first church service in a schoolhouse on 11 January 1874, with Christian Krehbiel in charge. On 21 March 1875, a constitution was drafted, and a decision reached to elect a minister and deacons and to celebrate the Lord's Supper on Easter Sunday, 28 March 1875; Valentine Krehbiel was elected as minister. The congregation met in homes and schools until the church building was dedicated, 1 January 1878. The present church was erected in 1885, and remodeled and enlarged after World War II.
Although the Halstead church grew steadily, it has never become large. It has rather furnished the nucleus from which the following churches were formed: West Zion of Moundridge, Kansas; Garden Township of Hesston, Kansas; Bethel College Church of North Newton, Kansas; Burrton, Kansas; and Geary, Oklahoma. It has sponsored some unusual organizations, such as the Leisy Orphan Aid Society, the Mennonite Board of Guardians to help immigrants, and the Mennonite Charity, which took over the Halstead Hospital begun by Dr. A. E. Hertzler. In addition the church has carried on special work with the American Indians.
In its first 75 years nine ministers served: Valentine Krehbiel 1875-1879, David Goerz 1878-1897, Christian Krehbiel 1879-1907, J. H. Langenwalter, J. E. Amstutz 1911-1921, H. J. Unruh 1922-1935, D. C. Wedel 1936-1946, Loris Habegger 1947-1954, and Roland Goering 1954- . At least seven other ministers for a time had their church home here, mostly before being ordained. The late Sister Frieda Kaufman of the Bethel Deaconess Hospital and Sister Clare Kuehney, missionary to India, came from this church. It has produced a number of physicians and college teachers: H. H. Ewert, H. A. Kruse, W. J. Baumgartner, M. D. Baumgartner, E. B. Krehbiel, D. R. Krehbiel, and J. H. Langenwalter. Two members have served as state legislature representatives, H. P. Krehbiel and J. A. Schowalter. P. J. Galle served as district judge. D. Goerz published here the German paper Zur Heimath, which was a forerunner of the church paper, Christlicher Bundesbote. Bernhard Warkentin was a pioneer in the milling business, establishing the first water mill at Halstead. In 1953 the congregation had 346 members.
Krehbiel, C. E. Historical Sketch, First Mennonite Church, Halstead, Kansas. Newton, 1925.
Address: 427 West 4th Street, Halstead, Kansas
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 638. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Wedel, D. C. "First Mennonite Church (Halstead, Kansas, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 20 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/first_mennonite_church_halstead_kansas_usa.
APA style: Wedel, D. C. (1956). First Mennonite Church (Halstead, Kansas, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/first_mennonite_church_halstead_kansas_usa.