Avon Mennonite Church (Stratford, Ontario, Canada)
The Avon Mennonite Church in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, began with a Summer Bible School sponsored by the Ontario Amish Mennonite Conference in July 1951. Ross Bender was the superintendent of this first school. In the spring of 1952, the conference purchased a house at the corner of Romeo and Brunswick Streets. Another Bible School was held that summer, and Sunday school classes began to be held in the house. In July 1953 Sunday evening and Friday evening services began, under the direction of Ephraim Gingerich.
In September 1955, Jake Spenler of Milverton was invited to be the first pastor for the group that had about 16 adults and 30 children attending. The Spenler family lived in the house except for the front two rooms which were used for church meetings.
By 1958 youth and women's organizations had formed. Plans also began for a new church building which was finally dedicated in June 1961, though the house remained as a parsonage.
In 1975, during the pastorate of Rod and Doris Weber, a Voluntary Service (VS) program began in Stratford that used the house for the VS unit. This program ended in 1980. The house was then used for the Avonholme program for persons with emotional and psychological issues.
Rod and Doris Weber were commissioned for ministry (equivalent to ordination) on 4 March 1979; Doris was the first woman recognized as a pastoral leader in the then Western Ontario Mennonite Conference.
In 1994 the church was sold to the Stratford Church of Christ, and the congregation moved to share part of the facility at the new Greenwood Court retirement community in Stratford.
Baechler, Reta. "From Country Roads to City Streets: A Brief Story of Avon Mennonite Church in the City of Stratford, Ontario." Ontario Mennonite History 19, no. 1 (May 2001): 1-4.
Mennonite Reporter (22 August 1994): 15; (19 September 1994): 16; (12 December 1994): 5.
Church records at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Address: 90 Greenwood Dr., Stratford, ON, N5A 7W5
Website: Avon Mennonite Church
Avon Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders
|Rod & Doris Weber||1974-1984|
|Jim & Ingrid Loepp Thiessen
Avon Mennonite Church Membership
|Date Published||April 2014|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Sam. "Avon Mennonite Church (Stratford, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2014. Web. 24 May 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Avon_Mennonite_Church_(Stratford,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=141664.
Steiner, Sam. (April 2014). Avon Mennonite Church (Stratford, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Avon_Mennonite_Church_(Stratford,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=141664.
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