Countryside Mennonite Fellowship (Hawkesville, Ontario, Canada)

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Former building in Heidelbeg, Ontario; in 2011 used as a venue for weddings, etc.  

Countryside Mennonite Fellowship was originally known as Heidelberg Mennonite Fellowship, as its services began in the village of Heidelberg, Ontario in 1960. Moses Roth is considered the founding leader of the group, and served as its first pastor and bishop.

The congregation originated through division from the Mennonite Conference of Ontario in 1960 over doctrine issues, and a desire to retain symbols of separation no longer upheld by the conference. Heidelberg, along with New Hamburg, were founding members of the Conservative Mennonite Church of Ontario (CMCO)

In 1976 the Heidelberg Mennonite Fellowship withdrew its membership from CMCO because it desired more congregational autonomy and less rigid enforcement of regulations on dress, etc. In May 1976, Leighton Martin was ordained as bishop, and Edgar Frey as minister. Later that year, Abner Martin was ordained as deacon.

In 1978 some congregations from the United States and Ontario met in St. Jacobs for the first joint Mid­west Fellowship Meeting. In 2003 Countryside remained a member of Midwest Fellowship.

In 1978/79 the congregation built a Christian day school on the west side of Hawkesville, followed by a new church building in 1982. The building was dedicated in February 1983. "Countryside" refers both to the school and the church. The school's curriculum includes grades 1-10.

Countryside Mennonite Fellowship maintains a strong mission emphasis, and many members have served in various mission fields. Local ministries have included Vacation Bible School, a Partners Program for mentors and boys in the community who are missing a father's role in their lives, and a Girl's Club outreach and a biweekly nursing home ministry.


Countryside Mennonite Fellowship Church, Hawkesville, Ontario: 30th Anniversary, 1960-1990. Hawkesville: The Church, 1990, 89 pp.

Cressman, Kenneth. "The Development of the Conservative Mennonite Church of Ontario." 1976, 70 pp. Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Cressman,  Kenneth. "A Descriptive Analysis of the Conservative Mennonite Schisms in Ontario, 1956-1979." 1979, 92 pp. Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Additional Information

Countryside Mennonite Fellowship Pastoral Leaders

Pastoral Leader Years
Moses Roth (Bishop) 1960-1976
Leighton Martin (Bishop) 1976-2001
Edgar Frey 1976-1989
Glen Jantzi 1989-
Ron Shantz 1989-
Kevin Martin 2003-

Countryside Mennonite Fellowship Membership

Year Members
1965 83
1975 94
1985 159
1995 227
2000 250
2003 210

Author(s) Ivan Kraemer
Date Published October 2003

Cite This Article

MLA style

Kraemer, Ivan. "Countryside Mennonite Fellowship (Hawkesville, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2003. Web. 25 May 2018.,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=91517.

APA style

Kraemer, Ivan. (October 2003). Countryside Mennonite Fellowship (Hawkesville, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2018, from,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=91517.

©1996-2018 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.