First Mennonite Church (Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA)
First Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA), Mountain Lake, Minnesota, organized in 1878. Until about 1938 it was called the Mennonite Church of Mountain Lake. It had no conference affiliation until 1917, when it joined both the Northern District Conference and the General Conference Mennonite Church. The first elder, Gerhard Neufeld, arrived in 1878 from South Russia, whence all members in the early years came. The most common names were Neufeld, Harder, Derksen, Dick, Falk, Friesen. About half of the members were farmers in the 1950s.
The first meetinghouse was built in 1882. The second meetinghouse, also a wooden structure, was erected in 1911 with a seating capacity of about 350. It was replaced by a modern brick building with a seating capacity of 710, dedicated in August 1956. In 1947 a brick parsonage was built. As late as 1936 the language of worship was German. In 1937 English was introduced and gradually gained ground, so that by the mid-1950s it was all English, with the exception of a single German Sunday-school class. In 1947-1955 L. R. Amstutz was the pastor. He was the first minister called from outside the congregation. The Sunday school was organized about the middle nineties. The first Christian Endeavor Society was started in 1906. In 1956 there was also a Junior C.E. Society and a Youth Fellowship organization. There were three mission societies, a men's chorus, and a mixed choir.
Outstanding individuals in the history of the church have included Elder Gerhard Neufeld 1878-1910; Jacob Stoesz, elder 1910-1918; I. J. Dick, assistant pastor 1914-1920, elder 1920-1947; D. D. Harder, minister 1892-1940; I. I. Bargen, who taught in the Sunday school for about 50 years. The membership in 1956 was 423. L. R. Amstutz was succeeded as pastor in 1955 by Willard W. Wiebe.
In 2005 the membership was 131; the pastor was E. Elaine Kauffman.
In 2015 the congregation sold its church building at 305 North 7th Street. They met there for the last time on 27 December 2015. In January 2016 they began meeting in the chapel of Good Samaritan Village in Mountain Lake, with an average attendance of 40.
Stella, Rachel. "As Rural Life Changes, a Church Lets Go of the Past." Mennonite World Review 29 February 2016. Web. 29 February 2016. http://mennoworld.org/2016/02/29/feature/as-rural-life-changes-a-church-lets-go-of-the-past/.
Mailing Address: Box 473, Mountain Lake, MN 56159
Location: 745 Basinger Memorial Drive, Mountain Lake, MN
|Author(s)||I. J Dick|
|Date Published||February 2016|
Cite This Article
Dick, I. J. "First Mennonite Church (Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2016. Web. 23 Nov 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=First_Mennonite_Church_(Mountain_Lake,_Minnesota,_USA)&oldid=133708.
Dick, I. J. (February 2016). First Mennonite Church (Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 November 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=First_Mennonite_Church_(Mountain_Lake,_Minnesota,_USA)&oldid=133708.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 762. All rights reserved.
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