The First Mennonite Church in Vineland, Ontario is the oldest Mennonite congregation in Canada. At one time the congregation had three places of worship: the Moyer church at the present location, the Mountain church (extinct) and the Jordan church (extinct). Services were held alternately at the three churches. First Mennonite was known as Moyer Mennonite Church until 1955.
The congregation began services about 1800, and formally organized in 1801. The first building was occupied in 1801, with subsequent building programs in 1810, 1897, 1962 and 2000. Valentine Kratz is considered the founding leader of the group. The congregation originated through immigration beginning in 1786 from Pennsylvania to "The Twenty". The congregation experienced loss of members both in the New Mennonite division and Old Order Mennonite division in the second half of the 19th century.
Samuel F. Coffman was longtime leader of the congregation from 1903 until his death in 1954. Although the congregation experienced a number of losses in the late 20th century, it experienced revival and growth when a number of "Russian Mennonite" families began to attend this church founded by some of the earliest Mennonites to come to Canada from Pennsylvania. The language of worship is English; the transition from German occurred in the 1890s.
The bicentennial of Mennonites in Canada in 1986 culminated in a celebration at First Mennonite Church with the unveiling of a Bicentennial Monument.
Burkholder, L. J. A brief history of the Mennonites in Ontario. 1935: 61, 43-48.
Canadian Mennonite (July 12, 1966): 10.
Coffman, S.F. "The one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Mennonite Church at Vineland, Ontario." 12 pp. MAO.
Good, E. Reginald. "Jacob Moyer's Mennonite church records: an interpretive sketch," Mennogespräch 3 (March 1985): 1-5.
Harder, Laureen. Their Richest Inheritance : a Celebration of The First Mennonite Church, Vineland, Ontario, 1801-2001. Vineland, Ontario: The Church, 2001.
Mennonite Reporter (July 30, 1990): 4.
"The Mountain Church," Mennonites in Canada collection "(1780-Vineland)," MAO.
Moyer, Carson. "The Mountain Church at Campden," Mennogespräch 4 (March 1986): 1-3.
Archival RecordsChurch records at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Address: 3557 Rittenhouse Road, Vineland, Ontario
Website: The First Mennonite Church
The First Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders
|Jacob Moyer|| 1802|
|Jacob Moyer, Jr.||1824-1831|
|Jacob Gross|| 1833|
|Dilman Moyer|| 1842|
|Abram K. Hunsberger||1858-1889|
|John F. Rittenhouse||1889-1903|
|Samuel F. Coffman|| 1895|
| J. B. Martin
|Richard Leonhard|| 1979|
| Harold Peters Fransen
| Phil Bender
The First Mennonite Church Membership
|Date Published||September 2003|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Sam. "First Mennonite Church (Vineland, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2003. Web. 28 May 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=First_Mennonite_Church_(Vineland,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=105043.
Steiner, Sam. (September 2003). First Mennonite Church (Vineland, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 May 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=First_Mennonite_Church_(Vineland,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=105043.
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