Forks Mennonite Church (Middlebury, Indiana, USA)
Forks Mennonite Church, located six miles southeast of Middlebury, in Newbury Township, Lagrange County, Indiana, is a member of the Indiana-Michigan Conference. The first Amish settlers came to Elkhart and Lagrange counties in 1841-1842. A group broke away from the Amish in 1854 to form the Amish Mennonite Forks Church. Christian Plank and Christian Miller were the first ministers. The first known bishop was Jonas Troyer. D. J. Johns then retained oversight until D. D. Miller was ordained bishop in 1906. Miller, who died in 1955, was ordained deacon in 1890, minister in 1891, and bishop in 1906, all three times by D. J. Johns. In 1953 Earley C. Bontrager was the bishop, Donald E. Yoder the minister, and Malvin P. Miller the deacon; the 1953 membership was 213. The first church, built in 1864, was replaced in 1893 by a larger structure, which was remodeled in 1915. In 1927 the house was destroyed by fire but was soon replaced. Missionaries from this congregation include Dr. and Mrs. W. B. Page, Ernest E. and Ruth Miller, S. Jay and Ida Hostetler, Wilbur and Velma Hostetler, and Amsa and Nona Kauffman. Forks was also the home congregation of Orie O. Miller, executive secretary of the Mennonite Central Committee.
The congregation closed in December 2016. Several reasons influenced the decision to close, including the changing community and the loss of youth in the church in the rural area. Pastor Philip Yoder said, "Almost everybody who comes here drives in, they’re not really from this community anymore," Yoder said. "The age of the people in the congregation was another factor."
Augsburger, A. "History of the Forks Congregation." Mennonite Historical Bulletin 4, no. 3-4 (September 1943-December 1943).
Young, Jay. "After 159 years, Forks Mennonite Church closes its doors on Christmas Day." Goshen News. 26 December 2016. Web. 5 June 2017. http://www.goshennews.com/news/local_news/after-years-forks-mennonite-church-closes-its-doors-on-christmas/article_f7519ca7-a0c6-58ee-b6d5-be37e7042157.html.
Address: 11435 W 025 S, Middlebury, Indiana
|Author(s)||Floyd L Rheinheimer|
Cite This Article
Rheinheimer, Floyd L. "Forks Mennonite Church (Middlebury, Indiana, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 20 Mar 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Forks_Mennonite_Church_(Middlebury,_Indiana,_USA)&oldid=148712.
Rheinheimer, Floyd L. (1956). Forks Mennonite Church (Middlebury, Indiana, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 March 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Forks_Mennonite_Church_(Middlebury,_Indiana,_USA)&oldid=148712.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 354. All rights reserved.
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