This meetinghouse, built in 1848, was long the center of the large Mennonite settlement in Woolwich Township, north of Waterloo Township. It was named "Martin's" probably because the site of four acres was on the farm of pioneer Peter Martin and had been reserved by Henry Martin in 1824 for the purpose of a meetinghouse and burial grounds, even though the land was not actually purchased (by the "Mennonite Society of British North America" according to the deed) until 1848, when the meetinghouse was erected. The meetinghouse was long the only one north of Waterloo and served all the Mennonites in Woolwich Township.
In 1889 the Old Order schism created a serious break in the Ontario Mennonite body. The bishop at Martin's at that time, Abraham Martin, led most of his congregation in his refusal to accept the newer methods of church work (Sunday school, etc.) which had been accepted by most of the Ontario Mennonite congregations, and made Martin's the strongest unit in the Ontario Old Order group (which included smaller groups at Selkirk-Rainham and Markham).
In 1925 a schism in the entire Ontario Old Order group resulted in an almost half-and-half division at Martin's. The new progressive group, which permitted automobiles and telephones, joined witil a similar group at Markham to form the Markham-Waterloo Conference. The meetinghouse is an excellent example of the older style of architecture and anterior arrangement and furniture. In 1900 it was enlarged to 42 x 64 ft.
The meetinghouse was shared by the Old Order Mennonites and the Markham-Waterloo Mennonite Conference until the end of 1993, when the Old Orders stopped using the building for regular worship as city traffic conditions became too dangerous for horse-drawn vehicles. As of 2001 the building was still used for funerals. The Martin's congregation subsequently met at the Conestoga meetinghouse west of St. Jacobs.
Mennonite Reporter (3 April 1989): 14.
|Author(s)||Joseph C. Fretz|
|Date Published||June 1997|
Cite This Article
Fretz, Joseph C. and Sam Steiner. "Martin Mennonite Meetinghouse (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 1997. Web. 24 May 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Martin_Mennonite_Meetinghouse_(Waterloo,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=89440.
Fretz, Joseph C. and Sam Steiner. (June 1997). Martin Mennonite Meetinghouse (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Martin_Mennonite_Meetinghouse_(Waterloo,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=89440.
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