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The Midwest Mennonite Fellowship grew out of a number of ministers' desire for fellowship for themselves and their congregations along with the need of a winter Bible School for their young people. Most of these ministers were from the midwestern United States. A few were from eastern Ontario.

On 1 October 1976, 15 of these interested ministers gathered at Fairview, Michigan for a day of fellowship and sharing of concerns. Out of this meeting grew an interest in including others unaffiliated with a conference. At this meeting a committee of three were elected to plan the next meeting. The three brethren chosen were Samuel Yoder (Minnesota, USA), Leighton Martin (Ontario, Canada), and Roman Schlabach (Michigan, USA).

The second meeting was held 8-10 February 1977, at Stone Lake, Wisconsin. This meeting was well attended, with 50 ministers present, along with the representation from the local congregation. A third meeting was held at the Salem Mennonite Church near Kinross, Iowa, 1-3 July 1977. About 500 people attended these services. Interest in a winter Bible school was the main topic of the ministers business session. There was strong support for the school and an association to support it. The latter was organized by 23 ministers gathered at Nappanee, Indiana, 21 September 1977. The first program committee was made up of Leon King (Ohio), Homer Miller (Indiana), and Alvin Mast (Wisconsin). A five-member school board was chosen as follows: Leighton Martin (Ontario, Canada), Victor Miller (Michigan, USA), Arnie Skrivseth (Minnesota, USA), Olen Miller (Indiana, USA), and Samuel Yoder (Minnesota, USA). Thirteen churches joined the Mid-West Fellowship as charter members. In 2001 the fellowship had 36 congregations with a total membership of 2,001.

Midwest Mennonite Fellowship is composed of congregations voluntarily subscribing to the following:

First, an appreciation of our Christian heritage as brought to us through the Mennonite Church, and a commitment by the grace of God to preserve this heritage. Second, an acceptance of the Christian fundamentals of our faith as amended and adopted in 1964 at Hartville, Ohio. Third, a congregational type of church administration, but with an appreciation for a broader fellowship in sharing matters concerning the Faith. Fourth, a commitment to maintain a proper Scriptural discipline.

The Fellowship reserves the right, by vote of the members, to discontinue membership to any congregation who fails to maintain proper Scriptural discipline. Congregations wishing to withdraw membership may do so by submitting a written request to the Moderating Committee, which shall be acted upon thereafter by the members.

A former elementary school building at Lansing, Minnesota was chosen as the site for Maranatha Bible School, a winter Bible school. The building, leased at first and later purchased, has also been used to hold the annual winter ministers' meetings. Bible School begins the first Monday of January and runs for 12 weeks. Total annual enrollment in 1990 was 200 students and in 2010 was 130 students.

Midwest Mennonite Fellowship has also operated Deeper Life Ministries, a discipleship and counselling center in Plain City, Ohio. The property of the former Sunnyhaven Childrens' Home was given to the Fellowship in 1993. Deeper Life also includes a bookstore which can be accessed on the Internet.

Midwest Mennonite Fellowship has affiliated with Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship and Southeastern Mennonite Conference in the board management both for the Maranatha Bible School and the Deeper Life Ministries. The three groups have also jointly sponsored a ministers' study week each October, rotating the location among the groups.

Midwest Mennonite Focus has served as the bimonthly periodical for the Fellowship since 1980. Howard Bean has served as editor since its beginning.

In 2011 the fellowship had 36 congregations with a total membership of 2,166. Although Canada has only 25% of the congregations, it has about 50% of the membership.

Congregation Location State/Province Founded Members
Berean Mennonite Church Wickenburg Arizona 1969 27
Bethany Mennonite Church Stratford Wisconsin 1973 39
Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church Nappanee Indiana 1955 55
Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church Millbank Ontario, Canada 1956 50
Buck Creek Mennonite Church Richland Center Wisconsin 1968 41
Canaan Mennonite Chapel Madison Indiana 1976 10
Conservative Mennonite Fellowship Fairview Michigan 1967 6
Country View Chapel Wilmot Ohio 1994 63
Countryside Mennonite Fellowship Hawkesville Ontario, Canada 1960 229
Crystal View Mennonite Church Floradale Ontario, Canada 1984 187
Donegal Mennonite Fellowship Donegal Ontario, Canada 2009 76
Fresh Start Chapel Washington Indiana 1988 39
Glad Tidings Mennonite Fellowship Tara Ontario, Canada 1984 78
Gospel Light Chapel Trail Ohio 1968 122
Grace Fellowship Mennonite Church Charlevoix Michigan 1986 10
Grace Mennonite Fellowship Church New Hamburg Ontario, Canada 1976 65
Hartville Conservative Mennonite Church Hartville Ohio 1956 96
Hillside Mennonite Church Shoals Indiana 1969 22
Maranatha Mennonite Church  Taylorsville  Mississippi  1996  18 
Moorefield Mennonite Fellowship Moorefield Ontario, Canada 2000 122
Moriah Mennonite Church Plain City Ohio 1995 23
North Liberty Mennonite North Liberty Indiana 1992 35
Northwood Chapel Littlefork Minnesota 1961 17
Northwoods Mennonite Church Hayward Wisconsin 1960 48
Otter Lake Conservative Mennonite Church Parry Sound Ontario, Canada 1972 47
Pilgrim Mennonite Church Middlefield Ohio 1959 42
Pleasant View Conservative Cochranton Pennsylvania 1961 91
Prairie Chapel Mennonite Hutchinson Kansas 1996 23
Prairie Mennonite Church Blooming Prairie Minnesota 1974 43
Sandy Ridge Mennonite Church Nappanee Indiana 1981 126
Seney Mennonite Church Seney Michigan 1952 9
Sonlight Chapel Maysville Ohio 1976 73
Traverse Bay Mennonite Church Traverse City Michigan 1967 41
Western Plains Mennonite Church Raymond Alberta, Canada 1999 20
Woodlawn Mennonite Fellowship Dorking Ontario, Canada 1989 121
Zion Mennonite Fellowship Brussels Ontario, Canada 1963 52
Total 2,166

See also Conservative Mennonites.

[edit] Bibliography

Bean, Howard, ed. Midwest Mennonite Fellowship: History, Institutions, and Leaders, 1977-2011. Midwest Mennonite Fellowship, 2011.

Mennonite Church Directory 2010. Harrisonburg, VA: Christian Light Publications, Inc., 2010: 88-92.

Mennonite Church Information (2001).

Mennonite Yearbook & Directory (1988/89, 1997).

[edit] Additional Information

Website: The Bookstore of Deeper Life Ministries


Author(s) Dan Schrock
Howard Bean
Date Published December 2011


[edit] Cite This Article

MLA style

Schrock, Dan and Howard Bean. "Midwest Mennonite Fellowship." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2011. Web. 2 Oct 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Midwest_Mennonite_Fellowship&oldid=116486.

APA style

Schrock, Dan and Howard Bean. (December 2011). Midwest Mennonite Fellowship. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 October 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Midwest_Mennonite_Fellowship&oldid=116486.




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Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 584. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.


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