Old Colony Mennonites from La Crete began moving to Worsley, Alberta in 1959. They settled approximately 20-25 miles south-west of the city of Worsley, located 100 miles north of Grande Prairie. The Old Colony Mennonite Church (Alt-Kolonie Mennonitengemeinde) at Worsley was initially led by Rev. Isaak Hiebert and assisted by Rev. Cornelius Giesbrecht, both having settled in Worsley from La Crete. In 1962 brothers Jakob K. Peters and Johann K. Peters were elected to serve as ministers.
By 1968 approximately 100 Old Colony Mennonite families had settled in the Worsley area. It was in that year that all the ministers and 85% of the church immigrated to Bolivia to establish the Santa Rosa Colony. The nine families that remained were joined by one family that returned to Canada from Belize. Eventually Cornelius Giesbrecht returned from Bolivia and assumed leadership of the church, serving until his death in 1976. After his death, the church was served by ministers from La Crete and Prespatou, BC until 1978, when Benjamin Wolfe was elected as minister and leader. Cornelius Klassen was also elected as a minister at this time. Wolfe became Aeltester in 1986, but moved along with 20 families to Bolivia in 1989 to establish the Alberta Colony. In 1998 Peter D. Janzen was elected as leading minister and Johann Peters and Jakob Isaac as ministers.
From the beginning children attended the congregation's own elementary school, where German was the instructional language. A new school was built in Worsley where the instruction was in English except for Fridays and Saturdays, when a traditional German school was held using the Bible, Catechism, and Gesangbuch at text material. Most church members are employed in the logging industry, and many are the children of former members that had immigrated to Bolivia.
In 2000 the membership of the church was 241 with a total of 665 members and adherents. In 2010 services were held in both Low German and High German. The church had between 300 and 400 members.
Gutsche, Horst W. "Verzeichnis deutschsprachiger Gemeinden und Seelsorger in Kanada." March 2010. Web. 23 February 2012..
Janzen, David. "Worsley Old Colony Mennonite Church" in Old Colony Mennonites in Canada 1875 to 2000, edited by Delbert F. Plett. Steinbach, MB: Crossway Publications, Inc., 2001: 161.
Reimer, Margaret L. One Quilt, Many Pieces. Waterloo, ON: Mennonite Publishing Service, 1983: 42.
|Author(s)||Richard D Thiessen|
|Date Published||February 2012|
Cite This Article
Thiessen, Richard D. "Old Colony Mennonite Church (Worsley, Alberta, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2012. Web. 5 Mar 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Old_Colony_Mennonite_Church_(Worsley,_Alberta,_Canada)&oldid=76608.
Thiessen, Richard D. (February 2012). Old Colony Mennonite Church (Worsley, Alberta, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 5 March 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Old_Colony_Mennonite_Church_(Worsley,_Alberta,_Canada)&oldid=76608.
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