In 1822 Christian Nafziger, an Amish layman from Bavaria, Germany, appeared in the pioneer Mennonite settlement in Waterloo. Living conditions in Bavaria were very difficult. He left his family, set out with little more than his walking stick, faith and hope to find something better in North America. The Dutch Mennonites answered his plea for help. He left Amsterdam Christmas Day 1821 on a sailing vessel bound for Philadelphia. For some unknown reason he arrived in New Orleans on 2 March 1822. With further Dutch assistance he continued his journey up the Mississippi River to Ohio and overland to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The leaders there advised him to go to Canada for cheap land, and supplied him with a horse and provision for the trip. With the help of the Mennonites in Waterloo (who had earlier immigrated from Pennsylvania) he contacted the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada in August 1822 and asked for land for 70-80 Amish families from Europe. The Lieutenant-Governor offered 50 acres of free land for every immigrant family. Waterloo Mennonites set up a committee to help plan for a new settlement immediately to the west in a "German Block."
Probably because of their family involvement in land purchase in Canada in 1807, Bishop John Stoltzfus and Minister Christian Koenig were sent to Waterloo by horse drawn carriage to organize the new immigrants into an Amish Mennonite congregation in 1824. Two ministers and a deacon were ordained to meet the spiritual needs of a pioneer settlement. For sixty years the Amish met in their homes for regular worship and became known as the Wilmot Amish Mennonite Congregation. In 1884 they built their first "Mennonite style" meeting house at Steinmann's corner where the church is still located. The next year an identical meeting house was built on Erb's Rd. west of St. Agatha. Sunday services alternated between the two meeting houses for many years but in 1957 St. Agatha Mennonite and Steinmann's became separate congregations.
In 1946 the first meeting house was replaced by a new structure with an addition in 1975. The Amish Mennonite Conference was organized in 1923. Forty years later it was renamed Western Ontario Mennonite Conference. The language of worship gradually changed from German to English by mid century although many members are still bilingual. The three area Mennonite conferences merged in 1988 into Mennonite Church Eastern Canada which affiliated with Mennonite Church Canada in 1995.
Bender, Kenneth. "A History of the Wilmot Congregation." Research paper, Eastern Mennonite College, 1958.
Kennel, Lillian. History of the Wilmot Amish Mennonite Congregation: Steinmann and St. Agatha Mennonite Churches, 1824-1984. Baden: Steinmann Mennonite Church, 1984, 56 pp.
Mennonite Reporter (13 November 1989): 12.
Roth, Lorraine. The Amish and Their Neighbours: the German Block, Wilmot Township, 1822-1860. Waterloo, ON: Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario, 1998.
Steinmann, Pauline. "Congregational History of Steinmann Mennonite Church." Research paper, Canadian Mennonite Bible College, 1977, 33 pp.
Archival RecordsArchival records at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Address: 1316 Snyder's Road West, Baden, ON N3A 3K8
Website: Steinmann Mennonite Church
Steinmann Mennonite Church Ministers and Bishops
|Joseph Goldschmidt (1798-1876)||1824-1831|
|John Brenneman (1766-1848)||1824-1848|
|Peter Nafziger (b. 1789)||1826-1831|
|Christian Steinman (1792-1865)||1826-1831|
|John Oesch (1792-1850)||1829-1848/9|
|Rudolph Roth (1798-1853)||1835-1850|
|Peter Litwiller (1809-1878)||1845-1878|
|Christian Miller (1806-1850)||1829-1847|
|Christian Wagler (1775-1851)||1848-1851|
|Christian Wagler (1810-1887)||1848-1887|
|John Gascho (1830-1909)||1872-1909|
|Michael Kennel (1834-1898)||1877-1898|
|Christian Litwiller (1848-1924)||1877-1924|
|Daniel H. Steinman (1857-1935)||1894-1935|
|Christian Gascho (1857-1943)||1894-1943|
|Peter Boshart (1870-1942)||1927-1942|
|Peter Nafziger (1886-1969)||1936-1969|
|Menno Wagler (1884-1958)||1932-1958|
|Benjamin Gingerich (1883-1958)||1932-1958|
|Moses O. Jantzi (1884-1965)||1936-1965|
|Elmer Schwartzentruber (1909-||1951-|
|Orland Gingerich (1920-2002)||1951-1972|
|Albert Zehr (1938- )||1965-1971|
|Ephraim Gingerich (1917- ) (interim)||1972-1973|
|Vernon Zehr (1920-1999)||1973-1984|
|Mark Erb (1948- )||1973-1976|
|Fred Lichti (1954- )||1979-1993|
|Ingrid Loepp Thiessen||1991-1997|
|Gordon Bauman (interim)||1993-1994|
|Herb Schultz (1935- )||1994-2001|
|Ken Bechtel (interim)||2001-2003|
|Phyllis Kramer (interim)||2001-2003|
|Laurence Martin (interim)||2003|
Steinmann Mennonite Church Membership
|Date Published||July 2003|
Cite This Article
Gingerich, Orland and Alvin Gingerich. "Steinmann Mennonite Church (Baden, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2003. Web. 10 Jul 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Steinmann_Mennonite_Church_(Baden,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=103365.
Gingerich, Orland and Alvin Gingerich. (July 2003). Steinmann Mennonite Church (Baden, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 10 July 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Steinmann_Mennonite_Church_(Baden,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=103365.
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