Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)

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The Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ontario formally organized and began worship services in August 1924 with 115 members. The first building, constructed on the same block as First Mennonite Church, was occupied in February 1925. Prior to completion of the 1925 building, Stirling Avenue met at First Mennonite Church on Sunday afternoons.

Urias K. Weber, who had been a pastor at First Mennonite for 17 years, became the leader of the new, more liberal group that separated from First, primarily over a dispute involving the traditional dress code for women. Both congregations, now within the same conferences, have worked cooperatively for many years.

During its years as an independent congregation, Stirling occupied a unique position in the Mennonite mosaic. Sometimes at odds with other Mennonite churches, it also acted as a catalyst for change within the Mennonite community.

Barred from conference affiliation in 1924, Stirling remained an independent Mennonite church until 1940 when it affiliated briefly with the Eastern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church. It became a member of the General Conference in 1947.

Membership in 2003 was composed of persons from both Swiss and Russian Mennonite backgrounds, as well as many from non-ethnic-Mennonite backgrounds, is 320. Language for worship has always been in English. A Hallman pipe organ was installed in 1967. Major building expansions took place in 1952 and 1992. Missionaries sent from the congregation included Leona Cressman, who served as a missionary in India from 1947-1982, and Alice Bachert who served in Colombia from 1931-1983. Other outreach efforts have included a clothing center since 1972. Carrie Harder was the first staff member to give leadership to the Peace and Justice Centre established in 1988.

Stirling Avenue has participated in the founding of Conrad Grebel College, the House of Friendship in Kitchener, the Waters Mennonite Church (dedicated in 1963), and the Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support.


Burgetz, Kathy. "A Congregational History of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church." Research paper, Canadian Mennonite Bible College, 1980, 67 pp. Mennonite Heritage Centre.

Canadian Mennonite (30 June 1964): 1, 6; (18 July 1967): 3; (20 June 1969): 1; (30 January 1970): 10.

Good, E. Reginald. Frontier Community to Urban Congregation: First Mennonite Church, Kitchener 1813-1988. Kitchener, ON: First Mennonite Church, 1988: chapter 8 for an account of the origins of Stirling Ave.

Harder, Laureen. Risk and Endurance: a History of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church. Kitchener, ON: Stirling Ave. Mennonite Church, 2003.

Mennonite Reporter (12 May 1975): 4; (14 April 1986): 14; (1 May 1989): 16; (5 October 1992): 13.

Thompson, Hartley. "History of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church." 1973, 17 pp.

Unpublished history of Stirling Ave. Mennonite, Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Archival Records

Church records at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Mennonites in Canada collection, "MC(2O-Stirling Ave. Mennonite)," Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Additional Information

Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders

Minister Years of Service
Urias K. Weber 1924-1942
Andrew Shelly 1942-1950
Wilfred D. Ulrich 1950-1963
Jim Reusser 1963-1976
Ron Rempel 1974-1979
Donovan E. Smucker (Interim) 1977-1979
Bill Kruger (Interim) 1977-1979
Martha Smith [Good] 1977-1979
Vernon Leis 1980-1987
Mary Mae Schwartzentruber 1980-1990
Steve Martin 1988-1990
Paul Martin (Interim) 1990-1992
Carrie Harder 1991-1997
David T. Martin 1992-
Anita Schroeder Kipfer 1998-
Kevin Peters Unrau 1999-

Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church Membership

Year Membership
1925 125
1950 427
1965 454
1975 393
1985 392
1995 330
2000 318
2003 320

Author(s) Earle S. Snyder
Anne Millar
Date Published September 2003

Cite This Article

MLA style

Snyder, Earle S. and Anne Millar. "Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2003. Web. 24 May 2018.,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=77927.

APA style

Snyder, Earle S. and Anne Millar. (September 2003). Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2018, from,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=77927.

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