Cornerstone Community Church (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada)

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The Mennonite Brethren church in Dartmouth began as an initiative of Mennonite Central Committee and Christian Service workers in the Dartmouth area. In 1962, John and Agnes Esau began a Christian Service term in the area, and helped set up service units of teachers and nurses. At the same time, the Canadian Inland Mission (Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren (MB) Churches) was interested in planting new churches in the Maritimes. Thus, in 1967 the conference joined efforts with the service workers; the workers were invited to become the nucleus for a new Mennonite Brethren congregation, and Walter and Selma Epp were invited to serve a pastoral/outreach role. The new congregation was called the Mouth Edward Bible Fellowship.

In 1973, the congregation officially joined the Canadian MB Conference, and two years later changed its name to the Dartmouth Mennonite Brethren Church. At this time, the congregation met at the Penhorn Seventh Day Adventist Church, a building that eventually it purchased in 1976. At this time the church hired a pastor from the Atlantic provinces and began operating a preschool with paid staff. Despite these local connections, however, the congregation’s stability was still significantly affected by the transient nature of its Christian Service members.

In 1986, the congregation became known as Cornerstone Community Church. The new name was to be inclusive, and reflected the way the congregation was to “serve as a guiding light” in the Mennonite Brethren mission to the East. The congregation developed a variety of outreach efforts, ranging from morning programs for mothers, to children's events, gym nights, and cell groups, and as the 1990s moved on, the congregation took on a much more local flavor.

In 1996, the conference made a concerted four-year effort to renew the mission and vision of the congregation, providing a subsidy to offset operation and staff costs. When the four-year period ended, the church still lacked a core group of members to sustain the financial needs of the church. Loss of energy and vision, coupled with leadership tensions, added to the problem. Eventually, the remaining ten members decided that the church was no longer sustainable. On 26 November 2000, past and present members and attendees came together one last time to remember and celebrate the life of Cornerstone Community Church.


Canadian Mennonite (9 May 1967): 1; (6 February 1968): 3B.

Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. "Cornerstone Community Church." Web. 20 September 2010.

Historical sketch of Cornerstone Community Church, on bulletin of 20th anniversary service, Nov. 15, 1987, Mennonite Historical Society of Canada collection, Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Mennonite Brethren Herald (27 May 1988): 72; (1 December 2000): 19.

Mennonite Reporter (21 December 1987): 21.

Archival Records

Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Winnipeg, MB: Volumes 648, 688; NP169; NA17-68-77; and NMV67-01.

Additional Information

Denominational Affiliations:

Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1973-2000)

General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1973-2000)

Cornerstone Community Church Ministers

Minister Years
Walter Epp 1967-1971
Isaac "Ike" Bergen 1971-1974
Harold Schroeder 1974-1975
Hartley R. Smith 1975-1980
Henry M. Willems (interim) 1981
George Wiens 1981-1984
John Dyck 1984-1985
Ewald Unruh 1985-1991
Ed Willms 1992-1995
Bob Cowan 1996-2000

Cornerstone Community Church Membership

Year Members
1975 30
1980 45
1985 19
1990 46
1995 61
1998 25

Author(s) Richard D Thiessen
Date Published September 2010

Cite This Article

MLA style

Thiessen, Richard D. "Cornerstone Community Church (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2010. Web. 22 Feb 2020.,_Nova_Scotia,_Canada)&oldid=142719.

APA style

Thiessen, Richard D. (September 2010). Cornerstone Community Church (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 February 2020, from,_Nova_Scotia,_Canada)&oldid=142719.

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