Groffdale Old Order Mennonite Conference

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The Groffdale Old Order Mennonite Conference was founded in 1927 when Preacher Joseph O. Wenger and approximately one-half of the membership withdrew from the Weaverland Old Order Mennonite Conference. Those who withdrew refused to accept Bishop Moses Horning's decision to allow automobile ownership. In the fall of 1927 Preacher Joseph O. Wenger became the first Bishop of the Groffdale Conference and soon thereafter he and his followers became known as the "Wengers" or the Joe Wenger Mennonites.

With its focus on maintaining tradition, farming has been the predominant and preferred occupation within the Groffdale Conference. Horse drawn carriages have remained the mandated form of local transportation. Farm tractors have been widely used but each must be equipped with four steel wheels.

The Groffdale Conference has retained a conservative lifestyle, and therefore they have seen no need for Sunday schools, evangelical meetings, etc. Pennsylvania "Dutch" has remained the language of choice at home and in church. Church services and singing, however, have continued to be conducted in German. Pennsylvania "Dutch" has been used liberally by the clergy to expound upon high German Bible passages and quotes.

The Groffdale Conference has used parochial schools which are small one or two room structures. They have required only grades 1-8, and usually the teachers have been members of Old Order churches. All subjects are taught in English using English language textbooks. Some of these schools have offered an hour or two per week of instruction in the high German Gothic lettered alphabet and high German vocabulary words.

As of January 2011, the entire Groffdale Old Order Mennonite Conference nationwide had 3,793 households located in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and New York.

Groffdale Old Order Mennonite Conference Settlements and Meetinghouses

(Boldface indicates Settlement Name)
Settlement/ Meetinghouse Founded
Groffdale (Lancaster County)  1927
  Weaverland  1894
  Groffdale  1895
  Martindale  1886
  Bowmansville  1903
  Churchtown  1910
  Conestoga  1938
  Muddy Creek  1961
  New Holland 1964
  Millway  1976
  Spring Grove  1987
Penn Valley (Pennsylvania)  1947
  Center  1952
  Fleetwood  1970
Buffalo Valley (Pennsylvania)  1960
  Mountain View  1968
  Vicksburg  1971
  Penns Creek  1999
Cumberland-Franklin Counties (Pennsylvania)  1967
  Stoughtown  1974
  Shippensburg  1971
  Clearfield  1984
  Meadow View  1984
  Locust Lane  2011
Blair County (Pennsylvania)  1972
  Martinsburg  1972
  New Enterprise  1980
  Piney Creek  1991
Morgan & Moniteau Counties (Missouri)  1970
  Hopewell  1971
  Clearview  1974
  Hillcrest  2006
Chula (Missouri)  2006
El Dorado Springs (Missouri)    2010
Yates & Ontario Counties (New York)  1974
  Milo  1976
  Gravel Run  1991
  Rushville 1993
  Sugar Creek  2002
  East View  2010
Malone (New York)  2010
Richland & Huron Counties (Ohio)  1974
  Spring Mill  1976
  Blooming Grove  1984
  Country View  2009
Clark County (Wisconsin)  1974
  Meadow Brook  1977
  Sunny Ridge  1990
  Longwood  1994
  Stanley  2000
  Colby  2011
Plattville (Wisconsin)  2000
  Willow Branch  2003
  Lancaster  2010
Casey County (Kentucky)  1979
  Cedar Hill  1980
Christian County (Kentucky) 1991
  Meadow Valley  1993
  Stringtown 2010
Iowa District (Iowa)  2000
  Cedar Valley  1994
  Deerfield 2002
  Meadow Run  2005
Elkhart County (Indiana)  1871
  Yellow Creek 1861
  Blossers  1891
  Clearland  1975
Fulton-Marshall Counties (Indiana)  1992
  Tippecanoe  1996
  Richland Center  2010
Vickeryville (Michigan)  1992
  Vickeryville  2009


Groffdale Conference Mennonite Church Schedules.

Information provided by Bishop Elvin M. Martin.

Kraybill, Donald B. and James P. Hurd. Horse-and-buggy Mennonites: Hoofbeats of Humility in a Postmodern World. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006.

Records of ordinations of the Old Order Mennonites, Groffdale Conference churches, 1750 to 2010. East Earl, PA: [Earl Z. Weaver?], 2010.

Additional Information

Original Article from Mennonite Encyclopedia

Vol. 3, p. 516 by Ira D. Landis

The Groffdale (Martindale) Old Order Mennonite Conference was the result of a schism in 1926 in the Weaverland Old Order Mennonite Conference, which had broken from the Weaverland Mennonite Church in 1893. The 1954 membership was reported to be 1,200 in round numbers, meeting in meetinghouses, with Aaron Z. Sensenig as bishop. They still shared the use of the Weaverland Old Order Mennonite meetinghouse. They represented the most conservative Old Order Mennonite group in Lancaster County and separated from the Weaverland group on the issue of the use of automobiles, which they reject. They use German almost exclusively in preaching, have no Sunday schools, and reject most modern conveniences.

Author(s) Jonathan H Martin
Date Published January 2012

Cite This Article

MLA style

Martin, Jonathan H. "Groffdale Old Order Mennonite Conference." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2012. Web. 15 Aug 2020.

APA style

Martin, Jonathan H. (January 2012). Groffdale Old Order Mennonite Conference. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 15 August 2020, from

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