North Woolwich Old Order Mennonite Meetinghouse (Floradale, Ontario, Canada)

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North Woolwich Meetinghouse in 2004

The North Woolwich Old Order Mennonite congregation has its Meetinghouse in Woolwich Township, Waterloo County, at 996 Sandy Hills Drive, Floradale. The congregation originally met in the home of its first deacon, William Hembling, and was known as the Hembling Church in the Mennonite Conference of Ontario Calendar of appointments. Abraham Detwiller served as the congregation's first minister. A small log building located near the Floradale school, 0.8 km (half a mile) north of Floradale, served as a venue for funeral services for all denominations in the community. .

On 26 March 1872, the church purchased 0.6 hectares (1 ½ acres) of land from Daniel B. Bowman. It also purchased a frame building from the Evangelical Association and moved it 0.4 km (¼ mile) north to this site. Around this time, the church name was changed to North Woolwich. In 1900, a new brick church, 11 x 16.5 metres (36' x 54') was built, and in 1928, a 4-metre (14') expansion was added.

In 1978, the church purchased 0.6 hectares (1.4 acres) land from Abner and Alice Martin and built the current 14 x 24 metre (46' x 78') meetinghouse. This site is west of the former location, which is now part of the church cemetery. As of 2004, all burials had taken place in the old part of the cemetery, and the new part had not yet been used. In the late 1980s, trees were planted on the west and south sides of the churchyard, and on the north, west, and south sides of the new cemetery. A new steel roof was put on the church and new windows were installed in the 1990s. The west porch was enlarged in 2002.

In 2000, the Creekbank meetinghousse was built about 4.8 km (3 miles) to the north because the North Woolwich congregation exceeded the capacity of the meetinghouse. Approximately one third of the congregation moved to the new meetinghouse, leaving about 64 familiers for North Woolwich, some single girls included.

The North Woolwich meetinghouse has been shared with North Woolwich Markham Waterloo congregation since 1941.  The agreement, which is signed by bishops, ministers, and deacons of both groups, was renewed in 1962 and again in 1995.  It stipulates that the Markham group may use the building as is but may not make any alterations without approval of the Old Order group. The expenses of maintaining the building are divided evenly between the two groups.   

The North Woolwich congregation has had regular signing for the deaf since around 1999. 

Membership in 2004 was approximately 140 communing members. No accurate count of members is available for most of the history of the congregation because Old Order Mennonites think of themselves as members of the church at large and not just the immediate congregation. The Old Order also do not see the quantity of members as indicative of the congregation's importance. When people move from one geographical area to another, they automatically "belong to" the congregation whose meetinghouse is closest to their home. No membership transfer takes place from the former location.


Mennonite Reporter (3 April 1989): 14.

Information from the church.

Additional Information

Table 1: North Woolwich Old Order Mennonite Meetinghouse Ordained Leaders*

Ministers Deacons
Abraham Detwiller1 1858-1912 William Hembling2 1858-1875
Joseph Gingrich 1867-1912 Peter B. Bowman 1876-1918
Addison Gingrich 1912-1958 Franklin Houser3 1889-1933
Oziah Gingrich 1943-1983 Angus S. Bauman 1930-1954
Ivan S. Martin 1983-1999 Moses Bauman 1954-1991
David B. Weber 2000- Ammon Martin 1991
  • Unless otherwise noted, the dates of service span date of ordination to date of death.

1Abraham Detwiller moved to Michigan at some point; date unknown.

2William Hembling joined the Mennonite Brethren in Christ about 1875 according to L. J. Burkholder

3Franklin Houser was ordained in Cayuga and moved to Waterloo County in 1913; he served in North Woolwich until 1929 when he joined the David Martin Group.

Author(s) Anita Streicher
Date Published 2005

Cite This Article

MLA style

Streicher, Anita. "North Woolwich Old Order Mennonite Meetinghouse (Floradale, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2005. Web. 20 Oct 2018.,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=142288.

APA style

Streicher, Anita. (2005). North Woolwich Old Order Mennonite Meetinghouse (Floradale, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 October 2018, from,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=142288.

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