Pays de Gex (France)

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Pays de Gex, the customs-free zone in France just outside the western border of the Swiss city and canton of Geneva. A Mennonite congregation by this name was started in 1909 when Abraham Geiser, elder in the Chaux d'Abel Swiss Mennonite congregation, settled here near St. Genis, soon followed by several related families. Upon Geiser's death in 1926 his brother, Elder David Geiser in Chaux d' Abel, had the oversight of the congregation, with David Geiser-Glaus, a son of Abraham, as preacher 1929-1940, and Abraham Sommer from 1931. The services were held in German for years in an upper room in a farmhouse of the Zbinden family. Later a Protestant chapel was secured in St. Genis, where the French language replaced the German.

Recently a part of the Pays de Gex congregation began to hold evangelistic services on an interdenominational basis in the city of Geneva in a building called Entr'aide. In 1954 this group ordained Abraham Sommer as elder, in 1956 Jean Sommer and Charles Zbinden as preachers, and Werner and Jean Geiser as missionary preachers. Soon Zbinden and Werner Geiser were made elders. The rest of the congregation continued in the traditional Mennonite way at St. Genis, where in 1957 Albert and Louis Zbinden and Willi Müller were ordained as preachers. No formal schism occurred, but in effect there are two congregations. In 1958 the membership was 64.

Author(s) S G.
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

G., S. "Pays de Gex (France)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 20 Oct 2019.

APA style

G., S. (1959). Pays de Gex (France). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 October 2019, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 129. All rights reserved.

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