Ramer Mennonite Church (Elkhart, Indiana, USA)

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Ramer Mennonite Church, a local designation for the progressive wing of the Wisler Mennonite Church in Elkhart (and St. Joseph) County, Indiana. The origin of the group was as follows: Over a period of time a degree of tension and loss of mutual confidence arose in the Wisler Mennonite Conference of Ohio and Indiana. The respective leaders were Henry Hursh (1839-1916), bishop of the County Line and Chestnut Ridge congregation in Wayne County, Ohio (progressive), and John W. Martin (1852-1940), bishop of the Yellow Creek and Blosser and County Line congregation, in Elkhart County (conservative). The tension came to head, ostensibly over the use of the telephone, at the spring conference of 1907 which met in the County Line meetinghouse, St. Joseph County, Indiana. John Weaver, a preacher who had played a major role in the division of 1872 (Wisler-Funk), tried earnestly to prevent a schism in the Wisler Conference in 1907, but in vain. Bishop Martin withdrew from the conference, taking along all of his fellow ministers (Christian Z. Weaver, Henry Schrock, and Martin Ramer, besides the deacons Elias Z. Martin and Isaac Martin) into his new Old Order Mennonite Conference. The majority of the lay members of Elkhart County, however, refused to follow the ministers; they stood rather with the aged preacher John Weaver, a feeble old man who died on 2 September 1907. About six months after the division Martin Ramer (1858-1928), a preacher who had been ordained about 1886, reconsidered his stand and transferred to the progressive side in Indiana. Meanwhile, the progressives had chosen Levi Ressler (brother of Jacob A. Ressler) as deacon and his son Christian L. Ressler as preacher. In 1911 Ramer was chosen bishop of the progressive group. In 1919 his son William Ramer was ordained as preacher and in 1929 as bishop. Because the ministerial leadership has been in the hands of the two Ramers, father and son, since 1907, the group has come to be known locally as the Ramer Mennonites. They themselves prefer the name Wisler Mennonites, while the Martin group call themselves the Old Order Mennonites. The chief differences relate to the adoption of new cultural items such as the automobile. Neither group has a Sunday school. The Ramer services are held largely in English, while the Martin services are largely in German. Both groups use the two jointly owned meetinghouses, Yellow Creek Frame and Blosser's, alternating Sundays. The Ramer group numbered 200 members in 1959, the other group 102.

Author(s) John C Wenger
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Wenger, John C. "Ramer Mennonite Church (Elkhart, Indiana, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 7 Jul 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ramer_Mennonite_Church_(Elkhart,_Indiana,_USA)&oldid=84300.

APA style

Wenger, John C. (1959). Ramer Mennonite Church (Elkhart, Indiana, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 7 July 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ramer_Mennonite_Church_(Elkhart,_Indiana,_USA)&oldid=84300.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 249. All rights reserved.

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