Tavistock Mennonite Church (Tavistock, Ontario, Canada)
The Tavistock Mennonite congregation at Tavistock, Ontario began services in 1942 but was not formally organized as an independent congregation until 1964. The congregation grew from the East Zorra Mennonite Church. East Zorra experienced continued growth through the years and found that an increasing number of its members lived in town. Many older members living in Tavistock and surrounding areas found it difficult in winter to drive to East Zorra due to road conditions. Bishop Daniel Iutzi had grandchildren living in Tavistock and was concerned that his children and grandchildren would attend church. Minister Jacob R. Bender also carried a vision for outreach in the community. Iutzi and Bender can be considered the founding leaders of the Tavistock congregation. The ministry was shared by East Zorra, Cassel and Tavistock until 1954 when ministered were "stationed" at each location.
When worship services began in 1942 they were held in a public library hall. After several weeks the local Presbyterian church invited the group to use its church. When the Presbyterians sold the building in 1949, the congregation built its own building that it occupied in 1950. The sanctuary seated 275 adults, and new Sunday school rooms were welcome. There were subsequent building programs in 1969 (foyer, balcony, mother's room) and 1998 (new sanctuary and Sunday school rooms with the older building used as a fellowship hall). The new sanctuary seated over 300 adults.
Tavistock Mennonite Church has been blessed with much musical talent over years, and often had used these gifts in its worship services. Worship is in English; the transition from German took place prior to Tavistock's formation.
Tavistock has maintained an active Mennonite Youth Fellowship program for youth, and the women's organization has met monthly from the beginning, doing much quilting and knotting of comforters. Boys' and Girls' clubs and a Seniors' group have also been active in recent decades. Many members have participated in voluntary service with Mennonite Central Committee, as well as programs like Mennonite Disaster Service, Youth Evangelism Service, and SALT (Serve and Learn Together). Some have also served on the mission field in Argentina and Colombia. The congregation sponsored two refugee families from Vietnam and one from El Salvador. In 2003 it cooperated with other Mennonite churches in sponsoring a large Afghan family.
Tavistock has been a growing town, and the congregation has attracted some of the newcomers. Tavistock Mennonite Church has striven to be a mission-minded, inviting and caring congregation. Its vision is to be a worshipping community of disciples in mission.
Bender, Wray L. A History of the Tavistock Mennonite Church, 1942-1992. Tavistock: Tavistock Mennonite Church, 1992, 68 pp.
Church records at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Lichti, Fred. A History of the East Zorra (Amish) Mennonite Church 1837-1977. Tavistock, ON: East Zorra Mennonite Church, 1977, 132 pp.
Martin, Wilmer. "History of the Tavistock Mennonite Church."
Mennonite Reporter (26 July 1982): 14; (3 August 1992): 11.
Ramseyer, Alvin. "History of the Tavistock Mennonite Church." 1972, 4 pp., Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Address: 131 Wettlaufer St., Tavistock, ON
Denominational Affiliations: Mennonite Church Eastern Canada Conference
Tavistock Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders
|Daniel Iutzi (Bishop) (shared with East Zorra & Cassel)||1942-1948|
|Jacob R. Bender (shared with East Zorra & Cassel)||1942-1947|
|Menno Kipfer (shared with East Zorra & Cassel until 1954)||1942-1959|
|Joel Schwartzentruber (shared with East Zorra & Cassel until 1954)||1947-1978|
|David Schwartzentruber (shared with East Zorra & Cassel; "stationed" at Tavistock in 1954)||1942-1968|
|Henry Yantzi (Bishop, 1948-)||1947-1964|
|Peter C. Erb||1966-1967|
|Doug Zehr (Interim)||1978|
|Nancy Brubaker-Bauman (Part-time)||1987-1988|
|Rufus Jutzi (Interim)||1988-1989|
|Julie Ellison White||1994-2000|
|Winston Martin (Interim)||2003|
|Will Loewen (Interim Youth Minister)||2004-2007|
|Laurence Martin (Interim)||Dec. 2004-Dec. 2005|
|Glenn Zehr (Interim Supply)||Jan. 2006-July 2006|
|Paul Adams||August 2006-July 2016|
|Henry Regehr (Interim)||2009|
|Patricia Wagler||August 2009-July 2016|
|Jim Brown (Intentional Interim)||August 2016-present|
Tavistock Mennonite Church Membership
Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article
By Ross T. Bender. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 687. All rights reserved.
Tavistock (Ontario) Amish Mennonite Church, a branch of the East Zorra Amish Mennonite congregation, a member of the Ontario Amish Mennonite Conference, was started in 1942, seven years after the first branching out of the East Zorra congregation into the Cassel church, when the East Zorra meetinghouse became crowded. Since many members were living in Tavistock and vicinity, it was decided that a branch of the church be established there. After several worship services had been held in a public library hall, the board of the local Presbyterian church, owing to a dwindling membership, invited them to use its church. This arrangement was very satisfactory until 1949, when the Presbyterians sold the building. The Amish Mennonite group then constructed a new building and dedicated it in July 1951. Until June 1954 Bishop Henry Yantzi was assisted by three ministers, Daniel Wagler, Joel Schwartzentruber, and David Schwartzentruber. Since that time David Schwartzentruber has been the minister in charge. Summer Bible school, young people's meetings, tract packing, and other activities are held in conjunction with the East Zorra and Cassel congregations. The combined membership of the Tavistock, East Zorra, and Cassel congregations was 887 in 1958; the membership at Tavistock alone was approximately 200.
|Date Published||December 2013|
Cite This Article
Leis, Violet. "Tavistock Mennonite Church (Tavistock, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2013. Web. 25 Jun 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Tavistock_Mennonite_Church_(Tavistock,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=143186.
Leis, Violet. (December 2013). Tavistock Mennonite Church (Tavistock, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 June 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Tavistock_Mennonite_Church_(Tavistock,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=143186.
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