Alpha Mennonite Church (Alpha, New Jersey, USA)

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The Alpha Mennonite Church began as a church plant by Henry Swartley in 1975. It was a church plant by the Ohio and Eastern Conference of the Mennonite Church (MC).

When the Atlantic Coast Conference was formed out of the “Eastern” part of the Ohio and Eastern Conference, Alpha became part of the new regional conference.

In the late 1980s the congregation shifted its regional affiliation to the Franconia Mennonite Conference.

In 2008, Alpha's pastor, Michael Schaadt, who was gay, said he could no longer commit to celibacy. The Franconia Mennonite Conference removed his ministerial credentials in October 2008. The Alpha congregation was supportive of Schaadt, leading to discussions on the relationship of the congregation and the conference. By 2012 the congregation told the conference that it was going to accept homosexual persons as full members. The conference recognized the diversity of views within the conference, and declined to discipline the congregation.

In 2014 the congregation described itself as “a small congregation with a family feel who welcomes all who God brings through our doors.“


Ehst, Krista Showalter. “God@work beyond our imagination.” Franconia Mennonite Conference. 15 November 2012. Web. 13 September 2016.

Kriss, Stephen. “Franconia Conference leaders meet with initiators of Open Letter.” Franconia Mennonite Conference. 26 August 2009. Web. 13 September 2016.

Mennonite Yearbook (1975-1999)

Mennonite Church USA. Directory (2003-2007)

Kennel-Shank, Celeste. “N.J. pastor loses credentials over sexuality issue.” Mennonite Weekly Review (20 October 2008). Web. 13 September 2016.

Additional Information

Address: 901 East Boulevard, Alpha, New Jersey 08865

Phone: 908-454-8345


Denominational Affiliations: Mennonite Church USA

Franconia Mennonite Conference

Pastoral Leaders at Alpha Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Henry Swartley 1975-1985
Jon W. Lowe 1982-1985
Roy C. Bucher 1985-1986
Joseph M. Haines 1991?-1994
David Martino 1991?-1994
James D. Townsend 1995-2004?
Michael Schaadt 2004-2008
Krista Showalter Ehst 2014-present

Membership at Alpha Mennonite Church

Year Members
1977 36
1985 84
1995 77
2005 27
2015 38


Map:Alpha Mennonite Church (Alpha, New Jersey, USA)

Author(s) Sam Steiner
Date Published September 2016

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Sam. "Alpha Mennonite Church (Alpha, New Jersey, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2016. Web. 20 Mar 2018.,_New_Jersey,_USA)&oldid=135922.

APA style

Steiner, Sam. (September 2016). Alpha Mennonite Church (Alpha, New Jersey, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 March 2018, from,_New_Jersey,_USA)&oldid=135922.

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