The Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church was a daughter congregation of the Pleasant Grove Conservative Mennonite Church of Millersburg, Indiana. Most of its members were formerly part of the Old Order Amish. Crowded conditions led to a decision to purchase property and build a church near Nappanee. Construction began in fall 1954, and the first service was held on 6 February 1955. Homer Miller was the only ordained leader who came from the mother church; he had originally been ordained as a minister in the Old Order Amish church in 1948. The Bethel congregation was part of the Conservative Mennonite Conference at this time.
In 1967 Bethel started a mission congregation at Shoals, Indiana, later called the Hillside Mennonite Church; it became independent in 1969. In 1969 Bethel withdrew from the Conservative Mennonite Conference as it was dissatisfied with the efforts of conference leaders to help address tensions within the congregation. The congregation remained unaffiliated until 1977 when it joined the newly forming Midwest Mennonite Fellowship. In 1976 Bethel began another congregation at Canaan, Indiana that became the Canaan Mennonite Chapel. In 1981 the Bethel congregation decided to divide, so another church building the Nappanee area was purchased, and the Sandy Ridge Mennonite Church was founded.
In 1964, Bethel Mennonite established a medical aid plan for its members. The purpose of the plan was "[t]o share and bear one another's burden (Galatians 6:2 and Philippians 2:4), which may arise from Medical Needs, Hospitalization, Surgery, and death of our members." The plan was available to all members of the congregation in good standing and their dependents. This plan created conflicts with the Internal Revenue Service which tried to remove the congregation's tax exempt status for its activities prior to 1981. This was appealed, and the U. S. Court of Appeals found in favor of the congregation in 1984.
Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church, Petitioner-appellant, v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Respondent-appellee, United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit. - 746 F.2d 388. Web. 10 August 2009. http://cases.justia.com/us-court-of-appeals/F2/746/388/31322/.
"Bethel, Nappanee, Indiana." Midwest Mennonite Focus 20, no. 2 (March-April 1989): 16-17.
Miller, Homer D. "Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church." Midwest Mennonite Focus 6, no. 5 (September-October 1985): 8.
Miller, Ivan J. History of the Conservative Mennonite Conference, 1910-1985. Grantsville, Md: I.J. Miller, 1985: 114.
Address: 25402 County Road 50, Nappanee, Indiana
Denominational Affiliation: Midwest Mennonite Fellowship
Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church Pastors
|Name||Years of Service|
|Homer D. Miller Bishop, 1957-||1955-1997|
|Jacob E. Miller||1955-1963?|
Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church Membership
Original Article from Mennonite EncyclopediaVol. 4, p. 1065 by Melvin Gingerich
Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church, located two miles north and 2.5 miles east of Nappanee, Indiana, was organized in 1955 and its church built in 1954-55. The 1959 membership was 85, with Homer D. Miller its bishop and Jacob E. Miller its minister.
|Date Published||August 2011|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Sam. "Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church (Nappanee, Indiana, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2011. Web. 31 Mar 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bethel_Conservative_Mennonite_Church_(Nappanee,_Indiana,_USA)&oldid=75512.
Steiner, Sam. (August 2011). Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church (Nappanee, Indiana, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 31 March 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bethel_Conservative_Mennonite_Church_(Nappanee,_Indiana,_USA)&oldid=75512.
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