In June 1929 a number of Mennonite families pioneered in the Capasin area of Saskatchewan in the Spiritwood Rural Municipality no. 496. Capasin was a hamlet on highway 793 about 220 km. north-north-west of Saskatoon. This was a northern Saskatchewan forest fringe settlement on mostly undeveloped bush land generally in the boundaries of Township 53 and Range 10. The families included Jacob Hoeppner, P. H. Epp, Peter Warkentin and Henry Dyck. Jacob Hoeppner had come to Manitoba as a young boy in 1876, in 1893 married Helena Epp and then in 1895 homesteaded in the Waldheim, Saskatchewan, area. At the age of 56 with three sons and a daughter the Hoeppner family again pioneeried at Capasin. In spring of 1930 six more Mennonite families came as settlers. Later in 1930 the railway was built through the Capasin Hills bringing more settlers.
Beginning in 1930 Mennonites met in homes for worship. Ältester Johannes Regier of Rosenort, Tiefengrund church, and David P. Epp, deacon at Laird, often travelled to Capasin to minister there with baptism and communion. As numbers grew, the need for a building for the congregation also grew, and by fall 1933 a new log building with an adjacent cemetery was constructed for worship on the south side of Big River about 3.5 km (2 miles) west of Capasin. The congregation took the name Crescent Ridge Church for it was in the Crescent Ridge rural school district. On 6 December 1935 John Siebert and Art Pauls were elected by the congregation as the first pastors and Peter Warkentin as the first deacon. Peter B. Bergen and Johann Voth were elected as evangelists on 22 November 1939 and ordained on 6 December 1942 by Johannes Regier. Because most of the pioneers were from the Rosenort Mennonite Church the congregation became a small district of Rosenort often served by Ältester and preachers from that group. Capasin was the district farthest from Rosthern, and the only district on the left (north) side of the North Saskatchewan River.
In 1952 membership was 37. A new church was built in the hamlet of Capasin in 1955 with Johann Voth and George Heppner Sr. as pastors. John C. Neufeld followed and served as pastor in the 1960s. Pastors from both the Rosenort and Eigenheim churches visited and served at Capasin. Ältester Arthur E. Regier from the Rosenort Mennonite Church, Tiefengrund, visited to officiate at baptisms and communion after 1954. Dwindling membership forced the church to close in 1967. The remaining members joined the Laird Mennonite Church.
The history of the Capasin church is the story of a community that grew quickly during the Depression when families, some with Saskatchewan government encouragement, and hope for better farming opportunities left the prairie Depression dust bowl for northern bush land. Hope faded when families realized living conditions were very harsh and the land was not suitable for crop production. As more favorable opportunities beckoned in British Columbia and Ontario in the 1940s the church began to lose its members and finally closed. A few Mennonite families remained in the area, mostly for ranching.
A Capasin reunion was held in 1998 when about 500 people with a history in the area came back for a full weekend of activity. George Heppner Jr. was guest speaker at the Sunday interdenominational service. The building that served the church is gone, but the cemetery at Crescent Ridge has been cleaned up and in 2013 was maintained by Dennis Warktentin who lived close by and whose parents were church members.
After the dust: a history of Leoville & community : Leoville, Laventure, Ranger, Junor, Penn, Chitek Lake, Pelican Reserve, Spruce Creek, Timberland, Timberlost, Capasin. Leoville, Saskatchewan, Leoville Historic Committee, 1979.
Canadian Mennonite (11 July 1967): 3.
Hoeppner, George R. "A History of the Capasin Mennonite Church." Research paper, CMBC, 1977, 16 pp. Mennonite Heritage Centre.
Regier, Sylvia. Three Score Years and Ten With God in Tiefengrund Rosenort Mennonite Church, 1910-1980, Reaching to its Roots, 1893. Tiefengrund, Sask.: Tiefengrund Rosenort Mennonite Church, 1980, 247 pp.
Rempel, John G. Die Rosenorter Gemeinde in Saskatchwan. Rosthern, 1950.
Original Article from Mennonite EncyclopediaCopied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 511. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the
Capasin, Saskatchewan, located about 150 miles northwest of Rosthern, was a small district of the Rosenort Mennonite Church with its seat in Rosthern, Saskatchewan, between the North and South Saskatchewan rivers. The Rosenort Church in 1950 had about a dozen districts and about 1,500 members. Capasin was the district farthest from Rosthern and was the only district on the left side of the North Saskatchewan River. In 1952 this district had 37 church members and 37 children. -- John G. Rempel.
|Author(s)||Victor G Wiebe|
|Date Published||April 2013|
Cite This Article
Wiebe, Victor G. "Capasin Mennonite Church (Capasin, Saskatchewan, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2013. Web. 13 Dec 2013. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Capasin_Mennonite_Church_(Capasin,_Saskatchewan,_Canada)&oldid=86518.
Wiebe, Victor G. (April 2013). Capasin Mennonite Church (Capasin, Saskatchewan, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 December 2013, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Capasin_Mennonite_Church_(Capasin,_Saskatchewan,_Canada)&oldid=86518.
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