Countryside Mennonite Fellowship was originally known as Heidelberg Mennonite Fellowship, as its services began in the village of Heidelberg, Ontario in 1960. Moses Roth is considered the founding leader of the group, and served as its first pastor and bishop.
The congregation originated through division from the Mennonite Conference of Ontario in 1960 over doctrine issues, and a desire to retain symbols of separation no longer upheld by the conference. Heidelberg, along with New Hamburg, were founding members of the Conservative Mennonite Church of Ontario (CMCO)
In 1976 the Heidelberg Mennonite Fellowship withdrew its membership from CMCO because it desired more congregational autonomy and less rigid enforcement of regulations on dress, etc. In May 1976, Leighton Martin was ordained as bishop, and Edgar Frey as minister. Later that year, Abner Martin was ordained as deacon.
In 1978/79 the congregation built a Christian day school on the west side of Hawkesville, followed by a new church building in 1982. The building was dedicated in February 1983. "Countryside" refers both to the school and the church. The school's curriculum includes grades 1-10.
Countryside Mennonite Fellowship maintains a strong mission emphasis, and many members have served in various mission fields. Local ministries have included Vacation Bible School, a Partners Program for mentors and boys in the community who are missing a father's role in their lives, and a Girl's Club outreach and a biweekly nursing home ministry.
In 2014 the church had 239 members and was a member of the Midwest Mennonite Fellowship. The ministerial team included Bishop Ronald Shantz, Ministers Glen Jantzi and Kevin Martin, and Deacons Wendell Glick and Ibra G. Martin.
Countryside Mennonite Fellowship Church, Hawkesville, Ontario: 30th Anniversary, 1960-1990. Hawkesville: The Church, 1990, 89 pp.
Cressman, Kenneth. "The Development of the Conservative Mennonite Church of Ontario." 1976, 70 pp. Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Cressman, Kenneth. "A Descriptive Analysis of the Conservative Mennonite Schisms in Ontario, 1956-1979." 1979, 92 pp. Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Mennonite Church Directory 2014. Harrisonburg, VA: Christian Light Publications, Inc., 2014: 96.
 Additional Information
Conservative Mennonite Church of Ontario (1960-1978)
Midwest Mennonite Fellowship (1978-present)
 Countryside Mennonite Fellowship Pastoral Leaders
|Moses Roth (Bishop)||1960-1976|
|Leighton Martin (Bishop)||1976-2001|
 Countryside Mennonite Fellowship Membership
|Date Published||February 2015|
 Cite This Article
Kraemer, Ivan. "Countryside Mennonite Fellowship (Hawkesville, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2015. Web. 5 Sep 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Countryside_Mennonite_Fellowship_(Hawkesville,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=131586.
Kraemer, Ivan. (February 2015). Countryside Mennonite Fellowship (Hawkesville, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 5 September 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Countryside_Mennonite_Fellowship_(Hawkesville,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=131586.
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